Hong Kong is a fun cosmopolitan to visit especially with kids. We took a trip to Hong Kong last summer during our month long family trip to Thailand. With great public transportation system, it is a great Asian country to visit especially if you don’t have much experience traveling outside the US. English language is widely used by locals and all the public signs. So there hardly is any language barrier to overcome yet the culture is vastly different from the West.
We stayed for only 4 days and 3 nights. It’s enough to explore this small island but I wouldn’t mind stay a bit longer to allow us more time to explore each area. There will be more detail posts on fun things to do in Hong Kong with kids. But the most memorable experience we had in Hong Kong has to be the various type of transportation we tackle in these 4 days.
Plane – Air Asia
We flew Air Asia, the popular low cost airline in Asia, to Macau. Why Macau you ask. We picked Macau mainly because Air Asia ran the promotion at that time that we were able to purchase tickets from Bangkok to Macau for about $100 per person. Can’t beat that. Plus Macau is a popular day trip from Hong Kong that we already planned to visit so it worked out quite well.
With low cost airline, everything is very efficient and minimal. We pre-ordered food online since the flight was in the break of dawn and we knew we would be hungry by the time we were enroute. Self check-in kiosks are lined up and free for passenger. With no luggage and only carry-on, we saved additional fee. It’s weird to think that when the airlines in the US announced the plan to charge for additional fee to select your seats, there were many outcry from travelers but here in Asia, Air Asia has done it for years and yet people just accept it with no complain.
The flight was uneventful. It was way too early to start the trip but I have to praise my kids that they were just going along with no complain. Once we landed in Macau International Airport, we took a taxi to the ferry terminal to Hong Kong.
Ferry – Turbojet from Macau to Hong Kong
There are a few ferry companies that service Macau – Hong Kong at Macau Maritime Ferry Terminal and we chose to go with Turbojet since they have more schedule time and run on a more frequent basis. If you stay in Kowloon island, you can also take a ferry directly from Macau to Kowloon but there will be less frequent services. When we arrived at the terminal, we had only 15 minutes but luckily we made it on the ferry even after the immigration and custom. But don’t worry if you miss the ferry, you can catch the next one.
If you are prone to seasick, it will be best to take motion sickness medicine. The ride is smooth but this is an hour long ride. For me, I would rather sleep than battle the seasick. The kids were much better than me so I’m glad we can keep the kids entertained with new DSi games. With the combination of comfortable seat and dramamine, before I knew it we had arrived at the Hong Kong Macau Ferry Terminal.
Train – MTR
I wouldn’t call myself an expert in mass transit system but by far Hong Kong is one of my favorite city in regard of mass transit system. The Hong Kong MTR is clean, efficient and easy to navigate. Plus the underground system that connect various exit/entrance within the MTR makes it easy to travel around regardless of weather. Each stop in MTR in the city center area has at least 3 or 4 exits that will take you closer to your destination without having to walk above ground at all.
With huge population who use MTR daily, there seems to be little chaos going on. People walk fast but stay on the right side and follow the arrow to avoid collision. Slow walkers like us were past by commuters and locals alike. One of the first thing we did was to purchase the Oyster card, the rechargeable smart card that can be used with not just the railway but buses and various retail shops as well. Fares are discount when used with the Octopus card but there is a deposit fee that you will get back once you return the card. We decided to keep 2 of our cards as a souvenir, quite inexpensive souvenir I must say.
Cable car – Ngong Ping 360
A trip to Hong Kong won’t be complete without visiting one of the popular destination in Lantau Island, Ngong Ping and the Giant Buddha. Our last visit to Ngong Ping was over 5 years ago so things have been improved. They have introduced the crystal cabin, the clear bottom cable car. It wasn’t as scary as I thought and it made a fun ride up to the Ngong Ping village. With the length of 5.7 km between Tung Chung and Ngong Ping, the 25 minutes ride was fun for the whole family. The view from the cable car was amazing to be able to see the airplanes took off and landing at the airport, the ships in the bay and the Giant Buddha became more prominent the closer we got to Ngong Ping.
Escalator – Central Mid Level Escalator
I know it might sound weird to be so excited about riding the escalator but the Mid Level escalator is more than just a typical escalator. It’s the world longest outdoor covered escalator systems. And with Mr. Z who is chasing after anything and everything with title world longest, largest, biggest from the Guinness book world record, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to check it out. Plus it’s a chance for me to redeem myself. See, the thing was when we were here 5 years ago we tried and failed to find the central mid-level escalator. In order to put my shame to rest, I came with more information and determination.
The central mid level escalator is a system of multiple escalator connected via the covered that provide a better commute for locals linking Central and Western district. The 800 meters in distance ride up the hill was fun and easy but make sure you have a plan on how to get back because there is no down escalator. However, you can easily catch a bus or taxi at the top or like us just walked down. It was fun and easier than I thought until we left our tripod behind at one of the coffee shop and had to went up and down again!
Double Deck Tram – DingDing Hong Kong Tram
Just the name itself, DingDing, I couldn’t help but had to add that to our itinerary when I planned our Hong Kong Trip with Kids. The double deck trams run on a double track along the northern coast of Hong Kong Island from Kennedy Town to Shau Kei Wan. The fare is HK$2.30 for adults, HK$1.20 for children under 12. It’s a bargain for a way to sit back and enjoy the city for a little while. The blending of old wooden seat, turnstile, antique open-air bus and cityscape provides the great contrast of Hong Kong.
Incline Railway – The Peak Tram
Another popular tourist attraction in Hong Kong is none other than the Peak. And there is no better way to enjoy the full experience of the Peak by riding the Peak Tram. The view as the tram made it way up the cliff is breathtaking. We visited on the weekend and Hong Kong holiday so the line was long and the queue was crazy. I wish they have a better system on getting people to board the tram. So with that, my experience was prejudice by long wait, crowd and quick ride but it was an must-do experience nonetheless. So my advice will be plan to go during non-weekend or holiday to avoid crows and long line.
Ferry – Victoria Harbour Crossing with Star Ferry
Another fun transportation experience that not only affordable but awesome was the victoria harbour crossing with Star Ferry. It’s one of the best way to enjoy the view of Hong Kong from the Victoria Harbour without costing a fortune. For as little as HK$2 per adult, we enjoyed a ride with Hong Kong island skyscraper as a backdrop. Just a note, the octopus card is also accepted here.
So here you have it, our adventure in all types of transportation in Hong Kong. It was one of the most memorable experience we had in Hong Kong. Just to be able to move around the city with ease and with so many options make me want to go back there again!