With over seven million people calling the city home, as well as the size of it, you quickly realize that to get around Hong Kong there has to be an exceptional transit system in place…and luckily for visitors there certainly is. There are actually several wonderful options in place if you want to get from point A to point B in this bustling metropolis. These even include moving pavements and escalators to help you get up some of the city’s steepest streets.
Hong Kong is filled with high-rises that are closely knit together as it’s surrounded by the South China Sea and the Pearl River Delta. It’s been reported that there are about 600,000 privately-owned vehicles on the road as well as commercial autos, 18,000 cabs, cyclists and pedestrians. So, unless you’re an expert driver with a lot of patience you may want to try some of the city’s transportation methods.
The city has double-decker streetcars and buses to get you around as well as smaller buses. You’ll also find a helicopter service, harbor ferries, a mass-transit railway system, and a subway with close to 120 miles of underground track. The transportation systems are so effective that almost 90% of residents and visitors there use it.
When traveling on the subway you’ll notice there are thick walls made out of Plexiglas on the platforms. These are in place to stop accidents and from people jumping in front of trains as they come flying into the stations. Once the train has come to a complete stop then the barrier will open, allowing passengers to get on board. Some of the stations also have shops, drug stores, and banks in them.
If you’d rather travel above ground you might enjoy the brightly-painted streetcars. These trams run along six main routes in northern Hong Kong Island. They can be found between Kennedy town and Shau Kei Wan, as well as in Happy Valley. The streetcars have been in use for over a century and are very affordable. The trams shift about a quarter of a million people a day and are sometimes referred to by locals as Ding Dings, due to the bells they use.
If you need to travel across the water you’ll be able to do so on the Star Ferry system which began way back in 1888. There are four different services that operate in Victoria Harbour. It’s estimated that over 50,000 people take a ferry ride each day. These ferries have two levels on them and the view you get is simply outstanding, especially after the sun’s gone down. Water travel can also be done on a Chinese junk. These old-style vessels are another fine way to cross Victoria Harbour and take in the scenery of the city and nearby mountains.
Those who’d like to get a bird’s eye view of Hong Kong will be delighted with the Peak Tram. This system also began in 1888 and it’s a funicular railway. It takes passengers between Victoria Peak and the Central district in electric railway cars that run on steel cables. These cable cars carry over 11,000 people a day and fantastic views of the city are also provided on them.
If you’re planning a trip to Hong Kong in the near future you may be interested in the city’s Octopus card or day passes, which can be used for many different types of transportation. The ferries can also take you to Kowloon, Macau, and other nearby islands as well as some cities on the Chinese mainland.