Explore this metropolitan city like a pro – this Hong Kong Travel Guide covers everything you need to know including budget tips, where to stay & what to do.
Full of culture, cuisine and cash, Hong Kong is a busy and bustling city that will knock you down if your not careful. As one of the financial capitals of the world and home to a huge variety of attractions, Hong Kong is one of the most popular tourist spots for all types of travellers.
Although it is known for its skyscrapers, there is so much more to Hong Kong than its skyline. Check out the many street markets, The Peak for that famous view point, the family friendly theme parks and an array of temples, keeping you busy for days and weeks on end.
Budget: Dorm beds start at HK$83 whilst private rooms start at HK$90 in the Chungking Mansion.
Midrange: Hotels can be pricey in Hong Kong, with private rooms costing HK$478 – HK$1075.
Luxury: HK$1200+ Top hotels are twice and triple this cost.
Transport: Bus, tram or star ferry tickets cost between HK$2.50 – HK$15 with octopus cards available for the MTRs Light Rail System.
Average cost of food:
Hong Kong is an expensive city but cheap food can be found in most areas.
Tea cafes and food stalls will cost HK$40 – HK$80 whilst a large Chinese dinner will cost HK$300+.
Sit down lunch menus start at HK$100 and drinks can be found HK$25 – HK$40, with some wines and cocktails costing more than this.
Cost of Travel in China full guide
Best time to visit Hong Kong
The best time to visit Hong Kong is from October to December, when the weather is cool and pleasant.
Spring runs from March to May with pleasant weather. However, sunny days can become stormy and foggy quite quickly, so bring a sweater or light jacket for the evenings.
Avoid visiting Hong Kong during the summer. It is incredibly hot and humid but also experiences many thunderstorms and typhoons.
Visit in February to experience the Spring and Lantern festival as well as Chinese New Year. Christmas in Hong Kong is also particularly special. However, visiting during any of these festival periods will see more crowds and higher hotel prices.
Where to stay in Hong Kong
The Mahjong Hostel is a hip and trendy hostel with dorms starting at HK$200.
Pearl Guest House is a favourite for those looking for a bit of extra luxury without breaking the bank; Private rooms start at HK$286.
There is a chain of affordable hotels such as the Butterfly hotels, Holiday Inn, Best Western and Ibis. These have several locations across the city, so you can choose the perfect neighbourhood for you.
The Ibis Hong Kong Central & Sheung Wan is a great location, a short walk from a metro station as well as a 5 minute walk from the Ferry Terminal. Rooms start at $880 a night but deals and discounts can be found directly on their website.
For world class treatment, head to Hotel ICON, just a 5 minute walk from Hung Hom MTR station, this hotel has lots to offer with rooms starting at HK$2000.
For some slightly cheaper luxury, head to the Gloucester Hotel in causeway bay; offering stunning views of the harbour and just a 5 minute walk to Causeway Bay MTR station, rooms cost HK$1195.
Save money in Hong Kong
As a fast-paced, financial city, Hong Kong is more expensive than many other cities in China and South East Asia. However, there are some ways you can save money here.
- Book in advance – Book your airline tickets in advance to save some serious money. There are many budget airlines in Asia which often have cheap rates around 3-4 months before the date of travel. We use Skyscanner and Momondo to compare prices but also check sales directly on Jetstar, HK Express and AirAsia.
- Stay in Kowloon – Staying on Hong Kong Island is a popular choice for many visitors but it is not themes cost efficient choice. Staying in Kowloon or one of the other islands is often much cheaper. Yau Ma Tei, Mong Kok or the Chungking Mansion offers basic, cheap rooms and hostels.
- Stay in Wan Chai – However, if you do wish to stay on Hong Kong Island, choose Wan Chai for cheaper accommodation.
- Couchsurf – If you plan on spending some time in Hong Kong, take advantage of the active Couchsurfing community.
- Take the tram – A tram ride often works out cheaper than the MTR, so choose this option when possible.
- Catch the bus – When you arrive at Hong Kong airport, there is a handy Airport Express bus which takes 20-30 minutes. However, if you are not in a rush, head down to the bus terminal and catch an airport bus to the city to save some extra cash.
- Use Klook – when booking attraction tickets or tours, browse the options on Klook and book in advance to save money. This is also the case for transport such as the Airport Express bus.
- Choose attractions wisely – There are many things to do in Hong Kong but choose attractions wisely. Some experiences are overpriced whilst others are must-sees, so check the prices of sights before you plan your day.
- Eat Locally – We say this all the time, but eating local food in Asia is always going to be cheaper than western options. Try food form the Dai Pai Dongs (street-side kitchens) for delicious food at cheap prices.
- Visit the markets – Hong Kong is full of local markets and night markets. Visit the markets during the day for fresh for at very cheap prices (often half the price of grocery stores) whilst the night markets offer cheap souvenir shopping.
- A transit day pass – If you have a full day of travelling around the city, get yourself the transit day pass. These are 65HK$ for adults and 30$HK for children but will save you money when using the trains around Hong Kong.
- Avoid the taxis – As we mention above, the traffic in Hong Kong is awful so skip the taxis.
- Octopus Card – Before leaving the airport, pick up an Octopus card. This is a prepaid card that can be used on buses and the metro, saving you time as you travel around to see the sights. You can reload these cards at MTR stations, Circle-K stores and 7-Eleven.
- Stick to beer – Wine and cocktails in a local bar can cost around 80$HK. Stick to beer whilst you are in Hong Kong or have a simple mixer.
- Free attractions – There are many attractions in Hong Kong which are free; many of these are temples. Make sure you take advantage of visiting these whilst Savin money.
Best things to do in Hong Kong
The Big Buddha
Dragons Back Hiking trail
Man Mo Temple
Central Mid-Levels Escalator
Tai O fishing village
Temple Street Night Market
Ride a Chinese Junk Boat
10000 Buddhas Monastery
Po Lin Monastery
Avenue of Stars
Aberdeen Fishing Village
Michelin Star street food
Tung Ping Chau
How to get to Hong Kong
Fly – As a major airport of the world, most cities fly directing to Hong Kong. From Hong Kong International airport you may catch the airport express line on the MTR, departing every 12 minutes between 6am – 1am and costing HK$100 to Hong Kong Station Central. Return fares are available as are Airport express travel passes which allow unlimited travel on the MTR and light rail as well as a return trip on the airport express (HK$300). Once at Hong Kong or Kowloon station, you can catch an airport shuttle bus to major hotels in the area.
You may also wish to take a bus, with the A11 (HK$40) and A13 (HK$45) buses serving Hong Kong Island whilst the A21 (HK$33) serves Kowloon.
Bus – Several transport companies offer buses to near Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Pearl River Delta.
Train – Trains are available to and from Guangzhou, Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen.
High speed and sleeper trains are available but it is advised to book tickets in advance using cTrip.
Read our post on how to travel from Hong Kong to Macau if you want to visit the nearby Portuguese inspired country.
How to get around Hong Kong
The Star ferry is the quickest and cheapest option for crossing the harbour whilst the extensive bus and MTR station will take you anywhere you wish to go.
Unless early morning or late at night, avoiding using taxis as the traffic can be horrendous and fares are costly.