Hong Kong has long been recognised as the archetypal ‘east meets west’ holiday destination, and also makes a handy and memorable stopover for Europeans flying on to Australasia. You would be surprised at the range of good value flights that exist to Hong Kong as many major airlines fly through the city en route to South East Asia and beyond. To ensure that you are getting the best value try to use a flight comparison tool to pick out the best deal for your journey. The special administrative area of China squeezes a population of seven million into a land mass of just 426 square miles. One would imagine scenes of gridlocked traffic and a public transport system straining under the weight of so many bodies; but not a bit of it. Read on to find out why getting around Hong Kong is not nearly as stressful as most major cities, and why it can even be good for the soul.

Hong Kong skyline

Hong Kong skyline

One of the major advantages of Hong Kong having been a major financial centre of the world is that it made a lot of money, and that helped build its modern and stylish transport infrastructure. And with 90% of daily journeys being made by public transport, it’s just as well.

When arriving at the international airport, you have a number of transport options to get you to where you want to be in the city. The Airport Express is quick, clean and comfortable, departing every 12 minutes and taking just 24 minutes to whisk you into the centre, where it connects to the rest of the Mass Transit Railway (MTR) system. A one-way journey costs 100 Hong Kong Dollars (about 8 British Pounds) and you can get a return for 180 HKD.

Once in the city itself, those who enjoy looking for and using different forms of transport will be impressed. As well as the numerous and relatively good value taxis, you can get around using the efficient and safe MTR, or the many buses, taxis and trams; but whatever you do, make sure you take a ride on the famous Star Ferry.

Founded way back in 1888 as the Kowloon Ferry Company, it changed to its present name in 1898. Carrying passengers across Victoria Harbour, between Kowloon and Hong Kong Island, the ferry service carries some 26 million passengers a year, despite the harbour having railway and road tunnels.

Kowloon ferry harbour, Hong Kong

Kowloon ferry harbour, Hong Kong

So what’s so good about it? Firstly, the amazing views of Hong Kong’s famous skyscraper-filled skyline. Then there is the feeling of being within a calm oasis, away from the hustle and bustle of the streets. Add to that its heritage, its efficiency and its great value – it’s just 34 Hong Kong Dollars for a four-day tourist ticket, which is less than three British Pounds – and you are definitely onto a winner.

If you don’t want to be fumbling with small change as you travel around Hong Kong, you should consider the Octopus Card. Similar to London’s Oyster Card scheme, the electronic ticketing system can be used to pay for various modes of transport in the city including the MTR, Airport Express, Light Rail, buses and ferries. They can also be used to pay for public phones, vending machines and photo booths, for when you just cannot resist getting that kooky self-portrait wearing a silly hat! One of two options of Octopus Cards can be purchased at the airport: 1. Includes one Airport Express Single Journey, three days unlimited travel on the MTR, 50 HKD deposit and a stored value of 20 HKD, which costs 220 HKD (about 18 GBP), or 2. Includes two Single Airport Express Journeys, three days unlimited travel on the MTR, 50 HKD deposit and a stored value of 20 HKD, which costs 300 HKD (about 24 GBP). Quite a bargain all in all.

If you are looking for something a little different why not try out the Peak Tram?

Peak Tram, Hong Kong

Peak Tram, Hong Kong

A funicular railway service, the Peak Tram – like the Star Ferry – began in 1888 (seemingly a great year for the Hong Kong transport scene!) and carries both tourists and residents to the higher reaches of Hong Kong Island. It provides the most direct route to Victoria Peak which gives some outstanding views over Victoria Harbour and Hong Kong’s panorama of high-rise splendour. You might also be interested in the Ngong Ping Cable Car which is a 5.7 kilometres (3.5 mile) public cableway on Lantau Island. Linking Tung Chung MTR station and Ngong Ping Terminal, it’s perfect if visiting the nearby Po Lin Monastery. The Ocean Park theme park has its own 1.5 kilometres (0.93 mile) cable car system that might also take your fancy.

So for general day-to-day sightseeing duties, you really can’t beat the efficiency and reach of the MTR. Think the London Underground without delays, sweat or grime and you can picture the jewel in Hong Kong’s transport crown. With around 85 stations linking all major entertainment, shopping, eating, commercial and residential areas of Hong Kong, you really can’t go wrong. Whether you are heading for a day at the Happy Valley races or you want to explore the more obscure areas of the New Territories, get hold of your Octopus and use the MTR to access the many delights Hong Kong has to offer. Throw in a cable car ride, a trip up the funicular and the ever-trusted Star Ferry and you’ll make the most of your Hong Kong experience, travelling in stylish efficiency.