Octopus Card, Hong Kong
The octopus card is the 1st successful multifunction smart card in the world, allowing people in Hong Kong to use this card to pay for all transit fares, including the MTR, the KCRC, the Star Ferry, Citybus, First Bus, KowloonBus & even the ferry to Lantau Island or Lamma Island. Since almost every resident in Hong Kong uses the Octopus card, many major chain stores including ParknShop, McDonalds, & KFC now accepts payment with Octopus card.
Octopus Card is actually very similar to a debit card, where you enter value at an authorized retailer or a transit station, & then every time you use it, the amount of the cost will be deducted from the card's value. Once the value stored in the card runs out, you'll have to pay to enter more value into the card.
It is a 'touch & go' card, meaning that the card can be read once it is near enough to the detector. Many times, I just leave it in my bag, and swipe the bag over the detector.
Though it could take a little while to get used to, it is lots of fun, and is very convenient. I would recommend it to any tourist, even if you are staying in HK only for a couple of days.
The first time you get the Octopus card, you would pay a refundable deposit & decide how much you value you want to enter into the card. They usually go up in demoninations of $ 50HKD. When you do not need the card anymore, go to a Octopus Card Service Provider (eg. MTR Service Counters), return the card & get the full deposit back.
For many Americans, sticker shock is a big issue when in Hong Kong due to the exchange rate. This certainly holds true when you look at the cost of an Octopus card--it's $150! No way am I spending that much money on a subway pass, you might say. Slow down, get out your calculator, and you'll soon discover that the Octopus card is a much cheaper way to get around Hong Kong than you might think. First, HK$150 works out to just under US$20. Second, $50 of that is just a deposit--completely refundable at the end of your trip--and $100 is credited to your card to use on the bus, the subway, or the train, or at vending machines, coffee shops, and even 7-11. Third, and probably most importantly, when you use your Octopus card on the MTR, you get a discount on the fare; you'll pay up to 15% more per ride if you purchase each ticket individually.
For visitors staying for a week or more it is worth getting an Octopus Card, an electronic ticket from which the cost of the journey is automatically deducted when it is placed on a sensor. The card costs HK$50, and value can be added to the card at machines in any MTR station. Any other credit remaining is also refunded when the card is handed in. At present, the card may be used on MTR services, as well as on the Kowloon-Canton Railway, major bus routes and some ferries. The Airport Express Tourist Octopus Card is valid for 3 days, entitling passengers to one Airport Express journey and three days of unlimited travel by MTR.
What a great concept! For a HK$50 deposit, you get an electronic debit card that you can refill. When you get on a bus, (most) ferries, and the MTR subway, you simply wave it over the sensors, and the exact fare will be withdrawn from your card and the machine will show you your remaining balance.
(Since the subway fare is distance-based, you need to wave it again as you exit. The computer will calculate the distance and fare.) No more carrying small coins. Yay!!!
The transport system is very convenient in Hong Kong.
When you'll be there, make sure you get an OCTOPUS card (HKD 50 but you will get this money back once you returned the card before you leave the city.)
It is a very convenient card that can be used in almost every transportation except taxi. The fare of the ride will be deducted from your card. You will be able to recharge money in every MTR stations (Mass Transit Railway = metro, subway) and even at 7-eleven (small convenient store open 24h a day).
Upon arrival at Hong Kong's Chep Lap Kok International Airport, make sure u stop by one of the MTR welcome booths, in the arrival hall (after luggage/ customs). If u are staying only even for a day or two, sometimes, an Octopus card can save you time and money, and it is very convenient to use, not only on subway (metro/ underground), but also with KCR (Kowloon-Canton Railroad), airport coaches, and local city transportation throughout the territory (great for to/from airport), except taxis. U can also use it in 7Eleven, and Park-n-Shop (supermarket chain). The Airport Express (a high-speed train service btwn the airport & the HK Island/ Kowloon) is worth it (sorta). US$13 for the one-way entire trip (or buy a roundtrip ticket, if promotions exist). The airport coaches/ bus (A11 or A12, etc...) costs much less (US$2.50-US$5.00 one way).
This card was introduced in 1997. It can be used on MTR, KCR, buses, trams, some minibuses and some ferries without carrying spare change. Upon initial purchase, you have a stored value of HK$100 (with $50 deposit). You can add your money value at any MTR/KCR station or 7-11 outlet.
The Octopus Card is Hong Kong's version of a transportation smart card. It can be used on the MTR and on city buses and select ferries. The Octopus card can be bought from any MTR Customer Service Center. Each time you wave the card in front of the reader, it deducts the amount from the card. Depending on how far you go, you receive a reduced fare by using the card.
Should you buy a card? The Octopus card for adult use costs HK$150; Octopus card for students costs HK$100 and Octopus card for a child or elder costs HK$70 each. A refundable deposit of HK$50 is included in the cost (This covers the card cost of HK$30 and a one-time negative value up to a maximum of HK$35). You need to consider whether you will travel often enough to use the $100 value of the Octopus card.
We fly to Hong Kong by CATHAY PACIFIC. Here I am looking a little haggard after the flight!
MASS TRANSIT RAILWAY (MTR). The MTR is the fastest and most convenient form of transit in Hong Kong. You can reach all the main areas by MTR. You can buy the value-card called Octopus Card where you have the option of adding value to the card everytime the store value in the card runs out. People in Hong Kong pay transit fares by the Octopus card which facilitates micro-payment transactions. Periodically, card holders pay a fixed sum which is stored in the card and deducted by card readers at turnstiles. We bought the value card, costings about HKD150 (where the HKD50 is the refundable deposit). The value card can be used in many convenience stores such as 7-Eleven and buses as well
Get an octopus card (can be used for 8 different types of transit) and put money on it as you need it. This will allow you to travel the MTR, double decker buses, ferries and some mini buses by simply swiping the card (it deducts points from it). For one fare, if you don't quite have enough it will put you in debt and the next time you put money on the card it will be deducted from your balance (or your deposit if you hand the card back in). You need exact change for some minibuses and your fare always depends on how far you are travelling. This makes sense and is fair. The transit system in HK is extremely well organized... no need to worry. And it is fun. Especially taking a tram (when its not too crowded) through the streets of busy HK near sunset.
Arrive either on board of the majestic cruise liners that start/end their jouneys in Hong Kong, or fly in to the ultra-modern Hong Kong International Airport.
If you're only going to be in Hong Kong for a short period of time, pick up an Airport Express Tourist Octupus Card at the Currency Exchange counter just inside the customs line at the airport. This costs HKD220 and gives you one free trip (one-way) on the Airport Express train, 3 days of unlimited MTR (subway) rides, as well as a HKD20 value to spend on buses, trams, and ferries. You can keep the card or return it for a refund of the unused HKD20 amount (as well as the HKD50 deposit that's included). It's really easy to use, since you just swipe it over the sensor plate on the entry and exit from the MTR (you can even carry it in your wallet - you don't have to get it out).
A cool idea! Just wave this card at most pubic transport, convienence stores, major fast food shops to pay and save time for searching coins. Must have item during travel in Hong Kong!
Most likely, should depend on this very smooth and effiecient MTR. It's a very long coach train. Totally, a different experience.
I used Octopus Card the whole Hong Kong trip and I think it is one of the most necessary accessories. You don't need to worry that you have enough coins and bus fare must be exact sum.
Get the Octupus card form a 7 11 which saves you hunting around for change. You top it up with money and can use it on buses, trains, MRT and even Mac'ds.