The cheapest way to get around Hong Kong when visiting is by obtaining a Octopus card.
There are a few options you can get, one of which is the Aiport Express Octopus Card. For around HK$300 you get 3 days unlimited MTR travel, as well as a return journey on the Airport Express, and HK$50 refundable deposit.
You also get HK$20 usable credit on your card. Basically this means that you can use your card to pay for purchases that accept the Octopus Card. All you do is place your card on the reader and that will deduct the payable amount from your card. You can also top up your card at various shops and machines located in the stations.
I found this feature very useful when you just want to buy something small and dont want to pay using a note of a high denomination.
Updated: May 22, 2006
It can be used for subway (MTR), train (Airport Express, KCR), bus, minibus, tram, ferry as well as at most convenience stores and, yes indeed, even McDonald's: the Octopus Card!
The Octopus is a rechargeable smart card, that can be purchased for 150,-HKD (adults) at the airport and all MTR subway stations. The 150,-HKD include a 50,-HKD deposit and a usable value of 100,-HKD.
Fares will be automatically deducted when placing the card close to the respective card reader at entrance gates (subway), entrance doors (bus) or exit doors (tram). There is a discount for all subway rides with Octopus-use!
Recharge is possible at most convenience stores and MTR subway stations.
The deposit and remaining monetary value will be fully refunded after usage ... except for a 7HK$ handling fee if returned within 3 months of purchase.
** It's the first thing you should buy before leaving the airport!!! **
An Octopus Card has a built-in microchip that store value and fare information, which makes travelling a lot easier as you don't need to carry lots of small change with you.
You can use it for public transport, such as Mass Transit Railway (MTR), Kowloon-Canton Railway East Rail (KCR), KCL Light Rail, KCRC buses, mini-buses, most Kowloon Motor Bus (KMB) routes, the Airport Express, Citybus & Cityflyer routes (except cross boundary), all outlying island routes of Hongkong and Yaumati Ferry, etc. It can even be used in most 24-hour convenience stores and Maxim cake shops in MTR stations. More applications will be introduced in the near future.
Octopus cards are available at customer service centres or ticket offices in the MTR, KCR and Ferry Piers. There are four different types of Octopus Card for different groups of users, Adult, Student, Child and Elderly, and all require HK$50 deposit. The Card can still be used as long as the residual value does not fall below HK$35.
The Fare Deducting Processor will automatically deduct the fare or value when you touch the card to the Processor at each point of use. You don't need to take it out as the Processor can detect through handbags and wallets. But you are advised to keep your card in its protective pouch and avoid putting it next to coins or zippers to prevent it from being scratched.
Octopus can be used for public transportation including MTR (subway), train, bus, green color mini bus, tram, ferry, car parks, supermarkets, convenient stores, vending machines, photobooths, pay phones, etc. You won't need to buy individual tickets for different modes of transport or carry coins.
There is a HK$50 deposit which is refundable, plus whatever the initial amount you are going to purchase (normally HK$50 or HK$100 depending how you travel and whether you would use this to shop.
You can buy the Octopus from any subway stations
Starting 1-Nov-2004, a refund handling fee of HK$7 will be charged if the octopus card is returned within 3 months from the date of issue.
Octopus is an electronic payment system using contactless smart card trademaeked as "Octopus Card". It offers users an easy and hassle-free way to travel, shop and dine around Hong Kong. Users simply wave their Octopus cards over an Octopus reader which will automatically deduct the correct amount from the card.
Adding value anytime at convenient outlets all over Hong Kong or enjoy automatic add value services.
Tourists will find Octopus cards indispensable for getting around Hong Kong's sights and shops. No need to buy individual tickets for different modes of transport and retail outlets accept payment through Octopus cards.
- free Airport Express Single Journey and additional benefits for HK$220
- free Airport Express Single Journeys and additional benefits for HK$300. The free journey(s) is valid for 180 days from the date of purchase.
- Three days of unlimited rides on the MTR (HK's underground transport system)
- HK$20 usable value*, which can be used on the MTR after the three-day unlimited ride period. It can also be used at Octopus retail outlets and on their forms of transport at any time. If the amount is not sufficient for your needs, load more funds onto the card at any time.
- HK$50 refundable deposit
my VT friend, Adam, visited Hong Kong for 8 days, so I suggested him to buy an Octopus card which is for local people. It costed him HK$150 and he could popup in every tube station or even in a convenient shop. After he returned the card to the station, HK$50 was given back.
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.
Usually when travelling we tend to use a lot of taxi's but this certainly wasn't the case in Hong Kong. Their public transit is excellent. We bought an Octopus card which was good for the subway, bus, star ferry and even the Victoria Peak tram. It's so convenient, you don't have to fidget with unfamiliar change, you just swipe your card and off you go. You can also use the Octopus card to make purchases at 7-eleven and Circle K stores as well as some vending machines and payphones.
The introduction of the Octopus Card really created great convenience to travel around in Hong Kong. Not only to get around town, this smart card can be used in convenience stores, restaurants and supermarkets...the list just keep on expanding.
If you're staying in Hong Kong for a while and use public transportation frequently, it's definitely better to get an Octopus Card, which can be obtained in a lot of places, such as any MTR stations. You can put in any desirable amount into the card at any places that accept it. Other than convenience, you can also get a small discount when you use it to take the MTR or the bus.
The card used to be 100% refundable. But starting Nov 1, 2004, a HK$7 processing fee is applied to a card refund issued within 3 months.
If you plan to use the public transport often, op to purchase the Octopus Card which offers excellent value on MTR, LRT, KMB, Citybus and HKF ferries. You can purchase your Octopus Card from ticket offices, customer service centers in MRT, KCR East Rail and LRT stations, and certain ferry piers of the HKF.
Check out their website for moe up to date rates and information.
Using an Octopus card makes getting around Hong Kong super easy.
The convenient rechargeable smart card deducts payments for a variety of everyday purchases around Hong Kong. I purchase mine from the MTR Customer Service Centre on the station concourse but cards can be purchased from any participating public transportation company's CSC.
Adults are charged a deposit of HK$50 + stored value of HK$100 making your initial purchase $HK150. This credit is probably enough for 3 to 4 days worth of short trips around central Hong Kong. If you are staying any longer or journeying frequently outside the city then the card will need to be "topped up" a few times during your stay.
Octopus cards can be used to pay for trips on the MTR, Light Rail, Trams, Peak Tram, Star Ferry, Buses and Green Minibuses. It can also be used to pay for purchases at Convenience stores such as 7 Eleven and Circle K, some supermarkets, Watsons, Starbucks and fast food outlets including McDonalds.
*MTR: Just swipe your Octopus card against the reader at the turnstile of both your departure and arrival station. The fare (according to distance travelled) is then automatically deducted. This amount and the remaining credit on the card is displayed at your destination station. Occasionally the card may not scan correctly. If this happens you just need to go to the Customer Service counter and ask them to reset the card.
*BUS: Just swipe your card when you get ON the bus (through the front door only). You are charged a flat fare regardless of how many stops travelled.
*TRAM: Entry is through a turnstile at the back of the tram. Just swipe your Octopus Card only when you get OFF the tram. You must exit at the front only.
If you have used all the money on your card, it can be topped up at Customer Service Centres, convenience stores, or Value Add machines in station concourses (which are very easy to understand and use). Octopus cards remain valid for three years and can be topped up at any time within that period. You can also choose to hand the card back to the CSC for a refund of both the deposit and any remaining credit.
If you are a non-resident of Hong Kong and plan to use the Airport Express you can buy a special Tourist Octopus Card. This card entitles you to one free single journey plus 3 days unlimited travel on MTR, Light Rail and some buses. Cost includes HK$50 deposit + stored value of HK$20. At a total cost of HK$220 this card would only be good value if you intend to use the MTR and other public transport frequently during the three day period.
I’m fascinated on how to use the Octopus Card. At first, I really imagined an octopus image on the card with 8 tentacles… but the card wasn’t presented that way.
The Octopus card is like a hard plastic magnetic card that can be used to access subways (MTR Airport Expresss, Disney Land Resort, LRT) around Hong Kong, can also be used in parking, leisure facilities, etc. It’s a reloadable card that will make your journey fast and convenient.
There are different types of Octopus Cards, for tourists who will stay for only a few days in HK, an On-Loan Octopus Card is the best that I recommend. On-Loan Octopus Card is perfect for tourists. You have to deposit an initial amount of HK$50 which is refundable, that’s why it’s the best for people spending only a few days around HK. You can avail it on any subway stations at the counter.
You can reload the Octopus card in any convenience store, any customer service in subways, in ferry terminals, even in the City Bus Customer service center on the ground floor of HK International Airport.
Based from my friends' advices who have been in HK, I availed the Octopus Card in the Tsim Sha Tsui station, the nearest station where I stay, and then reloaded it immediately with another HK$50 so I can enjoy my self-guided tour without the hassle of reloading it every now and then. On my last day, after I got off the Central Station to proceed in the MTR Airport Express, I asked for a refund on one of the subway counters.
A remaining balance of HK$35 was given back to me.
If on an instance, the balance in your Octopus card became negative, you have to reload it again until you reach a balance of HK$50 so you can return it, but no worries, since your HK$50 cash will be given back to you.
The Octopus Card is every person's MUST have. It is a touch and go style prepayment card that simplifies your travel around the entire region. It can be used to access the MTR, the Star Ferry, the doubledeck Trams, etc. The other major benefit is that it is also accepted as payment forms in many small stores like 7-11 and the like. This means you don't have to load up on small coins for a quick drink or snack on the go.
Most travelers should purchase one of these at the airport before heading into town. As per my Airport Express tip, although you can use this to access the train into town I recommend buying a separate return ticket for the AEX to save 10% off the fare.
Octopus Card is a travel card that you may add value to it and pay for the fare of bus, green minibus, ferry, MTR, KCR, and LRT. Generally speaking, you may use the Octopus Card to pay the fare of any kind of transportation, except the red minibus.
Apart from transportation, you may also pay for food in fast food shops like McDonald's, KFC, Cafe de Coral, Farewood and Maxim's. There are some convenience stores that accept the Octopus Card, like Manning, Watson's, 7-Eleven and Circle K.
There are two types of Octopus Cards. One is called "Sold Octopus". You may get the card at HKD $138 (Euro 13.8, US $17.69). No value is stored in the card. That means you need to add value for the card when you use it.
Another type of it is called "On-loan Octopus". For an adult Octopus Card, you need to pay HKD $70 (Euro 7, US $8.97). $50 of it is paid for deposit, which means that you can get $50 back when you return the Octopus card to any MTR stations. $20 of it is added to the card. That means when you get the card, there is $20 in the card.
For adding value into the card, you may add it in the convenience stores and the MTR stations. There are several add-value machines in every MTR station. Or you may simply go to the ticket centre in MTR stations to add value.
One of the advantages of the Octopus Card is that you need not carry coins for paying the transport fare. Sometimes it is difficult to pay the exact fare because of lack of coins. And the Octopus Card solve this problem.
This is a great way to get around Hong Kong - the Octopus Card - which allows you to board the MTR (subway) and the public bus services. It is a store value card (minimum HK$100) and you to pay a deposit of HK$50 (which you can claim back upon returning the card). Makes life so much easier getting around Hong Kong. (For more details, see URL below)
All you need to do is to flash the card above the sensors as you are entering the gates of the MTR station and the sensors will automatically deduct the value upon your exit at your destination station. Ditto for buses.
The card makes a "doot" sound everytime you use it; the locals swear by it and you should too! This nifty little card called the "Octopus" is the handiest transport buddy you will have during your stay in HK. The Octopus is essentially a pre-paid fare card which you can continuously top-up at all MTR stations. At just about every transportation you can name, you just need to tap it before boarding. The only exception is the double decker trams, where you pay with the Octopus just before you alight.
So named because back when it was launched in 1997, it was used on 8 modes of transportation. The Octopus can now be used on even MORE forms of transport and can also be used at major supermarket chains and restaurants like Café de Coral and convenience stores like 7-11. It's just a much quicker, cash-less way of getting things done (if you're unfamiliar with HK coins this is an added incentive to avoid the "figuring out the change" hassle!)
Forms of transport you can "doot" your way through: buses, MTR, trams, mini-vans (both the green and red-topped ones), light rail, ferry, KCR (which has since been re-named), Airport Express, and a couple others. Note that taxis DON'T take the Octopus, though!
Fun fact: the Octopus card generates more than 10 million transactions every day in HK.