I personally prefer the MTR as the best and most cost effective way to dash around Hong Kong but taxis are an alternative. There are thousands of them on Hong Kong Streets, day and night. Taxis can be hailed on the street or from a taxi stand and I do try this method occasionally though I must admit that I have never had much success explaining to the driver where I need to go! On the whole taxis are clean and airconditioned and the fares are surprisingly moderate, but obviously will increase considerably if major traffic congestion occurs.
The least stressful way to travel by taxi is directly from your hotel as this eleviates the language difficulties you may have with your driver. The doorman/porter gives the location to the driver, you get in and off you go. To get back to your hotel again ask for a card with the hotel name written on it to show your driver.
The majority of taxis (and the most expensive per kilometre) are RED as these serve most of urban Hong Kong and the Airport. Green taxis are used in the New Territories (and the Airport) and blue taxis on Lantau Island (and also to /from the Airport). Unless you know the distance you are travelling it is difficult to calculate fares. As an example: The first 2kms or any part thereof is HK$20.00 then every subsequent 200 metres or part thereof, or every period of 1 minute waiting time or part thereof is HK$1.50, until the chargeable amount reaches HK$72.50. After the chargeable amount has reached HK$72.50, the additional charge is HK$1.00 for every 200m travelled or 1 minute waiting time.
Every suitcase is an additional HK$5.00. Telephone pre-bookings are also an additional HK$5.00. There are also surcharges for using the Cross-Harbour Tunnel and Eastern and Western Harbour Crossings. These range from HK$10.00 to HK$15.00 on top of the toll paid by the driver. On my most recent trip my hotel porter hailed six taxis before he could find one who was prepared to take me from Mongkok to Causeway Bay. Not sure why, but Im assuming the driver didnt want to pay a return toll for the harbour tunnel.
Taxis in Hong Kong could accommodate at most 5 people unlike in Singapore and Philippines that takes 4 as a policy. We paid an estimated fare of 80HKD when we rode a taxi from Mong Kok to Mexan Harbour Hotel where we stayed.
Note: You will be charged with additional 5HKD baggage/piece you place in the trunk of the taxi, no matter how big or small the size will be. Unless those shopping bags cannot be fitted inside the passenger seat with you, expect the driver to ask for the mentioned charge. Glad that our tour guide informed us in advance!
We only caught a taxi 3 times I think whilst in Hong Kong, just for those times when it was not really convenient to use the MTR. We caught one when we got lost once, one when we transferred from Hop Inn to Langham Place Hotel and then one from town to the airport when we left.
The taxi from TST to Mongkok only cost $30HK which is about $4AUD which is amazingly cheap! I dont think you could actually even just flag down a taxi in Sydney for $4.
And the taxi we caught to the airport from Mongkok cost $226HK which is about $28AUD. Considering we had many large and heavy bags, it was simply not worthwhile cathching a bus or train back to the airport, so therefore the taxi was by far the best option.
Taxis are everywhere in Hong Kong and very easy to find or flag down.
I thought what is shown on the meter would be what I'd be paying. Apparantly not. The taxi driver pointed out to me that there is an extra surcharge of HK$2 for each passenger.
The sign was written in chinese and it was hand-written. One can only wonder if the surcharge is official.
Getting a taxi at the airport is definitely not a problem in Hong Kong. The interesting thing though is to know which colour taxis you are suppose to take. There are three coloured taxis -
The red taxis are what they call urban taxis. They are allowed to travel to most places in Hong Kong except south of Lantau.
The green taxis are New Territories taxis that serves New Territories and certain locations on Lantau. i.e. Disneyland hotels.
The blue taxis serve all destinations on Lantau and also the airport.
My family was heading to Disneyland and had wanted to save some time and the effort of transiting from MTR to MTR. Thus, we hopped into a green coloured taxi. Along the way to the Disneyland hotel, I'd the opportunity to soak in the entire Hong Kong atmosphere. Tall skyscrapers that are residential than commercial, lofty mountains, lovely seas and smooth well paved highways.
Red taxis run through Kowloon (Kowloon Peninsula, Shatin, Tseun Wan) & HK Island. Fare starts from HK$15 for first 2km. HK$1.4 per 0.2 km.
Green taxis run through the New Territories (except Shatin, Tseun Wan). Fare starts from HK$12.5 for first 2 km. HK$1.2 per 0.2 km.
Blue taxis only run on the Lamma Island. Fares starts from HK$12.5 for first 2 km. HK$1.2 per 0.2 km.
- Baggage per piece (except light personal hand baggage carried inside vehicle) HK$ 4-5
- Wheelchairs & crutches carried by disabled passengers: Free
- Every animal or bird $ 4-5
- For every hiring arranged through tel booking $ 4-5
Cross Harbour Tunnel HK$10
Eastern Harbour Crossing HK$15
Western Harbour Crossing HK$15
Lantau Link HK$30
All taxis in HK are clean and 99% air-conditioned in the summer. There is a card stuck in front of the front seat which is with the driver's name, plate number and driver's photo. Fare chart & regulations (rights) are also stuck on the side door.
Not every driver can speak very well English & some are not English speaker. If you find the taxi driver cannot speak even understand English, try to seek the other's help. Or ask someone to write the place you'd need to go in Chinese first.
But if you are lucky, you will find the taxi driver can speak quite well English & introduce a bit about HK.
Fraud in HK is not very common among tourists. The fare is calculated by the mile meter and you can ask for the receipt. But if you find there is something wrong, don't argue with the driver but write down his name & plate number. Report to the Tourist Board or Customer Council. However, I've never had such bad experience, neither my foreign friends.
In fact, there is no bargain or discount in fare. But there is a taxi company is called "Taxi 70", it charges 30% less per trip. But you have to call to make reservation: (852) 82002846. I am not sure whether the drivers can speak English.
Hong Kong has over 18,000 taxis operating with 3 distinctive colours; Red body - Hong Kong Island and Kowloon; Green body - New Territories; Blue body - Lantau
Prices from 28th Feb 2008: Flagfall $HK16 - and includes first 2 kilometres, every 200 metres thereafter $1.4 and each minute of waiting time $1.4. Luggage $5 per item (excluding light personal luggage carried in passenger cabin). Passenger responsible for toll charges and depending on destination, return tolls also to be paid by passenger. Taxi drivers are not required to change $HK500 and $HK1,000 bank notes. Slightly different fares for New Territories and Lantau taxis.
Approx fares from Chek Lap Kok airport including bridge and/or tunnel tolls
Hong Kong Island
Central (City Hall) $340
Causeway Bay (Sogo) $340
Aberdeen (Aberdeen Centre) $380
Tsim Sha Tsui (Star Ferry) $270
Kwun Tong Station $320
I have never seen so many taxis in one place. I think there is virtually a taxi for every person in Hong Kong. I loved it. I took a taxi every evening, or more to the point, early in the morning, everyday from the InterContinental Hotel to the BP International House Hotel. It's a $15.00HK flagfall. It is a very inexpensive ride. However many of the taxi drivers do not speak english so always have a map on hand and know where you are going. If you're taking a taxi from a hotel somewhere have a hotel employee tell the driver where you are going if at all possible. There is also no need to tip the driver however they do like it. I found that my daily trip coming back from the Inter Continental to my hotel would cost about $17.00 or $18.00HK so I would just automatically give him a $20.00HK. Besides walking this was my ideal way of getting around. I found out talking to a driver that there are 18,000 taxi's between Hong Kong Island and Kowloon and although that may seem like alot that is not nearly enough to service the 7 million people in Hong Kong plus tourists.
I was charged the following taxi fares during my trip in HK, this might help you do a rough estimation with your transportation budget if you need to travel by taxis due to big party and luggages...
1. From Airport to BP International Hotel in Jordan = HKD 300 (My friend was charged HKD 310) including toll and luggage fees.
2. From BP International to Disney Hollywood Hotel = HKD 200
3. From Big Buddha to Airport = HKD 145
4. From Big Buddha to Disney Hollywood Hotel = HKD 200 (not so sure about this one, my friend couldn't remember exactly...)
Blue taxis start (Lantau Island) at HKD 12.00 and Red taxis (Kowloon area) start at HKD 11.00. There are surcharges for luggages (think its HKD 5 per piece) and you also might need to pay for toll, etc.
There are lots of taxis in Hong Kong and the prices are pretty good . The cabs are all metered. The rate starts at about $2.00 and goes about 20cents for each 200meters. It cost us $7.00 for two to ride about 20 minutes from our hotel to Temple St market.
You can find Red Cab in Hongkong Island. Most drivers speak Chinese-Accent English. If you could mention your destination in Chinese word, that would make it easier. First flag HKD 15. Common driver's questions, which way are you prefer? Right or left? Fastest is the best answer ;-)
Honk Kong is full of taxi cars, and they are available for you in most major sites, hotels, shopping centers, main streets, museums, touristic sites.
The drivers are friendly in general, the only common problem is not being able to speak English.
If you staying Kowloon as I did, moving by taxis in and out the peninsula to Hong Kong Island can be pain in the nick, as they will pass the tunnel toll to the passangers.
There are three tunnels between the two sides. West Tunnel is the fastest and the most expenisve as they will charge you HK $35, The East which costs HK $25, and harbour Tunnel which costs you extra HK $10 I beleive.
I was takig taxi from Kowlook Shangri-la hotel, and I was given a small piece of paper by the guy who supervise taxis trafic by the enterance.
The paper has number writen by hand, and it explain by print, The Nnumber written below is the license plate of your taxi. Please retain this receipt for your reference in the event that communication with the driver is required after you have left the vehicle. cool huh
If going to an address from the airport by taxi, get it written down in Cantonese so that you can show it to taxi driver. He won't understand written English or (probably) spoken English.
One time I was all over the island trying to get to my friend's apartment because my piece of paper was in English.
Taxis in Hong Kong are classfied into three types, the Red Taxi, the Green Taxi and the Blue Taxi. The Red Taxi can travel around Hong Kong, the Green Taxi can only travel in the New Territories and the Blue Taxi can only travel in the Lantau Island.
The taxi fare is different amond the three type of taxis. The most expensive is the Red Taxi and the cheapest is the Blue Taxi. But the easiest taxi that can be reached is the red one. The starting fare of the Red Taxi is HKD$12.5(Euro 1.25, US$1.6). The Green and Blue Taxis are a few dollars cheaper. Only cash is accepted for all taxis. There should be a meter showing the fare of each ride. For a ride from Tsim Sha Tsui, the fare should not be greater than HKD$30. There is not extra fare for ober-night ride. But when you pass through the tunnels and specific bridges like the Tsing Ma Bridge, you need to pay for an extra fare. You also need to pay for the luggage. For more details, you may refer to the label sticked on the door of the taxis.
There are taxi drivers who compromise the fare with passengers before the ride. It is happened when passengers need to travel for a long distance. Usually the fare of it is cheaper than using meter. But it is ILLEGAL. It is better to use the meter in order to avoid being cheated.
Taxis can stop everywhere, according to the new regulation. But for getting in the taxis, only those area which are not prohibited is allowed to get in( that means those area with "double yellow line" are not allowed to get in the taxis".
Taxi drivers are generous and a bit talkative. Please don't be afraid if the taxi drivers try to talk with you during the ride. Or they will provide you more information of travelling in Hong Kong.