Taxis, Hong Kong
There are different ways of how to get around in the city. Taxis are plentiful, clean, and efficient. They are extremely cheap compared to many other large cities.
There are three types of taxi in Hong Kong, easily identified by their colours: red, green and blue, all of which serve the airport and Hong Kong Disneyland.
Be aware if you are choosing from one of the three kinds of taxis when you are finding your way out of the airport.
We haven't used much of the taxi. We used them twice once we arrive and during our departure the city, we have pretty late arrival and late departure so, taxi was our only option outside the airport
When in doubt, just take a red taxi. The Urban (red) taxis can travel anywhere within Hong Kong, and are the most expensive. The meter starts at $22.00 for the first 2 kilometres, plus $1.60 ($1 after the fare reaches $78) for every 200m or minute of wait time thereafter.
(Green) taxis are slightly cheaper than the red ones but are confined to rural areas in the New Territories, the airport, and Hong Kong Disneyland.
(Blue) taxis are the cheapest of the three but operate only on Lantau Island, including the airport and Hong Kong Disneyland.
Some taxis accept credit cards and Octopus cards to avoid hassles with small change; these are usually indicated by a sticker in the windshield.
When we arrived in HK we have no small bill of dollar, so, we give him a one hundred note. Drivers are required to provide change for $100 notes, but not for higher denominations. If you only have a $500 or $1000 note and are going through a tunnel, let the driver know beforehand and he will change it when paying at the toll booth
There are no extra late-night charges nor peak-hour surcharges. However, baggage carried in the boot (trunk) will cost you $5 per piece, except for wheelchairs. No charges are levied for travel to/from the airport or within downtown but all toll charges for tunnels are added to the bill.
The driver will normally pay on your behalf at the toll booth and you just need to reimburse him before alighting.
Harbour crossing passengers (Hong Kong Island to Kowloon or vice versa) are expected to pay the return tolls. But you can use this to your advantage by picking a home bound taxi from a cross-harbour taxi rank in places like the Star Ferry pier or Hung Hom station. In these cross-harbour taxi stands only single toll charge will be applied to the taxi fare.
All taxi drivers are required to display inside the vehicle an official name card that includes the driver's photograph and the registration number. Unless a taxi has an out of service sign displayed, they are legally required to take you to your destination.
They are also required to provide you a receipt upon request. If you think you have been "toured" around the city, or if they refuse to either carry you to your destination or provide for a receipt, you may file a complain to the Transport Complaints Unit Complaint Hotline (Voice mail service after office hours) at 2889-9999.
All taxis are radio equipped and can be reserved and requested via an operator for a token fee of $5, payable to the driver. You are unlikely to need to call a taxi, though, as they are plentiful.
It is good practice to get a local person to write the name or address of your destination in Chinese for you to hand to the taxi driver, as many drivers speak limited English and Mandarin. For example, if you wish take a journey back to your hotel, ask a receptionist for the hotel's business card.
If you can pronounce your suburb and local road correctly, this will help considerably. Nevertheless, even if you don't, most taxi drivers know enough English to communicate the basics.
like anywhere in the World, Hong Kong Has it's taxis and all of them have bright red color if plying the Kowloon and Hong Kong Area, whatever the taxi company is (green taxis for those plying the new territories and blue taxis, which only operate in Lantau Island) and can usually be hailed on the street (except in restricted areas) or summoned by phone and even a local smartphone App if you have internet connection. All are metered, relatively cheap, air-conditioned and clean.
Taxi fare is HKD $ 18.50 for the First 2 kilometres (or any part thereof) for Red Taxis and an additional HKD $ 1.00 Every subsequent 200 metres (or any part thereof) and every period of 1 minute waiting time (or any part thereof) if taxi fare is less than HKD $ 78 (it is HKD $ 1.60 per 200 meters if your taxi fare is HKD $ 79 and up.
You don't need to tip the taxi driver too!
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