The Octopus card is perhaps the best way to access a city's public transportation that I have ever seen. Other cities could take a lesson from this. Here is how it works. You arrive at the airport. Before reaching the trains into the city, you access a desk where you buy this card. You give them a deposit and decide what value you would like to have on the card. Then, if you have planned your trip right, you will never have to do anything but swipe that card at a turnstile as you take the public transportation in Hong Kong. When you go through a stile, you will see how much fare has been deducted. There are also machines at the stations that can tell you how much value remains on this smart card. At any time, you can add more value by making an additional deposit.
The best part is that the card works on everything in this city. Here is a list of what I used that card for:
(1)Train between the airport and the city.
(2)The STAR ferry crossing between HK and Kowloon
(3) the ferry to outlying islands (Lamma in my case)
(4) the Peak tram, this takes you to Victoria Peak
(5) The MTR (the subway)
(6) the streetcars
You can use this on virtually all public transportation in the city. I understand that you can now even use it is some stores. This card will prevent you from having to dig for loose change everytime you take a ride. Just be sure to keep it safe with you as you travel. The deposit and remaining value on your card will be returned to you as you turn the card back in.
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.
Hong Kong has excellent public transportation. The Octopus Card makes it very easy to use because you never have to worry about having the right change for the MTR, buses, the Star Ferry, etc. More and more vending machines and fast food restaurants use the system. We bought ours at the Customer Service counter at Chep Lap Kok. We added value during the week and obtained a refund of the deposit and the unused value at the airport before leaving Hong Kong.
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.
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.
buy an octopus card before you start travelling on any public transport. you can use it on ferry's, busses and the MTR. it is reloadable saves you time and money and you even get a refund when you hand it back at the end of your travels.
When you first buy your Octopus Card at the Airport Express counter at the airport, the person in charge would normally recommend the Airport Express package which allows return ride on Airport Express Train and unlimited rides on the MTR which is about HK$300.
I suggest not to take that offer for it is too expensive. For that amount I could have multiple buses/MTR rides for 1 week.
The card can be used on all trains, buses, ferries and convenient stores. There will be a HK$50 deposit. It will be refunded if returned. However, a Refund Handling Fee of HK$7 will be charged if it is returned within three months from the date of issue. So I think it's not worth returning. Consider using it till it gives a negative value and keep it as a mementos.
Yes, please get one for your stay as a number of shops in HK accept octopus (ie convenient store like 7-11, fast food shop like MacDonalds, all public transportations, supermarkets like Welcome etc.)
No need to worry about the amount as you pay what you have to pay and the remaining balance can be refunded (including the HK$50 deposit).
It is definetely useful to buy Octopus pass, but remember when you have completed all security formalities and get in, then there is no way you can refund the balance amount of Octopus pass. Do that just before security check. It is nice if HK authority provide one counter to refund the balance amount inside the depature of airport.
For long-staying visitors, an “Octopus” card, which also allow travel on the Airport Express and other forms of transport may be useful. Passenger with an Octopus card can enjoy free MTR connection to/from the Airport Express. Octopus card hotline: 852-2993-8880
When commuting around Hong Kong for at least 3 days,then it's a must for you to buy an Octopus card..you can buy at the airport upon arriving or to any MTR stations.With this, you can save time everytime you commute within the island.You can swipe it to MTR,bus, ferry, tram entrance at The Peak,etc..And when you're running out of card value, you can reload to any MTR stations,7/11 stores.Don't worry, the amount deposited in your card can be refunded at the airport Octopus card counter before departing HK.
If your spending any time in Hong Kong commuting on the Mass Transit Rail (MTR) get yourself an Octopus Card. (like the Oyster card of London). The Octopus Card is a rechargeble contactless card used on the MTR and other shops e.g McDonalds and KFC. There is a HKD50 deposit that is refunded when finished with. i found using the Octopus Card easy and stress free while in Hong Kong.
more info here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Octopus_card