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HONG KONG GETTING AROUND TROLLY, TAXI, BUS, WALKING, ESCALATOR, FERRY, METRO OR TRAM

HONG KONG GETTING AROUND ON THE TROLLY

This by far has to be a one of the best “Tour Rides” in all of Hong Kong.  You can ride from one end of Hong Kong to the other for only a five cents. 

The Trolly which started operations in 1904, is a double decker skinny train rail car with no air conditioner, runs from one end of Hong Kong to the other takes about 45 minutes a great way to see the city, cheap.  Get an upper deck window seat to snap away at photography opportunities as they appear. Cost about twenty five cents US, get on, get off, pay again.   Remember exact coins only.

Take a look at the image set above to get an idea of this rather unique method of transportation.  They have brand new modern rail cars scattered with a few old timers which show a bit of wear. Remember you can get off anytime and jump back on different trolly as they have several different lines but overall hug the harbour in a parallel direction.   Top deck, window seat, snap away at the city below as each block appears I am sure you will find that perfect photography op.

 

HONG KONG GETTING AROUND ON THE BUS

The Buses, they are all new air conditioned double decker style.  The front marque tells where it is going, use the “Bus Number” as a point of reference, in this tour log I have pointed out to bus numbers more than what they say on the front for destination.  Bus fare for local trip is around $1 HK dollar,  math wizards that is thirteen cents.  The buses are fast due to a lack of private cars on the roadways seems the buses zip along at a rather high rate of speed, no time waisted.  There are local minibus too, however unless you are fluent in reading Chinese good luck finding your way around taking on of them on the street corner. Just check out the last images in the set below to see the bus stop sign to get an idea of where they go.

Note the buses or trolly need EXACT change, coins, the drivers make no change.  Purchase a bottle of water at the local mini mart, ask them for “coins”, on a few more of your Hong Kong dollars for the bus, they are all very helpful and of course speak English too. Anyway you need your bottle of water,  you are on holiday so drink your water keep hydrated per my travel tip of the day.

Below are a few images to help direct you to what to expect for the bus system in Hong Kong or Kowloon.

HONG KONG GETTING AROUND BY TAXI

This one method of transportation is only used as my “default” method, I ride the bus, trolly or walk.   I need to be someplace specific better to hire the local expert to drive me there than fumbling with my tourist map.  The Taxi system is all metered and most every driver speaks perfect English along with knowledge of where everything is in town, you only need to ask.  All have been overly helpful, which of course deserves a small tip too.  Taxis for the most are are actually very cheap.

more from my personal hand book notes on Taxis.

The taxi has a flag drop rate of $15 HK dollars, a buck ninety-five for the seat to ride, and another fourteen cents for every 200 meters beyond.  Most anywhere locally the taxi which holds five adults, will be less than four dollars.  I always include a tip, nice to do as they are a ultra cheap air conditioned clean ride.  Drivers do speak English and I found out they do not pull the long tour on us foreign folks for extra fare, not part of the culture just overall nice experience on the taxis. All are metered.  Going across the bay via the traffic tunnel or bridges, you will be expected to pay the bridge toll plus the fare, ask first to avoid any misunderstanding.  Take the Star Ferry for less than a quarter to cross the harbour.

HONG KONG GETTING AROUND VIA FOOT CALLED WALKING

Hong Kong for the most part is very accessible for walking.  The backside of the city is uphill . This hillside area is called SOHO even has a 800 meter covered escalator to help you get up the hill, walking downhill on the way back but an easy commute on the way up.  The main downtown part of Hong Kong is all mostly flat.

Pedestrian do not have the right of way, look both ways, traffic is in the Queens English side of driving, that is Left side of road traffic. Careful to pay attention to the buses they are fast, cross the street carefully.

Plenty of narrow streets and back alley ways to discover which you can only do on foot.  I certainly enjoy finding the small shops out of the way side street cafe and tea houses that dot the many small streets around Hong Kong.  Come take a look with me though my next set of images of what to expect walking around Hong Kong.

This image set below has many streets you will see plenty of people, a few small coffee cafes to get the feel of what they are like and one small breakfast cafe find on a side street, so small they are for the locals. Tea, coffee, french toast or a scrambled egg all for very little money to start off your day, take a walk down the back areas of Hong Kong to discover your special spot.

This city has many elevated walk ways which actually go on for several block, see the fist few images in the set below, with side bridges to buildings at the second level entry. This provides a second “sidewalk” area for pedestrians other than the street level, up on the elevated walk ways your above the cars and buses and other people walking too.  You only need to look up to find one.  Continuing along your elevated way to the escalators going up to SOHO district.  Street level sign post have arrow signs pointing to a certain area of Hong Kong, note image third to last in the set along with the last two are small side street coffee cafe for a afternoon pick et-upper, or breakfast meal.  Walking around has the advantages too of not missing the small gem spots of Hong Kong has to offer.

Walking around the city you will find as I did, to ask anyone while your holding a city map where something is, they will take a moment to explain how to get there, very helpful kind people live in this city and speak perfect English too.  Walking on the streets are all in good repair sidewalks are clean a few obstacles of normal things to walk around nothing major, just look at my photos of the streets to get an idea of what to expect while on foot.

 

 HONG KONG GETTING AROUND ON THE FERRY SYSTEM

Victoria Harbour has many ferry services which not only go across the bay, catch the Star Ferry and see my notes in a blog post below, but the ferry system actually goes to many outer islands too.  Google Hong Kong Ferry service to get a idea of all the places you can explore by water.  Here are a few to get you going.

Aberdeen Pier fresh fish market also has a cafe on the end of the pier.  30 minute ride from Hong Kong cost $9.50 HK

Macau is an island for gambling casinos and nightlife.  Leaves Hong Kong ferry building next to the HeliPort, any taxi can take you there easy.  Fare is about $125 to $200 HK one way includes the Hong Kong departure tax too, depends upon first class or cabin seating  on a Turbo Jet Foil Boat a high class Air Foil come out of the water fast ferry service.  Travel time about one hour plus depends upon sea conditions. Ferry leaves in both direction about every 30 minutes till midnight, then a few after that till 7 am, when the 30 minute between ferry start again.  Grab a hotel spend the night. There is a ferry leaving from the Kowloon side of the bay too, cost more, my advise is take the Star Ferry to the other side for twenty-two cents, catch a taxi to the Jet Boat ferry building, more boat choices and overall faster travel.

Macau is another country you will need your Passport, no advance visa is necessary they will stamp your passport with a 7 day visitor visa upon arrival by ferry.  Google Macau to see what is to do on this island.

 

HONG KONG GETTING AROUND BY METRO TRAIN OR PEAK TRAM

There is so much to tell you about these next two systems of getting around please my separate blog post below for details.

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HONG KONG METRO TRAIN SYSTEM

HONG KONG METRO TRAIN SYSTEM

This will give you some idea of what it is like inside the Metro Train system.  This was around noon, no traffic, in fact they were telling me this place was rather empty?   Just wait till around 5:00 PM, for the crowds to show up, packing into the train cars, then a wait yes.

I had a image of the Ticket Machine to share, which is a bit to figure out how to use, but decided that is another future blog post with a instructional video to help any future traveler operate the ticket machine. For now you only need to search YouTube to find a few video guides  into this underground world.

Hong Kong is laid out with a group of islands in Victoria Harbour. The city is master laid out by the British a hundred years ago, it has all the markings of a upscale metropolitan city.  Hong Kong Island on one side of the bay Kowloon on the other and the New Territory a bit further away. All are connected by the Metro train system that is both fast and fairly easy to navigate for any first timers.  The tube runs under the harbour from one side to the other takes about 15 minutes including all the walking, making coin change for the ticket machine, finding the right direction to take the train, getting on or off,  then wait for next train, as you will need to connect to another train to get anywhere, plus all the escalators to your arrival train platform level, all in total 15 minutes. Cost about $4.HK dollars about fifty-five cents US.

My suggestion to avoid the crowds and where ever your at in the city, take a taxi to the Star Ferry building, ten minutes across the bay in a nice open air harbour cruise, cost twenty-six cents too.  Avoid all the hassle on the Metro Trains, take a boat.

Check out the Metro Map and if your going from one end of the greater Hong Kong area to the other, then by all means this Metro is actually the fastest way around, across the harbour, remember take the Star Ferry.  Many business will tell you what MTR exit they are located at, another tip of the day.

Here is the MTR Web site, click on the upper right corner of this page, JOURNEY PLANNER to get a map of the Metro system   WEB SITE CLICK HERE

SPECIAL AIRPORT NOTE

There is a Metro Tain from the Honk Kong Airport  into the city.   Ask yourself this, do you have baggage?  Beyond the carry-on?  The subway Metro Train, system with baggage, my thinking  to you is “good luck” with all the escalator and moving walk-way, trying to find the lift up to the next level or down to the train level, is a royal pain in the [ fill in your favourite word here].

Getting Out of the airport, see my Airport Blog note of helpful tips in this 48hr Hong Kong Photography & Foodie Tour section

 

 

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HONG KONG STAR FERRY

HONG KONG STAR FERRY VICTORIA HARBOUR

 

The Star Ferry is by far the fastest and easiest way to get from one side of the harbour to the other. Meaning from Hong Kong to Kowloon or reverse Kowloon to Hong Kong.   The ferry runs about every ten minutes and cost $2.50 HK for the upper deck and $2.HK for the lower deck, which I always take the lower deck for a 9 minutes across the harbour there is really not much to see.  Fare is twenty-six cents, enjoy the ride.  Images above are The Star Ferry docking, the Star Ferry Captain a real nice guy too, the sign to look for, “lower deck” entrance.  Additional images below will walk you into the ferry process down the ramp, inside the ferry and what the “blue token” looks like and the Token vending machine.  I was running to catch this ferry, sorry for the blur images, could not be helped decided to include them as they will at least give you an idea of what to expect. The band is entertainment just outside the ferry building seems like a different group at either side of the harbour was playing nightly.

Looking for a drink you have got to check out the images in the lower set, the last few images are vending machines at the ferry pier.  And the last image in the lower set is a nice USA icon landmark to find, a welcome site for a lonely traveler to find a quick bite to eat, must tell you it was good, take a look at my lunch you can tell that if I am in this establishment I am getting tired of traveling, want to visit home soon.

The Ferry Token Vending machine to get your TOKEN will give you change and a token, keep dropping in them coins you have been collecting finally it will spit out a Token for you to put into the green turn style enter way. Watch your step going down the gang plank there are runners going across the ramp and the gang plank into the ferry boat moves too.

Here is the official web site:  CLICK HERE 

THE FERRY TOKEN PROCESS IN PHOTOGRAPHY

 

 More ways to cross the harbour or get around the city see my blog post

Metro System

Taxi

Trolly

Bus

The Peak Tram

Walking

 

 

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HONG KONG THE PEAK TRAM

HONG KONG PEAK TRAM TO VICTORIA PARK

 

Peak Tram is a not to miss tourist item to do while in Hong Kong.  The Tram Cable car is a pulled railway car uphill  from the Central area of Hong Kong to the top of the hill called The Peak or Victoria Park.   Here you will have a view of the entire Victoria Harbour, see photos above.

Photography Spot:  Exit the top of the hill tram station is into a mini mall, exit this mall.  Look for the gazebo area for the best photography op just outside the mall start walking down hill to this vantage point, follow the crowd downhill along the tram rail line is the look-out point.  Setting up your tripod is all right no permit necessary.   This top of the hill area has a new modern shopping center with a few restaurants and Starbucks of course.

Set-up your gear on the rail at the Gazebo with only a few people coming and going to snap a image or two with their new iPhones. Tripod is necessary for an excellent images.  The two shown above since it was an overcast evening, I decided to shot hand held with a higher ISO, still passable image but no way a post card for selling stock.  Hope your weather evening is better on your stop over at the Peak.

HOW TO FIND THE TRAM TICKET OFFICE

To find the “The Peak Tram” ticket office it is directly in back of the Bank of China building.  Take the STAR FERRY to Hong Kong. Exit the ferry building and look for the bus signs, see photos below.  Catch the bus #15C in front of the Star Ferry building 8, look for the bus stop signs the bus leaves every 15 minutes, cost less than twenty five cents, arrives directly to the Peak Tram ticket window.  Go to the upper deck of the bus for a nice ride in downtown Hong Kong streets it is open air no roof on the second deck.

The bus makes no change, you will need exact coins $4.20 HK.  See my hand photo below as to what the coins look like along with the bus sign to “find” just outside ferry building #8.  You want BUS 15C.

The Peak Tram cost about $28 HK dollars one way, like three dollar sixty cents US. Round trip is $40 HK, but wait just a minute, only get a “one way” ticket, as the line to get back off this peak may take you a hour or more wait in line, see my image.  Tram hours 7 am till midnight everyday takes about 12 plus minutes.

HOW TO GET OFF THE PEAK

How to get off The Peak?   Remember I had you get only a one way ticket up, now let me help you get off the peak easy. SEE the photo below of the one plus hour wait for the Tram back downhill.

Take the bus !

Look at my photos below of the courtyard area at The Peak Mall area. See the fountain image and there is a Starbucks. AND just under this building where the Starbucks is located is the bus terminal. Walk around the right side of Starbucks downstairs to the lower level.

Find the bus stop directly in front of you, on the right. Take bus #15 all the way down the hill with no waiting in line for the Peak Tram, bus is cheap less than fifty five cents, buses leave every 15 minutes till 1:00 AM. The bus stops at Ferry Building 5, a short walk to the Star Ferry building from there, if your returning to Kowloon area.

The repeat is true too.  If you do not wish to take The Peak Tram, up to the top, you can catch the bus #15 for a ride to the top Victoria Park.  The bus #15 leaves from in front of Ferry Building #5,  you only need to look for the bus stop sign.  Remember exact change.  Ask anyone where the bus stop is or ask another bus driver all are very helpful too.

BUS #15C for a ride to the Peak Tram Station Ticket Office  

BUS #15 for a ride up to The Peak Victoria Park

BUS #15  OFF the Peak back to Ferry Buildings.

 

 
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Hong Kong Victoria harbour Laser Light Show timed to Music

 

HONG KONG VICTORIA HARBOUR LASER LIGHT SHOW

 

This is one item to plan on seeing for your photography tour of Hong Kong.  At least get a image or two for sharing when you get back home.   This will take a bit of pre-planning to capture any image, as this is not hand held shooting, all tripod capture is required.

The image above were taken with my Canon 7D using a Canon 16-35mm 2.8L USM Lens.  I took a bunch of shots, no reason to bore you with them, here are a few so you may get the idea of what the show looks like, second image that is the Star Ferry on the right.    I also captured a few short video clips using Syrp Genie on top of my tripod for a smooth 10 second video pan, just perfect video capture of the light show.  Syrp Genie link here.  My capture was in video mode not time-lapse with the Genie.

 

HOW TO FIND THIS PHOTOGRAPHY SPOT

This is looking at Hong Kong downtown the lasers are on top of the Hong Kong buildings.  You will need to be on the other side in KOWLOON.

1. Take the Star Ferry to Kowloon.

2. Exit the Ferry building and go to your RIGHT.

3. Find the  Clock Tower and the park in front of it with seating and a rail looking out across the Harbour.

4. Set-up early, STAKE OUT your claim to a section of the front rail.   I arrived 45 minutes early, glad I did this park filled up fast.

5. The Park has speakers set-up to listen to the music during the laser light show.

more information below to help you capture a great image 

Hong Kong Laser Light Show another photography op not to miss.  Daily at 8:00 pm the show timed to music is about 15 minutes long.  The buildings are in Hong Kong, meaning you need to be on the other side of the harbor in Kowloon to see the light show.

The Star Ferry Building in Kowloon lets you off right next to the pier Clock Tower at the Waterfront Promenade a viewing platform with speakers to hear the music which is timed to the laser show.

Here is the deal, arrive early around 7:00 pm to 7:15 no later at the Clock Tower area Waterfront Promenade to stake out your spot along the front rail.  I take two tripods, open them up to get ready, then have a seat on the bench directly in back of the front rail where my tripods are set-up.  I plan on only using one, but this gives me elbow room around the crowds and gives little bit bigger space as it were to operate my gear along the front rail, two tripods wide.   This area will get crowded just before 7:45 pm, remember to come early!!

My overcast day I was able to capture a few laser shots off the roof tops on the Hong Kong  side of the harbor, perhaps your weather day will be better, but for my travel photos of personal use these turned out just fine.  To answer the your question in advance, the last image above is “one” photo taken with the Canon 16-35mm lens set at 16mm wide.  This is not two images stitched together.

 

 
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