Getting Around In Hong Kong

In October 2015, we did an 8 days holiday to Hong Kong which also includes 2 nights in Macau. I did an intensive research on how to get around and the best website that gives the best description including direction is

Using google map and instant street view you can actually plan out your route quite accurately. Google map also list down the bus number of each stops then you can reconfirmed the route by checking Hong Kong Citybus website. I am also recommending using the bus instead of the MTR for the following reasons:-

Seat – you will never get to sit in a MTR. It is always crowded at any time of the day. In a bus you will eventually get a seat even during rush hour.

View – In the subway, nothing to see but endless sea of human. In the bus, you can view the whole street and the city life of Hong Kong.

Distance – If you use the train, the walk does not end at the stop. The bus however usually stops right at the door step of your destination.

Of course if you are in a rush of time then no way can the bus beats the train.

Get the Octopus
The first thing we did as we walked out of departure hall A was looked for the nearest MTR or Hong Kong Airport Express counter. We bought an Octopus card which cost HK150 and top it up with another HK200.

Ask for direction
The map of the location for the Airport Bus Terminal is accurate but when we got there we followed the signage at the airport for direction which was a wrong move. The airport signage with the Bus Icon not only includes the airport bus terminal but also a direction for the hotel coaches so we ended up walking in a big circle. Realizing our mistake, we stopped to ask for direction and was pointed the right way.

Bus A21
We waited in line for the Bus to appear which was not a long wait. Luggage were required to be placed inside the bus on the racks that were build for this purpose. It does not have a luggage compartment of its own. If there are a lot of passengers and you are last to board, you might have a bit of trouble finding space for your luggage. After the luggage were secured, we quickly climb up to the top deck which has better view.

Getting to Mongkok Market, Argyle Street which was our destination was pretty easy. It is the 13th bus stop. There is also a digital display at the front of the bus that states the name of every stop and reminds you to press the button if you wish get off the next stop. In the map (MyMap) given below I have indicated the spot you are to get down which is Circle A. You get on the same Bus A21 for your transfer to HK Airport at Circle B for your return flight.

Tip : Swipe your Octopus card at the card reader in front as you board the bus next to the bus driver. He will be eyeing you like a hawk to ensure you have done it.

Dragon Hostel
We got off at our stop, drag our bags across two roads (see MyMap above) and found Dragon Hostel with no trouble at all. This is our second time staying in Dragon Hostel. The rooms are still clean as usual but looking very weary, tired and in a need to refurbishing. Like all rooms in Hong Kong it is really small. There is barely any space for your luggage so try not to bring big ones.

No separation of shower from your toilet so when you bath everything gets wet.

Since this is a hostel, no towel, no kettle, no tea or coffee and no hair dryer. We asked for twin bed instead of double because their double bed is smaller than the normal queen size bed that you get back home. Surprisingly you can ask for an extra pillow without additional cost. They also sell tickets such Disney, the Peak Tram, Ocean Park and etc. There are even cheaper tickets if you know where to look for it which I will explain later.

Dragon hostel is located not high, on the 7th floor so you can hear the street noise very clearly. If you cannot tolerate noise ask for a windowless room in advance. I made the mistake of thinking that I could take the noise so was sleepless the first night. The next night I asked for a room without window.

The second room was similar in size except a slightly bigger bathroom and there is no window. It is much quieter except for noises from your neighbor talking and closing their door. It does echo well in the hall ways and corridors of each unit.

There is free hot water at the public area which you can use and a public bathroom to bath in if you wish not to wet yours. A lot of guest prefers this way so avoid getting the windowless room right next door to the public bathroom or else you will have sleepless night of listening to water running whole night. Sadly this happened to me on the night we returned from Macau. It was worst than the noises from the streets.

Luckily the manager was tolerant to my complaints and happily relocated me to another room the following day. In all, I tried 3 rooms in Dragon Hostel and I have to say tolerate the street sounds and buy an ear plug if you have to. It is better to sleep in a room with windows than without especially since the rooms are very tiny.

Food In Mongkok
There are two lifts access located on the left and right of the Sincere Building where Dragon Hostel is located. One lift opens up on Tung Choi Road (Purple on MyMap) and the other Fa Yuen Road (Green on MyMap). Just walk along on either of these two roads and you will find lots of restaurant to choose from. Kindly note that most restaurants here are Chinese eateries and very few western cuisine.

To find western cuisine you need to head to Langham Place Mall which is just across Nathan Road about 5 minutes walk. You can also get there by walking underground along the Mongkok MRT.

Right opposite Langham Place Mall and link by an overhead bridge is Mongkok Complex building on Shanghai Street which house an air condition food court Hong Kong Style on the 2nd Floor. They served a variety of local cuisine. All menu is in chinese so it would be easier if you know what you want before you head there. If not just go to Langham Place Mall food court which has plenty of english menu but slightly more pricey in cost.

The other cooked food market similar to Mongkok Complex is located at Fa Yuen Street Market Building on the 3rd Floor. However we decided to skip this Fay Yuen because it did not look appealing. It is located above the wet market selling vegetables, pork and fish.

Cost of living in Hong Kong is surprising very high therefore the food cost per meal is also extremely expensive. Not less than 25HK per meal and that is already the cheapest with only Chinese tea as a drink. To get the best value for money, try to take your meals between the off peak period that is between 10am to 12 noon and 3pm to 6pm. Somehow the restaurants in HK offers special discount for selected items during the off peak period.

Aberdeen Fish Ball Restaurant
We managed to do this by having a light breakfast at the hostel of eating 2 minute noodles and cans of tuna which we brought from home. The light breakfast allows us to then have a heavy brunch at 12 and later dinner at 6pm.

Located along Fa Yuen Road on same block as 7/11 store is a vegetarian restaurant which we entered without realizing it was a vegetarian restaurant as both of us cannot read Chinese. We did wonder why the price for beef and chicken was so cheap at this restaurant. It was really interesting to eat vegetarian scallops tho.

Vegetarian Scallops
Victoria Peak
Our first day itinerary was to visit the famous Victoria Peak. We took the bus going up and the Tram going down. This is a better plan than taking both trips by tram because the queue at the tram station going up was very long. You will also get to see the scenic route as you climb up the hills towards Victoria Peak.

From Mongkok MTR exit D2 we took the train to Admiralty MTR. At exit C1, we turn right and walk towards the bus stops. We look for bus 15 signage and waited for Bus 15 to appear. Try to get a seat on the right side top deck for better view. The bus might be full but eventually it will lessen as it moves out of the city. We took opportunity to jump seat from left and right as it moves along for better view.

The last stop of Bus 15 is at Peak Galleria Bus Terminal. Peak Galleria Observation deck has a good free view of the city. You can go to Peak Tower which has better view but it will cost you money to enter their observation deck.

Peak Tower houses the Peak Tram that ferries passenger up and down Victoria Peak. We bought our one way tickets from the counter by using our Octopus Card. The timing was just right because there was only a short queue.

At the bottom, we head out to bus 15C stop which is located just outside the entrance of the Peak tram station. We hopped off at Bus stop number 2 that is Pedder Street. Central MRT exit is located right next to the bus stop.

Stanley Market
Again we headed to Admiralty MTR exit C1 and look for Bus 6 stop. There are plenty of other busses that goes to Stanley Market. But we decided we wanted a longer scenic route that winds up the hills and down towards the coast of HK. We were glad with this choice because the views were breathtaking.

We stopped at Stanley Plaza (Stop number 13). Entered the plaza and walked down to the middle atrium. There is a huge market selling a variety of souvenirs and many other things at the far end. A water dispenser is also available at the main round about. The place looks big on the map but in reality it is possible to circle the whole place in less than an hour.

At the end of our excursion we headed back to Stanley Plaza to take the bus back to the city. This time we did not take Bus 6 but took bus 6X because it was the first one to arrive and it has the same last stop as Bus 6 which was central (Exchange Square) our next destination.

Star Ferry
Central Exchange Square is a huge complex for all busses. I forgot to do a research on this exchange so when we got off the bus I was a little unsure which direction was Star Ferry Terminal.

We decided the easiest way was to trail a group of tourist hoping that they were also heading towards the same place as we were. Finger cross that they did a better research than us.

We lost the tourist at IFC Mall because we had to stop by for the loo. Luckily we already noticed the link pedestrian bridge that connects the mall to the ferry so we knew where to go next.

Boarding the ferry was easy. All we had to do was swipe our octopus card and in we went.

Upon arriving at Tsim Sha Tsui ferry terminal, we decided to stop by McD for lunch. Harbour View Mall was just beside it but we decided we had enough walking for the day and head back to our hotel by MTR.

Night Market
I don’t know why the famous night market in Mongkok is called Ladies Market on Tung Choi street (Yellow on MyMap) when most of the items sold there are mainly souvenirs. We have walked this stretch twice and found out that the best buys are at the end of Tung Choi Street where they are lesser customers so the sellers often put best buys items. As an example you can buy 8 small mulberry purses for 100 HK while some stalls sells them 4 pieces for the same price. Do not hesitate to bargain hunt here. Start the price with 50% off and you will go home a happy tourist.

If you are looking for real trendy ladies clothing you have to go further up across the pedestrian bridge that connects Mongkok and Mongkok East (Black on MyMap). This stretch of road (Red on MyMap) also sells souvenirs but lesser and other everyday items are more obviously sold such as toys, electrical, fruits and etc. Get off the pedestrian road and visit the shops surrounding this stretch of Fa Yuan Road to find trendy and fashionable clothing with reasonable pricing.

We also visited the Temple Street but found it to be similar to the Ladies Market on Tung Choi selling mainly tourist souvenirs.

Another street market that is a MUST visited is located at Sham Shui Po Exit C or A to Apliu Street. The street stalls here only opens around 11:00 am so there is no need to head there too early.

You will also find here clothing wholesaler shops mainly selling clothing in bulk where one piece is also sold and trying is not allowed. These fashion shops mostly face the main road of Cheung Sha Wan.

Ding Ding Trams & Mid Level Escalator

We took the subway from Mongkok MTR to North Point Exit B2 but take note in reality there is no Exit B2 even though it is listed on the board and MTR website. We tried looking for it but there is only exit B. We walked out and head along Kings Road that has an overhead pedestrian bridge.

Cross the road and wait below the bridge just beside the staircase. We waited about 15 minutes for our tram to arrive then it was a mad dash up the tram. Since the tram rules is to charge fee only upon disembarkment, there was no more etiquette as passengers push their way in both exits. We were lucky to get the front row seat at the upper deck. The ride on the ding ding was interesting but crowded. It stopped almost every stop and the ride was jerky.

Our first intention was to ride the ding ding tram right up to Kennedy Town or Western Market but we decided to hop off at Jubilee Street 25E instead to take the mid level escalator.

Jubilee Street Stop 25E is very close to the mid level. Just a stones throw is the green building which is the start of the mid level. Due to time constraint we did not walk until the end of the mid level escalator which according to review will take an estimated time of 25 minutes.

Just at the end of the first escalator is a Shanghai Restaurant called Kings Taste which we had some Dim Sum. It was the most expensive Dim Sum we have ever had costing us RM90.00 for 5 miserably plate of dim sum.

After our expensive meal, we walked back along the streets towards Central MTR which
was not very far from Mid Level Escalator.

Free on Wednesday

All museums are free on Wednesday so try to make your visits then. We could only manage to squeeze two museums because our return trip from Macau also coincides on Wednesday. The other reason was because our feet were already screaming in pain due to the wasted time of searching for Hong Kong historical museum in the beginning.

In my entire itinerary this route plan was off the mark. We got off Tsim Sha Tsui MRT instead of East Tsim Sha Tsui which requires a very long walk to get to the museum. My recommendation for any of you reading this article is to board the A21 bus which has a destination stop Hong Kong Historical Museum on it. This bus will stop right in front of the museum and save you from the long walk.

Symphony of Lights

Originally I planned for us to take the train from Mongkok to Tsim Sha Tsui but last minute we decided to take the bus. After all how wrong can you go when both stops sits on Nathan road. Most busses should be passing Tsim Sha Tsui which is the stop for anyone getting off to watch the Symphony of Lights.

The bus stop where originally we got off from bus A21 is a major bus stops with busses heading to many destination. It took us a few minutes reading the bus stops signs to find the right bus. Our next stop is Nathan middle road. There were 3 busses that will be passing by our intended stop and the first bus that came along was A21. So we hopped on that.

We went for dinner around Tsim Sha Tsui area before heading out to the waterfront to catch the light show. The show only starts at 8:30pm but it was already packed with crowd by the time we got there at 8:00pm. 

The show did not seemed as amazing as it was the first time I saw. Even a fellow tourist from Delhi complaint the show was lack lustre. I thought the one we saw at Singapore water front was better.

After the show ended we slowly walked back to the bus stop beside the President Hotel. There was a bus attendant giving directions and information to those in need. She was very helpful and told us which bus to take back to Mongkok.

Other Places

We also visited Ocean Park and Macau. That story is too long to be added with the rest of my Hong Kong adventure. Click the link below if you want to know about them.

Macau Casino Hopping


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