Tips for Riding the Hong Kong Trams
Hong Kong may be a fast-paced modern city, defined by its towering skyscrapers and work-hard-play-hard culture, but at the heart of this modern metropolis is a reminder of the slower pace of life of the city’s past – the tramlines.
A ride aboard a Hong Kong tram takes you on a voyeuristic journey through the suburbs, where you can watch the layers of daily life unfold. Lurch and rock your way through the crowds, and enjoy the distinct ‘ding ding’ of the bell, as the city’s sounds and smells drift through the open windows.
Trams run the full length of Hong Kong Island, from Kennedy Town in the West, to Shau Kei Wan in the East, with a side loop up to Happy Valley. With only six routes, and the destination clearly displayed on the front of every tram, you can’t go too far wrong. Tram stops are spaced nearly every 250 metres, so you can hop-on and hop-off whenever you fancy.
Jump off at Sheung Wan to wander the streets of dried seafood and herbal medicine shops and visit the Man Mo temple; Central to ride the Central-Mid-Levels Escalator or search for a steaming bowl of wonton noodles; Admiralty to visit Tamar Park with its views across to Kowloon; Wan Chai to check out the large bustling wet market; and Causeway Bay to hit the shopping malls.
The Hong Kong trams are noisy, bumpy, rickety and old and may not be the quickest or most efficient form of transport, but it is certainly the most atmospheric. And at just HK$2.30 per ride (around .30c USD), it is the best value sightseeing tour you are likely to find.
- Enter at the back, leave from the front
- Pay as you leave the tram
- Each ride costs HK$2.30/$1.30 (age 3-12), regardless of distance travelled
- No change is given, so don’t get on with just a $100 note
- Buy an Octopus Card (for use on all public transport) to save searching around for change
- Avoid peak hours if you want to get a seat
- Ride up top for the best views
- The best seat for taking photos is the front seat on the top deck
Freelance writer Marianne has been an expat all her life, having lived in such diverse places as Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea and Costa Rica. Becoming a mum to two active children hasn’t dampened her wanderlust – but instead of trekking up the Himalayas or white water rafting in Peru, these days she’s more likely to relish the opportunity to kick back on a Hong Kong Junk with a glass of wine in hand. She writes for a range of magazines and websites and edits the family travel blog Mum on the Move.