Hong Kong! Wow.
Want to be vowed at every step? You’ve come to the right place. Fashion, culture, history. It’s all here. Along with an abundance of SUPER DOOPER FUN for family-friendly adventures.
Transportation in Hong Kong is CHEAP! Most expats don’t bother with cars and have no qualms about catching a taxi whenever they need one. Transport is clean, safe, reliable AND fun for the kids.
There are SO MANY different forms of transport you can ride in Hong Kong – it’s almost an adventure in itself. (See our story on that right here!)
Here, we’ve gathered all the necessary info about getting around Hong Kong in one spot. Hope it’s helpful. Enjoy your stay!
- 1 Where is it?
- 2 Getting to Hong Kong
- 3 Arrival via Hong Kong Airport- First things first!
- 4 OCTOPUS CARD
- 5 MTR (MASS TRANSIT RAILWAY) APPS
- 6 From the Airport to Hong Kong City
- 7 Transport Options- Getting Around Hong Kong
- 8 Where to stay?
- 9 The Locals List
- 10 Food shopping
- 11 Eating Out
- 12 Our Top 10 Things to Do in Hong Kong
- 13 Events
- 14 Getting Around Hong Kong – Travel Tips!
- 15 Our Favourite Websites for Family Friendly Travel in Hong Kong (other than ours!)
- 16 The Inside Scoop
- 17 Got a Question? Ask away in the comments and we’ll update this page with an answer!
Where is it?
Hong Kong is in East Asia on the southwest coast of China.
Hong Kong Island is the city centre, located on the harbour across from the mainland. Kowloon is on a peninsula on the southern edge of the mainland, opposite the city centre. The largest part is known as the New Territories and is on the mainland too. There are also small populations located in rural environments on a bunch of smaller islands in the South China Sea close by.
Getting to Hong Kong
Hong Kong is right smack-bang in the middle of the world it would seem, making it an important midway point stopover for many flights to and from Asia and North America. It’s on the flight path for many Australian routes too. Several airlines including Qantas and Cathay Pacific fly from Sydney (9 hours), Melbourne (9 hours), Adelaide (12 hours), Brisbane (8 1/2 hours), Cairns (7 hours) and Perth (7 1/2 hours) to Hong Kong. There’s a fairly good chance you can get a flight to Hong Kong almost any day of the week.
Arrival via Hong Kong Airport- First things first!
There’s no need for a personalised airport pick up in Hong Kong.
It’s safe, and affordable to get around, even with kids. If it’s late and the kids are stuffed, don’t delay. Head straight out the door and grab a red taxi door to door. But, if it’s daylight, and you are all still feeling the love for travel, hop straight onto the Airport Express. It’s super fast, clean, and safe, and will give you time to catch your breath before the adventure begins.
You WILL need to purchase an Octopus Card for use on the MTR network (including Airport Express). Do yourself a favour and put it top of the list. Octopus Cards cost $150 HKD ($27 AUD)with an initial $100 HKD stored value for an adult, and $70 ($13 AUD) HKD with an initial stored value of $20HKD for a child aged 3 -11 years. (Children under 3 travel FREE!)
When you arrive at the Hong Kong airport, head straight to the special kiosk near the exit to the express train to buy your Octopus cards for several reasons:
- The kiosk staff speak English well.
- The staff will let you know about any promotions that reduce the price of transportation from the airport into Hong Kong.
- They sell so-called Airport Express Travel Passes that include one ride (or two depending on the type of pass purchased ) on the Airport Express train from/to HKIA plus 3 consecutive days of unlimited travels on the MTR. This combo card is also a regular Octopus card so it can be charged with extra credit as explained above.
- When you depart Hong Kong, this kiosk can refund any remaining balance on your card, but so will a lot of MTR stations.
These cards include a refundable deposit of $50 HKD ($9 AUD) when you leave the country. You can add value by using a ‘Add Value’ machine or topping up at a Customer Service Centre.
The “Sold Tourist Octopus” might be of interest too. This Octopus has some Hong Kong iconic landmarks featured on the card face and you can easily get it from the major convenience stores within the airport or in the city at a cost of only HK$39. You do not have to pay any deposit and you can take it home as a souvenir afterwards and use it again when you travel to Hong Kong next time. Find out more here.
All Octopus contain a built-in microchip that can communicate with different fare or payment processors. You simply tap your Octopus over the Fare Deducting Readers as you pass through the ticket gates and enter the MTR system. They are for sale at any Customer Service Centre.
Once you have an Octopus, you don’t have to worry about scrabbling around in your pocket or purse for coins ever again. The “Octopus” is a rechargable and contactless ‘smart card’ used on most forms of public transport ( Airport Express, Bus, Minibus, Ferry, Peak Tram, Light Rail, Tram & MTR Trains), as well as settling payments at all major convenience stores, such as 7-Eleven, fast food restaurants, Starbucks, supermarkets, bakeries, self-service vending machines, personal care stores, major photo service outlets, etc.
Click here for a PDF of current transport fares on the MTR network.
MTR (MASS TRANSIT RAILWAY) APPS
Don’t forget to do this… the app will make life so much easier! Check out what the app can do.
Comprehensive Journey Planning
Search for your route along the MTR by simply tapping on the MTR route map and choose your starting location and desired destination. Fare information, recommended routing, estimated journey time, interchange station, interchange guide / platform, first/last train schedule, station services and etc. will be displayed accordingly.
Accurate journey planning with point-to-point search for landmarks around exits
Planning for your ride becomes much easier with the expanded point-to-point search function. On top of MTR stations, you can also select station exits and popular locations near the MTR network.
From the Airport to Hong Kong City
The Airport Express takes passengers to Central in just 24 minutes. Quick and comfortable, trains depart at about 10-minute intervals from 05:54 to 23:28 and approximately 12-minute intervals from 23:28 to 00:48 daily. For detailed schedule of the Airport Express, please click here. You may also download the MTR “Next Train” app to keep track of the real-time update of the train schedules.
|To / From||Fare (HK$)|
|Hong Kong Station <> Airport Station||$ 100 (approximately $18 AUD)|
|Kowloon Station <> Airport Station||$ 90 (approximately $16 AUD)|
|Tsing Yi Station <> Airport Station||$ 60|
|AsiaWorld-Expo <> Airport Station||$ 5|
Passengers taking the Airport Express can enjoy the free In-town Check-in service in Hong Kong and Kowloon Stations to check in between 90 minutes and one full day ahead of their scheduled flight departure time. So leave your luggage and enjoy your last day without worry of your bags. Yay!
NB: If you do want to go back to the city after checking in, remember to go to the Information desk to ensure your Octopus card is not charged twice. Please click here or contact your respective airlines for further information.
(Our friend Tania, a HK expat for 14 years, gave us the heads up and so we used the In-Town Check In. I loved leaving our luggage and getting on the train to the airport sans-bags when travelling with kids. Wish they had it in every country!)
Passengers wishing to visit the Disneyland Resort can change to the Tung Chung Line at Tsing Yi Station, and alight at Sunny Bay Station for the Disneyland Resort Line. Please click here for route details.
Free shuttle bus service is available, taking passengers from Kowloon or Hong Kong stations to most major hotels and transport interchanges. Passengers can also enjoy free porter service at all Airport Express stations.
- Groups of two or more passengers can avail of a Group Pass discount. For example, families of up to four people can buy a Group Pass for (HK$220 to Kowloon Station) or (HK$250 to Hong Kong Station).
- There is a free shuttle bus service from the Kowloon and Hong Kong Stations to many of the major hotels. Many major hotels in both Kowloon and Hong Kong Island have arrangements for this service but its up to you to find out. Click here for details on where the free Airport Express Shuttle Bus services stop Services are every 12 minutes for most routes leaving from Kowloon Station and every 20 minutes for routes leaving from Hong Kong Station.
- If your hotel is not on the list, grab a taxi from either station. It’s worth it.
Taxis offer a fast and flexible way to and from Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA). Arriving passengers can pick up a taxi at the Taxi Station, which can be reached by the left-hand ramp outside the Arrivals Hall.
Taxis in Hong Kong are colour-coded according to their operating areas. Separate rows are designated for different types of taxi:
- Urban taxis (Red) serve all destinations throughout Hong Kong including the airport except Tung Chung Road and roads in south Lantau.
- New Territories (N.T.) taxis (Green) serve only the New Territories and specific roads in Lantau.
- Lantau taxis (Blue) serve all destinations in Lantau and the airport.
Approximate Taxi Fares in Hong Kong dollars from the Airport to your Chosen Destination
HONG KONG ISLAND (all by Urban Taxi)
Causeway Bay $285
Chai Wan $340
North Point $310
Quarry Bay $315
Wan Chai $290
Western District $315
KOWLOON (all by Urban Taxi)
Cheung Sha Wan $225
Hung Hom MTR station $235
Kowloon bay $260
Kowloon Tong $230
Mong Kok $240
Tsim Sha Tsui or Tsim Sha Tsui (East) $240
NEW TERRITORIES (by Urban Taxi- for pricing guidelines for other taxi operators, click here)
Clear Water Bay $315
Fanling MTR station $345
Ma On Shan Town Centre $300
Tai Po Market MTR station $310
NORTH LANTAU ISLAND (by Urban Taxi- for pricing guidelines for other taxi operators, click here)
Hong Kong Disneyland $125
Tung Chung MTR station $55
**Click here for more options on Hong Kong destinations via taxi to find their price guide**
- Baggage charge may be levied on every piece of baggage that is carried inside the baggage compartment, and every piece of baggage with total dimensions (length + width + height) exceeding 140cm that is carried inside the passenger compartment.
- In addition, there is no limit on the number of baggage carried by passengers inside a taxi in Hong Kong.
- A taxi can normally carry about three suitcases of regular size (1.7m length x 0.7m width x 0.5m height) in a baggage compartment.
AIRPORT BUS SERVICE
If sticking to a budget is more important than convenience, you’ll love the airport bus service into Kowloon and Hong Kong Island. These routes take more time but will bring you closer to your hotel or accommodation. (Be sure to know where your accommodation is located so you disembark at the right stop!) Popular bus services include route A21 (HK$33 for adults, HK$16.5 for children) which takes approx. 45-50 minutes into central Kowloon and route A11 (HK$40 for adults, HK$20 for children) which takes approx. 50-65 minutes into central areas of Hong Kong Island.
See this link for published bus routes and numbers from the airport to various locations around the city
Hotel coaches are available to take passengers to and from major hotels in Hong Kong. If you want to use this service, approach the following Commercial Services Counter in Arrival Hall B, Terminal 1.
Vigor Airport Shuttle Services Limited. Reservation/Enquiry + 852 2738 9500
Service counter +852 2186 6883
Location: Counter B01, Arrival Hall B, Terminal 1
Boarding Point: Coach station, Terminal 2
Transport Options- Getting Around Hong Kong
No matter where you want to go in Hong Kong, there’s public transport to get you there. Just use that Oyster card, and jump on.
At least once, take your kids on the tram line (HK$2) with rattling double-decker trams – it runs through Central and Causeway Bay. Trams take a little bit more brain power- you have to have some idea of where you are going before you jump on, and you need to keep watch so you get off at the right place. Watch the kids don’t poke their arms out of the tram windows… there’s not much space between the tram you are in, and the one coming from the other direction. Don’t risk a squashed limb!
Ferries run to various outlying island and also connect Central with Kowloon. One must-do “Hong Kong with Kids” activity is to take the famous Star Ferry – it’s an eight-minute ride across the harbour, with views all round. Tickets cost just HK$1.70 on the lower deck or HK$2.20 on the upper. (I know! SO cheap!)
Where to stay?
My best bit of advice as someone who has explored Hong Kong with kids in tow? Choose to stay somewhere relatively near a MTR station (Hong Kong Subway) or tram station. Transportation in Hong Kong is REALLY easy to follow, with some of the most up-to-date technology I’ve ever seen on the trains. (The neon signs on the trains with the flashing lights and arrows pointing in the direction of travel make it really easy for families to find their way around! The kids can help keep track too.) Train transport is quick, safe AND clean. I’ve heard the bus service is really good too but we didn’t ever use it. There’s really no need!
On Hong Kong Island, Causeway Bay is Hong Kong’s shopping mecca. It’s busy and hi-energy but SUPER FUN for the kids. Just be sure to keep them close by! There are people EVERYWHERE, and tonnes of beeping traffic too. Wanchai neighbourhood is next door (literally just a few kilometres up the road), and Central, the financial district, a little further past that. Anywhere close to the main thoroughfare of Hennessey Road and Queensway will be walkable for kids.
In Kowloon, the Tsim Sha Tsui area is popular with visitors and families. Mongkok is another winner – more ‘local’ in style for those like a neighbourly experience. The night markets are great fun too.
FAMILY FRIENDLY HOTELS
Try any one of these.
Vela Hong Kong
84-86 Morrison Hill Road, Causeway Bay
According to my expat friend, the hotel room we stayed in was MASSIVE for Hong Kong standards. In any case, nice hotel close to Times Square shopping mall and opposite Happy Valley Racecourse. Walking distance to catch a tram to Central or the Ferry Pier.
Ph: +852 3755 1733
Grand Hyatt Wan Chai
1 Harbour Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong
On the high end of the budget but has a roof top playground and pool!
Ph: +852 2588 1234
The Locals List
Causeway Bay- The Shopping District
- Google “Yee Woo street”, at the intersection with Great George Street and Jardine’s Bazaar, and find your way there. This is the hub.
- If you fancy braving a 13 storey department store with your kids, head to SOGO (on Yee Woo Road) – it’s Hong Kong’s biggest department store and a local institution. It’s not your bargain basement shop at all but dig deep enough, and you’ll find some goodies.
- Times Square on Russel Street is the main shopping mall and where you catch the train. This place is huge too, with 16 floors and 230 shops. We suggest heading straight up to the food on the upper floors. If you feed the hungry hoards, you might have a few minutes to browse your way down.
- Head to the Toy Library in the Hong Kong Central Library (2/F Hong Kong Central Library, 66 Causeway Road, Causeway Bay) – you must be sure to book in advance. (Some sessions include craft activities and games) It’s heaven for the kids – toys and more toys to play with while you rest your feet. The toys are a bit rough and tumble but who cares? It’s toys! Spend some time in the picture book section, and don’t forget to stop into the Book Lovers shop on the ground floor. Reservations: +852 2921 0386, you normally need to book one week in advance. For 1 -8 year olds.
- Looking for kids toys and clothes shops? Try “It’s Magical” in Causeway Bay for arts, crafts, stuff for imaginative play, science toys and more: Shop 209, 2/F Windsor House, 311 Gloucester Road, Causeway Bay or Jellybean is a boutique children’s store with on-trend toys, games, bedding and more. Style and design lovers -it’s one for you! Shop 229, Lee Gardens Two, 28 Yun Ping Road, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
Tsim Tsa Tsui
- Tsim Sha Tsui reminds me of Darling Harbour in Sydney- harbour views, wander along the Avenue of Stars and watch the boats go by, and an abundance of shops, markets and malls. Oh and museums! If you have time, visit them all.
- Nathan Road and the streets that run off it, is a must-do. They call this the “Golden Mile” but there’s plenty for the kids to see and do, that won’t cost you a small fortune. Keep an eye out for Bollywood-themed memorabilia and old school clothes tailors. Beware the touts spruiking their restaurants. For shopping, try iSQUARE, The One and K11.
- Kids will LOVE the Charlie Brown cafe on Cameron Road
- We’ve heard good things about the Kowloon Park and the Hong Kong Heritage Museum with it’s Children’s Discovery Gallery – there’s EIGHT play zones just for kids 4 -10 years old!
- Yes to the Gold Fish market (it’s not just fish. Beware for children like my son, who cried when I wouldn’t let him take a baby turtle home!) on Tung Choi street.
- Yes to the Bird Market and Garden on Yuen Po street. It’s not huge but the kids like it. You’ll walk by the Flower Market too.
- We visited the ‘Ladies market’ on Tung Choi street (next to Mong Kok station) at night, and that’s a sight too. Keep the kids close. It’s pretty hectic!
- If you want to save your pennies for fun, rather than forking out for extortionately overpriced food, stay away from all ‘convenient’ stores including City Super. Convenient can be another word for ‘rip off’. Instead find the big supermarkets and stock up there.
- In Hong Kong, the two main supermarkets are PARK N SHOP – common throughout Hong Kong and the larger ones are fine for the weekly shop and WELLCOME (they are all over the place).
- Locate a Park N Shop by clicking here. As you can see above, finding a Park N Shop in the main parts of town is pretty easy.
- Locate a Wellcome by clicking here.
- You must try a dim-sum restaurant with the kids. Find one where you can watch the chefs through the window while you wait. prepare where you’ll be presented with a hundred different steamed foods in bamboo baskets. With such a wide choice, it’s also a great place to have a family meal. Google ‘Family Friendly Dim Sum Restaurants in Hong Kong’ to find one near you. My pick?Din Tai Fung in Causeway Bay (stroller friendly with high chairs) Shop 3-9, G/F, 68 Yee Wo Street, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, +852 3160 8998,www.dintaifung.com.hk This was our FIRST EVER experience of Dim Sum and dumplings, and what a way to begin! My boys LOVED it, even when juice dribbled down their faces!
- On Hong Kong Island, you’ll find family-friendly eateries along the main road and in side streets. Do check out the food halls in the basements of most Department stores, especially near closing time as there are great specials to be had. Supermarkets too, sell lots of ‘ready-to-go’ meals if you can’t bear another meal in public!
- In Tsim Sha Tsui, Nathan Road is your one-stop shop for family friendly food finds – restaurants and quick eats.
- Do treat your kids to a Chinese dessert.. or three! There’s so many to try – custards, jellies, and egg tarts!. Try Tai Cheong Bakery at 35 Lyndhurst Terrace, Central, Central and Western District, Labmade – a speciality icecream shop, and for real local’s desserts, don’t miss Auntie Sweet at 13 Tsing Fung St, Causeway Bay for tofu desserts and green tea shakes.
- If you are stuck and wanting something familiar, try Pizza Express at Soho or Jollibees (Central).
- Trust your nose, AND the amount of bustling families in attendance. No families = no go.
Our Top 10 Things to Do in Hong Kong
1. Stroll around Downtown Hong Kong – (between Causeway Bay and Central) for food, shops and general mayhem!
2. Visit The Peak but only when it’s not cloudy!
3. Hands-on Fun at the Science Museu
4. Blast off to the Space Museum
5. Visit Hong Kong Disneyland for a dose of Mickey!
6. See Pandas (and plenty of other wildlife) at Ocean Park
7. Check out at least one Street Market- We suggest the Goldfish Market (not just Goldfish!)
8. Here’s another – the Bird Market on Yuen Po Street
9. Take a trip on the Star Ferry at least once
10. Visit the playground at the Hong Kong Zoo and Botanic Gardens – make your way to the top!
One could argue that the Hong Kong Chinese are not as ‘celebratory’ as mainland Chinese but they still manage a bit of festival fun.
- Chinese New Year is celebrated in late January or early February. It’s usually a four-day holiday for feasting and fun ( a bit like our Christmas/New Year time.) But like our Christmas break, it means tourists are plentiful. If you can bear being surrounded by people, there’s a fun spirit and plenty of activities to do, watch, and join in – parades, light shows, over-the-top street lighting, music. Fantastic!
- The Tin Hau Festival in late April or May is particular to Hong Kong, and this festival is all about the Fishermen. Think boats, decorated junks, and prayer time.
- The Dragon Boat Festival in early June. Watch local and international teams race each other at various locations around Hong Kong.
- The Hong Kong Shopping Festival – one for the shoppers! Visit in July. Think sales, discounts, late-night openings, and eating out – all with bright lights!
- The Moon Cake Festival in late September is almost as big as Chinese New Year, with processions, cultural shows, performances and dragon dances. It’s a political festival, commemorating the 14th century revolution and the sneaky way leaders snuck notes to one another, hidden in moon cakes. The perfect excuse to eat up and be merry!
- The Festival of Asian Arts in October or November is a major international event, with visiting troupes and artists from overseas. There is a whole variety of concerts, exhibitions and other shows.
- WinterFest is Hong Kong’s attempt to recreate a Wintery Christmas! Like many warm countries who strive to bring Santa and his merry ways to tropical outposts, this recreation is much loved by the people of Hong Kong and runs from late November to early January. Think Santa, Christmas trees, and Snow!
Getting Around Hong Kong – Travel Tips!
- Discount vouchers can be found in most tourist brochures.
- The Playtimes Mag is a fun HK resource for parents. Find your copy here
- For discounts on restaurants, Open Rice is the place to go
- Sign up to Deals Hong Kong before your trip. Click here for ‘kids and children’ deals and click here for ‘family deals’
- Carry wet wipes with you – they are not a ‘thing’ in Hong Kong but as we know, when you travel with kids, they are UBER-helpful!
Our Favourite Websites for Family Friendly Travel in Hong Kong (other than ours!)
The Inside Scoop
Do I need to pack a raincoat?
You never know! January and February are cold and rainy, March and April can be unpredictable. May is pleasant. Typhoon season is typically June to September. If your hair is not compatible with humidity (oh, the dreaded frizz), plan your adventure for another time. Our pick? October to December except for the fact it is peak season. Our last trip was in early March and it was delightful!
Hong Kong is 2 hours behind Eastern Standard Time and in the same time zone as Western Australia.
Hong Kong Dollar. For up-to-date currency conversions, click here
Traveller’s cheques and major credit cards are accepted at most hotels, shops and restaurants. Most banks are open 9am to 4:30pm weekdays and 9am to 12:30pm on Saturdays. ATMs are everywhere, with instructions in English.
It is usual to leave a 10% tip in restaurants, hairdressers and taxis. Hotels and high-end restaurants add a 10% service charge, but leaving your small change for the staff is good manners.
220 volts AC, with some outlets taking three round prongs and others two square prongs.
No vaccinations are required to enter Hong Kong but ask your GP what precautions are recommended. Hong Kong is clean and healthy. Be wary with the kids touching animals though. Keep those wet wipes handy!
Tap water is considered safe but we stick to bottled waters out of habit.
Passport and Visa Requirements
Australian passport holders don’t require a visa to enter Hong Kong as long as the passport is valid for 6 months from the date of departure, and the stay is no longer than 3 months. You will need a visa for mainland China if you are continuing there after Hong Kong.
Got a Question? Ask away in the comments and we’ll update this page with an answer!
Or email us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
We’d love to help you with useful tips for family friendly travel with kids in Hong Kong!