Hong Kong Travel Advice

Hong Kong is an incredible city filled with incredible sights and experiences; to get the most from your visit, do your research and plan well in advance.

Your accommodation should be your starting point – be it an affordable budget hotel or luxurious digs – there are a variety of choices available. Cathay Pacific offers flexible fares for all clients looking to visit Hong Kong.

1. Book your hotel well in advance

One of the key steps when traveling is booking your hotel well in advance. Doing this will save you a great deal of hassle during peak seasons, and also ensure you secure a great room at an acceptable price.

Studies have demonstrated that it can be more cost effective to book rooms 15 days in advance versus at the last minute, regardless of their price range (high-end hotels or mid/low range hotels).

Booking early with a Free Cancellation policy will ensure you find the best hotel deal, while enabling you to change or rebook as prices drop during your journey.

Book early to give yourself more time for trip planning. By researching available local attractions and events happening during your travel dates, booking early allows you to create a more tailored itinerary which makes exploring Hong Kong much more pleasurable.

Booking early increases your odds of finding availability at lower award rates at your chosen hotel, since revenue rates usually decrease as the date approaches while award rates usually stay the same or may increase slightly.

Booking early when using hotel loyalty programs to earn free nights is even more crucial, since doing so allows you to quickly accumulate points and take advantage of rewards nights as soon as they become available.

2. Take the Octopus card

The Octopus card provides a quick and convenient way of paying for public transportation in Hong Kong. By eliminating individual metro and bus tickets that can cost as much as HK$50 each, as well as offering discounted fares which could save money during your journey, the Octopus card makes paying public transit easier than ever.

Octopus cards can also be used for payments other than transport, such as purchasing snacks and drinks in convenience stores and restaurants as well as admission into many attractions in the city.

As soon as you arrive in Hong Kong, Octopus cards can be purchased at any MTR station or Airport Express ticket office; or from certain convenience stores like 7-Eleven and Circle K.

Octopus cards can also be purchased in mainland China, Macau, and Singapore; however their availability can be limited and it is wise to be familiar with all rules before travelling there.

Tourist Octopus cards can be purchased at various convenience stores such as 7-Eleven and Circle K, China Travel Service (CTS) as well as Ctrip.com. Alternatively, these cards can also be ordered online through Ctrip.

Standard adult Octopuses cost HK$150 upfront; this cost covers initial stored value of $100 and refundable deposit of HK$50.

Reload it with additional value at any Authorised Add Value Service Provider such as MTR/Airport Express Customer Service Centers or convenience stores within Hong Kong.

Your Octopus Card can also be loaded up using any UnionPay ATM and its remaining balance can be monitored on its mobile app. Once no longer needed, simply return it at any of our Service Points for a full refund of its deposit as well as any remaining value.

3. Take a taxi

Hong Kong’s taxis are vibrant and playful, yet safe and reliable modes of travel around the city. The government regulates their trade and sets fares; there are three categories of cabs: red (urban), green (New Territories) and blue (Lantau Island).

Red taxis are the go-to choice in urban Hong Kong, Kowloon and parts of the New Territories, being easily available both on the streets as well as from hotel concierges.

Taxis can often be found near public transport hubs; however, for your own safety it is a wise idea to reserve one in advance so as to be certain of securing one and making sure there will be enough space.

Taxis in Hong Kong are subject to stringent government regulation, and must carry the correct meter. Furthermore, their dashboard should contain an identification sign with their licence number; failing which they could lose their right to operate legally within Hong Kong.

If you plan to travel frequently throughout Hong Kong, investing in either a rental car or personal car could prove highly advantageous and save both time and money in the long run. These cars provide convenient transport solutions while saving both time and money over time.

Hong Kong offers many taxis on its streets and hotel concierge desks, making hailing one a simple process. Additionally, you may ask them to contact a reputable company on your behalf.

Before getting in a cab, it is essential that you know your destination; many drivers do not speak English well and it may be difficult for them to comprehend where you want to go. Write your destination down in Chinese characters or provide the cabbie with a card bearing your hotel’s name if this may help them better.

4. Don’t drink the tap water

If traveling to Hong Kong, it may be wise to forgo drinking tap water due to its potentially unhealthy chemicals and bacteria content, which could potentially pose severe health issues including liver failure, cancer, arthritis and Alzheimer’s.

For your own health’s sake, purchase bottled water – even though it might cost more, drinking this way is better for your wellbeing than drinking tap water.

Filtration can also help rid tap water of harmful bacteria and chemicals, providing cleaner drinking water for you and your family. There is an assortment of water filters to choose from; select one which ensures maximum cleanliness for maximum effectiveness.

Reasons not to drink tap water include belief by Chinese that unboiled water contains parasites such as Schistosomasis and Leptospirosis that could pose potential threats.

If you want to play it safe, I would advise purchasing and using a high quality filtered water bottle in place of the tap water in your hotel room or cafe. As an alternative option, consider carrying around a bottle of boiled water for use during your visit.

Hong Kong’s drinking water is widely recognized for being among the cleanest in the world; however, 110 samples collected in urban locations throughout Hong Kong from both public and private properties recently revealed microplastic pollution.

Hong Kong boasts an advanced water treatment system which effectively filters out most pollutants; however, you should keep in mind that even this process cannot eliminate all microplastics, and thus may wish to purchase a filter while in Hong Kong.

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