Hong Kong is just 3h 45 min away from Singapore, and is one of the more popular destinations with Singaporeans. As the HKD exchange rate is tied to the USD’s, SGD 1 gets you HKD 6.2, which is a pretty good deal before the USD starts to rise against the SGD. Not to mention that there are so many budget airlines such as Scoot, Jetstar Asia, Tiger Airways that fly regularly to Hong Kong. Use a search engine such as Cheaptickets or Zuji to compare prices and hunt down the cheapest ticket to suit your timing. Whether this is your first trip to Hong Kong or your return visit, this article will teach you a couple of tricks to save money on your next trip.
1. Where should you stay?
Hong Kong is divided into many small islands, and most tourists will stay either on Kowloon or Hong Kong Island. Each has its charm and despite being separated by a body of water, there is easy access to both sides either by the Star Ferry or the MTR (which is equivalent to our MRT).
Talking about sheer cost alone, the prices of accomodation is much lower on the Kowloon side versus those on Hong Kong Island. And of those, the further north you head, such as Mong Kok, Jordan or Yau Ma Tei, the prices get much lower as compared to those on Tsim Sha Tsui. Tsim Sha Tsui is where the majority of the shopping centres are located, but with the MTR, so long as you stay near the train station, travelling should not be much of a hassle! However, if you are travelling to HK for business, then Hong Kong Island may be a better choice since the financial hub is located here. Central and Admiralty would be the more pricey locations, but move away towards the peripheries such as Wan Chai and Causeway Bay and you can find some pretty good accomodation at a lower cost. If you are into parties, clubbing and shopping, then look for a hotel in Central area, which is within walking distance to Lan Kwai Fong or SOHO.
Accomodation in Hong Kong is definitely not cheap and will probably take up a significant amount from your budget, so select your accomodation wisely. The prices can range from HKD 200 per night (hostel) to HKD 36000 per night in a fancy 5 star hotel. For budget conscious travellers who do not want to stay in hostels, do consider Airbnb where people rent out their homes or bedrooms for additional revenue. There are many other similar websites in the market, but Airbnb is one of the pioneers and is thus reputable and popular. Remember to communicate with the host first and check out reviews by fellow travellors before you book! Get a SGD$31 credit off your first booking if you sign up through this link here.
2. How to get from Hong Kong International Airport to your destination There is an option of either bus or train.
a) Bus or Bus + MTR
Unfortunately, there are only public buses that connect you from the Airport to other parts in Hong Kong. For a full list of bus services, refer to the HK Airport website here. A good option to get to central Hong Kong is to take bus S1 from the airport to the Tung Chung MTR station (HKD$3.50) and change to the Tung Chung underground line (yellow) for a cheaper ride to the city (Kowloon HKD$15.80 with Octupus card 27 min, Hong Kong HKD$21 with Octupus card, 30min). Note that the MTR system has luggage restrictions, but more practically if you have bulky luggage you might find it tricky to use the MTR after a long-haul flight. Technically, this line should not be crowded and there should be seats on the train to city area. Not to mention that this option is cheaper than the airport express train. Check out the fare prices as well as travel time here if you are interested in this option.
b) Airport Express Train Looking at the map above, the airport express line is denoted in dark green and roughly follows the same course as the yellow Tung Chung line as mentioned above. However, the difference in price is quite significant, and there are a few reasons why. Once you pass through the immigration gates, you will be able to see the airport express train station which is on the same level. For a fuss-free ride, just hop-on and get to Hong Kong station in 24min on the Express train which is spacious and usually not full. There is a dedicated luggage area beside the train doors.
If you are travelling in 2s or more, purchase the train tickets from the staff at the ticket counter at the airport express station. For Airport-Kowloon route, it can be as cheap as $55 per way per person if you are travelling in a group of 4. As Hong Kong Island is slightly further away from the Airport, there is an additional 3 minutes of travel time and of course the cost is slightly higher as well. The promotion T&C can be reviewed here.
If you are travelling on your own, do not worry as you have another option which is to purchase a round trip ticket online from here. Apart from the lower price online, you are eligible for Asian Miles as well! There is another option of getting the 3 day unlimited train pass as well (HK $285 with a $50 deposit), but I think it is really hard to benefit from it unless you can spend more than HK$64 on public transport in 3 days (or even more if you can get the 4-to-travel one way pass)
After you get off from the train at your stop, there is a complimentary airport express shuttle bus service that will bring you direct to your hotel if it is on the list here. If not, look for the nearest one near your accomodation, hop on and hop off to minimise walking!
3. Need GPS or need to whatspp and check your facebook? Buy a local SIM Card
The Singapore telcos offer roaming services for SGD15 per day but seriously, this is quite tough to swallow when there are cheaper alternatives around. At just HKD$69, you can purchase a 5-day pass which comes with 1.5GB of data. Need more data? Get the 5GB 8 Day Pass for HKD$96. Not to mention that it comes with HKD25 of value for local or international calls. There are various sizes – normal, micro and nano SIM cards, so look around at different stores if you can’t find one initially. Get hold of the Discover Hong Kong Tourist SIM Card at major newsstands, 7-11, Circle K or VanGo convenience stores, over 60 PCCW shops, and the HKTB’s Kowloon Visitor Centre at the Star Ferry Concourse in Tsim Sha Tsui.
4. Public transport in HK
a) Bus & train – Get an Octupus Card! If you have not purchased an Octupus card by now, you should purchase one since the train and bus fares are cheaper. It works exactly like our Ez-link card, and is accepted in convenience stores as well. Although you need to pay HKD$50 for deposit, this is fully refundable anytime and the card is valid for a good 3 years from the last top-up!
Apart from being a cheap means for local communters to get across the Victoria Harbour, the Ferry Crossing is also a must-do for all tourists. From Wan Chai, it is a flat fare of HKD2.50 on weekdays and HKD 3.40 on weekends, whereas from Central to TST, it is the same for upper desk but a lower cost of HKD 2 for weekdays and HKD 2.80 for weekends.
The 6 main routes are:
|Shau Kei Wan||Western Market|
|Shau Kei Wan||Happy Valley|
|North Point||Shek Tong Tsui|
|Causeway Bay||Shek Tong Tsui|
|Happy Valley||Kennedy Town|
|Shau Kei Wan||Kennedy Town|
– See more at: http://www.hktramways.com/en/tramservice/schedulefare.html
At just HKD 2.30 per trip, this is definitely much cheaper than the MTR and offers an excellent mode of transport where you can enjoy the sights and have many photo moments.
July is the start of the Hong Kong Summer Sale so if you are heading there soon, happy shopping! Feel free to comment below if you have other tips on how to save money on travelling!