If you plan on staying in Hong Kong for at least a few days, then it may be worth it buying an Octopus Card – a value stored smart card – for riding train, bus, ferry, tram and for payments in supermarkets convenience stores and food chains.
Most of the Hong Kong residents have such a card, because it is just so convenient.
You will surely use Hong Kong’s MTR train when touring Hong Kong. So buy the Octopus Card at any of the MTR train station ticketing offices.
Initially, you pay HK$150 for an adult card, with HK$50 as the deposit. When you leave Hong Kong and return the card, you can have your deposit back, as well as the remaining value on the card.
You can later add up to HK$1000 to the card. A machine for checking your card balance is available at each MTR station. The remaining value also shows on the small screen on the turnstile when you exit a station.
A convenient way to recharge the Octopus Card (besides using the ticketing office or the recharging machine at each of the MTR stations) is go to the conveneince stores 7 Eleven or Circle K, which are many in Hong Kong. Give the staff your card and tell them the amount of money you want to recharge (minimum HK$50), hand them the money, and it is done! You will get a receipt when the process is completed.
This is a brief post updating the scene of Hong Kong’s major mode of transportation – train.
Previously, Hong Kong’s train transport had two systems, that under the KCRC (Kowloon Canton Railway Corporation), which controlled the current East Rail line from Hung Hom to Lo Wu, and that under the MTRC (Mass Transit Railway Corporation), which was basically the city’s underground train system across Kowloon and Hong Kong Island.
Late last year, the two corporations merged to become the MTR. So now all the train stations in Hong Kong are called MTR stations, regardless of being underground or not.
Starting only a few days ago, with the bid to integrate the two systems, passengers can use one ticket for riding across different train lines, without going out of the station and going in again at some major transferal stations such as Kowloon Tong.
Starting early this month, the direct train service between Hong Kong and Shanghai/Beijing will use more modern trains. It is said the deluxe soft sleeper room has been upgraded to be like a mobile hotel, equipped with bathroom, TV with LCD high-definition monitor, sofa and wardrobe, not to mention its own air condition.
The Hong Kong MTR company (www.mtr.com.hk), which runs the service, is offering discounts on this occasion of new train introduction. If you buy the ticket in Hong Kong, you will have a 10% to 20% discount, depending on if it is a single-way or round-trip ticket. A one-way ticket for Deluxe Soft Sleeper, for instance, costs HK$1072 after discount. The offer is valid until the end of June this year.
The Beijing-Hong Kong Through Train and the Shanghai-Hong Kong Through Train operate on alternate days, taking about 24 & 20 hours respectively.