Will I need to drive my own vehicle to conduct my everyday life (work/school/shopping) at my destination?
No. Hong Kong is one of the easiest places to NOT own a vehicle. The main areas are compact and easily accessible by public transport. The further areas - including south of HK Island and New Territories - are still accessible by public transport. But of course, a private vehicle makes it easier to get around, especially if you live on the southside and in the New Territories (N.T.).
In some larger housing developments, there are scheduled private buses that go to and from Central. Those who own cars and work in Central do not normally drive to work if they live in areas where public transport is available, as parking can be very expensive.
How can I legally drive a vehicle in this city?
To convert a present driver's license into a HK one is a relatively easy process. For most nationalities, for a 10-year license, you just need to complete an application form and submit along with other required documents which are listed on HK Transportation Department here.
In order to apply for full driving license without a test, you would need to hold an overseas license issued by one of the countries listed here.
Minimum driving age is 18 years.
What side of the road do people drive on?
On the left.
Describe typical public transportation an expat might use to get around the city.
Taxis - These are popular and can be found everywhere. There are three types of taxis that operate in Hong Kong: Urban (red), New Territories (green) and Lantau (blue), and their fees are not the same. The flag fall fare for urban taxis start at HK$24 for the first 2km and increases at the rate of HK$1.7 per 0.2km and/or HK$1.6 per minute of waiting time. New Territories taxis fall fare starts at HK$20.50 and Lantau taxis at HK$19.
Fees for baggage, pets, pre-booking, tunnels and tolls will be added if necessary. Please visit the Transport Department website for details.
- MTR - It's easy to get around with this train service. It serves the important areas of the northern part of HK Island, the Kowloon peninsula and the southern New Territories quite well.
- Buses - Routes are numbered and fares decrease as buses near the end of their routes.
- Mini-buses (red and green) - Unless you read Chinese, stick with the green ones. They take a maximum of 16 people, seated. Like regular buses, they go on a set route and have set fares. But they differ from buses in that they can be flagged down at any point of the route. Similarly, should you want to get off, just tell the driver. For example, if you live at 77 Robinson Road, just raise your voice a few blocks before your home and say 'Chat-sap-chat' (77 in Cantonese) and the driver will respond by raising his arm and stop at the closest convenient point.
- Trams - Trams run on electricity and are easy to master, as tracks are seen on the roads. At affordable rate per journey regardless of length, it's also a very cheap way to go. The tram line runs in an east-west direction along the north of the island. Drawbacks include no air conditioning, noise and slow speed. Also note that there is a separate tram specifically for the Peak for tourists.
- Ferries - The famous Star ferries run between Central/Wanchai and Tsim Sha Tsui. Tickets range from HK$2.3 to HK$6.3 per trip.
- Light rail - Serving the northwestern New Territories, within Tuen Mun District and Yuen Long District.
Could an expat also use public transportation to get out of the city—to surrounding towns, recreation areas or suburbs? If so, list options.
- East Railway - Train service to the New Territories and mainland China
- West Railway - Travel to districts in New Territories West and Kowloon West
- Ferries - These go to several outlying islands, China and Macau for recreation. Residents of the outlying islands also use them for the daily commute.
- Buses/mini-buses - Travel to scenic parts of the New Territories where walks and treks start/end.
- The Airport Express Stations on Hong Kong Island and Kowloon have a network of airport buses that drop off at all the major hotels.
- Cross border coaches - Travel between Mainland and Hong Kong via the Lok Ma Chau Control Point.
In regards to transportation, are there any safety issues I should be aware of?
The usual safety regulations of any big city apply. Also, driving should be avoided during typhoon and rainstorm warnings.
Where do I buy tickets/tokens/etc. for the major public transportation?
You can purchse Octopus cards at MTR stations and top up at MTR stations, Mannings, Watsons and 7-Eleven/Circle-K convenience stores. See the Money section for more information.
Crown Relocations has made every effort to present accurate information. However, regulations, rates and other variables are subject to change and Crown Relocations cannot accept responsibility for the errors that might result. Should you have any questions or need additional information, please contact your local Crown representative.