Traveling to Hong Kong
I travelled to Hong Kong for Business two weeks ago. I had to quickly sort out everything at the last minute. I am going to share my tips, so you don’t have to search through multiple websites like I did.
We are glued to our phones these days. I don’t know anyone who can go a week without having their phones on them. I need to be contactable on my Personal Phone number for work, but did I need to make calls, msg or use data using that phone number. The answer is no. So I found my old Iphone 5 and decided I would get a local sim and use it to make calls, msgs and use data. I would have my other phone purely if someone tried to contact me.
After looking online I found that Hong Kong offers a Tourist Sim Card and it’s perfect. You can get a 5-day or 8-day sim card. I choose the 8 day as I was staying for 8 days. The 8 day sim card cost $118 HKD (about $23 AUS). With it I got 5GB of data at 4G fast speeds and $48 HKD Pre-loaded for sms and calls. That is more than enough for 8 days in Hong Kong. If you did need more though you can easily recharge online.
After I cleared immigration at Hong Kong International Airport I walked straight to a phone shop called 1010 in the terminal. I bought the sim with my credit card. They opened up the sim tray, put the sim in for me and made sure it was working. I didn’t have to register or anything. The only thing to know is it would no longer work after 8 days.
I was there for 8 days using the phone constantly and I never had to recharge.
Travel card (Octupus)
If you are going around Hong Kong you will need to take some form of transport. The Octupus card is like our Opal Card on steroids. You can use it on all forms of transport Train, Bus, Ferry, Trams etc. Note you can’t use it in Taxis. You can also use it to buy things at vending machines and many stores. It’s almost like a local debit card.
After you get the Sim Card from the phone store head over to the MTR customer service desk in the Terminal and Buy yourself an Ocutpus Card. The minimum is $50 HKD deposit you get this when you return the card back at the terminal when you leave Hong Kong. Plus $100 HKD Balance. The train from Airport to Hong Kong Island is $100 HKD. I recommend putting $500 HKD (about $100 AUS) + $50 HKD Deposit. You won’t use all that credit (you get back any credit you don’t use when you return it), but you will be able to travel on any form of transport and will look like a local.
Like Opal you will see your balance when you swipe your card and if you do need more credit you can recharge at any station or any seven eleven.
Unfortunately taxis are a bit of a nightmare in Hong Kong. All the taxis I took didn’t speak any English and I wasn’t 100% sure I would get to me destination. I much preferred taking the subway and other forms of transport. If you do take a taxi please remember the following tips to avoid being scammed.
- Make sure you have enough cash. Taxis only take cash.
- When you pay ask for a receipt. Taxis are required to give them.
- Make sure the taxi driver turns on the meter straight away and it is set to 22 HKD. (Some drivers don’t put on the meter or start it at a higher number)
- Get an estimate of the journey from the hotel or other people you trust. You will probably pay a little more, but at least you know you are not being taken to the cleaners.
- Use Google maps on your phone with the local sim you bought at the airport. As a last resort you can point where you want to go and you can see if they are taking you the right way. (Some drivers take long detours to increase the fares)
- If they are clearly scamming you tell them to let you out or to take you to a police station. Police will take your side over a driver. There have been high profile stories of travellers being scammed and they are trying to prevent this behaviour.
Those are my tips from my business trip. Any questions feel free to contact me.