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Public transport in Hong Kong is excellent. There are bus routes covering most of the island, frequent ferries between the islands making up the region (The Star Ferry connecting Kowloon to Hong Kong island is a 'must see'), trains into mainland China and the superb MTR underground railway.
If you are staying in Hong Kong for a few days, and you intend to use the MTR or other public vehicles as your primary mode of transportation, consider getting an "Octopus" card. It is ultra convenient, and saves you the trouble of carrying lots of coins around. There are various types of Octopus cards available, while Sold Tourist Octopus may be the best choice for tourists as it provides great convenience to you on both transportation and retail purchases during your stay in Hong Kong. This Octopus has some Hong Kong iconic landmarks featured on the card face, and you can easily get it from the major convenience stores within the airport or in the city at a cost of only HK$39. You do not have to pay any deposit and you can top up the Octopus at at any MTR station, convenience stores (7-11 etc), supermarkets, etc. to an amount of up to HK$1,000. , You can take it home as a souvenir after your trip and use it again when you travel to Hong Kong next time. Find out more here.
Meanwhile, you may also consider to get an On-loan Octopus with a HK$50 deposit. Just a reminder that there will be a refund handling fee of HK$9 if you return the On-loan Octopus less than 90 days from the date of issue. Find out more here.
The old double decked tramcars (locally referred to as the Ding-Ding) rattle slowly across Central for $HK2.30 (adult fee). Travelling from one end to the other, this is a great way to see life on the Island if not in a hurry. The tram is also useful for travelling just a couple of kilometres rather than walking along the miles of tunnels to get to the MTR. For short trips the tram is quicker than catching the train, with much less walking. One word of warning if you are tall - the roof on the tram is low and it can be a head-banging experience if you have to stand. Also, they can creep up on you quietly at night so beware of a speeding tram past 10pm.
There are a few bus routes that are worth seeing too. Route 973 travels from Tsim Sha Tsui, around Kowloon, crosses the harbour and winds around the coast of Hong Kong Island to Aberdeen, Repulse Bay and terminates at Stanley Market. Up top the double decker bus this is a truly spectacular trip.
Recommended bus routes in Hong Kong Island:
Hong Kong Island might not be big, but it is a godsend when it comes to route planning for buses. Almost everywhere is reachable by bus, and before tunnels and motorways were built, the only way to get from one side of the island to the other was by bus through the mountains or along the coast. Many of these bus routes have remained to this day, and as they are all cheap, safe, comfortable and have air-conditioning, they offer visitors the perfect opportunity to explore the beautiful and lesser-known parts of Hong Kong Island.
There are six bus routes which are highly recommended as they trundle through random hilly and seaside roads:
1) 14 - Sai Wan Ho to Stanley via Tai Tam Reservoir and Countryside Park.
Tai Tam is abosolutely beautiful when the sun is out, and the most exciting part is being on a double-decker bus on the narrowest two-way bridge imaginable, cutting through the reservoir.
2) 15 - Central Pier to The Peak.
The only bus route in Hong Kong which requires a bit of reverse driving. The views of the harbour and Happy Valley Racetrack are outstanding. You must sit on the upper-deck, and prepare to switch between the left and right-hand sides of the bus as it climbs uphill.
3) 23 - North Point to Pokfield Road via Causeway Bay, Wan Chai, Admiralty and Mid-levels.
This route goes along the tram line for most of its route, before swinging uphill at the Bank Of China via the American Embassy, Hong Kong Park and the Hong Kong Chief Executive's official residence.
4) 41A - North Point Ferry to Wah Fu Estate via Lai Tak Estate, Tai Hang and Wong Chuk Hang.
The sister route to 42, which also goes from North Point Ferry to Wah Fu Estate. The 42, however, goes through Aberdeen Tunnel, whilst 41A doesn't and spends almost its entire journey on the hills and some of the most beautiful apartments overlooking Victoria Harbour.
5) M47 - Wah Fu Estate to Hong Kong Station via Kennedy Town
Much like the 41A, this bus route avoids tunnels and trunk routes, and uses a lesser-travelled route to get to Central and Hong Kong Station.
6) 73 - Cyberport to Stanley via Aberdeen/Wah Fu Estate via Ocean Park, Repulse Bay and Deep Water Bay.
Make sure you sit on the right-hand side if you are going eastbound, and left-hand side for the westbound journey in order to see the sea.
7) H1 - Central (Star Ferry) to Pokfield Road via Old Central Police Station and Dried Seafood Street (Heritage Tour) .
One of the hop-on, hop-off sightseeing tour bus route in Hong Kong, which is operated by open-top double decker. The bus will bring you to a number of "old" Hong Kong attractions in the Western side of Hong Kong Island.
8) H2 - Central (Star Ferry) to Happy Valley Racecourse via HK Convention Centre and Causeway Bay (Metropolis Tour) .
Just like H1, this open top tour stop at HK Convention Centre, where HK Handover Ceremony was held, and Causeway Bay Shopping Area. It would be a wise decision to buy a One Day Pass on board which allow you to ride unlimited times on H1 and H2.
These eight routes take the less conventional roads to get to their destinations, which is what makes them interesting. Of the sextet, routes 14, 15 and 41A are amongst the most scenic in the Hong Kong as they wind through mountains and hills (and some very expensive houses), whilst M47, 23 and 73 take you along the coast along the east, south and west of the island; in other words, around the hills which populate the middle of Hong Kong Island. Last but not least, the two open top tours H1 and H2 guarantee you to have a unforgettable experience of traveling in the city.
You can start in Sai Wan Ho on the east of the Island (there is an MTR stop) to catch the number 14 bus bound for Stanley Fort. The trip takes about 35-40 minutes and you then alight at Stanley, catch the 73 bus bound for Cyperport at Stanley's bus station and get off at Wah Fu Estate, from where you can catch the M47 bus bound for Hong Kong MTR Station in Central. To complete the circle, you can either hop on the number 2 or 720 bus to get back to Sai Wan Ho. If you take the 720, then you will have travelled around the entire island without any overlapping. If you take the 2, you will get to see Hennessy Road and Causeway Bay again.
For the open top tour, hop-on the purple bus at Central (Star Ferry) and start your exciting tour. With the complimentary guide book, you can go to over 25 attractions along the two tours. Commentary video are available on the bus. Interchange between two routes can be done at the Star Ferry Terminus. It will be another experience of riding H2 at night, going through groups of signboard at Queen's Road East and viewing the night scenary of Victoria Harbour.
All less than HK$50, and journey time is less than five hours if you travel continuously.
See WikiTravel for more bus routes and detailed instructions