Cross-harbour passenger services (shortest route 7 to 10 minutes) are operated by Star Ferries (www.starferry.com.hk) between Hong Kong Island and Kowloon (sailing every 6 to 12 minutes). There are frequent passenger and vehicle services on other cross-harbour routes. Ferries and hydrofoils service the outlying islands, Peng Chau, Cheung Chau, Lamma Island and Lantau Island, including Discovery Bay. Ferry services are run by New World First Ferry Services (www.nwff.com.hk), the Hong Kong Kowloon Ferry (www.hkkf.com.hk) and Discovery Bay Transportation Services Ltd (www.hkri.com).
Tours of the harbour and to Aberdeen and Yau Ma Tei typhoon shelters are available by water-tour junks, and visits to outlying islands are possible by public ferry. Weekdays are the best time to go, since ferries tend to be very crowded at weekends. During the typhoon season (May to November), all ferry services may be suspended during bad weather.
Mass Transit Railway or MTR (www.mtr.com.hk), has nine lines: Kwun Tong, Tsuen Wan, Island, Tung Chung, Tseung Kwan O, East Rail, West Rail, Ma On Shan and Disneyland resort, which provides a cross-harbour line. It is more expensive than the ferry, but quicker, particularly for those travelling further into Kowloon than Tsim Shat Sui or to Lantau Island. Trains run between 6 am-1 am. The Airport Express runs from the airport to Kowloon and Hong Kong Island; journey time 28 minutes.
For visitors staying for a week or more it is worth getting an Octopus Card, an electronic ticket from which the cost of the journey is automatically deducted when it is placed on a sensor. The card may be used on MTR services, the Kowloon-Canton Railway, major bus routes, trams, minibuses and some ferries. The Airport Express Tourist Octopus Card is valid for three days, entitling passengers to two single Airport Express journeys and 3 days of unlimited travel by MTR.
The Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation or KCRC (www.kcrc.com), has 13 stations within Hong Kong. KCRC also runs the Light Rail which connects the northwest new territories Tuen Mun and Yuen Long.
Unlike mainland China, traffic in Hong Kong drives on the left, a part of its British legacy. The road network is extensive and of high quality but often congested in central areas. Speed limits are 80 kph (50 mph) on highways and 50 kph (31 mph) in urban areas. Traffic rules are enforced seriously and penalty for breaking rules can be severe. Signs are written in both Chinese and English.
The Octopus Card can be used on buses. Routes run throughout the territory, with cross-harbour routes via the tunnels. Air-conditioned coaches operate along certain Hong Kong and Kowloon routes. Final destinations are marked clearly in Chinese and English. Bus services covering Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and the New Territories are operated by Kowloon Motor Bus (www.kmb.com.hk), New World First Bus (www.nwfb.com.hk) and Citybus.
Minibuses can pick up and stop on request except at regular bus stops and other restricted areas. Octopus Cards are accepted.
The Octopus Card can be used on trams. They are only available on Hong Kong Island, running from Kennedy Town to Shau Kei Wan (via Happy Valley racecourse). Peak Tram on Hong Kong Island has operated since 1888 and is a cable tramway to the upper terminus on Victoria Peak; Octopus Cards accepted.
These are plentiful in Hong Kong and Kowloon. There is an extra charge for the Cross Harbour Tunnel. Red taxis serve Hong Kong Island except Tung Chung Road and the south side of Lantau Island, green ones the rural areas of the New Territories, and blue ones Lantau Island. All taxis operate to and from Hong Kong International Airport. Maxicabs, however, operate on fixed routes without fixed stops. Many drivers speak a little English, but it is wise to get your destination written in Chinese characters. A small tip is expected.
A wide selection of self-drive and chauffeur-driven cars are available, although car rental is not that popular in Hong Kong.
Documentation: An International Driving Permit is recommended, although not legally required. A valid national licence is accepted for up to 12 months. The minimum age is 18 years. Third party insurance is compulsory.