Average costs in Hong Kong
Stay – If there is one thing that is a bit expensive in Hong Kong, it usually is the overnight stays. But to be honest, I don’t think it’s that bad either. Especially if you book a little in advance.
Of course there are possibilities for all budgets.
A hostel is the cheapest option. If you don’t mind sharing your room with other adventurous tourists, you can go to Hong Kong for €10 to €20 ($11 to $22) a night. A budget (single) room starts at €20 ($22) per night.
Do you prefer a bit more luxury when you travel? Three stars are already possible from €65 per night. Four stars cost between €80 ($90) and €100+ ($111+) and more stars will cost you even more of course.
Depending on the location and the view from your hotel you often pay more. A fantastic view over the harbour quickly costs more than €200+ ($225+) per night (but there are of course exceptions, so always be on the lookout for deals!).
Agoda is the most used website in Asia to book accommodations. You can of course always compare with Booking.
Eat – Hong Kong is a paradise for foodies. This city is a melting pot of cultures and countries and because of that you’ll find many speciality dishes here.
I recommend focusing on the local cuisine. You’ll find dozens of dirt-cheap Michelin restaurants in this city, which offer delicious noodles, or serve divine Dim Sum. For noodles you often pay no more than HK$50, for one Dim Sum dish expect to pay between HK$15 and HK$50 (Three to four are usually more than enough to be completely full).
Transport – Hong Kong is far too big to do everything on foot, but luckily you can always count on the excellent public transport. Buses, subways and trains take you to even the most remote spots on the island. It’ll mainly be the metro you use. A single ticket costs between HK$5.50 and HK$20. Quite cheap if you ask me!
You can also choose to purchase an Octopus card. You recharge this electronic card with whatever amount you want, and with it you can easily interchange from one kind of public transport to another. Moreover, you can also use this card in many shops as a convenient payment option (and also in Macau). Handy!
If you want to take the Star Ferry ferry (certainly do so for the beautiful views over Hong Kong harbour!), It’ll cost you HK$3.7 per person.
Taxis aren’t very expensive, but a lot more expensive than public transport. From Central to Tsim Sha Tsui (the best place to spend your evenings and nights!) you’ll pay about HK$100 (at night).
Flights – Cathay Pacific has direct flights from all over the world to the international airport of Hong Kong. They fly in four different classes: economy, premium economy, business and first class. Since it’s often a very long flight, I recommend to treat yourself to a tad more comfort and to opt for a premium economy experience. If you’re curious about Premium Economy then make sure to read my own experience here.
Tours and excursions – Exploring the city is mostly free, but if you also want to enjoy beautiful views or boat trips you have to book tickets or tours. You can book these online through websites such as GetYourGuide or Viator.
For example, the Ngong Ping 360 Cable Car costs +/- $30 / €25 per person. A skip-the-line ticket (recommended!) for the Victoria Peak Tram costs about $45 / €40 and a boat trip on Victoria Harbour can be arranged for less than $22 / €20 per person.
Would you like to visit Disneyland Hong Kong? Buy your tickets online for approximately €90 per person.
Saving money in Hong Kong
Make use of public transport – Taxis aren’t expensive, but you can’t exactly call them cheap either. Public transport is excellent in this big city. You literally have a subway ride every two minutes that can take you to your next destination in high speed.
Take the airport bus instead of the Airport Express – The Airport Express will take you to your final destination in no time, but it costs quite a lot of money (HK$115 – especially when compared to regular public transport). By bus you can get to the city center much cheaper, but it takes some time. Another tip: choose a shared transfer from / to the airport; it costs just as much (or even cheaper) compared to the Airport Express but you’ll be dropped off or picked up right outside your hotel. Believe me: strolling around with heavy bags in the humid climate of Hong Kong is not so much fun!
Buy a local sim card – Are you addicted to mobile data? Hong Kong has special sim cards (with data) for tourists. For HK$118 you can buy a ticket that is valid for eight days, for HK$88 you can update your social media for five days.
Buying souvenirs at markets? Haggle! – In Hong Kong, the price is always clear because of the price tags… Except on the many street markets. Here you can easily save a few Hong Kong dollars by haggling with the shop owners.
Eat local – Street food, Dim Sum and noodles are very tasty in HK and they are a cheap eat as well. European or American dishes can be found here too of course, but they are much more expensive. Did you know that in Hong Kong you can also find the cheapest restaurant with a Michelin star? And it really is cheap! For less than ten euros you are stuffed with divine food.
Save your museum visits until Wednesdays – On these days almost all museums in Hong Kong are free to visit! However, the queues can get very long… So keep that in mind!
Things to do in Hong Kong
There is so much to do in Hong Kong. With a weekend you certainly don’t have enough time to enjoy this melting pot. A more detailed article about all things to do in Hong Kong can be found here. But below I also sum up a few of the highlights of this giant city:
Traditional Victoria Harbour cruise – Victoria Harbour is beautiful when you see it from on land, but the views gets even more impressive from a boat. Book a tour with a traditional junk boat from Dukling, because these are without a doubt the most beautiful ships that sail around the harbour.
Stuff yourself with Dim Sum – One thing that everyone should eat in Hong Kong is Dim Sum. Fantastic snacks (a sort of tapas) that always make you crave more. Be sure to visit Tim Ho wan (the cheapest Michelin star restaurant in the world) and Tum Cha (very beautiful Dim Sum!). I personally recommend the ‘BBQ Pork Buns’ and the ‘Salted Egg yolk (or custard) bun’. They truly are heavenly!
Visit the temples – Although Hong Kong is largely made up of modern high-rise buildings, there’s also a lot of space for tradition. Stun your nostrils because of the incense or be charmed by the beautiful architecture of the beautiful temples. For me the most beautiful temples were Wong Tai Sin, Man Mo and the Monastery of the Ten Thousand Buddhas.
Get lost in the strangest streets – In the lively center of Hong Kong you sometimes find quite the peculiar street… A road with only pet shops (and mainly fish), a market that is occupied by thousands of noisy birds or a street full of strange Chinese herbs. You can find it all in Hong Kong!
Wander around in the evening – My favorite time to explore Hong Kong is when the sun goes down. Once the flashy neon lights start to flicker on, the city gets a complete metamorphosis. Everyone seems to come out at the same time (and it gets even busier!!!) and because of this blissful hustle and bustle you don’t know where to look first.
Visit Macau for a day – Why not visit two countries in one trip? Macau is located just sixty kilometers from Hong Kong and can be easily reached by ferry.
Sky100 viewing platform – Pay a visit to the tenth highest viewing platform in the world! Enjoy a 360° view over this sparkling city. I think this is the best view you can get over Hong Kong. Try to go just before sunset. That way you can see the city at its most beautiful.
Lion Rock Head – If you’re as fond of views as I am, this place is a must-do too! After a rather tiring hike, you arrive at a fantastic viewpoint just outside the city. From here you get a dazzlingly beautiful overview of the hundreds of skyscrapers of Hong Kong. Impressive!
Lantau Island – Hong Kong consists of many different islands and many of them can also be easily reached by public transport. I really liked Lantau Island. Be sure to pay a visit to the Tian Tian Buddha, take a ride on the cable car (and opt for the crystal cabin!) and visit the authentic fishing village of Tai O.
Things to avoid in Hong Kong
Going in the wrong season – Don’t go to Hong Kong in the summer. Stormy weather (typhoons!) ravages this area almost non-stop, and believe me … That doesn’t exactly give you a holiday feeling! From September to March the weather here is almost always fantastic (but there are always exceptions, of course).
Getting annoyed because of rude people – Hong Kong has a completely different culture compared to Europe, the Americas or Oceania. What is considered unacceptable to us is sometimes quite normal in Hong Kong (or vice versa). Go with the flow and don’t get worked up too much. Sometimes it’s very funny to get to know such a different culture!
Don’t just go to Hong Kong island – This is perhaps the island where you’ll spend the most time but there is also a lot to see and do on the other islands of Hong Kong. Let yourself be surprised by the beautiful nature and paradise beaches on one of the many other islands which are often very easily accessible with the public transport.
Don’t drink tap water – The tap water in Hong Kong is actually perfectly purified, but the problem is that many water pipes are outdated. As a result, it’s not always safe to drink water directly from the faucet. You can buy bottles of water for about HK$10 each.
Having too little time – I’ve been in Hong Kong for seven days and I still had to make a lot of choices. Hong Kong is enormously gigantic huge. There is so much to see and do that you need at least a week to be able to see and experience everything (in a relaxed way). You’ll not get bored easily in this metropolis!
Forgetting your passport when visiting Macao – To enter Hong Kong you need your international passport, but if you want to visit Macao you shouldn’t forget to take that same passport with you as well. I must reluctantly admit that I had forgotten my international passport in my hotel and that I had to go all the way back to pick it up before I could jump on the ferry to Macau…
Renting a car in Hong Kong – If you think you need a car in Hong Kong: think again! It’s expensive, inconvenient (the traffic is insane!) and public transport is actually a lot faster.