Hong Kong Tours | The Octopus Card | absolutely essential in Hong Kong

It really does take away all the hassle of getting around on one of my Private Tours of Hong Kong using public transport

Octopus card options

Buy an Octopus Card. For Londoners, the Octopus Card is basically what the Oyster Card should be, but isn't.   They are essential in Hong Kong. You can use them for all major  transport options (except taxi’s and yellow / red roof mini buses) and use them to make purchases in all Convenience Stores including 7 - 11's and Circle K, Supermarkets, Starbucks, McDonalds and local franchises such  as Watsons and Mannings. 

One of these is essential for any visitor.

One of these is essential for any visitor.

On arrival purchase one at the local  MTR (metro) station or at the Airport Express Counter in the arrivals hall at the Airport and make sure your buy the one shown in the picture as these cover all transport options (see below) as opposed to the other cards on offer which only work on the MTR!

If you have kids under 11 and under then buy a child card and people over 65 can get the senior card allowing really cheap travel, you need to buy one card per person, you cannot use one card for 2 people!

Just for the record you can use them on the following transport options;

  • The MTR, our simply brilliant "underground train system"
  • The Buses (Citybus, KMB and NWFB) on Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and the New Territories including the Airport Buses into town
  • Green Roof Minibuses
  • The Peak Tram
  • The Star Ferry
  • Outlying Island Ferries
  • The Tram system on Hong Kong Island


  • at this point in time the Octopus Card is NOT accepted in our Taxi's
  • you can only buy the card in the MTR Stations at the Customer Service counters and they only accept cash and only HK$, you cannot use your credit card to buy an Octopus card

It will initially cost you HK$150 of which HK$50 is held as a deposit and is refundable  when you return the card, you can add value (in HK$) at convenience  stores such as 7 - 11 and Circle K and ALL MTR stations.

  • please note for the kids / senior card buy the basic card and add an additional HK$50 in value to the card

For the standard adult octopus card I would have a starting balance of HK$400 this should be sufficient for a 2/3 day stay.

You can add up to around  HK$900 onto them, and once you leave you can hand them back in at an MTR Station for a refund but beware: the limit on the card needs to be below HK$500 to get an instant cash refund otherwise you have to wait a week; and they do not have a system to refund you if you live overseas!

Try not to lose them! if you do it is pointless reporting the loss even if you had a large  balance as essentially anyone who finds the card can hand them in to get a refund.

...and last but not least, when you are done with them you return them at any MTR Station or the Airport Express Counter at the Airport and get back the HK$50 deposit and any remaining balance left on the card minus a HK$9 admin charge.

The card you should NOT buy

The MTR advertises an MTR Tourist pass which is good for one day and offers unlimited travel on the MTR Train system, sounds great.. however you can only use it on the train system so why bother, stick to the normal Octopus card

I do personal walking tours ofHong Kong, I am on the streets every day and I have a somewhat interesting perspective of this wonderful city I have called my home for well over 40 years. My private walking tours of Hong Kong are perfect for visitors who want a detailed overview of Hong Kong prior to exploring on their own and for people who are only here for a day or two who want to make the most of their limited time here.

Many clients book me for their first full day in Hong Kong, they get to see the best that Hong Kong has to offer + a crash course on our wonderful public transport system and then they go exploring for the rest of their stay armed with step by step instructions and recommendations from me....

...oh, and if you book a tour then you are booking a tour with me, I do not employ other guides.

Jamie's private walking tours of Hong Kong - no ordinary experience

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Posted on April 27, 2013 and filed under The Essentials.