Apart from all the controversy surrounding Hong Kong, it is still a great place to visit if you’re planning a vacation abroad. The city brings together both Eastern and Western cultures, creating a truly unique place on Earth, surrounded by tall mountains and speckled with futuristic skyscrapers. Whether you’re looking for energetic nightlife or things to learn about a foreign culture, you will definitely find plenty of things to do in Hong Kong.
However, despite everything it has to offer, getting to Honk Kong can be quite expensive, especially when it comes to airline tickets. Do not worry though, as we have prepared for you a list of Top 10 Tips to Save Money on Hong Kong Airlines Tickets, as well as some general on how to save money on your trip to Hong Kong.
Book in advance
Whenever traveling abroad, it is generally a good idea to book and buy your flight tickets in advance. The prices are usually much higher when trying to buy your tickets, let’s say, a month before your departure. Instead, try to plan your trip as far back as possible, even a year in advance. This way you will save hundreds of dollars on the trip itself, allowing you to see and do more when finally in Honk Kong. Make sure you book not only the flight itself, but also the accommodations and all of the attractions you definitely want to see since most places offer huge discounts when booked in advance.
Do not use the Airport Express
Even though you might be tempted to use the Airport Express to reach the city of Hong Kong quicker, stop for a moment and calculate if it is really worth it. While the Airport Express will take you to the city in thirty minutes or less, it is definitely way too expensive for most travelers to afford. Instead, look for alternative ways to get to the city. You can always call a cab, but that is also quite expensive in Hong Kong. The best and cheapest way to get to the city proper is to use the buses which cruise between the airport and the city. You can check the full list of available busses online, on the airport’s website, or at the terminal. If you absolutely have to use Airport Express, make sure to book it online for a discount.
Get the Octopus Card
The Octopus Card is a very frequently used smart card in Hong Kong, made primarily for paying for transportation around the city. Whether you plan to use buses, metro or trams, the Octopus Card will net you a huge discount, and the longer you use it, the bigger the benefits get! The card itself costs HK$150, but you get an HK$100 deposit on the card from the get-go, so the price is really just HK$50, which amounts to about $6. You can then add further credit onto the card at every metro station, at most convenience stores like Circle-K or 7-Eleven, and even at McDonald’s (at which you can even pay with the card!). For maximum convenience, you can even recharge the Octopus Card with an online transfer.
Use the trams
While the MTR (metro) is usually the fastest of traversing the city, make sure to only use it if you’re in a hurry or are traveling over longer distances, since it is a bit expensive when compared to other means of public transportation. In all the other cases, it is preferable to use the Ding Ding Tram instead, which is not only much cheaper than the metro, but will also provide you with a picturesque view of the city as you travel through its busy streets. Moreover, it is a great opportunity to get in touch with the locals who also prefer to use trams, since they are not that much slower than the metro, have great coverage, and are way cheaper. When it comes to buses, you should usually stay away from those, as they tend to get stuck in heavy traffic quite often.
Look for accommodation in Kowloon
Being one of the regions of Hong Kong, Kowloon can be found between the Honk Kong island and the New Territories. Not only does it have very well-connected transportation between those three, but it is considerably cheaper, especially when it comes to accommodation, and since the land prices in Honk Kong are rising at an alarming rate, finding cheap accommodation will save you tons of money, and Kowloon has some of the cheapest prices in all of Hong Kong. Try to look for smaller guesthouses and assess the prices before you book, and, as with everything, always book in as much an advance as possible.
Choose Couchsurfing or Airbnb
While picking a grand hotel or a luxurious guesthouse may seem lucrative at first, considering the famous level of luxury of Honk Kong’s establishments, make sure to consider it thoroughly. With the prices on a steep increase, you can easily spend up to a thousand dollars per night for a quite mediocre hotel, and it only goes higher for the more renowned ones. Instead, why not look through Couchsurfing or Airbnb for a way cheaper alternative, which is usually more money-efficient than even the cheapest hotels in Hong Kong. Moreover, you get to spend some time with the locals who will be happy to share their knowledge of the city and give you some tips on how to save your money further and what to see while you’re there.
Avoid western food
If you have done at least a bit of research prior to going to Hong Kong, you must have already heard that western food is extremely overpriced in Hong Kong. When in a rush, choose a local fast-food chain like Maxims or Fairwood (you can also try McDonald’s if you’re looking for something a bit more western, but still at a reasonable price). If you’re looking for something a bit more sophisticated, noodle shops and tea restaurants are great places to go, both to try some of the local, eastern cuisine and to save some money. When ordering, make sure to get a set menu instead of individual dishes, since those are also usually way cheaper.
When browsing through small-time, flea market like stalls which are speckled all over Hong Kong, never buy anything at the price which is on the label. Similarly to how it is in the Middle East, you are expected to haggle when buying from a local trader, thus making the base prices insanely over-the-top. However, unlike in the Middle East, the locals in Honk Kong will not take offense at the lack of haggling - they will happily accept your money whenever you buy something at a high markup. The traders will often try and convince you that they do not understand English and will not accept a smaller price - ignore that, as it is a very frequent tourist trap used in Honk Kong.
Do not buy electronics from flea markets
Hong Kong is famous for its photos of numerous electronic stalls, filled with the newest technological advancements available on the market. While it may be tempting to get some electronic goodies when browsing through stalls near Nathan Road or around Tsim Sha Tsui, you should probably limit your electronic purchases to big chain shops. Even though the price may seem lucrative, Honk Kong is filled with bootleg electronics which look just like the original thing. Moreover, always check if what you buy works and is sealed, as locals sometimes try to trap tourists and get them to buy a used or broken product. For security reasons, limit your electronic shopping to places like Broadway, Fortress, or Citicall.
Visit Yau Ma Tei and Mong Kok
Before you stuff your wallet with money and head over to Nathan Road or Tsim Sha Tsui to go shopping at a local flea market, visit the night markets of Yau Ma Tei and Mong Kok first. Not only is it usually way cheaper there, but there is also a very wide variety of available products, unlike Nathan Road which is primarily filled with electronics and bootlegs. Whether you are looking for some fancy new clothes, cute socks with intricate designs, a new leather suitcase for all the souvenirs you’ve gotten on your trip, or some fancy tea, Yau Ma Tei and Mong Kok will definitely have you covered. And as always, remember to haggle or you are very prone to overpay!