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MTR Tourist Day Pass & Octopus card...ATM card

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Hi,

We will be going to Hong Kong in May and plan to Visit Disneyland (I understand that I can get a discount with the Octopus Card) and traveling one way to the HK airport. There will be two of us so should we both have the Octopus card + Tourist Day Pass? We will be in HK for 5 days. We also plan to visit the big Budda plus take "A Symphony of Lights Harbour Cruise." Our hotel, Cosmo, also has a free shuttle to many places. If we buy the Tourist Day Pass hour may would you buy and would you buy any in advance (they offer a discount price on there web site)?

Any problems using a US ATM card to withdraw money?

We can purchase the Tourist Day Pass & Octopus card at the airport?

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    With 5 days in Hong Kong, you'll want to have an Octopus card for each for you for all the various public transports, as well as to use in convenient stores. Trust me, but you're not going to use the hotel shuttle much.

    As for the tourist card, the Tourist Day Pass, it MAY make sense for the day you're traveling to Disneyland. One way from Wan Chai (near your hotel) to Disney is HK$21.2 with the Octopus, so roundtrip is $42.4. But even when you buy your daypass online, it's still HK$52. So, you still need to ride another $10 of MTR during that 24-hour period to break even. And I doubt you're going to save much even if you try to ride as much MTR as possible. In my opinion, discount for getting online is miniscule. HK$3 is US$0.40.

    Yes, you can get an Octopus card or Tourist Day Pass at the airport or any MTR station. You'll need to show your passport to get the Tourist Day Pass. At the airport, there is one big circular MTR/Airport Express service counter just across from either customs exit. Octopus card with cash only.

    No issue with using a US ATM card to get money in HK, from ATM machines of one of the major banks there. Standard Chartered and Citibank have some in the arrivals hall; Bank of China and HSBC elsewhere in the airport. Don't use Travelex's as they likely have fees tagged on. You will only pay fees from your own US bank and not one of the major banks in HK in using their ATMs.

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    If you are bying an Octopus card, you don’t need any other card. The Octopus card will let you go to Disney via the subway. It will also let you use every other form of transporation in Hong Kong. As you will be in town 5 days, and if you plan to go take the Airport Express, go to the Buddha, Disney, the Peak, Stanley, and take at least one ride on the Star Ferry, getting an Octopus card makes the most sense, IMO, as otherwise you will be hunting around for change for these fares. The various card options are:

    1. The “standard on-loan” stored-value Octopus card, which costs HK$150 and allows unlimited rides on the subway, buses, ferries, tram, Peak Tram and Airport Express. It can also be used to buy items at many shops like 7-11, Circle K, grocery stores, vending machines, movie theatres, McDonalds, etc. It has a refundable deposit of HK$43, and has an initial value of HK$100. Once that is exhausted, you simply top it up with cash at a 7-11, Circle K, grocery store and lots of other places (including MTR stations).

    2. A Disneyland Resort Day Pass, which costs HK$50 and gives you one round-trip on the subway to and from Disneyland. As the fare is HK$48 round trip from Wan Chai, this card does not save you money.

    3. A Tourist Day Pass, which costs HK$55 and gives you unlimited rides on the subway only for 24 hours. It does not include any buses, ferries, tram etc (you may be able to top up the card to use it on other transport, but you have already paid HK$55 for just subway rides on one day.) It could get you to Disney or the Buddha (but not both).

    4. An Airport Express Travel Pass, which costs HK$220 and includes one way on the Airport Express, and unlimited travel on the subway only for 3 days. The Airport Express Travel Pass may not be worth the cost, because it only includes the subway. The one way fare on the Airport Express is HK$100. That leaves you HK$120 worth of “free” subway rides. While you plan to go to the Buddha and to Disney, those round trip journeys cost a total of HK$71.20. That leaves you with HK$48.80 worth of “free” subway rides. The average fare on the subway is about $4-9 for shorter jaunts (like to Kowloon). Unless you plan to take a lot of subway rides, you are paying for rides you won’t be using. If you take the subway that much, you are not seeing Hong Kong as it should be seen, IMO. The card is also only good for 3 days of rides, and you will be there 5 days.

    As the standad on-loan stored-value Octopus card and the Airport Express Travel Pass will get you to Disney, there is no need to buy the Disneyland Resort Day Pass or the Tourist Day Pass. Just get a regular store-value Octopus card or possibly the Airport Express Travel Pass (assuming it won’t expire by the day you travel to Disney).

    I have never seen the advantage of the subway-only cards. There is so much here that is not reachable via the subway, so IMO you are wasting money buying a subway-only card. The subway does not go to the Peak, Aberdeen, Stanley, or the beaches of Shek-O and Big Wave Bay. It won’t get you to Lamma Island and the other outlying islands. It will get you to some places in the New Territories, but to reach the best areas (i.e. Sai Kung, Plover Cove Reservoir, Tap Mun Island), you need to then take a ferry or a bus (where the subway only card would not work). Even for places it does go, if you take the subway all the time, you will miss a lot of interesting street-scenes or just fantastic scenery generally. I myself rarely take the subway to cross the harbour unless I am in a rush; otherwise the ferry is so much more fun, scenic, memorable and unusual (not to mention cheaper, HK$2.20 versus HK$7.90).

    Your hotel, by the way, is in a fantastic location. You can walk to the “wet” markets of Wan Chai as well as the Bowrington Road market in about 5-10 minutes. There is a Sikh and a Hindu temple just a few blocks in either direction, and the massive Happy Valley cemetery is behind you, which has sections for all faiths; the colonial-era graves can be quite interesting, as is the Parsee area. You can walk to the Happy Valley racetrack, which is across the street from your hotel (hope you will be here on a Wednesday evening and can make it to the races. If you are a runner, this is a good place to jog, they have a running track which circles the race track). You can walk to Happy Valley itself, which has several good restaurants and a real neighborhood feel (have a drink at the Jockey and watch the world pass by). Underbridge Spicy Crab, one of my favourite places for down and dirty seafood, is about a 10 minute walk toward the water; there are some other good restaurants within about a 10-minute walk of the hotel.

    If you don’t mind longish flat walks, you can walk to the Peak Tram station or Central (takes about 30 minutes) or the Victoria Park/ Tai Hang area of Causeway Bay in about 15-20 minutes. The street tram is about a five minute walk (Time Square stop). The nearest subway stop is also at Times Square. This is Door A of the Causeway Bay station, but beware that there is a longish walk underground of about 5-10 minutes to reach the actual trains. The Wan Chai station, while a bit further in distance above ground, is probably the better option and equidistant in time in terms of getting to the actual trains.

    You can use the hotel’s shuttle to get to Central as well as to places like the Wan Chai ferry pier (at the Wan Chai Convention Centre) from where you can get the Star Ferry to the Kowloon side. You don’t have to go to Central to get that ferry.

    In addition, the hotel is on several major bus lines. The bus stops are basically in front to the hotel (for going toward Central) or across the street from your hotel (for returning from Central or going east toward Causeway Bay/Victoria Park, North Point, etc)

    To get to or from Central, you can take the 6X bus. Other options are:

    10 – this runs on a loop from Kennedy Town at the far western end of the Island to North Point and back and makes several stops in Central. This is a great bus to take to or from Central and also just for going to neighborhoods like Kennedy town which offers a chance to see old-fashioned Hong Kong.

    65- to Sanely via Deep Water Bay, a very pretty ride and a bit different than the #6 bus from Central. In the other direction, this bus goes to the North Point ferry pier, which is an interesting neighborhood, and you can get ferries to Hung Hom (among other places).

    76 - to Aberdeen via Tai Tam and then Deep Water Bay, a pretty ride. From Deep Water Bay, there is a short, easy and pretty walk around the headland to Repulse Bay, worth a stop and then you can take a bus to Stanley.

    At bus stops just a few minutes’ further walk from the hotel you can also take:

    1, 37A, 75, 90, 97, 109, 113 – to Central

    15B – this goes to the Peak. A good option to return or get up to the Peak if you don’t want to take the Peak Tram.

    Finally, there are some walks/hikes in the area. All of these will involve a stiff uphill walk to start, or to end if you bus up to the higher elevations and then come down. It would be possible to walk to or from the Peak, or to or from someplace like the Police Museum on Coombe Road. If you are interested in that type of walk, let me know.

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    My husband, my son(10 yrs old)and I will be travelling to Hongkong on Monday Mar 5-9, 2012. We will proceed to disneyland from the airport. we will arrive at HKIA around 8am. with 2 big luggages. is there a locker in Disney for our luggages. is it a good idea to go to disneyland before the hotel? What other activities do you suggest for our 5 day stay in hongkong. Its the first time of my husband and the 2nd time of my son. I have traveled to HK several times. My son and I have been to Disneyland and ocean park already. What family activities would you suggest. Is Horizon Plaza and space outlet worth visiting. Would appreciate your suggestion for our daily itinerary. How to get there and the best way and economical way to get there. Thank you.

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    Hello! My family and I will be staying around Shatin for 6 days or so. We are wondering which cards to get to travel would be the best: Octopus, Tourist day pass, airport express travel pass/ any other better alternative?

    I was thinking on buying the tourist 1 day pass for 2 days or so and octopus card for the rest of the days. This is because we will be travelling to hongkong island alot as there will be quite a few places of interest and we will also be going to disneyland and macau. All of these seem to be really far from Shatin.

    Hence, please kindly advise on which passes should we get.

    Thanks so much!!!

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    We have just come back from Hong Kong. We found the Octopus Card simple to use and used it on buses, MTR and ferry. Its a great card. I cashed it in at the airport and got back any money not used along with the deposit. There are dispensing machines in each MTR to top up your card if its running low. As you go through the turnstiles it will show how much you have left on the card. The best public transport system I have ever used.

    Don't forget to take the bus for a ride out of the city. Hong Kong is far prettier than I expected. Sitting on the cable car at Ocean Park gave a wonderful view of the islands and the shipping lanes. The bigger cable car to the Big Buddha is a long ride and the quiet of looking at the mountains and greenery is in start contrast to the city and the high rises. Of course there is the view of the city from the Peak. Simply stunning.

    The people were lovely. The MTR is crowded but so clean and orderly and we never waited long for the next one to arrive. Watch the arrows on the ground at each door on the train. It allows people traffic to flow smoothly.

    enjoy your trip. We loved it.

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    gerberalove - train fare from Shatin isn't that much. $14 one-way to Central and $23.4 to Disneyland. The day pass cost $55 and doesn't work on buses, ferries or trams, so you may get your money's worth. And even for going to Disney, it's more direct to take bus E42 and switch to R8 after crossing the Tsing Ma Bridge. Rather than switch trains FOUR times from Sha Tin. And the bus is cheaper. On Sundays, there's also a direct bus R42.

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    @gerberalove: it really depends on your itinerary and how many sightseeing you would like to visit. As rkkwan already pointed out the Day Passes can be worth the money if you travel a lot with the MTR and/or have several harbour crossings per day.

    Considering the convenience as well as the fact that you stay 6 days in HK, I would opt for the Octopus Card. You can use this card for MTR, Star Ferry, tram, buses, 7-11, Circle-K and many fast food restaurants (e.g. McDonalds) to pay.

    Regarding the Airport Express: Since you mentioned that you travel with family (2+ persons), you are better off to take a taxi from the airport to your hotel or if you travel on tight budget one take one of the many Airbuses.

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