By far the best way to get around Hong Kong is on the Mass Transit Railway (MTR). Since merging with the former Kowloon-Canton Railway (KCR) in late 2007, the MTR network now provides all subway and train services in Hong Kong. The trains are among the cleanest in the world; there is hardly any litter to be found. Eating or drinking on the trains or in the paid areas is prohibited, with fines of HK$2,000.
Entrances, platforms, and exits are clearly marked and signposted, and all MTR areas are air-conditioned and Wi-Fi enabled. Most stations have wheelchair access, and all have convenience stores and other shops or services. Fourteen MTR stations have free Wi-Fi, as well as computer terminals with free Internet access.
The MTR is known for its safety, even late at night. Glass screens have been installed between the edges of platforms and tracks, preventing falls and other mishaps. Emergency stop buttons and help lines are easy to access and ensure instant response from the MTR staff.
Trains run every 2 to 8 minutes during peak times between 6 am and 1 am daily.
The five major lines are color-coded for convenience. The Island line (blue line) runs along the north coast of Hong Kong Island; the Tsuen Wan line (red line) goes from Central under the harbor to Tsim Sha Tsui, then up to the western New Territories. Mong Kok links Tsim Sha Tsui to eastern New Kowloon via the Kwun Tong line (green line). Also serving this area is the Tseung Kwan O line (purple line), which crosses back over the harbor to Quarry Bay and North Point. Finally, the Tung Chung line (yellow line) connects Central and West Kowloon to Tung Chung on Lantau, near the airport.
You can buy tickets from ticket machines (using coins or notes) or from English-speaking staff behind glass-windowed customer-service counters near the turnstile entrances. Fares range from HK$3.70 to HK$42.50, depending how far you travel. You can check on the MTR website or download an app to see how much a journey will cost. There are no monthly or weekly passes, but if you plan to make more than a few trips on public transport during your stay, it's worth getting a rechargeable Octopus Card. It saves time lining up for tickets and fussing for change, gives you a discounted fare on each trip, and can also be used for small purchases around Hong Kong.
Another alternative is the Tourist Day Pass. For HK$55, this pass allows you unlimited travel on the MTR, excluding the Airport Express, for one day only. However, you cannot use the pass on other public transport or to purchase items.
MTR (2881–8888. www.mtr.com.hk.)