Syfa & Ganjar

How to Buy an Octopus Card in Hong Kong

Written by Syfa

When travelling abroad, my husband and I really enjoy exploring public transportation, especially in places like Hong Kong. We find Hong Kong's public transport system to be quite comprehensive and well-integrated.

The convenience comes from a 'magic card', which allows us to effortlessly travel anywhere we want. This magic card is the Octopus Card.

The Octopus Card is a smart card designed for paying for public transport and various other services. Introduced in 1997, it has become a widely used payment method in Hong Kong.

You can use the Octopus Card for services like the Mass Transit Railway (MTR), buses, ferries, trams, and even for purchases in shops, restaurants, convenience stores, vending machines, and car parks. It's pretty similar to the EZ-Link card in Singapore.

In this article, I'm going to share the steps on how to buy an Octopus Card. Stay tuned!

Via Vending Machine

You can easily purchase an Octopus card from a vending machine. Since my husband and I traveled to Hong Kong by plane, we followed these steps right after we arrived at the airport.

If you arrive in Hong Kong by land or sea, check the full information about purchasing an Octopus card through this link.

1. Go to the Vending Machine

octopus card selling machine

Firstly, head to the self-ticketing machine located in the Arrival Hall of Hong Kong International Airport. You'll find it at the Airport Station, near the Airport Express train.

When I was there, quite a few people were using the machine, but the lines weren't too long. It was pretty manageable.

2. Select the Language and Type of Octopus

Self-ticketing machine for Octopus Card
Self-ticketing machine for Octopus Card

Once it's your turn, focus on the screen. Remember, there's no need to hurry. Take your time!

Start by changing the machine's language to English (ENG). You can find this option on the left side of the screen indicated by a green mark.

Then, choose the type of Octopus card you need. Your options are "Octopus Card for Tourist" and "Child Octopus." I picked the tourist version (suitable for adults) for my husband.

Note: If you're looking to buy the On-Loan Octopus (also known as the basic octopus), it's available at different locations. To understand the differences between the On-Loan Octopus and the Octopus Card for tourists, please see the information below:

3. Choose a Payment Method and Complete the Payment

Self-ticketing machine for Octopus Card
Selecting payment method
Self-ticketing machine for Octopus Card
I'm using contactless VISA credit card
Self-ticketing machine for Octopus Card
Inserting the card to pay
Self-ticketing machine for Octopus Card
There's an 'Approved' sign in the EDC machine

Next, you'll need to pick a payment method. The options include UnionPay, WeChat Pay, Alipay, and credit/debit cards that carry the VISA, Mastercard, or JCB logos.

My husband and I used a Singapore Airlines contactless credit card with the VISA logo. We only have to insert the credit card into the EDC machine provided there.

We learned that this particular EDC machine didn't support contactless payments, so we had to insert the card manually. Once you've inserted your card, just wait for the payment to go through until the EDC machine displays a message saying "Approved".

4. Retrieve Your Card and Octopus Card

Retrieving the card
Octopus Card for Tourist
Octopus Card for Tourist

Once you've completed the payment, don’t forget to take your credit or debit card back. The Octopus card you purchased will automatically be dispensed by the machine. Make sure to collect it.

I found using this machine very straightforward, especially when I compare it to buying a similar card in Japan. I hope you find this tutorial easy to follow and helpful!

At The Counter

I previously mentioned that you buy On-Loan Octopus cards at different locations. Specifically, you get them at the Customer Service Centre. Here's how to do it:

1. Go to the Customer Service Centre

customer service center mtr

First, head to the counter. You'll find the Customer Service Centre close to the self-ticketing machines for the Octopus tourist card, near the Airport Express train.

2. Talk to the Staff

Next, let the staff know you want to buy an On-Loan Octopus card. They'll ask how many cards you need and will tell you the cost. Don't worry about language barriers; the airport staff usually speak English well, so it's okay if you don't speak Chinese.

3. Pay for Your Card

Receipt Octopus Card

Then, it's time to pay. When I was there, I used cash that I had withdrawn from an ATM at the airport. I'm not sure if they accept other forms of payment.

4. Collect Your Card

Octopus Card On Loan

After paying, take your card. You can now use this Octopus card for the MTR, buses, ferries, trams, convenience stores, and more. I hope this guide helps you! If you have any more questions, feel free to leave a comment.

We are a newlywed couple who loves to eat and travel from one place to another. In this blog, we will share our favorite experiences when visiting various tourist attractions and tasting the delights of good food!

More about Syfa & Ganjar →

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We are a newlywed couple who loves to eat and travel from one place to another. In this blog, we will share our favorite experiences when visiting various tourist attractions and tasting the delights of good food!

More about Syfa & Ganjar →
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