Hong Kong provides a diverse range of public transportation options, including buses and the MTR. However, one mode of transport that stands out in uniqueness is the Tram. In contrast to the more modern trams found in places like Japan, Hong Kong's trams maintain a classic and timeless design.
Riding a tram in Hong Kong is like stepping back in time to the 1950s where travelers can experience nostalgic journey through the city. Locally, the tram is known as the "Ding-Ding," a name derived from the distinctive sound of its horn.
In this article, we'll walk you through a tutorial on how to ride the tram. So, travelers planning a visit to Hong Kong can also try this legendary mode of transportation.
Before you go on your tram adventure, ensure you have a suitable payment method ready. There are several payment options available for tram rides in Hong Kong, but for tourists, I recommend considering one of these three convenient methods:
The Octopus card stands as Hong Kong's most popular electronic money card. It's an incredibly versatile card that can be used for various purposes, including paying for tram rides, bus fares, MTR journeys, ferry trips, as well as making purchases at convenience stores and dining at restaurants.
You can easily get an Octopus card at customer service center counters in MTR stations or at convenient locations such as 7-Eleven stores. For detailed steps on how to purchase an Octopus card, check out our article here:
Another payment option is cash. However, when using cash, it's important to have the exact fare amount ready, as no change will be provided if you pay with a larger denomination than the tram fare.
If you own a credit or debit card featuring a VISA logo and equipped with contactless functionality, you can use it as a payment method for paying the tram. Ensure that the card's contactless feature is active and valid for international payments before you use it.
When you're ready with your payment method, head straight to the tram stop. Note that tram lines in Hong Kong are exclusively located on Hong Kong Island and are not present in other areas like Tsim Sha Tsui or Lantau Island.
Tram stops in Hong Kong come in various forms, some with shelters and others with just poles and signs. Most of these stops are situated in the middle of the road, so you need to cross the road to reach them.
At every tram stop, you'll find an information board listing the tram numbers that will stop there and the routes they follow. Additionally, you'll find details regarding the tram fares for both adults and children.
The tram fare system in Hong Kong has got a fixed rate, meaning the fare remains the same regardless of the distance to your destination. Once you know your tram number and the fare, you can wait in the designated queue for the tram to arrive.
Pay close attention to each approaching tram to identify its number and destination. This information is generally displayed in both Chinese and Latin characters at the front of the tram.
When the tram pulls up, you can board through the rear entrance, which is quite distinctive as it still employs a tripod turnstile reminiscent of days gone by. Simply give the tripod turnstile a gentle push to gain entry.
Afterward, feel free to take any available seats. If the downstairs seats are occupied, you can make your way upstairs where more seating is available. The view from the upper deck is notably more captivating than the lower one.
On the lower deck, you'll also see designated seats reserved for priority passengers such as individuals with disabilities, senior citizens, and pregnant women. If you don't fall into any of these categories, kindly avoid occupying those seats.
Inside the tram, expect a relatively cozy environment compared to buses. The seating is rather traditional and uncomplicated. Keep in mind that trams lack air conditioning, so you'll rely on the refreshing breeze from open windows.
Contrary to buses, trams don't provide verbal announcements at each stop, and you won't find any text information on board either.
Therefore, I recommend using Google Maps to keep tabs on the proximity of your intended stop. When your stop approaches, head toward the front exit door to speed up the boarding and alighting process.
Once the tram halts at your destination, tap your payment card on the card reader located near the front door. The card reader will emit a beep and display your fare along with the remaining balance on your card.
If you're using cash, insert it directly into the receptacle adjacent to the card reader. Afterward, you can exit the tram promptly through the front door.
And that concludes our journey aboard this iconic Hong Kong tram. My wife and I think that this is one of the most exciting moments when we're in Hong Kong. I bet you should try it too! If you still have any lingering questions, feel free to ask in the comments section.