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New to Hong Kong
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HKG - Chep Lak Kok  

Arriving, getting around and leaving are all things that are easy to do in Hong Kong. With what must be one of the most efficient airports in the world you can realistically expect to be stepping out of the cool terminal into the clammy heat within 30 minutes of the aircraft door opening, and that’s even with checked baggage.

There’s a super efficient Airport Express that takes you from the HKG to the IFC in 24 minutes every 12 minutes. And when you are planning your escape don’t forget that you can check in your hold baggage at the Airport Express In-Town Check-In counters at the International Finance Centre Shopping Mall. Check with your airline but you’ll find that you can do it as early as 24 hours to as late as 90 minutes before departure (from 05:30am to 00:30am daily).

The MTR  
About 3.7 million people travel on the MTR a day passing through the 150 stations that cover the 211km network.  And somehow they manage to make it a reasonably pleasant and efficient experience with a whole sub culture of underground shopping, absolutely no litter or graffiti and the ability to use your mobile phone whilst speeding along inside a tunnel hundreds of feet underground.

The Octopus Card  
The Octopus is to Hong Kong what the Oyster is to London, the Calypso to Paris and EZ-Link to Singapore; a stored value contactless smartcard. Top it up with a maximum of $1,000 and then you can use it to pay for almost all forms of public transport (annoyingly not taxis though), purchases at shops like 7-Eleven, Mannings, PARKnSHOP and Maxim’s Cake Shop, as well as fast food outlets such as Starbucks, MIX and Café de Coral. But it has also been adopted as the accepted way to pay for parking, to gain access (and act as ID) to a number of commercial buildings, and the schools even use it to track the attendance of their pupils.

Red, cheap, and plentiful; the 18,000+ taxis in Hong Kong make more than 1 million fare paying journeys every day.  Using them is a breeze; there are only a few simple rules to follow.
  • A circular red light on the dashboard indicates that it is FOR HIRE when lit.
  • Don’t bother flagging a cab down when standing on a double yellow line – it’s against the law for them to pick you up (or drop you off).
  • Wear a seatbelt – it is the law, but also common sense (when you see how many of them drive).
  • Give a small tip if you are satisfied with the service.
  • Don’t assume that they have understood what your destination is, so keep an eye out on your progress.
  • When booking by phone, if the operator tells you “no taxi”, respond with “extra $10 (or $20 or more…)” and enjoy the fruits of a market economy.
  • Warning: Taxis seem to be water-soluble as they disappear when it rains heavily. 
Some taxi lingo for you to master (written phonetically).
Take me to…. Chair or hoy… 
Road Dough
Street Guy
Turn right June yow
Turn left June jaw
Turn around Dew tow
Stop here Lee dough
Keep going Chek hoy
How much? Gay cheen?
A receipt please Hoy jerng darn mm goy
Keep the change Mm say ee jow
Thanks Mm goy
Thank you very much Mm goy sigh

There are a number of telephone numbers for taxis, but here are a couple you can rely on;
Fraternity Taxi Owners Association  2527 6324
Wing Tai Car Owners & Drivers Association Ltd  2527 8524

Car ownership  

Getting around by car is very straightforward. Visitors can drive on a recognised home country licence for up to one year, but if you have been issued with a Hong Kong ID Card (HKID) then you must obtain a Hong Kong driving licence. The Transport Department looks after the testing and licensing of vehicles and drivers.

Buying a car is similar to anywhere else in the world.  You can choose to go directly to a dealer (you will find a number of showrooms in Wan Chai and Causeway Bay), buy from a car supermarket such as the Auto Mall , Car City or Auto Hong Kong, use an independent broker such as The Car Locator, browse the classifieds such as Go Car Site, Asia Expat and the supermarket notice boards, or take your chances with an adventure around the used car lots of the New Territories.  And if you’re not mechanically minded you can always have the Hong

To speed up your journey through Hong Kong’s toll roads and tunnels sign up to the electronic toll collection service operated by Autotoll. The scheme is being extended to apply to some Wilson Parking car parks.  You can apply for Autotoll service by mail, online or at designated outlets of Caltex, Esso or Shell.

Should that mysterious object under the bonnet go wrong you’ll probably need the help of the following companies;

Universal Towing Service (Hong Kong side) 2519 0242
Fan Kee Towing (Kowloon side) 2381 8155 / 9484 3889
Fookie Motors (repairs and MOTs) – Shau Kei Wan 2565 6166

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