But even with a reputation for being one of the world's top five most expensive cities to live, Hong Kong can be surprisingly cheap when you travel and eat as locals do.
Hong Kong is the land of public transportation, with an underground transit system that also connects to an aboveground rail, a light rail, the airport express train and Hong Kong Disney. If you need to travel to an area not served by the subway, there's also an extensive network of buses, electric trams, light buses and ferries. Depending on the mode of transport and sometimes even the line, fare is based on the trip's length or where along the route you've hopped on.
Locals use the Octopus card, a smart card that can be purchased at the customer service booths on the subway (called the MTR) for a refundable $6.40 (Hong Kong $50) deposit plus any amount you want. If you have money remaining by the end of the trip, that amount and the deposit are returned when you hand in the card. Note that the card return carries a refund fee of 90 cents (HK$7). The card also can be used at most convenience stores, bakeries and vending machines in the city.
The city's most iconic image is its breathtaking view of Hong Kong Island. You can see it for free by walking the waterfront at Tsim Sha Tsui, or boarding a Star Ferry, which crisscrosses Victoria Harbor every 15-22 minutes. Skip the company's "Harbour Tour," which starts at $6.40 (HK$50), and take the ferry from Hung Hom for 77 cents (HK$6) to Central. Return to the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront at 8 p.m. to watch the city's nightly free light show in which many skyscrapers participate. If you want to understand the show's narration, stop by on a Monday, Wednesday or Friday for the English translation.
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