For a fun and atmospheric sightseeing tour of Hong Kong, take the kids on a ride on the famous Hong Kong trams.
Everyone knows Hong Kong to be a fast-paced modern metropolis, with soaring skyscrapers and flashing neon lights. But there is a part of this glitzy city that has refused to bow to the peer pressure of modernization: the city’s tram network. Hong Kong is a crowded city and the world’s largest fleet of double decker trams carries a daily average of 230,000 passengers, but if you avoid rush hour this can be a fun way to take the kids on a voyeuristic journey through Hong Kong’s suburbs.
The trams are noisy, rickety, bumpy and old – and my kids love riding them! Grab a seat at the front of the top deck for the best views, and enjoy the lurching and rocking movement and the distinct ‘ding ding’ of the bell as you perch above the crowds. It may not be the quickest or most efficient form of transport, but it is certainly the most atmospheric. And at just HK$2.30 per ride (less than .30c USD) or $1.30 per child aged 3-12, it is the best value sightseeing tour you are likely to find.
To ride the entire length of the tramlines, you can board the tram in Kennedy Town on the far western tip of Hong Kong Island, and travel all the way to Shau Kei Wan in the east (or vice versa of course). With only six tram routes, and the destination clearly displayed on the front of every tramcar, you can’t go too far wrong. Tram stops are spaced nearly every 250 metres, so you can hop-on and hop-off whenever you fancy.
Good stop-off points include Sheung Wan to wander the streets of dried seafood and herbal medicine shops and the Man Mo temple; Central to ride the Central-Mid-Levels Escalator or search for a steaming bowl of wonton noodles; Admiralty to visit Tamar Park with its views across to Kowloon; Wan Chai to check out the large bustling wet market; and Causeway Bay to hit the shopping malls.
Tips for riding the Hong Kong trams
- Enter from the back, leave from the front
- Pay on leaving the tram
- Each ride costs HK$2.30 ($1.30 for children) regardless of distance travelled
- Children under the age of 3 ride for free
- No change is given
- Buy an octopus card (for use on all public transport) to save searching around for change
- Avoid peak hours if you want to get a seat
- Ride up top for the best views
- Take the front seat and pull down the window for a cooler experience in the summer