If you are a visitor to Hong Kong, you’ve probably arrived with a list of things to do, places to visit, and things to buy.
Well, to reduce stress while you’re here, there’s one thing you MUST buy the moment you arrive – an Octopus Card.
Octopus Cards are rechargeable, stored-value, smart cards used as a payment system, primarily, on the city’s buses, trams, ferries and MTR network. Sadly, they cannot (yet) be used in taxis.
Place the card onto the card reader, wait for the ‘beep’, then proceed; the exact fare has been deducted. When travelling on the MTR, you must ‘beep’ in and (at the end of the journey) ‘beep’ out – but don’t worry, payment is only deducted on the way out.
You can buy an Octopus Card (and add value to it) at any MTR station. There are different kinds of cards for different requirements – just ask for advice at the Customer Service desk. But the purchase price does include a HK$50 deposit for the card.
It can also be used to pay for small purchases in supermarkets, shops and restaurants such as Circle K, 7-Eleven, Starbucks, McDonalds, and KFC – as well as vending machines, photo booths, parking meters and car parks.
No cash, no coins, no hassle, and no stress! Along with about 95% of the population of Hong Kong, I use my Octopus Card for almost everything, and I can go days without spending hard cash (no Scottish jokes, please!)
Oh, one very important reminder! Don’t forget to surrender the card at the end of your stay if you want your HK$50 back.