Hong Kong is a well-loved tourist destination, and it’s no surprise why. Even the most seasoned tourists frequently return to the former crown colony for its dazzling skyscrapers, world-class dining options, efficient transport systems, and the lively cosmopolitan atmosphere.
Hong Kong has something to offer every kind of traveler. Whether you’re looking for culture, history, shopping, nature, or city life, Hong Kong has a sweet surprise in store. It’s also much easier to get around compared to other cities in Asia because almost everyone can speak English.
However, Hong Kong also has the reputation of being one of the more expensive destinations in the region. It’s certainly pricier than its Southeast Asian neighbors in many ways, but that doesn’t mean a budget trip to Hong Kong is impossible.
We’ve done the work for you – read up on our tips below for saving money during your trip to Hong Kong:
Book your airline tickets at least 4 months in advance. Even budget airlines slash their rates for advance-booking promotions, which can save you as much as USD 150 (P7,000) in fees. Although Hong Kong is a great destination for traveling any time of the year, avoid booking from October to December and the Chinese New Year (which tends to fall in late January to early February) since these are peak periods which translate to significantly more expensive flight tickets.
After you’ve booked a good rate on your flight, invest some time in researching inexpensive accommodation options in Hong Kong. There are many choices ranging from hostels to mid-range options, but when it comes to booking a room on a budget, avoid those that come with a view no matter how tempting it seems. Rooms with a view will put a dent on your bank account – besides this is something you can enjoy as you stroll around the city.
As soon as you arrive in the Hong Kong International Airport, buy an Octopus card. The minimum rate for your first purchase of an Octopus card is HKD 150 (P965), where around HKD 100 (P643) is the initial stored value and HKD 50 (P320) is the refundable deposit. The Octopus card is used by locals to pay for transportation around the city, and is also accepted by Star Ferry operators. It saves money because you pay less for a ride on the Octopus Card as compared to a single journey ticket, which can translate to substantial savings especially for travelers who use the MTR frequently during a trip.
The expansive variety of cuisine available in Hong Kong is reason enough to visit the glitzy metropolis. Despite being home to several noteworthy Michelin-starred restaurants, you don’t have to go broke just to enjoy the best food in the city. Head over to Stanley Street or Temple Street night markets, where you’ll find dozens of authentic Chinese food stalls, fresh seafood, and even exotic Indian and Nepalese food. The city streets are also dotted with small mom-and-pop style restaurants where you can chow down on delicious duck, dimsum, and dumplings alongside the locals. Although you aren’t paying for ambiance, the food served in these establishments will be some of the most delicious you’ll have in Hong Kong!
Save on global roaming charges by opting to use the free WIFI offered in numerous establishments throughout Hong Kong. There’s also the option of using a temporary SIM card, which can be helpful in saving money especially if you intend to make local calls. Local SIM cards are generally inexpensive, and a much more cost-effective way of staying in touch with friends in the city.
There are several free attractions that appeal to travelers of all interests and ages. Many of Hong Kong’s museums offer free entrances on Wednesdays. Museums are a great way to learn about the art, culture, heritage, and history of Hong Kong. Don’t forget to visit the Hong Kong Museum of Art, Hong Kong Heritage Museum, Hong Kong Museum of History, and the Hong Kong Space Museum. The Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens is highly recommended for a family afternoon, and the best part is that admission is always free.
Hong Kong is virtually synonymous with shopping and all the big-name brands in fashion and jewelry. But if you’re on the lookout for a local shopping experience at a great bargain, you’re in luck! Head over to the street markets in Temple Street and Mong Kok; you might have to do some digging around to find good pieces but you sure will get them on the cheap. Tsim Sha Tsui also has small shops teeming with local and Korean-designed garments at affordable prices.
Hong Kong is a vibrant nightlife destination, but the drinks are also among the most expensive in Asia. Skip Lan Kwai Fong, the most touristy and popular destination at night because the cocktail selection will only eat up at your budget. Instead, get acquainted with the local drinking culture which means buying drinks at 7-11 and drinking them on the street with the rest of the locals. Another way to save money on drinking is to wait for the Happy Hours – which are a dime a dozen!
Bibliophiles will be amazed with the selection of second-hand books in Hong Kong. Locals travel frequently, far and wide; so you can be sure you’ll discover interesting selections at secondhand bookshops for the price of a song.
A trip to Hong Kong isn’t complete without visiting a karaoke bar. Karaoke is deeply ingrained in the culture of the Chinese, as it is in other parts of Southeast Asia. Hong Kong’s karaoke bars are the best way to mingle with the locals and they are inexpensive entertainment options. Many are open 24 hours, but visiting during off-peak hours during the day can save you some money.
There you have it – everything you need for an exciting, memorable trip to Hong Kong that won’t break the bank.
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