OWL Magazine Korea

Hong Kong’s Unique Mode of Transportation: Trams

While common modes of public transportation include buses, subways, and taxis, Hong Kong offers a few additional distinctive means of getting around. Situated along the coast, the city is home to ferries, and one can also experience the nostalgic charm of trams.

“Hong Kong’s Unconventional Transport: Trams”

Trams, once considered a relic of the past, are not frequently used in modern times. While Seoul, South Korea, also had trams in the past, they have since disappeared, fading into the annals of history. (The Gyeongseong tram system was established in 1899 but later vanished.)

However, in Hong Kong, trams that operated in the past continue to run today. Established in 1904, Hong Kong’s tram system is the oldest operating city tramway in Asia.

“Where to Find Trams in Hong Kong Island”

Trams are not ubiquitous throughout Hong Kong. They can be found exclusively on Hong Kong Island, particularly in the flat coastal areas. The tram routes primarily run east to west, traversing roads that parallel the coastline.

However, there is a branch that heads south towards Happy Valley, creating a total of six tram routes.

“Hong Kong Tram Routes”

The Hong Kong Tramway operates on a total of six routes. While the east-west routes may seem straightforward, the inclusion of the route leading to “Happy Valley” results in a total of six routes.

  1. Western Market – Shau Kei Wan
  2. Happy Valley – Shau Kei Wan
  3. Sai Wan Ho – North Point
  4. Sai Wan Ho – Causeway Bay
  5. Kennedy Town – Happy Valley
  6. Kennedy Town – Shau Kei Wan

Western Market, Sai Wan Ho, and Kennedy Town are located in the western region, while Shau Kei Wan, Causeway Bay, and North Point are situated in the east. Happy Valley is a special area located south on the Happy Valley tram route.

For exact schedules and fares, you can refer to the Hong Kong Tramways website here : https://hktramways.com/en/schedules-fares/

“Inexpensive Fare for Hong Kong Trams”

Given the long-standing history of Hong Kong trams, the fare is relatively economical. For adults, the fare is HKD 3.0 per person, approximately equivalent to around 500 Korean won.

Moreover, the fare is not distance-based, and even if you travel only one stop based on the fare for a single boarding, it is the same as traveling ten stops. Therefore, it is cost-effective to take the tram for an extended period. However, as trams share the road with other vehicles like buses and move at ground level, they may experience delays during peak traffic hours, which is a drawback.

“How to Board the Tram”

The boarding process for trams in Hong Kong is opposite to that of buses. In Hong Kong, you typically board buses through the front entrance, paying with either cash or an Octopus card. (No card tapping is required when disembarking from a bus.)

However, when taking the tram, you board through the rear entrance and pay with cash or an Octopus card when exiting through the front entrance.

“Tram Frequency?”

The frequency of trams is relatively short. In some cases, you may see four trams in a row, so it’s helpful to observe and board trams with fewer passengers during such instances.

“Hong Kong’s Diverse Trams with Various Designs”

Hong Kong trams showcase a variety of designs to the extent that they are said to reflect the current trends in Hong Kong. They are like moving billboards, each boasting its unique design.

Thanks to this diversity, it’s subtly enjoyable to observe the different appearances of each tram while traveling, as they mirror the present atmosphere of Hong Kong.

“Trams without Air Conditioning”

Trams are double-deckers, and riding on the top deck to enjoy the scenery of Hong Kong is a pleasant experience.

However, since trams lack air conditioning, passengers often prefer to open the windows to cool down. Considering Hong Kong’s relatively hot weather, except on rainy days, it’s advisable to keep the windows open during the journey.

The windows need to be manually opened and closed, following an old-fashioned method. As most trams are quite old, applying a bit of force may be necessary to operate the windows smoothly.

Hong Kong trams can be considered a unique means of transportation that showcases the city’s distinctive personality. While tram drivers may sometimes be perceived as unfriendly, the trams themselves create a special atmosphere, and the view from the top deck of Hong Kong’s cityscape is magnificent. With affordable fares, trams are a convenient and recommended transportation option to experience at least once in Hong Kong.

“Hong Kong Tramways”