Hong Kong’s trams, affectionately known as “ding dings” due to their distinctive bell sounds, are an iconic part of the city’s transportation system.
These charming, double-decker trams offer an excellent way to explore Hong Kong Island at a leisurely pace while soaking in the vibrant cityscape. This guide aims to provide you with everything you need to know about boarding and riding the Hong Kong trams.
Understanding the Hong Kong tram system
Hong Kong trams operate primarily on the northern part of Hong Kong Island, running between Kennedy Town and Shau Kei Wan. The tram tracks stretch for about 13 kilometers.
Trams in Hong Kong are an inexpensive mode of transportation, making them a popular choice for locals and tourists alike.
The trams operate from early morning until midnight, with a frequency of around 6 to 12 minutes between each tram.
When is a tram the best transport option for you?
- Short Distances: Trams are suitable for short journeys within a localized area. The tram can be a practical choice if you need to travel a relatively short distance within a specific neighborhood or along a particular route.
- Central and Western Districts: Hong Kong’s tram system primarily operates on Hong Kong Island, particularly in the Central and Western districts. If your destination is within these areas or nearby, the tram is an excellent option for getting around efficiently.
- Sightseeing: The tram offers a unique way to explore the city and enjoy the scenic views of Hong Kong. The tram’s upper deck provides an elevated vantage point, allowing passengers to appreciate the city’s bustling streets, architecture, and local life.
- Avoiding traffic congestion: Hong Kong is known for its dense population and busy road networks. During peak traffic hours, trams can often maneuver through congested areas more effectively than other modes of transportation. If you want to avoid getting stuck in traffic, especially in busy commercial areas, the tram can be a reliable alternative.
- Environmental considerations: Trams are an eco-friendly mode of transportation since they operate on electricity. The tram aligns with your values if you prioritize reducing your carbon footprint and contributing to a more sustainable environment.
Identifying tram stops
Look for tram stop signs marked with the “tram” symbol, a red letter “T” enclosed in a white circle.
Tram stops are usually between the lanes in the middle of the road. Take note of the designated boarding areas on the sidewalks.
Boarding the tram
When waiting for a tram, stand in the designated boarding area and line up behind other passengers if there is a queue.
As the tram approaches, be prepared to board quickly as passengers usually exit from the rear before boarding begins from the front.
Mind the gap between the tram and the platform while boarding, especially for elderly or disabled passengers.
Choosing the right tram
Hong Kong trams operate in both directions, so make sure you are boarding the correct tram going in your desired direction.
The tram’s destination is usually displayed on the front and sides of the vehicle, indicating the last stop it will reach.
Paying for your ride
Tram fares are paid using Octopus cards, a contactless smart card widely used in Hong Kong’s public transportation system. It is also possible to pay by cash, but no change will be given so prepare the exact amount before you get off the tram.
To pay using your Octopus card, tap your card on the card reader located near the tram exit when getting off, and the fare will be deducted automatically.
Enjoying the tram ride
- Once onboard, sit on the upper deck for the best views of the city’s bustling streets. The lower deck is also ideal for those who wish to exit at a nearby stop and those with mobility issues.
- Avoid blocking the passageway on the upper deck during peak hours to ensure the smooth flow of passengers.
- Take advantage of the frequent stops to hop on and off the tram, exploring different neighborhoods and attractions.
Exiting the tram
- When your stop approaches, make your way to the exit doors, usually at the rear of the tram.
- Prepare to alight by standing near the exit doors before the tram reaches your desired stop. Note that it may be crowded inside the tram so being close to the exit (driver’s location) helps you exit the tram faster.
- Be mindful of other passengers and wait for them to disembark before stepping off the tram.
Exploring Hong Kong trams offers a unique way to experience the city’s vibrant atmosphere and witness its rich culture.
By understanding the tram system, identifying stops, and following the boarding and riding guidelines, you can make the most of your journey aboard these charming “ding dings” and create lasting memories of your time in Hong Kong. Enjoy the ride!