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Bus & Minibus – You Can Ride With Them Too As You Travel Hong Kong

March 10, 2021

Bus and Minibuses

Buses and minibuses are common transportation for locals as the routes are extensive and slightly cheaper than the MTR. However, it may not be a popular choice for tourists as it may be hard to know where to get off. 

Bus

The most useful bus route is probably the airport bus, Cityflyer. It allows you to reach the hotel from the airport without transit and you can enjoy the spectacular view of Tsing Ma Bridge on the double decker. All the airport bus routes begin with A or E, check out their website for details. (http://www.nwstbus.com.hk/routes/airport-bus/route/index.aspx?intLangID=1

Although the MTR is considered the most convenient way to get around Hong Kong, some popular spots are only reachable by bus (or taxi). Here are some routes you may need to know. 

Bus Operator*Bus RouteStarting point with MTR stationDestination
NWFB15Exchange Square, Central The Peak
CityBus6 or 6xExchange Square, Central Stanley
NWFB9Shau Kei Wan Bus TerminalDragon Back (Get off at To Tei Wan)
NLB11Tung ChungTai O
KMB96RDiamond HillMacLehose Trail Sect. 2 or 3 (Get off at Pak Tam Au Management Centre)

*There are a few bus operators in Hong Kong, serving different districts with duplicated route numbers. Make sure to check with the right bus operators otherwise you will be ended in a completely different district. 

  • CityBus and New World First Bus (NWFB) in Hong Kong Island
  • Kowloon Motor Bus (KMB) in Kowloon and the New Territories
  • New Lantao Bus (NLB) in Lantau Island

Minibuses

Minibus, aka van, travels passengers at a much faster pace and runs routes that bus lines do not reach. Many routes have hail and ride sections along which passengers can board and exit anywhere unless it is a no-stopping zone. Minibus was once an illegal car hire service and legalised due to the population growth and need of the transportation in 1970s. 

There are 2 types of minibuses, green and red. Green minibuses work similar to buses that there are route numbers, fixed fares, designated routes and stops. While red ones may have not any of these specified, it can go via a different road to avoid the traffic. However the market share by red van is decreasing as the government would like to have more regulated public transportation. 

To experience the real local transportation, try the red van route that departs from Mong Kok Langham Place to Tuen Mun & Yuen Long at midnight. 屯門及元朗. A route that could take upto 60min in day time can be completed in 30 min during mid night. Be sure to have your seatbelt fastened. 

The minibus culture is deeply rooted in the development of Hong Kong. There is a design store that makes keyrings and other souvenirs based on the design of the destination display board. (https://www.facebook.com/HAWKLTD/). 

Payment and Ticket

Both cash and octopus are accepted for buses and green minibuses. To pay in cash, exact change is required. While for red minibuses, only cash is accepted and you usually pay only when you get off as different destinations may be charged differently. But always observe what others do, some require you pay as you get on. 

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