Hong Kong is one of my favourite places in the world. I’m a little bias since my parents are there, but surprisingly, I’ve only been there a handful of times. What I love about the city is how vibrant and multi-cultural it is. If it’s your first time in Asia, Hong Kong is the perfect starting point since it’s a major hub and just about everyone speaks fluent English.
So how much does it cost to go to Hong Kong? It obviously depends on the type of traveller you are. Luxury travellers could spend more in one night than most people do in a week. If you’re on a budget, Hong Kong is a great place to make your money last. That said, my estimates below are for the average traveller to give you a rough idea of how much you should budget.
|Food & Drink||$210|
The above estimate is for 6-nights and 7-days in U.S. dollars. If you want to know what the cost is in your home currency, go to xe.com and do the conversion. My estimate is also for a single traveller, so if you’re travelling with someone, double all your costs with the exception of food.
If you’re Canadian, you may want to consider applying for one of the best travel credit cards in Canada to help offset your costs by collecting points. For example, the American Express Gold Rewards Card gives you a signup bonus of up to 30,000 American Express Membership Rewards points which have a minimum value of $300 (potentially more if you transfer your points to Aeroplan or Marriott Bonvoy). There’s also the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite card that has no foreign transaction fees and it comes with airport lounge access.
Although Hong Kong is a major international hub, it’s a fairly expensive destination for many people. Generally speaking, you should expect to pay around $850 for your Airfare if you’re flying from North America or Europe. If you’re flying within Asia or from the Middle East, prices will likely be lower.
Cathay Pacific is Hong Kong’s national carrier, but just about every major airline also flies to Hong Kong. The airport has an express train that will take you into the city, but it might actually be easier to take a bus from the airport. Talk to your hotel or host and find out what’s the best way to get to where you’re staying.
How much you spend on accommodations depends on your preference. $125 a night is the average price I was finding for mid-range hotels in decent locations such as Mong Kok and Yau Ma Tei. You can find better prices if you’re willing to go a little further out towards Sham Shui Po or North Point. I personally prefer staying on the mainland as opposed to the island. I just find it to be a bit more interesting there.
Hostels – Hong Kong is full of hostels, but the majority of them are not very good quality. Sure you’ll get basic amenities, but rooms tend to be very small. That said, there’s no denying the price, and you can’t put a price on saying you stayed a night in the famous Chungking Mansions.
Mid-Range hotels – There are a surprising amount of decent mid-range hotels in Hong Kong that fall in the $100 – $200 range. As you can imagine, prices tend to drop the further out you go from the core. If you’re going to go further out, find something close to a MTR stop.
Luxury hotels – Hong Kong has plenty of luxury hotels, so if you’ve got money to burn, then you won’t be disappointed. The price of these hotels compared to mid-range options can easily be double, if not more.
Airbnb – Airbnb prices have gone up over the years, but they’re still reasonably priced and often in good locations. Keep in mind this is Hong Kong, apartments tend to be small so expect double sized beds instead of a queen. Use my Airbnb referral link now to get $45 off your first stay.
If you have the right credit card, you can save a fair amount of money on hotels. Americans should strongly consider the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card since you can earn 75,000 Marriott Bonvoy points as a welcome bonus.
Canadians should consider the BMO World Elite™* Mastercard®* since it typically has a sign up bonus worth more than $200 and the annual fee is normally waived for the first year. There’s also the Marriott Bonvoy American Express which gives you 51,000 Marriott Bonvoy when using a referral link. That’s enough points for up to five free nights at some hotels which could easily have a value of over $650.
Hong Kong has one of the best transportation networks in the world, and it’s very easy to navigate. English is widely spoken (except by some cab drivers), and just about every sign is in English and Chinese. I’ve estimated $50 for your local transportation costs. This might be a bit high, but I’m factoring in a ride to Macau which is a common day trip.
The main types of transportation are the metro, buses, mini-bus, and Star Ferry. There’s also an express train from the airport which you might use. All of these public transportation options can be paid with a reloadable Octopus card. You can buy an Octopus card at the airport, metro stations, and just about any convenience store (where you can also use them to buy whatever you want). The Octopus card can also be used in Macau and Shenzen.
Fares are calculated based on distance, but overall it’s not very expensive. A trip on the MTR (train) will cost you anywhere from $1 – $2.50 in the greater Hong Kong area. Even if you decide to take the train to Shenzen which is in another country (China), you’re still only looking at about $7.
Busses will be a little cheaper, but for most tourists, the MTR will get you wherever you need. Mini-buses are also available throughout the city, but I would avoid them as a tourist as you sort of need to know what you’re doing and where you’re going.
Hong Kong has many different attractions with varying prices. I recommend budgeting about $100 for attractions. Most people will do 2-3 but if you do more things will add up.
If you’re going to a theme park, I’d choose Ocean Park over Disneyland. I think it’s a better park, but if you’re a Disney fan, you’re going to Disney regardless of what I suggest. The Peak tram is definitely worth it and so is a trip to Macau.
The Ngong Ping 360 is a cool gondola that will take you up to the Big Buddha over the bay in 20 minutes, but it’s a bit expensive. To save money take bus #23 from Tung Chung Town Centre which costs just HK $18 (one way) and takes 45 minutes.
So what about the rest of Hong Kong’s top attractions? The rest of them such as the Avenue of Stars, symphony of lights, markets, temples, and islands are free. A lot of the other top attractions include food and shopping so you could end up spending a small fortune =D.
Food and drink
How much you decide to spend on food a day will vary by person, but below are prices you can expect to pay for average meals with a drink.
- Breakfast – $5
- Lunch – $10
- Dinner – $15
Food in Hong Kong can be incredibly cheap but there’s also a ton of expensive restaurants if you have fancier tastes. Most people in Hong Kong eat something simple like a baked bun or toast with a drink so $5 for breakfast isn’t unreasonable. $10 for lunch can easily be had at a dai pai dong (food stall) or takeout dim and will probably come with a drink. I would argue that $15 for dinner is a bit high since there are many cheaper options, but it’s an estimate. Some days you’ll spend more on dinner and some days you’ll spend less.
Now although Hong Kong food can be crazy cheap, it would be foolish to cheap out. Hong Kong has the cheapest Michelin star restaurant in the world in Tim Ho Wan. A single dish here is about $2.50 – $5 which is expensive by Hong Kong standards, but we’re talking about a Michelin star restaurant here.
You’ll also end up snacking a lot since there is street food and drink stands everywhere. Budgeting $30 a day is probably a smarter move as opposed to each individual meal. There is nothing wrong with spending more on food. Trust me, in Hong Kong, you’ll want to.
How much you spend on shopping is entirely up to you, but I always include an estimate of $100 here because people often forget to budget for their spending. If you like to shop, obviously you’ll spend more, but even if you don’t like to shop, Hong Kong has a way of making you part with your money.
The various markets are a total tourist trap, but I’ll admit that I always find something to buy there. There are so many malls in the city, each practically being a tourist attraction that it’s hard to not buy something.
So how much does it cost to go to Hong Kong? My estimates show that you should budget about $2,060 USD. This is a reasonable amount when visiting one of the best cities in the world, but don’t be afraid to splurge. You could save some money by cutting back on certain things, but that would cut into your experience and that’s not worth it.