We love walking around a city, especially one that we’ve never been to before. We get to explore so many of the city’s sights, smells, sounds etc. However, during our recent trip to Hong Kong, we didn’t have much time to explore and we didn’t want to be hauled up on the MTR for half the day so exploring the city by open top bus seemed perfect. We could hop on and off all over the city therefore, we could still hear the sounds of the city and really feel like we were experiencing everything Hong Kong had to offer but with the speed a bus offers over walking.
In Hong Kong, there are a lot of hop on, hop off bus companies to choose from and it can be overwhelming when trying to decide on which company is best. Typically, I used to go for one of the most competitive companies and make my final decision by reading reviews. I’ve heard enough positive reviews from several bloggers who had taken the Big Bus Tours so that helped me sealed my decision.
The Big Bus Tours Hong Kong offers three main routes: the Kowloon route (blue), the Hong Kong Island route (red) and the Stanley route (green). These three main routes are all available on Premium and Deluxe Tours.
We had a Premium Tour ticket valid for 24 hours which does not include the night tour. But, for sharp minds like us (forgive my bragging), we figured out a way to maximize our ticket and still enjoy the ‘night’ tour around Hong Kong Island. The trick is to collect the ticket(s) at their central office in Central Ferry Pier No.7 before 6 PM and hop on to their last red route bus which leaves at 6:20 PM from their central station just below the office. Sunset in Hong Kong is around 6:15 PM which means it will be dark by the time the tour begins…
In other words, you can save $35 for the Night Tour. So, your welcome!
The only catch is, you’ll have to stay on the bus the whole time otherwise, you’ll have to arrange your own transport back to the starting point. But, if your hotel or next destination is close to a Big Bus Tours bus stop then, mighty lucky of you!
The next morning, we took the green route which covers the countryside region of Aberdeen and Stanley. This route covers the largest which is why its frequency is only every 30 minutes compared to 15-20 minutes with the other routes.
One of the things to appreciate about hop-on, hop-off tours is that, if there are stops that you don’t find interesting then… stay put. Simple. For example, since we’ve been to a couple of aquariums already (some of the biggest, too), we skipped the Ocean Park stop. We’ve also been to a few of the world’s best beaches such as in Bali, Indonesia and El Nido, Palawan so we thought it’s ok to pass on Repulse Bay.
On our first stop on the green route, we thought of stopping by Stanley just in time for lunch. Stanley, located on the southern side of Hong Kong, is renowned for its alfresco restaurants and popular clothing, accessories and handicrafts market. Shopping here is well-complemented by cooling ocean breezes, views of the South China Sea, pubs and watering holes, and a great choice of local and international food.
We then moved to Aberdeen Fishing Village and Harbor where despite modernization, traditional fishing life still prevails. Aberdeen is a very busy fishing port that it accounts for one-third of the total catch in Hong Kong.
Aberdeen Harbor has the distinct honor of being the first place where the British set foot upon arriving in Hong Kong. Back then, Aberdeen was the center of the incense trade, this is how Hong Kong got its name, it literally means “Fragrant Harbor”.
Aberdeen continues to be a thriving and busy harbor, and is still home to the boat-dwelling Tanka people. You will see the old ladies still dressed in traditional ways, peddling the catch of the day and the sampan rides around the harbour for the tourists, these are two of Aberdeen’s main industries at work, fishing and tourism.
Beyond the bus tour itself, the Hong Kong Big Bus Tours offers a whole package of additional things to do. These packages are super convenient! For example, we had the Premium Tour package which gave us tons of extra perks.
Star Ferry Trips
The Star Ferry is passenger ferry service that has been linking Kowloon and Hong Kong Island since 1898. The ferries operate four crossings across Victoria Harbor and carry more than seventy thousand passengers a day, making the Star Ferry one of the most popular things to do Hong Kong.
The 10 minute boat ride between Tsim Sha Tsui (Kowloon) and Central Star Ferry Pier (Hong Kong Island) is your connection between the Kowloon and Hong Kong Island bus routes.
Weaving past the floating village and around clusters of local fishing boats, a sampan ride is one of Hong Kong’s best cultural experiences that will grant plenty of fantastic photo opportunities.
The Maritime Museum has over 1,000 items telling the history of maritime trade in Pearl River Delta. In addition to documenting the past in terms of how China, Asia and the West have developed boats, ships, maritime exploration, trade and naval warfare, the museum also covers the present by explaining global trends and the importance of shipping to Hong Kong`s economy.
Each of the galleries has been set up with the help and generous support of individuals and corporations in the maritime industry, who believe in the importance of the preservation of Hong Kong`s maritime history.
Peak Tram or Sky 100
Admission to either the Sky100 Hong Kong Observation Deck or the Victoria Peak Tram is included in the ticket for Premium and Deluxe Tours.
Sky100 is located on the 100th floor of ICC, the tallest building in Hong Kong. At 393 meters above sea level, it is the only indoor observation deck in Hong Kong offering 360-degree views of the territory and its famous Victoria Harbor.
The Peak Tramway is a funicular railway, which carries tourists and residents to the upper levels of Hong Kong Island. The tramway runs from the Central district of Hong Kong Island to Victoria Peak via the Mid-Levels. The top offers panoramic views over Hong Kong, a variety of mountain-top walks, shopping opportunities, cafes and restaurants.
Available in 10 languages.
Educational and informative pre-recorded commentary is available in English, Cantonese, Korean, German, Spanish, Mandarin, Japanese, French, Italian and Russian.
Complimentary earphones are provided.
Rewards Voucher Booklet
Upon collecting our Premium Tour tickets, we also received a voucher book with a great range of discounts and offers to use at Hong Kong’s best attractions. This is completely free for all Big Bus Tours customers.
The Big Bus Tours fitted perfectly into our time in Hong Kong and allowed us to see the city as well as get around and do all the activities in our short time. The hop on hop off experience allowed us to work the tour into a day of sightseeing (and save on having to take any other transport). We thoroughly enjoyed our experience with the Big Bus Tours and would recommend them when exploring Hong Kong.
*We received complimentary tickets from Big Bus Tours in return for our honest and open review. The views and opinions expressed on this post are purely ours and not influenced by the hotel and its affiliates in any way.
13 Comments Add yours
Free night tour. We like that! LOL
But if we get to Hong Kong again we’d like to get to the outlying islands like Cheung Chau etc.
I have never been to Hong Kong but wherever I go, I prefer the bus tours rather than using the country’s trains or other public transport.
Beautiful pics and informative post! Sounds like quite an adventure. Makes me want to visit.
I used Big Bus to tour Dubai several years ago. I loved how no-hassle it was. You could get off whenever and just catch another bus. I loved all the discounts or free admission you got to things with your pass too.
I have never traveled to Hong Kong, although I love doing the bus tours when I travel. You get to see and learn about so much!
I have never been to Hong Kong but I think it is great that you can skip certain ones that don’t appeal to you or you have already done before!
nice travelogue! bookmarking it for our hong kong trip!
I have read that Hong Kong is a shoppers paradise and that mindset stuck to me like glue. However, thanks to this post, I now know that there is more that Hong Kong can offer! I love the views! They are amazing! I have to remember to take the bus tours if and when I get to travel to Hong Kong.
Your post reminded me of my trip to Hong Kong. I didn’t take the bus but I didn’t miss the crossings with Star Ferry and their octopus card. I actually hiked all the way up Victoria Peak, which was a bit hard but really nice, with stunning views.
Nice post ! I usually don’t do bus tours on trips but this looks interesting… something that would help cover more places… Bookmarking it for our Hong Kong trip!
Hong Kong is on my travel bucket list! I love doing bus tours because they often offer good options for travelers. I
Hong Kong .. how fun. My brother and sister-in-law went a few years ago. I’ll have to ask them if they did a bus tour. For sure I remember them mentioning cooking classes. In fact .. thanks to that trip I have the most amazing recipe for hot and sour soup!
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