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Hong Kong Tramway

By on September 5, 2015 in Hong Kong

One of the great delights of Hong Kong is their streetcar or tramways system.

As with a lot of my trips I had approached Hong Kong knowing very little about the place. I shouldn’t be doing this, and to be honest, I don’t know why do it. But it seems to be something I consistently do. I book a flight to somewhere, turn up, and then decide what to do. Most of the time this has worked well for me as I end up going to new cities and countries with no preconceived ideas, and as a result, I have discovered some marvellous places to explore. On the minus side, I bet I have missed out on a few great tourist spots!

With Hong Kong, I had taken my usual approach – I had no plans as to what I wanted to see, or where I wanted to go. It was a leap into the unknown. However, I got lucky in that I picked the Big Bus tour which showed me a great deal of the island, and I also got to explore large areas on foot by just wandering (another habit of mine).

One of the things that I did “discover” in my wanderings was the Hong Kong streetcar and tramway, which due to my meticulous pre-trip research, I had no idea existed. However, once I discovered it, I made full use of the system.

The tramway runs on Hong Kong Island between Shau Kei Wan and Kennedy Town, with a branch line going out to Happy Valley. The tramway system is over a hundred years old, and the lines run parallel to the northern coastline of Hong Kong island. The Tramway is a great way to explore as it runs through some of the major shopping areas on the island, and it is very easy to hop on and off. Another plus to taking the tram is you get to meet the locals.

The tramway can also represent a hazard when crossing the road, particularly if you come from a country that doesn’t typically have trams running in their city. And the way I discovered the tramway was to get nearly run over by a street car as I crossed the road.

Personally, I loved the trams. I thought it was a fantastic way to get around. And they also added some real character and vibrancy to the city.

When using the trams, you should note that you get on at the back, and off at the front.  Don’t do what I did, which was to try to get on the front and off at the back as this is guaranteed to get funny looks from the locals, and what I assume was a comment about tourists not knowing what they are doing and holding everyone up. As far as I could work out, the fare is fixed at 2.8 HKD (£0.25 GBP; $0.35 USD), but I may be wrong on that.  You pay on the tram, by depositing money into an automated coin counter. The trams only take coins, and they do not give change.

Below is a collection of photos of the trams of Hong Kong.

The Trams of Hong Kong

The Trams of Hong Kong

I particularly liked the bold, fresh colours of the trams. The cars are well maintained and looked after. However, to me, they did look out of place. They looked and felt like something from the past that really shouldn’t be in modern Hong Kong.

Trams in Hong Kong

Trams in Hong Kong

The tram cars are odd looking though. They seem to be too tall for their width. In fact, they reminded me of the Knight Bus in Harry Potter when it ‘breathes in’ to get between narrow gaps.

tall thin hong kong trams

The trams look impossibly thin and tall

tram colour schemes

I love the tram colour schemes

Internally the trams were very compact and very crowded. They are a very popular way for the locals (and some tourists) to get around town.

My overall verdict? Well, if you are in Hong Kong, and you are looking for a fun, interesting and unique way to get around the island then you really should consider taking a tram. Enjoy!

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Nick's continued wanderings can be followed on Twitter: @nickswanderings.
 

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