Hong Kong

By | 16th January 2018

Is it worth hiring a car in Hong Kong?

Do you need a car in Hong Kong > Should you rent a car in Hong Kong Hong Kong SAR > Hong Kong ( HKG )
Car: Do you need a car in 0? No car: Is it worth hiring a car in 0? Slider: Should you rent a car in 0? Should you rent a car in 0?

Hong Kong car hire quick facts

Cheapest rate for one week Based on cheapest economy car hire deal with no added extras. [full notes - basic costs]

470

 #300/300

  • Price alone isn't the only factor in determining whether or not it's worth hiring a car in Hong Kong but clearly it's an important one. See our "why" section for more figures.
How much should I expect to pay in the peak season? Based on cheapest deal during the summer holiday season. (Unless otherwise noted) [full notes - seasonal variations]

 €

470

 237/300

  • During the peak holiday season, public transport is often better value, as many train and bus fares are fixed throughout the year. See our "whynot" section for more suggestions.
Free parking score Based on the number of hotels which offer free parking.Total 473 - of which 4 have free parking. [full notes - parking]

1

%

300/300

  • During the peak holiday season, public transport is often better value, as many train and bus fares are fixed throughout the year. See our "whynot" section for more suggestions.

Hong Kong public transport quick facts

"Top trumps" train score

Higher scores go to the systems which take you to the most amazing places.

90%

#14/300

  • [full notes - top trumps trains]
  • A good rail system doesn't mean you shouldn't hire a car, but it often means you have a decent range of options.

Overall public transport score {coming shortly}

This is a more practical rating based on bus and rail travel.

--%

#---/300

  • [full notes - overall transit] buses | trams | metro | local & regional rail | national rail
  • Is public transport in Hong Kong good value, or is it worth hiring a car just because it is cheaper overall?

Walking and Cycling Overview

Active travel score {coming shortly}

This overall rating considers walking and cycling in and around Hong Kong

--%

#---/300

Need, worth & should!

Whether you have come here asking "do I need a car in Hong Kong", "is it worth hiring a car in Hong Kong", or whether or not you "should" hire a car here, these are all slight variations on a similar theme:

Do you need a car in Hong Kong?

This is essentially based on whether or not public transport and other "non car" options are good enough to get around and beyond the city.

Is it worth hiring a car in Hong Kong?

Is car hire good value, especially during the peak season? How does this compare with transit fares?

Should you rent a car in Hong Kong?

Weighing up the above questions, if you are here for the first time AND asking about hiring a car, is it a good idea?

Do you need a car in Hong Kong? Introduction

When someone asks "Do you need a car in Hong Kong?", this often breaks down to two key questions:

  1. Can you actually get around using public transport, or is a car all but essential?
  2. Is it worth hiring a car in Hong Kong? Is it good value for money, compared with non-car options?

Over the next few sections, we wil look at the pros and cons of driving in Hong Kong as a tourist, and ultimately weigh these up, so we can answer the key question of Should you rent a car in Hong Kong?

Why? Why not? Ratings Comments


Is it worth hiring a car in Hong Kong? I’ve included Hong Kong simply because it is the most extreme example of a city where a hire car is a complete non-starter.

You simply cannot even get a hire car at Hong Kong airport, nor would there be any reason to consider doing so. Some major car hire companies such as Avis do have offices elsewhere in Hong Kong, but prices are exorbitant and there is just no need.

Even in somewhere “obvious” like Venice, there are numerous reasons why getting a hire car can be a great idea for exploring outside the city, whereas here, the idea of Hong Kong car hire remains all but a non-starter.

Naturally, it goes without saying that Hong Kong has one of the most modern and extensive mass transit systems in the world, backed up by extremely high frequency buses and those legendary double-decker trams – and walking is also easy, even if it can get a bit sticky in the tropical heat.

Why should you rent a car in Hong Kong?

What are the main reasons for hiring a car here? Do you just want to drive locally? Do you want to go further afield, or should you even look at taking a road trip?

In terms of factors like the cost of the hire itself, fuel costs, road tolls and parking charges, is it worth hiring a car in Hong Kong?


Well basically, you can’t, or if you really wanted one, you could pick up a car in Central, but you are going to pay through the nose (don’t expect any change out of HKG 1,000), and then you will need to pay for parking on top.

However, if we swap “car” for “taxi” or simply we ask – why go around by road in Hong Kong, instead of by MTR or ferry, then that’s an entirely different question!

Hong Kong road trip (buses and taxis)

IMG_4624

There are no car rental facilities at Hong Kong International airport, and only a handful of car-rental offices within Hong Kong itself. Even if you go across the board into Shenzen, none of the major Western car hire companies are represented – so essentially, car hire in Hong Kong is all but a non-option.

Why not? Visiting Hong Kong without a car

What is public transport like in Hong Kong? What about local conditions for walking or cycling? Can you rely on public transport and maybe a few taxis for most or all of your trip? Are there some times of year when it's easier to get by without a car than others? When should you rent a car in Hong Kong?


Or essentially:

Hong Kong by MTR train, tram and ferry

Given that Hong Kong is one of the most densely populated cities on the planet and that the import of cars is so heavily taxed, it is hardly surprising that public transport and other means of getting around are of a very high quality. In fact, Hong Kong is one of the few cities in the world (perhaps together with Amsterdam, London, New York and San Francisco) where numerous different means of transport are effectively icons of the city in their own right, rather than just means of getting around. Here is just a small selection of options:

  • Hong Kong Metro (MTR).
  • Hong Kong double-decker trams.
  • Hong Kong Star Ferries.
  • Hydrofoils (and other ferries) to Macau.
  • The Hong Kong Peak tram (actually a funicular railway).
  • The Central <> Mid Levels escalators (an outdoor escalator system some 800m long).
  • Visit Ocean Park and take a choice of outdoor escalator, funicular railway or cable car to get to there.
  • The Ngong Ping 360 cable car on Lantau Island, leading up to Po Lin Monastery.
  • Hong Kong by bus / minibus or bus tours.
  • Hong Kong on foot – pedestrian highways.
  • Hong Kong parks and beaches/hiking trails.

The Star Ferry or the hydrofoil to Macau are two essential experiences when visiting this part of the world. Taxis are also widely available throughout Hong Kong  -note that different colours denote different districts.

Is it worth hiring a car in Hong Kong? If your plan is to carry onwards into mainland China, then public transport is pretty good throughout the Pearl River Delta region, but if you do want to hire a car, it is much better to do so once on the other side of the border. Note that it is still very difficult to find Hong Kong or Shenzen car hire deals using online search engines. Be prepared to have to check locally and pay through the nose.

Verdict – very strong no!

Ratings

Our slider ratings range from 0 (it isn't even possible to hire a car, e.g. Hong Kong) through to 10 (you really must rent a car here, e.g. Phoenix, Tampa). However, most places are somewhere inbetween these extremes, and this is where it gets more interesting! Further ratings breakdowns, including a much more detailed public transport rating, are currently being added. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below.


Would you hire a car in Hong Kong?

Have you driven in Hong Kong? Do you agree with our advice on whether or not it's worth hiring a car in Hong Kong?

Do you need a car in Hong Kong? For some or all of the time? 

Tell us what you think using the comments section below:


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