One of my biggest weakness is directions and leave aside an unknown place, I lose my way in Kolkata many a times. There is a certain brain conditioning which holds me back from understanding and navigate through roads. I was visiting HongKong for the first time and honestly, was scared to explore the city all on my own without knowing anything.
The Hong Kong MTR or the Mass transit railway Hong Kong was a blessing. My first interaction with Hong Kong MTR happened when I bought an Octopus card from Jordan station and I was on my way to North Point. Completely clueless, I went up to Customer assistance booth and asked for direction. In a map, which is easy and self explanatory, the person behind the glass counter explained to me marking the points where I need to change the trains to reach my destination. The first purchase of MTR card will be of 150 HK dollars and 50 HK dollars will be kept as a a security deposit.
The Hong Kong MTR is operational from 1979 and covers from the heart of Hong Kong Central and Cawsey Bay to Lantau Island. Over the next few days, I explored only through Hong Kong MTR, to an extent that on the last day of my stay in Hong Kong, I even explored two of the city temples on my own and explored completely new places. Admiralty, Nam Cheong, Sunny Bay, Austin, Tsim Sha Sui are some of the names which are ringing in my brain till now.
Here are some of the tips which may help you, if you are travelling by HongKong MTR . Let me know if these are helpful.
- All stations have multiple exits and it is important to remember which exit you will like to take to go to your destination.
- It’s also important to know the exit through which you are entering the station as few times, I didn’t remember this and although I reached my destination and exited the station, I reached a new place of HongKong altogether.
- The stations are well maintained (goes without saying and not try to compare any Indian station by any means) and the signages are packed with information. From places of interest, Exit, corresponding lines and many more
- Don’t worry if you have missed a train, the timings of the arrival of next two trains will flash in the LCD screen on the platform and max wait time is 3- 4 mins.
- The train starts from 6 AM ( at some places its 5.50 AM too) and the last train is between 12.30 AM to 1 AM in most places.
- While boarding a train of another interchangable line, please note the direction in which the train is moving and whether your destination station is there on that way or not.
- At times walking on stations may seem too long and tiring but the escalators and lifts are there in all the stations to help you out. In case you want to burn those calories, then take the stairs.
- There are various stores which are found in MTR stations and from 7 Eleven to cakes and pastries, you will find all.
- There is a discipline in which the people board and get down from train where the passengers are allowed to get down first and then people get up. In case there is a rush, passengers form a queue in front of the door on their own.
- Sunny Bay, the connecting station for Disney Land and Tung Chung station to Ngong Ping Island sees too many tourists. Hence, there are additional assists in form of volunteers who will help you with direction.
- Within the train, there are always LED directions which let you know which one is your next station in addition to the announcements.
- Most important point to remember is that MTR does not accept credit or debit cards. They accept cash only.
- One can access Internet and Wifi too in the train from time to time. You may see everyone is busy with their handheld device. So in case you have one, it is the correct time to send that social media update.
I was so home by the end of second day, I proudly said this in Social Media – it is tough to get lost in Hong Kong and Hong Kong MTR plays a key part in that.