One of the reasons that Hong Kong continues to be successful is her ability to move people quickly and efficiently. As the 4th most densely populated region in the world, transportation is often near the top of mind in Hong Kong. After food and shopping, locals seem equally interested in celebrity gossip, weather, horse racing, and traffic.
Among the ultra-modern subway and train systems, the busses and mini-busses, and the affordable green and red taxis running all over the place, there remains a fully functioning relic of the past. The Hong Kong Tramway is a streetcar system that runs 13km along the commercial side of Hong Kong Island. Colloquially known as the ding ding, due to the bell used to warn pedestrians as it quietly rolls down the street, these trams have been in operation since 1904.
A favorite among tourists, you’ll also find a lot of students and seniors on the tram because it is one of the cheapest ways to get around. The adult fare is HK$2.30 (30 US cents) and seniors pay just HK$1 (12 US cents) to ride any distance along the rails. While it is cheap, the many stops it makes along the way means that it is best suited for those not in a hurry. The ding dings are not air conditioned and can get crowded at times during the day. Having said all of that, my kids have a fascination with both double decker busses and trolleys, so the idea of a double decker trolley bus pretty much blew their minds.
If you’re ever in Hong Kong and it’s not too hot out, try checking out the trams. They are a cheap way to see a lot of different parts of the city. Sitting on the upper deck gives you a unique perspective and allows you to sight see up and above the crowds, but remember:
This post was submitted to:
- Travel Photo Thursday hosted by Budget Traveler’s Sandbox
- Friday Daydreamin’ hosted by RWeThereYetMom
Great perspective on the Hong Kong transportation system! Are the trams manually or automatically operated (i.e. are their drivers)?
Yes they have drivers. I had to think about that one because I always ride up top so I haven’t actually seen them drive!
Hong Kong was our first international destination oh so many years ago. If I saw these or rode them I sure don’t remember them, but what a great thing to put in the ‘futures’ file should we get back there.
I’ve never tried the trams in HK. Definitely will do so the next time I am there. I used the trams in Prague recently, and loved them.
We saw the trams while we were in Hong Kong, but the kids were so tired at that point we skipped doing a joyride. We’ll have to try them the next time we’re there.
The fares are so inexpensive. Any idea what the average person makes?
I’m not sure but I think there is a pretty wide spread. I’d guess that a lot of the people who live on Hong Kong Island are doing pretty well on an international scale.
Nice photos. Can’t believe it costs just 30 cents to ride!
I love hearing about different modes of transportation around the world, and this trolley is so cute! What a lovely way to see HK, and you can’t beat those fares.
That is one heck of a fine for spitting, but I’m so glad they have it. It’s gross!
I can’t remember seeing these trams but I’ll definitely look for them next trip. The fares are so cheap!
What a fun way to travel – and so inexpensive! My kids would love that!!
Thanks for linking up
What I remember most about these quaint trams from when I rode them many years ago is just how narrow the curved staircase to the upper floor is! A great post!
Narrow and very steep. If you try moving up or down those while the tram is running it’s like a roller coaster ride!
A ride on the ding dings would be a must for me if I get to Hong Kong. How cool! I think it’s nice when cities keep these old tramways in operation. San Francisco has some, too on the F-Line.
The other benefit of good old street-level transportation is that it gives you a better sense of place than the subway does. Subways are super efficient but it can be jarring when you come back above ground have have no idea how far you’ve come or which way you’re facing.
I’ve only ever taken cabs and subways and once a ferry in Hong Kong. The tram sounds like a lot of fun!