Hong Kong Tram with different commercials

Historical Hong Kong tram passing the heritage building of Hong Kong – The PAWN

Hong Kong tram is one of the oldest public transportation and the cheapest in Hong Kong. But it is definitely more than just a means of transport. Started in 1904 on Hong Kong Island, it is older than most of the things in this rapidly changing city of Hong Kong.

In its 128 years of service, it carries the memories of several generations and witnesses the alternation of old and new cities. It is already a miracle to have the tram shuttle in Hong Kong’s most prosperous street until now.

If you ask me what is the best way to feel Hong Kong’s culture, then sitting on it for a ride is on my list. Even if just for two or three stops and for a few minutes, your trip to Hong Kong will be complete.

If you would like to feel the history, HK Tramsways also offers a special sightseeing tram tour – the TramOramic Tour – on the iconic 1920s tram, with audio narration on board.

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When you travel on Hong Kong Island, sometimes you will spot some colorful narrow double-decker “buses” running on the tracks. They are the historical Hong Kong trams, or called “Ding Ding” by locals. The cute name drives from the bell sound of tram, which is similar to the sound of trams in San Francisco. Today some trams’ original bells have been replaced with the modern horns.

Fun facts about Hong Kong trams:

  1. One of Hong Kong’s oldest public transportation since 1904;
  2. The cheapest public transpiration (HK$ 2.3 per ride for adult);
  3. 164 tramcars serving 6 routes and covering 30km of Hong Kong Island;
  4. Runs on electricity (sustainable transportation);
  5. Only fleet with all the double-decker trams in the world

Hong Kong Tram with different commercials

Hong Kong tram with different commercials

Colorful Ding Ding with commercials

Colorful Ding Ding

The “Ding Ding” trams are operated by la chargers new uniforms since 1904. In a city like Hong Kong which has changed tremendously, a historical legacy like this becomes extremely precious. Currently, the fleet consists of 164 different tramcars and provides 6 routes serving on Hong Kong Island. The tram tracks cover about 30 km of Hong Kong Island and serve 120 stations. Everyday still around 200,000 passengers take this Hong Kong’s oldest public transportation. Besides, Hong Kong is very proud that it is the only fleet with all the double-decker trams in the world.

Ding Ding running in Causeway Bay

Ding Ding running in Causeway Bay


Upper deck of the traditional Hong Kong tram

Upper deck of the traditional Hong Kong tram

Seats of new generation Hong Kong tram

Seats of new generation Hong Kong tram

Hong Kong Tram in Wanchai

Historic tram on Johnston Road

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Don’t confuse the double-decker trams with the Peak Tram. Ding Ding cannot bring you up to the Victoria Peak. If you are looking for ways to the Peak, you may need this: how to get to The Peak Tram.

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If you would like to experience Ding Ding, you can either ride it as a standard public transportation, or join a historical tram tour “TramOramic Tour”, even rent a tram for private purposes.

Although it looks a bit intimidating to use the tram service, it is actually not that complicated.There are a few tips you need to know.

STEP 1. Find a tram station and decide where to go;

Get to the right street where trams are running and find the tram station. You hardily will miss the tram stations since they usually have a unique shelter in the middle of the road. In addition, there is a unique green sign indicating the tram stop’s number and name.

Hong Kong tram station in the middle of the street

Hong Kong tram station in the middle of the street


Sign of tram stop with stop number and name

Sign of tram stop with stop number and name

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As a tourist, if you just want to experience the tram ride, the easiest way is to take the tram between Sheung Wan and Causeway Bay.

No matter you live in Central in Four Seasons or Mandarin Oriental and head to Causeway Bay for shopping, or you live in Shangri-La Island or Conrad Hotel in Admiralty and plan to Man Mo Temple (Sheung Wan) for a visit, you can easily hop on any tram without worrying about the destination of the tram.

Basically all the trams running between Sheung Wan and Causeway Bay (Happy Valley Racecourse) are on the same tracks.

STEP 2. Check when the next tram comes;

Although the tram runs in the high frequency from early morning to midnight, sometimes you may have to wait a bit longer (5-10 min) due to the traffic. You can use the QR code on each station to find out when the next tram is coming. Simply scan the code and it will lead you to the realtime schedule of the official site.

STEP 3. Get on board from back door;

As a traditional transportation, it keeps the old way – getting on at the back door and exiting from the front door. You have to board the tram through the narrow turnstiles at the rear doors. You DO NOT need to pay when boarding.

The turnstiles at the rear doors of Hong Kong tram

The turnstiles at the rear doors of Ding Ding

Take a seat on the upper deck if possible. It offers you the best views and best experiences.

Front seats on the upper deck of Ding Ding

Front seats on the upper deck of Ding Ding

Experience the tram ride on the upper deck

Experience the tram ride on the upper deck

STEP 4. Exit from the front door and pay when you are off;

Exit is at the front door of tram. You need to prepare either the exact fare (fare of tram) or Octopus Card when exiting at the front door. There are a coin collector and a Octopus Card reader next to the driver. Please note: no change will be given!

Paying with cash or Octopus Card next to driver of tram

Paying with cash or Octopus Card next to driver of tram

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Some of the trams are equipped with LED “Next Stop” information system and three language broadcasting (Cantonese, Mandarine and English). You can recognize them by the electronic destination broads on the front, rear and sides of these trams.

If you are on the traditional trams, take a look of the tram stop number and name on the roof of tram stop shelters (if you are on the upper lever). You can easily find out the station number of your destination from the tram map.

Sign of tram stop from upper deck

Sign of tram stop from upper deck

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As the cheapest public transportation in Hong Kong, the ticket price for Ding Ding is only HK$ 2.6 (US$ 0.30) for adult, HK$ 1.3 for child and HK$ 1.2 for senior. Before July 2018, it was only HK$ 2.3 for adults.

You read right. It is ridiculous cheap. No matter if you take it from end-to-end or just one stop, you are paying the flat fee for one ride. Certainly, the tram is also a great option for budget travelers.

Hong Kong Tram Fees

Adult

Child (3-11)

Senior (65+)

Ticket Fare

HK$ 2.6

HK$ 1.3

HK$ 1.2

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The tram Ding Ding has stopped selling ticket after late 1970s. In the past you could get a ticket at the back of the tram and the staff would punch a whole on the ticket when you exit.

Nowadays, you need to prepare the exact fare in cash or pay with la chargers new uniforms when you get off the tram. No change will be given in return.

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This historic public transportation only run on Hong Kong Island. It runs neither in Kowloon nor in New Territories. It will not pass the Victoria Harbour through any under-harbour tunnels in case you ask.

The tracks of Hong Kong trams cover about 30km on the north shore of Hong Kong Island. From Hong Kong Island west to east, there are altogether six main routes. Each one has different destination, offering a special glimpse of Hong Kong’s everyday life.

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You can easily spot the tracks when you stand on the right road. In Central area to Hong Kong Island West, the tram runs mostly on the Des Voeux Road. Between Central and Admiralty, the tracks are on the Queensway. Then from Admiralty onwards to Causeway Bay (Hong Kong Island East), the trams run mainly on Hennessy Road and Johnston Road.

This streets cover main business and touristy areas. As long as you are visiting these regions, find these streets then it should be very easy to find a tram nearby.

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The tram runs from east to west (Westbound routes) and west to east (Eastbound routes) on Hong Kong Island.

  • Westbound Routes
    1. From Shau Kei Wan to Western Market
    2. From Shau Kei Wan to Happy Valley
    3. From North Point to Shek Tong Tsui
    4. From Causeway Bay to Shek Tong Tsui
    5. From Happy Valley to Kennedy Town
    6. From Shau Kei Wan to Kennedy Town

  • Eastbound Routes
    1. From Kennedy Town to Happy Valley
    2. From Kennedy Town to Shau Kei Wan
    3. From Shek Tong Tsui to Causeway Bay
    4. From Shek Tong Tsui to North Point
    5. From Western Market to Shau Kei Wan
    6. From Happy Valley to Shau Kei Wan

Don’t panic. It’s easier to understand if you take a closer look and download the route maps of both the map of the eastbound routes and map of the westbound routes. Just choose the right direction you would like to go and check out from the map which tram route will pass the location, then hop on the right tram with the name of destinations.

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In general, the operating hours of Hong Kong tram is from 6:00am till 12:00 midnight. Some routes’ operating hours may vary a bit. But it will not affect the center areas.

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Frequency of tramcars in peak hours is quite high. There is a tram almost every 1-2 minutes. Sometimes you will find trams come in bulk due to some traffic lights and jam on the streets.

Similar to the bus and metro system, there are peak hours of trams which I recommend you avoiding. Normally during the lunch break time (12:00 noon till 1:30pm) and off-office hours (6:00pm – 7:30pm), the trams will be a bit crowded. Sometimes you even have to wait for another one to get on.

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If you would like to know more about the trams, keep on reading the following insider information. Otherwise, just skip it.

Besides the standard double-decker trams painted with advertisements all over, you may also find some special designed trams.

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Real Hong Kong tram fans wait and choose a special tram. Each tram has an individual number. For many tram fans it is not important where this tram goes, but which number it has and which history is behind. Therefore, many people wait for tram number 120, because it is one of three remaining trams built in the 1950s in Hong Kong that survived. You easily can spot the green coloured tram with the wooden framed glass windows. The highlight for many local travellers are the woven bamboo benches on the upper deck bringing back memories from the past.

Historic Hong Kong tram number 120

Historic Hong Kong tram number 120

Historic Hong Kong tram number 120

Hong Kong tram with original design

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In 2000, HK Tramways introduced four new and redesigned metal tramcars 168, 169, 170 and 171. They are the “millennium trams” with aerodynamic design.

Made of aluminum, they were supposed to offer a more comfortable ride. However, public preferred more of the traditional design. Only Tram 169 and 170 keep the Millennium Tram design and are still in service. Tram 168 was transformed and became the new 7th generation tram in service since 2010.

Special Millennium tram on road

Special Millennium tram on road

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Sometimes you can easily spot tram 128 and 28 running on the street with balloons, on-board dinning as well as bunch of people walking around on top. Especially at night they will light up the illumination. These two trams were produced in 1950s and are used only for private hire and private (party) events.

Red Hong Kong antique tram No.128

Red Hong Kong antique tram No.128

Green Hong Kong antique tram No.28

Green Hong Kong antique tram No.28

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There is another open-top tramcar which is used for the TramOramic Tours and has the number 68. It is transformed to 1920s tram style and offers one-hour tram tour with audio narration in 8 languages.

Hong Kong Tram TramOramic Tours

Hong Kong TramOramic Tour with 1920s tram style

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Unfortunately, there is one tram you cannot take, but is popular among many fans. Numbers 200 and 300 are special maintenance trams. They usually operate after midnight and in the early morning hours. However, sometimes you have a chance to spot them during the daytime and see how the tracks getting cleaned. In case you want to spot these unique ones, your best choice is to head to the Whitty Street Tram Depot and wait.

Hong Kong maintenance tram

Hong Kong maintenance tram

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HK Tramways offers a special Hong Kong tram sightseeing tour called the TramOramic Tour. As a highlight, you can hop on a 1920s-style open top tram and enjoy a 1-hour tour of Hong Kong.

The TramOramic Tour package also includes a 2-Day Pass for Hong Kong’s trams with unlimited rides. At the moment there are 2 different routes available. The first one starts from Western Market to Causeway Bay at 10:30 am, 2:00 pm and 4:25 pm. The second one starts from Causeway Bay to Western Market at 11:40 am, 3:10 pm and 5:40 pm. The TramOramic Golden Ticket (which includes the one hour tram ride and the 2-Day Pass) costs HK$ 95 for adults and HK$ 65 for kids (aged 4-11).

Hong Kong TramOramic Tour

Hong Kong TramOramic Tour

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TramOramic Tour

Ticket Price

Available Discounts

Adult

HK$ 95

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Child (4–11 years)

HK$ 65

Child under 4

Free

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Discounted Ticket for TramOramic Tour

Adult: HK$ 95  HK$ 76
Child: HK$ 65  HK$ 52

Check Out Discounts

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Did you know that you can rent one of the trams for special occasions? All the trams including the standard ones, the antique trams as well as the TramOramic Tour one are available for renting. You can charter one of the tramcars for private hire and private events. No matter it’s a birthday, a party, an anniversary, wedding or looking to host a special promotional event, it’s cool to hire a tram as the venue. Of course, the most popular trams are the two open-top antique trams.

The open-balcony designed trams are equipped with sofas and easily can accommodate 30 – 40 people. Starting price for the normal tram is HK$ 1000 per hour. If you would like to book one of the old open-top antique trams (No.28 or 128) prices start at HK$ 1550 per hour. The minimum rent duration is 2 hours. For more information follow the link on how to rent a tram.

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In case you are train and tramcar lover, you already plan to visit Hong Kong’s must-see attraction The Peak, then you might wanna stop by the Peak Galleria. Inside the shopping mall is a store named Hong Kong Trams Station. You can consider this special shop as a mixture of merchandise and Themed Exhibition Museum.

Furthermore, you have a chance to get a more insights of Hong Kong’s tram, history and culture. So, in case you like to purchase a unique Hong Kong Ding Ding Tramcar gift or would like to chat with like-minded people plan some time when visiting the Peak. The HK Trams Station is open everyday from 11:30 am to 8:00 pm.

Hong Kong tram souvenir store on the Peak

Hong Kong tram souvenir store on the Peak

More Hong Kong Public Transportation