Budget Guide to Hong Kong

People at Victoria Peak looking over Central's office towers
Lonely Planet / Getty Images

Hong Kong is a city that can empty your bank account, burn up your credit card, and leave your piggy bank thoroughly smashed. However, it doesn’t have to be that way—accommodation can be fair, food can be a bargain, and the best sightseeing is free anyway.

Budget-Friendly Accommodation

Your biggest blowout in Hong Kong is almost certainly going to be a bed to sleep in, as some of the swankiest and priciest hotels in the world are located in that city, but there are bargains to be had. If you’re willing to put up with box-sized rooms and views of the nearest concrete walls, you can slice a good chunk off accommodation prices. When planning your travel, try to avoid Chinese New Year and the Hong Kong Sevens, as this is when prices are increased. 

There are plenty of tips, tricks and, of course, scams involved in finding a place to stay in Hong Kong—it is wise to do your research before booking anything. Hostels and guesthouses are another option, after all, if you plan your vacation correctly, you shouldn't be spending much time in your hotel room at all.

Dining Frugally

There really is no need to spend extravagantly on food in Hong Kong, as the city has to be one of the world’s great food bargains. Superb Cantonese food is available for little more than pocket money and Indian, Thai, and Malay dishes can also be had at bargain prices, and it's really only Western cuisine that can eat up your budget. Tea sets are set menu lunches served between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. and are another great way to get a cut-price meal. 

Sightseeing on the Cheap

Most of Hong Kong’s best sightseeing can be done for free or for the price of a ferry or bus ticket. An iconic Star Ferry ride across Victoria Harbour costs just a couple of dollars, entry to the excellent Hong Kong Heritage Museum is just a dollar, and walking around the bustling markets is free.

More Budget Tips

The MTR metro system is simple to use and covers just about everywhere. Keep transport costs to a minimum by buying an Octopus Card, which offers a reduction on transit fares. 

Take the bus from the airport instead of the substantially pricier Airport Express train. It's a little slower but about half the price, and you'll get some great views over the South China Sea on the way in. 

If you can’t afford to drink in the bars of Lan Kwai Fong, then pick up a beer from the nearby 7-Eleven and join the locals at the curb-side table. Hong Kong bars usually have happy hours from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. when beers and drinks are often 2 for 1.