Whether Hong Kong is cheap or expensive is one of the most common questions asked by potential visitors to the city. It has a reputation for being one of the world's priciest cities.
Hong Kong certainly has the potential to cause a raid on your bank account. It's possible to spend more on life’s little luxuries in Hong Kong than anywhere else on earth - and five-star Hong Kong hotels will certainly help empty your wallet.
But the city needn't be a pricey proposition. It's easier to save money here than in most other world cities - there are cut-price transportation, cheap food, and plenty of attractions and experiences that are completely free. Below, we look at the average price of goods and services.
Price of Accommodation in Hong Kong
Sit down; this will upset you. Hong Kong has some of the most squeezed real estate in the world and the hotels are very busy - that means rooms are at a premium and this pushes prices up. Expect to pay HK$1,800 (US$230) and upwards for a five star and HK$600 (US$77) and up for a three star. Stays in guesthouses and dorms start as low as HK$150 (US$20), although they are very low quality. See our pick of the best Hong Kong hotels under $100, if you're looking to save some cash.
Price of Transport in Hong Kong
Cheap, cheap and cheap. Hong Kong has a fantastic public transport system where prices are kept low to try and encourage people from using cars on the traffic-clogged streets. A Star Ferry ticket to cross the harbor is just HK$3.40 (US$0.40), while an MTR ride around downtown will cost around HK$12 (US$1.50).
Price of Eating Out in Hong Kong
Hong Kong is not only a fantastic place to eat out but you don't need to spend much to eat well. There are Cantonese restaurants on every street corner and the classic combo of rice and char siu can go for as little as HK$30 (US$4), although HK$60 (US$8) is a more likely price. Dim Sum, Chinese BBQ, and other local favorites are similarly cheap. Costs jump if you want to eat British or international food, with a decent burger place charging HK$100 (US$13) and a dinner at Gordon Ramsey's Bread Street Kitchen HK$200 (US$25)
Price of Going Out in Hong Kong
If you like a pint or three, Hong Kong has the potential to clean your wallet out. A pint of local lager in Lan Kwai Fong will set you back HK$60 ($8) and cocktails topping HK$100 (US$13). There are regular Happy Hours that can help reduce costs. Away from the bars, a movie ticket is about HK$60 (US$8) and a takeaway coffee HK$30 (US$4). It does mean that incidentals can very quickly add up.
Cheap or Expensive?
Ultimately, Hong Kong can be a relatively cheap holiday. Stick to the local restaurants, walk the streets and markets and stay at a three-star hotel and you won't leave with an empty pocket. But choose steaks and pints of imported beer and credit card bills will stack up quickly.