Hong Kong Costs: $125 a Day

Like most major cities, Hong Kong can easily take a dent out of your budget. But despite the cost, it’s one of those places that keeps luring us back in to explore more of its densely packed streets, search for bargains at its markets, and savor its complex and multinational food scene.

Just want the numbers? Skip to the bottom.

Predictably, lodging will be a big expense on your visit to Hong Kong. If you stay in a place like Chungking Mansions (a bit of a death trap), the nightly cost for an en suite room with a double bed is around $40. We also stayed at a hotel near Causeway Bay that cost $88 a night, but it was a much nicer room (no bugs, natural light, and we never feared for our lives!).

Transportation costs in Hong Kong are really reasonable, and public transport will get you just about anywhere in short order. Pick up an Octopus Card for use on the MRT and Star Ferry (and remember to cash out any remaining balance on your way out of town). If you take a bus from the airport, expect to pay around $5. There’s also a great Airport Express system where you can check in for your flight at Hong Kong or Kowloon Station and take a train directly to HKG in under 25 minutes, but this service will set you back around $12 per person.

[ptcPhoto filename=”HKTraffic.jpg” title=”Traffic” caption=”Taking the MRT will save time in afternoon traffic.” position=”center”]

Outside of transportation costs, you can see a lot of what Hong Kong has to offer just by wandering around in different neighborhoods and markets.

[ptcPhoto filename=”HKVeggies.jpg” title=”Veggies” caption=”Veggies for sale at a day market.” position=”center”]

Over 7 million people live in its 426 square miles, making it one of the most densely populated places in the world. It’s hard to describe the energy of the place, or to capture it in photos. If you’ve not been there, you should go. The diversity, great food, history and ease of travel have made it one of our favorite cities.

[ptcPhoto filename=”HKStreet.jpg” title=”Street” caption=”A street scene in the city.” position=”center”]

Hong Kong is full of character, with a clear sense of nostalgia for times past and excitement for what’s to come. The fact that English is widely spoken makes it a much more approachable city, even if it seems at first to be an impenetrable concrete jungle.

[ptcPhoto filename=”HKSigns.jpg” title=”Signs” caption=”Old signs on the Kowloon Peninsula” position=”center”]

The daily average cost for our visit was $125.17 (or $62.59 per person per day). Food ended up being the largest expense, but we did eat out for every meal.

Here is a breakdown of all our costs during our stay. This table does not include costs to enter the country on two occasions (we walked across the border once and used miles another time, only paying taxes). Visas are not required for US citizens, so there were no other costs associated with entering the country.

Type of Expense Total Cost
(for 12 days)
Daily Average Notes
Lodging $612.16 $51.01 Our lodging choices ranged in price from around $40 in Chungking Mansions to $88 near Causeway Bay. The use of Agoda points brought one room down to only $35 a night.
Food $702.67 $58.56 Very tasty meals can be had for as little as $20 (see our HK food article for meal ideas).
Transportation (within territory) $43.71 $3.64 Fares on the MRT are based on distance, but usually cost $1-2.
Entertainment $40.24 $3.35 Includes the Science Museum, Peak Tram, and a movie.
Alcohol $97.48 $8.12 Large bottles of beer are $2-3 in convenience stores.
Incidentals $5.77 $.48 Includes the costs for items like sunblock, internet, clothes and donations.
Grand Total* $1,502.02 $125.17 *Total reflects expenses for two people. It does not reflect costs to enter the country (i.e., visas or airfare)

[ptcPhoto filename=”HongKongPie.jpg” title=”Pie” caption=”” position=”center”]

Some Examples:

Average cost of a nice sit-down dinner for two – $400HKD (around $50)
A pint of beer at a bar – $61HKD ($8)
The cost to ride the Star Ferry – $3.40HKD ($.50)
A movie ticket – $96HKD ($12)

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