The legal tender in Hong Kong is the Hong Kong dollar with banknotes and coins. HK$ is pegged to the US dollar at a rate of about US$1 = HK$7.8, and may fluctuate slightly between HK$7.75 – HK$7.85. There are 3 banks issuing banknotes and the design is slightly different but the color is always the same. If you are interested in knowing the difference between the banknotes from these banks click here.
|Amount||Color and size|
|HK$10 cents||bronze and small|
|HK$20 cents||bronze with wavy edges and small|
|HK$50 cents||bronze and medium|
|HK$1||silver，thin and large|
|HK$2||silver，thin with wavy edges and large|
|HK$5||silver，thick and large|
|HK$10||purple (green in the past but seldom see it nowadays)|
|HK$50||green (purple in the past but seldom see it nowadays)|
Although credit cards are widely being accepted you’ll need cash in Hong Kong, for instance, most taxi and smaller local store accept cash only. Changing money is easy in Hong Kong as there are banks and money exchanger in almost every tourist area. You may also change at your hotel as well.
You can check the rate at HSBC website as reference and we recommend you to compare with your local exchange rate to decide where is the best place to change money. Note that most banks will charge HK$50 service charge if you do not have account in the bank. Usual bank opening hours is from 9am-5pm (Monday-Friday) and 9am-1pm (Saturday), closes on Sunday and public holidays.
Many international banks has Hong Kong branch and you may make use of their ATM machines to get money directly from your account or via ATM machines with applicable Interbank network (e.g. Plus)
Credit Cards and Traveler Cheques
International Credit Cards such as Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Diners Club are widely accepted by most hotels, retails, restaurants and tourist attractions. However, smaller shops, fast food store and taxis normally don’t accept credit cards.
Traveller’s cheques are generally accepted by most bank and hotels.
Octopus card is a reusable contactless stored value smart card for making electronic payments in Hong Kong. It can be used for taking majority of public transport, supermarkets, convenience stores, fast-food restaurants, car parks etc. The photo on the left is ordinary Octopus Card and the one on the right is Tourist Octopus Card.
You can buy an Octopus Card at any MTR station, it costs HK$150 (initial stored value HK$100) for adults and HK$70 (initial stored value HK$20) for child aged between 3-11. The remaining HK$50 is a refundable deposit. You can store up to HK$1000 at any time.
You are allowed to use your Octopus Card until it has a residual value of HK$-35 or below, you will then need to add value to it and the negative balance will be deducted. You can add value at locations below (full list here)
- Octopus Add value Machines at MTR stations
- MTR Customer Service Centres
- Circle K
- PARKnSHOP Supermarket
- Watsons Personal Care Stores
- Wellcome Supermarket
- VanGo Convenience Stores
If you feel like buying one Octopus Card as souvenir you can choose the Tourist Octopus Card, which is also being sold at 7-Eleven, Circle K, VanGo and China Travel Service Hong Kong, which costs HK$39 (without any stored value) and is not refundable.
You can return both types of Octopus Card to MTR station to get a refund of remaining value on the card. There is no difference between to two while using it.
Cost of Travel in Hong Kong
Big Mac Index tells you a Big Mac costs approximately US$2.48 in Hong Kong. The cost of McDonald is consider average, not expensive not cheap. Here is a list of average spending in Hong Kong to help you forecast how much you need to spend.
|Where to Spend||Average Spending per person||Remarks|
|MTR||HK$10/ride||cost starting from HK$4.5-HK$58 but normally you won't take a very long ride except for going to disneyland，find out more information about MTR ride here|
|Local restaurants and fast food stores||HK$30/breakfast；HK$40/lunch；HK$60/dinner||referring to very Hong Kong style restaurants|
|Average Chinese Tea Restaurant||HK$40/lunch；HK$100/Dinner||where you have dim sum|
|An apple in supermarket||HK$3|
|Carlsberg 500ml||HK$10/supermarket；HK$12.5/convenience store|
*Tell us if you want to know the cost of any other item.
Tips are expected in most Restaurants (except local restaurants and fast food stores), but it’s okay not to give if you are not happy with the quality of the restaurant.
Taxi drivers don’t expect tips.