I’ve never seen HK as a good destination for sightseeing or shopping. The best part of it, for me, has always been the Octopus Card. It is a must-have when in HK, even if you’re only going to be there for 24 hours. The simple explanation is that it is a smart card that you preload with value (initial purchase costs 150HKD and includes 100HKD of deposit) and can be used to pay for public transportation. I know, that didn’t sound impressive at all.
But wait! Not only is it contactless (which means that you don’t have to take it out of your wallet every time you need to use it), but it can be used everywhere in HK. Any sort of public transportation (bus, MTR, minibus, tram, ferry, etc) accepts it and you can save a ton of time using the Octopus Card rather than buying tickets for each individual trip. It is also accepted at the majority of convenience stores, grocery stores, bakeries, fast food and casual restaurants, vending machines, parking meters and other merchants throughout the city.
Let’s face it. You don’t want to carry around coins smaller than 1 HKD that paying for buses and food/beverages could require. You also don’t have exact change all the time for buses and trams. And really, no one living the fast-paced HK lifestyle wants to wait for people in front of them at the convenience store or fast food reastaurant to dig into their wallets to find cash. Octopus is the best way to go and you can get a refund for any unused amounts; there is a 9HKD return fee but the convenience of having the card far outweighs this slight “donation” to Hong Kong. I would say 80% of our transactions during our two day stay in HK could have been paid for using an Octopus card.