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How much money do I need to travel to Hong Kong?

15th January 2020

With over 1,200 skyscrapers, you'd be forgiven for assuming Hong Kong was just a city. This is where you're wrong though, as the small but mighty region of over 230 islands also boasts beaches, national parks, marine parks and waterfalls. 

Planning a trip to Hong Kong is exciting, especially as you begin to realise how much the city has to offer. Whether you are aiming to fit everything into a few days as a stopover, or you've got a longer itinerary to play with, one of the hardest parts of holiday planning is working out the budget. 

If you're still in the dreaming stages and are wondering if Hong Kong is the place for you, or have already booked your trip and are keen to get down to budget business, the team at Travel Money NZ have got you covered. We've put together a nifty little travel budget calculator that combines Numbeo data and current exchange rates to give you an idea of how much to prepare for a trip to Hong Kong.  

Before we get into calculations, let's chat about what is included in a Hong Kong travel budget.

What goes into a budget for Hong Kong?


Getting to Hong Kong has never been easier, with plenty of flights leaving New Zealand every day. You can expect to pay between $800 and $1500 for your return airfares, though if you're paying above $1200, it's worth waiting for a cheaper deal. 

Once you arrive in Hong Kong, there are quite a few transport options. Straight up, traffic is crazy so hiring a car isn't the most practical choice. Instead, why not consider the following:

  • Mass transit railway (MTR). The MTR is efficient, clean and covers all major HK districts. You can use this to get from the airport to the city in less than 30 minutes as well. It's worth noting that it can and will get hectic during peak hours, so limit your travel around these times if possible. We also recommend downloading the MTR app, it is super helpful for mapping routes and notifying you of any delays. 
  • Taxis: There are red, green and blue taxis in Hong Kong. The colour just shows which region the taxi covers, though all will travel to Disneyland and the airport. If you are catching a cab, take a business card with your hotel name and address to show the driver as most won't speak English. Drivers also aren't required to give change from notes, so have smaller change on hand to avoid paying more than necessary.
  • Buses. Buses are slightly cheaper than the MRT, and most are double-decker. They cover the majority of the city, so are a great way to get your bearings and some incredible views. Remember that, if paying with cash, you must have the correct change.
  • Minibuses: There are two kinds of minibuses, though both have no more than 19 seats. Green minibuses run routes with specific stops and charge fixed prices (so basically a standard bus). There aren't any buttons on the bus though, so you just need to shout at the driver when you want to get off. Red minibuses, however, run along routes that don't have specific stops, so you can get on or off anywhere you like. Fares aren't fixed, are paid when you disembark and will rise during peak hour or bad weather. Most minibus drivers won't speak English either, so perhaps avoid this option if it's your first time and you are overwhelmed.
  • Tramways are an option on Hong Kong Island. Fares are 2.3 HKD and are an easy way to see the busy Northern Corridor of Hong Kong.
  • Ferry. One of the most popular tourist attractions and means of transport in Hong Kong is the ferry between Kowloon and Hong Kong Island. Ferries frequently run every day and cost 2.5 HKD on weekdays and 3.5 HKD on weekends.
  • Ride-share apps. You will be able to use several ride-share apps in Hong Kong. These are great value if you have a few people to transport; however, they can get caught up in traffic so it may be wise to avoid them if you're in a rush. 

When it comes to paying for your public transport there are two main options:

  • Get a tourist day pass that costs 55 HKD per day ($12NZD) and are valid for 24 hours of consecutive travel. Alternatively, 
  • Get an Octopus Card, which is rechargeable and can be used on the MTR and most other public transport, as well as make purchases in some supermarkets. The MTR fares are 5% cheaper with this card. The initial cost for the card is 150 HKD, which comprises a 50 HKD refundable deposit and 100 HKD worth of travel and purchases. 


When choosing where to stay in Hong Kong, most travellers will ask the same questions: Hong Kong Island or Kowloon? If you're a first time visitor, we generally recommend Kowloon as there are more dining and entertainment options, and it is cheaper. However, if you are still tossing up between the two, here is a quick guide:

Hong Kong Island: The economic centre of Hong Kong, full of skyscrapers and luxury apartments. If you're travelling for work, this side might be your best option. The island also offers plenty of world-class restaurants, bars, galleries and shops. You'll also find the Peak, Aberdeen Fishing Village and Stanley market on this side. 

Kowloon: This side boasts an incredible waterfront with the best views of the nightly Symphony of Lights Show. Kowloon is considered to be the entertainment and shopping hub of Hong Kong, with plenty of malls, parks, museums and boutiques to keep you busy. Kowloon has a broader selection of accommodation options (and prices) and is also home to heaps of markets. 

Regardless of the side you stay on; it's worth considering the following when booking your accommodation:

  • Is it close to a MTR stop or other public transport?
  • What is included in the room rate? Will you get breakfast, or does the accommodation have a pool or restaurant?
  • What do you want to see while in Hong Kong, and which side proves more convenient for this?

If all else fails, remember it is super easy to hop between both sides with the above mentioned public transport, so there is no need to worry about a sudden case of FOMO while visiting Hong Kong. 


Where do we even start? The food options in Hong Kong are vast and incredibly delicious. Its location means the cuisine has Asian and European influences, so you are bound to find something for every craving. 

While food isn't as cheap as other Asian countries like Vietnam, China or Cambodia, you will no doubt find something that suits your budget. Street markets are a great option if you are seeking out rustic and inexpensive meals to fill you up. There are also plenty of high-end restaurants where chefs flaunt their creative flair and serve up the latest and greatest cuisines (with a price tag to match of course). 

Here are a few tips for newcomers on the Hong Kong food scene:

  • Breakfast is cheaper than other meals 
  • Market food, like noodles and dumplings, will set you back around 50 HKD.
  • Sit down restaurants start at 100 HKD per meal and go up from there
  • There are quite a few all-you-can-eat buffets for 110 HKD, which is an affordable way to fill up for the day.
  • Bowls of rice generally aren't free, costing between 5 and 10 HKD.
  • Be sure to visit the Temple Street Night Market for plenty of cheap and delicious food and an evening that will delight your senses.
  • Find the cheapest Michelin Star Restaurant in the World at Tim Ho Wan and enjoy dim sum and a pork bun.
  • You will be able to find and shop at supermarkets, though the prices at street markets are often 50% cheaper.
  • There are 7/11's (or the equivalent) everywhere that sell basic supplies, some food and drinks. Most will have a microwave as well, so you can heat cheap meals like noodles if you are keen for a snack on the
  • run.
  • Lan Kwai Fong is a nightlife district with over 90 restaurants and bars.  


Be sure to set aside some cash to splash on a few of Hong Kong's many activities. We've outlined a few below; however, it's also worth dedicating a day or two to exploring the city on foot to get a real sense of what makes Hong Kong so unique. 

Must do Hong Kong activities:

  • Visit Victoria Peak for a 360-degree view of Hong Kong. You'll need to catch the tram up (unless you're keen on a massive leg day and plan on conquering the stairs) which will set you back 99 HKD for a return trip. 
  • If you're travelling with kids (or a child at heart) Hong Kong Disneyland is a must. Adult admission will set you back around 619 HKD.
  • Watch the Symphony of Lights from Kowloon waterfront (free) or jump on one of many harbour cruises. Prices will vary, so do a bit of research to see which option suits you best.
  • Ocean Park is another theme park, slightly more geared to an older demographic than Disney. Admission is 280 HKD for an adult.
  • Climb 268 stairs to see Big Buddha on Lantau Island. You'll need to take a cable car to get there, which is 125 HKD for a return ticket.
  • EAT! Visit the night markets and eat until you can't eat any more. Hong Kong's food is an activity in itself that definitely can't be missed. 


Pre-travel expenses

Kiwis don't need a visa for Hong Kong as a tourist; however, it is worth chatting to your doctor about any travel vaccinations you may need. Don't forget travel insurance as well, a must for all travellers regardless of the destination! 

How much does a trip to Hong Kong cost?


Step 1

Enter your destination (Hong Kong)
Let us know how long you'll be away
Choose your currency. In this case, it will either be NZD or HKD
Start counting down to some dumplings! You've officially started your holiday budget.

Step 2

Hong Kong's location means its cuisine is mainly inspired by Cantonese cooking. However, your tastebuds will also notice European and wider Asian influences in the many dishes you will no doubt consume. Long story short, you'll be eating a lot of really delicious food. Will you indulge on a budget at street stalls and markets or treat yourself at any of the 82 Michelin Star restaurants? Whatever you're craving, account for your food spending here. 

Step 3

Shopping time! Hong Kong is bursting with luxury malls and street markets, catering to all of your shopping needs. Will you shop till you drop or reserve the cash for other things? 

Step 4

This is for all of your transport outside of flights and significant journeys. So basically, your day to day means of getting around. Depending on your travel style, it will either be public transport, ride-share, cabs or your own two feet. 

Step 5

The hard work is done! Here you'll find a simple layout of your planned expenses in both Hong Kong dollars and Kiwi dollars. From here you can either go back and edit, or start saving for your holiday!

It's important to note here that this only accounts for your most basic expenses. You'll need to add in travel insurance and other daily expenses. It's also worth having a bit of wiggle room in the kitty for unexpected costs.  

Hong Kong Budget Examples

Here are some examples of what the bones of your travel budget would look like. Please note all of these examples are based on seven nights accommodation and are quoted in Kiwi dollars. Prices will, of course, vary with seasonality and availability. 

Couples trip

This couple intends to splurge on a week of romance and luxury while tantalising their taste buds with Hong Kong's incredible cuisine. No expense is spared for this trip.  


$1122 per person

Auckland to Hong Kong return with Air New Zealand. 



King room with spectacular harbour views. 


$300 per day

Five star cuisine comes at a cost, but it is oh so worth it. 


$200 per day

A day tour and harbour cruise thrown in amongst plenty of exploring (and maybe a sneaky spa visit). 

Total for couple 


You might need to invest in some new pants after all the delicious food you will be eating.  


Family getaway

Mum and Dad are treating the kids to a week of delicious food, plenty of exploring and maybe even a trip to Hong Kong Disney!



Auckland to Hong Kong return with Qantas.



Family room in the city centre next to a metro stop. 


$200 per day

Street food, supermarket snacks, fragrant noodles from tiny corner joints and the occasional treat at a world class restaurant. 


$250 per day

A few day tours, plenty of time to explore on foot and a day spent at Hong Kong Disney!



Not bad for a week experiencing a new country with your family. 


Solo traveller

This lucky vagabond is gearing up for a week of late nights, street eats and incredible memories.



Auckland to Hong Kong return with Qantas. 



One bed in a hostel dorm room close to the city centre.  


$50 per day

Buy your food from the supermarket to cook in the hostel kitchen, and indulge in some street food every now and then. 


$70 per day

Opt for days spent wandering the weird and wonderful streets, with a few activities and maybe even a visit to a Macau casino. 



Less than two grand for a week you’ll never forget. 


Last-minute tips

  • Make sure you use official, marked taxis that are metered to avoid scams.
  • The monks walking around offering trinkets and blessings are also scams.
  • When dining in at restaurants, most will charge you a 10% service fee
  • Most shops, malls and eateries are open up 10 pm or later.
  • We recommend splitting your budget so that 60% is on a Cash Passport Platinum and 40% cash.
  • There are ATMs everywhere, so you don't need to stress about running out of cash.
  • It's worth having small change on you all the time for public transport fares and street vendors.
  • When paying with your Cash Passport make sure you choose to pay in the local currency (HKD) instead of NZD. It will save you paying extra fees.
  • Tipping is not expected, though it is appreciated in larger / well-known  restaurants.
  • Research your 'per day' budget and include the things you want to do. Once you know the costs, you have a savings goal to work towards.
  • Take advantage of Travel Money NZ's Best Price Guarantee. If you find a better price from a competitor, we will beat it*.
  • Hostels are a great way to save cash and meet like-minded travellers.
  • Check out reviews if you think something is too good to be true. Chances are it might be. This is particularly the case for tours involving animals. Ensure the tours are safe and reputable for animal welfare.
  • Peak hour traffic can be terrible. If you're in a rush, the MTR is your best bet.
  • Don't forget to factor in pre-travel costs like travel insurance, immunisations and visas.
  • Sign up for Rate Alerts. We'll let you know when the NZD is doing well against the HKD so you can purchase and maximise your travel money.
  • Take cash with you on a night out, that way you won't get too tap-happy, and there is no risk of losing your travel money card.
  • Most signs are in Cantonese and English. 


Flight costs are based on search from www.flightcentre.co.nz  and are indicative costs only for travel dates 4 - 11 August 2020. Prices were sourced on January 9 2020. ^Accommodation costs are based on an average per night price for budget, moderate or luxury hotels, as indicated in the table. ~Food based on the average cost of 1 coffee, 1 fast food meal and 1restaurant meal per person, per day. COST COMPARISON TABLE: All costs are based on estimated approximate costs from major metropolitan cities. “From” costs indicate costs that start from the indicated price and may be higher than shown. Average prices indicate a typical estimated cost you would pay for the indicated item. Prices may vary from time to time, and in different cities and towns within Hong Kong.  This blog is provided for information only and does not take into consideration your objectives, financial situation or needs.  You should consider whether the information and suggestions contained in any blog entry are appropriate for you, having regard to your own objectives, financial situation and needs.  While we take reasonable care in providing the blog, we give no warranties or representations that it is complete or accurate, or is appropriate for you. We are not liable for any loss caused, whether due to negligence or otherwise, arising from use of, or reliance on, the information and/or suggestions contained in this blog.