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Hong Kong

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Currency information

Code HKD
Symbol $
Cents & dollars - 10c, 20c, 50c, $1, $2, $5, $10
Dollars - $10, $20, $50, $100, $150, $500, $1000

Expert tip

Pay in the local currency, Hong Kong dollars. Some stores, particularly in markets, may take advantage of foreigners and offer to take your New Zealand dollars for a great exchange rate. It is likely the trader will add a big profit margin and you will be ripped off. It is best just to pay in Hong Kong dollars using cash or a pre-paid currency card.

ATM access

5/5 stars – there are ATMs everywhere.


Tipping is not common in Hong Kong and tips are often rejected.

Some establishments even have strict no-tipping policies and find the act to be insulting.

It is advised not to tip in Hong Kong, with one notable exception being tour guides, who often rely on tips from tourists and appreciate them greatly.

Bargaining scale

5/5 stars – bargaining is expected.

Bargaining and haggling are traditional in Hong Kong, especially in the many markets. Major stores and chain stores are not as commonly known for haggling, but you may be able to negotiate prices in smaller stores in the malls.

To bargain effectively, you should start with a price lower than what you are expecting or willing to pay - that way you still have some wriggle room when the seller wants to negotiate a higher price.

Card access

International debit and credit cards are welcome at most establishments; Visa, MasterCard and American Express cards are the most widely used. Maestro and Cirrus cards can only be used at ATMs that specifically display their logos.

Any international fees will depend on your bank, so be sure to check with them before you leave. It is also important to let your bank know of your travel plans and dates so they are aware of your card use overseas and don’t suspect anything strange. Consider using a prepaid currency card to ensure you aren’t wasting your money on hidden fees.

Cost of a coffee

HK $33.80 (regular cappuccino)


Hong Kong has one of the most efficient public transport systems in the world, along with a convenient payment method used by locals and available to tourists. The Sold Tourist Octopus card can be used for public transport, dining, shopping and more.

The Mass Transit Railway (MTR), bus, ferry, public light bus, coach and tram all accept the Octopus card. The card itself costs HK$39 and can be topped up at the nearest 7-Eleven or other participating stores to “beep” on and off public transport, much like systems in cities across New Zealand.

Pickpocket security rating

2/5 stars – theft is common.

Pickpockets are common in shopping malls, on public transport, and in other crowded areas. Wearing your bag to the front and close to your body is advised, as well as being alert and aware of your surroundings in busy areas.

Scammers and ripoffs

Hong Kong’s most common scam is to sell cheap knockoffs in place of the item you are actually paying for. This problem is particularly common in electronics stores, so ensure you thoroughly inspect your goods before walking away to confirm your salesperson hasn’t substituted it for a cheap copy.

Departure tax

An Air Passenger Departure Tax of HK$120 for passengers over the age of 12 years is included in the price of your air ticket. Passengers who arrive and depart on the same day do not have to pay this tax fee.

Visa costs

Hong Kong is a Special Administrative Region (SAR) and as such has different immigration regulations to that of the People's Republic of China. New Zealand citizens do not require a visa for visits to Hong Kong  that are less than 90 days. However, they do require a passport that is valid for at least six months upon arrival.

If you need more information regarding visas and other travel document requirements for your trip, please ask your travel consultant.

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