· Star Ferry: A nod to the sepia-tinged Hong Kong of colonial history, the Star Ferry is a tourist attraction still enjoyed daily by locals alike. Departing from a pier in front of the IFC Tower on Central and arriving to the tip of Kowloon, and taking just 7 minutes and 28 cents off your Octopus Card to do so, it's the best way to get a view of the harbor while heading to dinner or a meeting. If you're staying longer than a week, then the other neighborhood ferries and hydrofoils to Macau are worth checking out.
· Mid-Levels Travelator: For us, this was a must-do, but for locals, it's just another banal bit of their daily commute. Beginning from an elevated moving walkway at Queen's Road in Central, a "the world's longest escalator" will carry you up through the Soho district and into the affluent Mid-Levels district, passing by apartment windows and itty-bitty restaurants the entire way. Hop off at any street, because the best part is that the Travelator is completely free.
· Subway: Ah the good old MTR, or Mass Transit Railway, which glides peacefully underneath the bustling metropolis above. Fares are cheap and vary by distance traveled, and although the system seems small compared to New York and Tokyo, the stations are surprisingly convenient. While most lines stop running after midnight (keeping the late-night taxis in business), the Hong Kong MTR makes up for it by surpassing even German subway systems in terms of cleanliness and punctuality.
· Victoria Peak Funicular: Along with the Star Ferry, this ranks as a seriously touristy thing to do. Still, it's the most unique and direct way to mount Victoria Peak and take advantage of the jawdroppingly steep ascent. Heading up is often crowded, but the descent leaves plenty of room for picture taking and gawking at the skyscrapers below you.
· Lantau Island Cable Car: Few travelers consider heading to Lantau Island for anything outside of Disney Land and the International Airport, but the cable car system is a true gem. Leaving from the Tung Chung MTR station, the cars head over the sea and mountains for 25 minutes before descending to a monastery on the island. If you're not afraid of being suspended over the South China Sea, then this could very be the highlight of a day.
· Color-coded taxis: Hong Kong is a major city with a lot of impatient citizens, after all. Taxis here are cheap by comparison with other cities like New York and London, and despite the traffic they often shave a few minutes off of the subway travel time. Just remember to hail the right color cab for your destination: red is for urban Hong Kong, green is for the New Territories, and blue is for Lantau Island. When in doubt, go with red.
We probably don't need to convince you any more, but Hong Kong truly is a playground for people on the move. And here we thought the Staten Island Ferry was exotic. For more short videos of goings-on in HK, check out our YouTube videos here.