The journey is the destination: Hong Kong’s historic tram is proof.

Operating since 1904, making it the world’s largest double decker tram fleet in service, this charming, planet-friendly form of transport is the best way to soak in the city’s energy. Trundling through Hong Kong Island’s vibrant and distinctive neighbourhoods, what it lacks in speed it more than makes up for in scenery. Listen for the characteristic ding ding, hop on, and don’t dare doomscroll this joyride away.

Note: Our Tram 101 guide covers the basics, so here we’ll focus on historic monuments and long standing eateries located tramside. Think neighbourhood-defining institutions that have stood the test of time (and withstood the whims of corporate property developers).

The far west: Sai Wan and around

Overflowing with trendy cafes and pet parents in athleisure, it’s hard to imagine that Kennedy Town lacked its own MTR station just twenty years ago. Rapid gentrification has more than left its mark on Sai Wan, which stretches roughly until Sai Ying Pun, but small businesses and forgotten buildings have endured the ages against all odds.

Panoramic photos and blue for ages: Sai Wan Swimming Shed

How to get there: walk for 25 minutes from Kennedy Town Terminus


Sai Wan swimming shed | Photo by AN

One of the most unique and photogenic spots to check out in the area is Sai Wan Swimming Shed (Victoria Road). Built in 1970 to feed an appetite for accessible swimming, the deck is still popular among experienced elderly swimmers who often dive equipment-free, undaunted by the capricious waves. There is no lifeguard on duty here, so swim at your own risk. Stormy or sunny, you can expect atmospheric photos.

Eat well, for less

How to get there: walk for 5 minutes from Smithfield (102W) or North Street (01E)

From HK$25.00

Hong Kong’s hawker centres appeal to the cheapo within us all. Smithfield Cooked Food Centre (2 Rock Hill Street) is home to Sing Kee Cha Dong, a 60+ year old eatery famed for nutty satay noodles laden with generous cuts of fresh beef.

As far as dim sum goes, the nocturnal Sun Hing (8 Smithfield Road) is about as chaotic as they come, but sleeper hits like curry tripe and lava buns will transform you into a repeat customer at this five decade-old yum cha haunt.

A temple unlike any other

How to get there: How to get there: walk for 10 minutes from Kennedy Town Praya (98W) or Holland Street (03E)


Lo Pan Temple | Photo by AN

Temples sprout from street corners everywhere in the city, but the Lo Pan Temple on Ching Lin Terrace is special: it is one of only two temples in the world solely dedicated to Lo Pan, the Chinese patron god of builders, carpenters and engineers.

Hong Kong Biodiversity Museum

How to get there: walk for 15 minutes from Whitty Street (90W or 09E)


The butterfly collection at HKU Biodiversity Museum | Photo by AN

The campus of the University of Hong Kong is already steeped in history, but to throw it back even further– think hundreds of millions of years ago– visit the Hong Kong Biodiversity Museum. With specimens from the territory helpfully marked, the compact but comprehensive gallery is bursting with spindly coral fossils, technicolour butterflies and beyond. Book a tour.

Dim sum done right at Saam Hui Yaat, plus hot sauce with heart at Yu Kwen Yick

How to get there: walk for 5 minutes from Water Street (88W or 11E); walk for 10 minutes from Western Street tram stop (86W or 13E)

From HK$25.00

Family-run joint Saam Hui Yaat (11 Pok Fu Lam Road) is a Sai Ying Pun stalwart. Operating since 1978, this dim sum spot offers a tightly edited menu of classics executed with heart and soul.

Cantonese cuisine may be known for its sweet-and-mild palate, but for hot sauce with a side of history, head to the 100-year-old Yu Kwen Yick (8 Second Street). Don’t leave without a bottle of the signature bright orange chilli sauce.

TCM Town and the Island’s beating heart: Sheung Wan and Central

Continuing east, the tram curves into Sheung Wan and eventually, Central. Buzzing with energy yet full of quiet moments, these neighbouring districts blend old and new, traditional and contemporary.

TCM Street

How to get there: walk for 5 minutes from Sutherland Street (82W) or Queen Street (17E)


Queen Street rest garden | Photo by AN

Stroll on over to the famous dried seafood, ginseng, and bird’s nest streets by following the signs. The Traditional Chinese Medicine shops in the area sell all varieties of fruit, root, and rhizome to treat any ailment. To make sense of it all, stop at the Queen Street Rest Garden, an urban herbarium dedicated to Shennong, the Chinese deity of agriculture and medicinal plants.

Western Market

How to get there: walk for 5 minutes from Western Market Terminus


Tram running past the Western market | Photo by Lam

Keep walking until you reach Western Market, a colonial-era landmark dating back to 1906. After admiring the facade, amble over to old-school cha chaan teng Shui Kee inside the Sheung Wan Cooked Food Centre (345 Queen’s Road Central). It’s well-known for milk tea served in glass bottles and crispy French toast. Or tread uphill and treat yourself to pork chop rice at For Kee (200 Hollywood Road). Both eateries have been around for decades, doing what they do best.

The utilitarian interior of the Sheung Wan Cooked Food Centre | Photo by AN

Man Mo Temple

How to get there: walk for 10 minutes from Man Wah Lane (76W) or Hillier Street (21E)


Man Mo Temple during Lunar New Year celebrations | Photo by AN

Next up is Man Mo Temple (124 Hollywood Road), which was built in 1847 to pay tribute to the gods of literature and war. The temple grows particularly busy around the Lunar New Year, but the large spirals of incense and exquisite craftsmanship make it well worth a visit any time of year.

Tasty treats for cheap

How to get there: walk for 10 minutes from Gilman Street (74W or 23E)

From HK$16.00

Kung Lee | Photo by AN
  • Credited as the birthplace of “silk stocking milk tea”– a black tea blend strained using pantyhose and enriched with condensed milk– Lan Fong Yuen (2 Gage Street) has stood strong for over six decades.
  • Kau Kee (21 Gough Street), home of the best beef brisket noodles in town, has been operating since the 1930s.
  • Sing Heung Yuen (2 Mee Lun Street), a dai pai dong located bang opposite, has been winning diners over with comforting bowls of macaroni in tomato soup, consumed al fresco, for more than 40 years.
  • Selling sugarcane juice and other (naturally) sweet treats and herbal tonics since 1948– including a newer sugarcane beer – Kung Lee (60 Hollywood Road) is another perfect pitstop for a quick refreshing drink.

History and some tea

How to get there: walk for 10 minutes from Cotton Tree Drive (66W) or Murray Road (33E)


Flagstaff House, Hong Kong Park | Photo by Gregory Lane

Witness the oldest surviving colonial building in Hong Kong: Flagstaff House, inside Hong Kong Park. The structure now houses the Museum of Teaware, a temple to camellia sinensis and the most remarkable vessels to sip and share it. Entry is free.

Always “on”: Wan Chai, Causeway Bay, and Happy Valley

Rolling along the tracks, you’ll feel the pace of the city quicken. Renowned for its feverish nightlife and towering shopping malls, there’s a lot to explore here beyond what meets the eye.

One of the best teahouses in the city

How to get there: walk for 5 minutes from O’Brien Road (56 W or 53E)

From HK$16.00

A canonical cha chaan teng dating back to 1957, Kam Fung (41 Spring Garden Lane) is best known for its pillowy soft pineapple buns and butter cookie crust ham-and-chicken pies. Come for the retro vibe, stay for the genuinely tasty baked goods and undiluted milk tea, still made the traditional way.

Blue House

How to get there: walk for 10 minutes from Tonnochy Road (52W or 47E)


Blue House (72-74A Stone Nullah Lane), one of the last wooden tenements still standing in Wan Chai, adds another splash of colour to this hectic locale.

Khalsa Diwan

How to get there: walk for 10 minutes from Tonnochy Road (52W or 47E)


Wan Chai Blue House
Photo by Gregory Lane

A short distance away is Khalsa Diwan (371 Queen’s Road East), a Sikh gurudwara. Dating back to 1901, it was built by Sikh members of the British army stationed in Hong Kong. Head here for langar, the communal meal shared by Sikhs and all visitors to the gurdwara (free of charge).

Canal Road

How to get there: walk for 5 minutes from Canal Road West (50W or 49E)

Price varies

Know someone who needs a good cursing? | Photo by AN

Got an enemy you’d like to curse? Head to Canal Road’s villain-hitters, where elderly women cast bad luck upon your enemies using folk rituals.

Canal Road

How to get there: walk for 5 minutes from Canal Road West (50W or 49E)

Price varies

Photo by Gregory Lane

Battling nemeses will likely leave you famished, so you can head on over to Bowrington Cooked Food Centre (21 Bowrington Road). Halal stall Wai Kee is perpetually packed with diners feasting on home-style mutton curry and roast duck.

Causeway Bay’s top cheap eat

How to get there: walk for 5 minutes from Paterson Street (48W) or Foo Ming Street (105)

From HK$20.00

Danish Bakery | Photo by AN

Danish Bakery (106 Leighton Road) has been operating unchanged since 1958. People flock here for pork chop buns and hot dogs, made using tangzhong buns baked in-house each morning. This is one of the cheapest and most nostalgic meals you’ll find in the city!

Feasting in Happy Valley

How to get there: walk for 5 minutes from Happy Valley Terminus

From HK$30.00

Looping into Happy Valley, CWB‘s dizzying lights and Shibuya-esque scramble feels worlds apart. Going strong since 1951, Cheung Hing (9-11 Yik Yam Street) is the neighbourhood’s favourite cafe. Order the pineapple bun your way– make it savoury with egg and luncheon meat.

Walk around charming Tai Hang

How to get there: walk for 5 minutes from Lau Sin Street (40W)

Inching eastwards, the tram crosses Victoria Park, beloved for its lush New Year market. Hidden within the upscale precinct of Tai Hang is Lin Fa Kung or Temple of the Lotus (1-9 Lin Fa Kung Street East), constructed in 1863. Wander on and grab a seat at Bing Kee Cha Dong (5 Shepherd Street), an outdoor eatery especially famous for its peppery pork chop noodles.

Final stretch: North Point and beyond

Let’s move the spotlight to the Eastern District. North Point‘s frenzied energy mixed with the residential calm of Sai Wan Ho and Shau Kei Wan, these underexplored reaches awe with monster buildings, an offbeat museum, and tried-and-true eats.

A bustling street market

How to get there: walk for 2 minutes from Chun Yeung Street (67E)

A tram approaches at Chun Yeung Street | Photo by Jennifer Ngo

Rouse your senses back to life with a trip to Chun Yeung Street Market. The tram careens not alongside but right through this bustling market! North Point has long been settled by migrants from Shanghai and Fujian, so the wet market also offers specialty Hokkien goods apart from the usual selection of grocery items.

Treats for your feet, and your mouth

How to get there: walk for 5 minutes from North Point Road (32W or 69E)

For ornate embroidered slippers in the Shanghainese style, or a pair of handwoven ones to replace your worn out slides, head to King’s Slippers (315 King’s Road). Established in 1970, this store is yet another connection to North Point’s Shanghainese heritage.

At hole-in-the-wall joint Mak Kee (21-23 Fort Street), savour Shanghainese buns and cakes. Aim to arrive here at 3 pm, when the flaky scallion pancakes start to roll out.

Retro food hall: Tai On Building

How to get there: walk for 5 minutes from Tai Hong Street (10W) or Tai On Street (93E)

A labyrinth of food stalls awaits at Sai Wan Ho’s Tai On Building (57-87 Shau Kei Wan Road). What appears to be a regular mixed-use building on the outside is actually the Eastern District’s top destination for affordable eats. Let your nose guide you.

Museum of Coastal Defence

How to get there: walk for 25 minutes from Shau Kei Wan Terminus

Hong Kong Museum of Coastal Defence | Photo by AN

When and why were some of the first military troops deployed in Hong Kong? To protect the pearl fields of present-day Tai Po located in the New Territories, way back in the 10th century. Less a stuffy gallery and more an experiential walk, Shau Kei Wan’s newly refurbished Museum of Coastal Defence (175 Tung Hei Road) immerses you in the city’s military history– stunning sea views included– at no charge.

Route, tickets, and facilities

Kennedy Town tram terminus | Photo by AN

The tram follows an east–west route along the north shore of Hong Kong Island. The westernmost terminus is located in Kennedy Town, while the easternmost terminus is in Shau Kei Wan. There is also a short tram loop that circulates through Happy Valley. There are two tram depots: Sai Wan Ho and Whitty Street.

Helpful things to know:

  • Each tram stop bears a name and code. Termini only have letter codes (for example: Western Market Terminus is WMT), while regular stops have numbers and a letter. “E” refers to an eastbound tram (towards Shau Kei Wan terminus), whereas “W” refers to westbound (towards Kennedy Town terminus). Check the final destination of the oncoming tram, and make sure you’re on the right track.
  • The doors at the front are the exit. You jump on all trams through the turnstiles at the rear entrance, and pay as you get off at the front.
  • Regardless of how short or long your trip on the tram lasts, you pay a flat fare of HK$3.00. It’s best to use your Octopus. If using cash, you must provide exact change as conductors will not return any money.
  • The tram is not wheelchair accessible.
  • Modern trams have been redesigned with more handrails. Electronic panels and audio announcements provide information about the next stop.

Pro Tip: For a premium experience, beeline to the top deck and grab a window seat either at the front or back for the best views. Otherwise, hang back near the turnstiles where you entered. Back in the day trams ran in both directions, so you may find a vintage steering wheel chained in place, a covered navigation board, and a button embedded in the floor that, when pushed, sounds that loveable ding ding. Some trams boast large bay windows: all the better for photographing!


There’s plenty to explore beyond what we’ve listed above. Embrace the spirit of adventure and pursue your curiosity!

Prefer a less spontaneous approach? Check out the following guides:

Frequently asked questions

How much does a tram ride cost?

Each ride costs HK$3.00, regardless of the distance.

Is the tram wheelchair-accessible?

Unfortunately, no.

Are there tram tours?

Yes! If you don’t want to go the self-guided route, check out this tram tour.

This post was originally published in January 2023. Updated in June 2024.

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Filed under: Getting Around

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