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See Hong Kong by bus: nine of the most scenic routes around the territory for HK$24 or less

South China Morning Post logo South China Morning Post 19/9/2020 Andrew Sun
a man sitting on a bus: Some of Hong Kong’s best scenery can be enjoyed from the top of a double-decker bus. Photo: Getty Images Some of Hong Kong’s best scenery can be enjoyed from the top of a double-decker bus. Photo: Getty Images

An open-top bus ride is a popular way of quickly getting to know a new city for tourists, but locals can discover new things about their hometown by doing the same - albeit with a roof over their heads.

Hong Kong has its fair share of dramatic routes. Most passengers rely on these lines for daily commutes, but on the weekend they offer a comfortable way to see parts of Hong Kong you may never have experienced before.

Here are nine scenic long rides to consider. All are serviced by double-decker buses, so grab one of the front seats on the top deck and enjoy the trip.

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KMB 673

Central (Hong Kong Station) to Sheung Shui (Landmark North)

Fare: HK$24.30

Distance: 46km (29 miles)

Duration: Around 91 minutes / 29 stops

Frequency: Every 30 minutes

One of the city's longest routes, the 673 starts underneath the IFC in Central and follows the Island Eastern Corridor to the Eastern Harbour Tunnel. Then, it's a straight shot up the Kwun Tong Bypass, flanked by the Kai Tak Cruise Terminal and Kwun Tong's shiny new office buildings. From there it goes through the Tate's Cairn Tunnel, the city's longest, to the New Territories.

The ride from Tate's Cairn Highway across the Shing Mun River to the Tolo Highway is a delight. At Tai Po, the route takes the Fanling Highway, offering sprawling views of the Lam Tsuen and Pat Sin Leng country parks before criss-crossing Fanling and Sheung Shui.

Area tip: Atop the Sheung Shui terminus is Landmark North, a standard shopping mall with plenty of local food choices. The adventurous might wander out to San Hong Street, the town's main drag. Close by is Sheung Shui Wai, an old walled area that contained the village homes of the Liu clan.

Citybus 973

Tsim Sha Tsui East to Stanley Market

Fare: HK$14.50

Distance: 28km

Duration: Around 88 minutes / 56 stops

Frequency: 18 minutes

From Tsim Sha Tsui East, this route winds through western and southern Hong Kong. Through the Western Harbour Crossing, it connects to Pok Fu Lam Road via Connaught Road West for a beautiful ride to Aberdeen. Turning at Wong Chuk Hang Road, the route continues along the winding Island and Repulse Bay roads, showing the south side of Hong Kong Island off in all its glory.

The journey ends in Stanley Village, near the market. The reverse trip is just as scenic; when the bus exits Pok Fu Lam Road, the tight turns near Water Street are especially dramatic.

Area tip: Have you seen as much of Stanley Market as you ever wish to see? Perhaps you could visit the Hong Kong Correctional Services Museum (45 Tung Tau Wan Road, Stanley). Prison cell selfie, anyone?

a small boat in a body of water with a city in the background: Stanley is a town and a tourist attraction in Hong Kong. Photo: LightRocket via Getty Images © Provided by South China Morning Post Stanley is a town and a tourist attraction in Hong Kong. Photo: LightRocket via Getty Images

Citybus 962

Causeway Bay (Moreton Terrace) to Tuen Mun (Lung Mun Oasis)

Fare: HK$20

Distance: 41km

Duration: Around 87 minutes / 36 stops

Frequency: 10 to 15 minutes

This is the prettiest route to the city's northwestern coast. Departing from Causeway Bay and passing through the Western Harbour Crossing, the 962 takes the Tsing Kwai Highway to Castle Peak Road, past the Kwai Chung Container Terminals. It crosses the Cheung Tsing Bridge and the Ting Kau Bridge before turning onto Castle Peak Road, from which the view of Ma Wan island, the Tsing Ma Bridge and the open water is particularly calming.

Developments thin out and there is more nature and trees between here and Tuen Mun.

Area tip: Sister routes 962A, 962B, 962C and 962X all have a similar Gold Coast and Tuen Mun itinerary, but with different origin and end points. Consider disembarking at the Gold Coast for a bite at the Cafeteria Beach complex or the Gold Coast Hotel. If on the 962B, you could also hop off at Sham Tseng Village to visit its famous roast goose restaurants.

a sunset over a body of water: Some of the views from Hong Kong's bridges can be truly astounding. Photo: Getty Images/EyeEm © Provided by South China Morning Post Some of the views from Hong Kong's bridges can be truly astounding. Photo: Getty Images/EyeEm

KMB 299X

Sha Tin Central to Sai Kung

Fare: HK$9.90

Distance: 18km

Duration: Around 50 minutes / 23 stops

Frequency: 15 to 20 minutes

This route affords not only views of the Shing Mun River at Sha Tin but also the Ma On Shan hills. Travelling on Sha Tin's eastern side, it follows Tai Chung Kiu Road and A Kung Kok Street. Industrial factories and buildings give way to greenery as you reach Sai Sha Road.

Following the peninsula's bend, it curves back south after Wu Kai Sha towards Sai Kung. Get through a stretch of intensive development and the winding single lane passes quaint villages and patches of mature woods.

Area tip: Beyond its well-known seafood restaurants, Sai Kung is also home to popular bakery Ali Oli (11 Sha Tsui Path), popular for its home-made pastries and jams. Route 289R from Sha Tin heads into Sai Kung East Country Park, ending at Wong Shek Pier.

a body of water with a mountain in the background: Sai Kung's expansive country park is popular with locals and tourists alike. Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto © Provided by South China Morning Post Sai Kung's expansive country park is popular with locals and tourists alike. Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Citybus 63

North Point Ferry Pier to Stanley Market

Fare: HK$9.40

Distance: 17km

Duration: Around 54 minutes / 19 stops

Frequency: 30 minutes

A ride to the Peak on New World First Bus 15 is a tourist no-brainer, but this alternative offers similar scenery and extra sightseeing, and you don't have to find another bus to get down from the Peak.

Check out some East Island hustle on King's Road before the bus climbs Tai Hang Road, with its thrilling view of Happy Valley. The route crests at Wong Nai Chung Gap Road, before turning onto Repulse Bay Road. The descent is equally spectacular, with much water scenery and views of stunningly expensive Repulse Bay homes before you reach Stanley.

Area tip: If you travel in reverse then you'll end up in North Point, where a boisterous meal in wet market restaurant Tung Po (2/F, Java Road Municipal Services Building) is a possibility.

KMB 968

Causeway Bay (Tin Hau) to Yuen Long (West)

Fare: HK$23.40

Distance: 37km

Duration: Around 70 minutes / 19 stops

Frequency: 10 minutes

Here's a nice ride for anyone who doesn't like stops. In fact, there are none between the Western Harbour Crossing and the Tai Lam Tunnel in Kam Tin. From the Tsing Kwai Highway to the Tsing Long Highway, it feels like an express bus with great views from the Ting Kau Bridge.

After the Tai Lam Tunnel, the spaciousness of Yuen Long can be appreciated until you reach the two YoHo Mall stops, where you're reintroduced to Hong Kong traffic.

Area tip: How often do you get out to Yuen Long? While there, you might as well check out the twin snazzy YoHo shopping centres. The stop immediately after YoHo Mall 2 is Kuk Ting Street, which is very close to the lively market of Yau San Street.

KMB 91

Diamond Hill Station to Clear Water Bay

Fare: HK$7.40

Distance: 17km

Duration: Around 82 minutes / 34 stops

Frequency: 25 minutes

OK, so first you have to get yourself out to the Diamond Hill MTR station, but the following journey is so worth it.

After a quick tour of inner Kowloon on Hammer Hill Road and several flyovers, the setting changes as you ascend New Clear Water Bay Road. Everything is suddenly greener, while you also get a view of Pik Uk Prison. After the stop at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, the ride continues east along tree-lined Clear Water Bay Road. Soon, the sea is visible. The terminus is close to the Clear Water Bay second beach, which is excuse enough for this ride.

Area tip: A short taxi ride away from Clear Water Bay is Po Toi O, a village with several seafood restaurants at reasonable prices by the water, which is not a bad way to wrap up a day's sightseeing.

an island in the middle of a body of water: The Clear Water Bay first beach. Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto © Provided by South China Morning Post The Clear Water Bay first beach. Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Citybus 103

Mid-Levels (Pokfield Road) to Wong Tai Sin (Chuk Yuen Estate)

Fare: HK$10.40

Distance: 19km

Duration: Around 75 minutes / 34 stops

Frequency: 12 minutes

A rare cross-harbour route that passes through Mid-Levels, this ride offers a glimpse of Hong Kong and Kowloon neighbourhood life. From just west of the University of Hong Kong, the trek hits Bonham Road, Caine Road then scenic Garden Road on the way to Admiralty. The ride continues across Hennessy Road before looping around Victoria Park to the Cross Harbour Tunnel.

In Kowloon, it goes up Wylie Road and Princess Margaret Road before connecting to Waterloo Road. After the Boundary Street flyover, a view of the Lion Rock opens up majestically near Kowloon Tong. The ride continues past Lok Fu, ending at Wong Tai Sin.

Area tip: The Wong Tai Sin Temple is just south of the terminus and worth a look if you've never lit joss sticks for Buddha. The 104, 106 and 113 (all New World First Bus routes) are also interesting cross-harbour tours.

a tall building in a city: The Wong Tai Sin Temple is just south of the area's bus terminus. Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto © Provided by South China Morning Post The Wong Tai Sin Temple is just south of the area's bus terminus. Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto

New World First Bus 2

Central (Macau Ferry) to Sai Wan Ho (Grand Promenade)

Fare: HK$4.30

Distance: 13km

Duration: Around 75 minutes / 34 stops

Frequency: 12 to 14 minutes

Think of this route as an air-conditioned, more comfortable tram ride. It's slow but cheap, stopping frequently all the way across Hong Kong Island. Take it only if you're up for a leisurely observation of life in the city.

Starting at the terminal next to the Macau Ferry, the trip eschews bypasses and highways for the busiest of boulevards. After Exchange Square, it joins busy Connaught, Gloucester, King's and Shau Kei Wan roads. It reaches all the way to Shau Kei Wan before looping back to Sai Wan Ho's Grand Promenade terminal.

Area tip: The waterfront area at the Grand Promenade was previously called "East Lan Kwai Fong" and there's a good choice of cuisines to choose from here for a meal by the sea. Or disembark at Shau Kei Wan to walk around this old district and have a bowl of fish ball noodles at On Lee Noodle (22 Shau Kei Wan Main Street East).

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This article originally appeared on the South China Morning Post (www.scmp.com), the leading news media reporting on China and Asia.

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