Traveling with the family in Hong Kong? See the sites and sounds as you try the Big Bus Tour Hop-On Hop-Off experience! Here’s our review of the Hong Kong Big Bus Tour and why it’s great for family trips!
When I was planning our Hong Kong itinerary for the family, I wanted a hassle-free trip. Yet at the same time, I wanted to show them everything.
The only problem was that we were a group of 7 adults, 1 kid, and 2 toddlers. It was a bit tricky but I knew that I have a great solution: taking the Big Bus Tour!
Table of Contents
Where to Buy Big Bus Tour Tickets
Buying of tickets for the hop on hop off the bus can be done online or at the Big Bus information center around Hong Kong.
Our first time to try the tour was way back in 2016. We bought the tickets at the Star Ferry Terminal in Kowloon. We were approached by one of their ticketing personnel, who was a Filipina too. It’s always nice to meet ‘Kababayans’ abroad. 😉
They also sell other tourist attraction tickets like Hong Kong Disneyland and Hong Kong Ocean Park. When we bought ours before, we also included HK Disneyland tickets.
For those who’d rather buy online (like we did on this particular trip), you can certainly do so. We bought ours at Klook. I was able to compare prices, and Klook had the cheaper priced Big Bus Tour tickets.
Once you have the voucher, you can present it to the Big Bus Centers to in exchange for the pamphlet of map and tickets.
What is Included with the Tickets?
The Big Bus Tour ticket comes with Star Ferry tickets, Sky 100 ticket or Peak Tram ticket and a Sampan Ride ticket.
Inclusions vary depending on your ticket of course, but I personally would recommend the Premium Ticket for a 48-hrs pass.
This gives you access to the 3 different routes of the tour. Plus you’d get tickets to either the Sky100 or Peak Tram (if not under maintenance).
You can check the inclusions of each ticket on their Big Bus tour website
How to Ride the Big Bus
There are certain stops for every route of the hop-on-hop-off bus. These are fixed stops so you won’t get confused on where to get off and where you’ll get on.
Instead of an actual tour guide, there is a pre-recorded commentary on speakers behind every chair. You simply plug in the headphones, switch to your preferred language and increase or decrease the volume. When all of that is settled, you can just sit back and relax while listening.
The pre-recorded commentary will give you a heads-up on where the bus is going stop but it is best if you take note in advance. I personally prefer using the map – which can be retrieved from their information centers or on the bus itself. You can also download their app so that you can plan thoroughly.
The map shows you where the stops are. It also shows the nearby areas should you want to get off there.
At the stops, look for either the Big Bus signage or look for a Big Bus tour personnel. They usually have one person who’ll assist passengers. You can easily identify them as they will be wearing uniforms.
Just show the ticket to the staff once you arrive. When you board, remember to grab a headphone (if you don’t have any), maybe a raincoat (if the weather is not sunny) and a map. They are usually found at the back of the driver or near the stairs going to the upper deck.
We tried the Big Bus on the first and second day of our Hong Kong tour. I booked tickets for the hop on hop off Hong Kong Big Bus tour via Klook.
Our group arrived in Hong Kong early in the morning. Like most people visiting a new place, we wanted to explore and make the most of our short stay.
After resting at our hostel in Mong Kok, we were ready for our half-day tour of the first route.
As mentioned, we booked the 48-hour tour (Premium) for our trip. And because we only had the half-day available on the first day we decided to take the Kowloon Tour or Blue Route first.
We were staying in Mong Kok in Kowloon so it was practical to have the tour in Kowloon first. We didn’t have to catch the ferry and Big Bus only had one route in this side of Hong Kong.
We’ve decided to just let the others stay near the Hong Kong Science Museum while I and my sister claim our physical passes from their Information Centre in the Star Ferry terminal.
We encountered a problem claiming the printed voucher. The scanner that the staff was using was not able to read the barcode. Good thing that my sister had her phone with her and our rented pocket wi-fi too so we were able to pull up the Klook e-mail confirmation.
After presenting the mobile voucher, the staff was able to successfully scan it and gave us the Big Bus Tour pamphlet with the included tickets.
I wanted to visit Victoria Peak again on this trip. Unfortunately, the Peak Tram was not available at the time of our visit so we were given the Sky 100 ticket instead.
When everything was set, we went back to the rest of the group. We then proceeded to our first stop: at the back of the Peninsula Hotel.
A staff was waiting at the bus stop for the route. We didn’t show him anything aside from the pamphlet we were carrying with us.
The bus arrived on-time so we immediately hopped on, grabbed some headphones and map, went upstairs and seated comfortably on the upper deck. Good thing that we were first in line so we were able to choose seats.
The afternoon on our first day was great, without clouds on sight – it was ideal for the hop-on-hop-off tour. Though on our way to Tsim Sha Tsui, we were welcomed with rain showers. By the time we were about to start the tour, however, the sky cleared.
I personally think the highlight of the tour was passing through the Victoria Harbour.
It was such a breathtaking sight that despite the wind blowing through and our hair whipping at our face, we were all wearing super big smiles! It was such a great way to let my family see Hong Kong island’s skyline.
We ended our tour near the Avenue of the Stars where we took our time walking at the promenade and just doing some sight and people seeing. It was also a great opportunity to take some cool Hong Kong photos too.
On the second day, I was hoping to get an early start to get the most of the tour. Though we never got that chance to do that because of the weather (it rained heavily close to lunchtime) and our companions went to look for some toys for the kids. We just decided to eat at the nearby mall at Tsim Sha Tsui instead and wait for the weather to clear.
After waiting out the rain, unfortunately, I found out that I lost our Big Bus Tour tickets. I did try to retrace our steps but never found the ticket. 🙁
Good thing that there was Big Bus Staff at the station and they informed us that we can still claim the tickets we lost, minus the Sky100 free tickets.
My sister and I went back to their Information Center and explained our situation to the staff stationed there. After checking our booking voucher, he gave us another set of tickets for the 24-hr pass and round trip Star Ferry Tickets.
After getting the tickets, we immediately headed to the Star Ferry terminal to ride on the ferry across to Hong Kong Island Central Station.
At the Central Station, we went over to the Big Bus wait area. There is a small booth located near the entrance with the Big Bus logo and signage too. We just presented our tickets and we waited for the departure of the first bus to Aberdeen.
What I love about visiting Aberdeen is its completely different view of the city. There are beaches here and has a more laid-back vibe.
We hopped off the bus at the Stanley Plaza and took the time to stroll through their market. My nephew even managed to make some new friends while there.
After Stanley, we hopped on the bus again and went back to the city.
We decided to take the last trip of the Hong Kong route at the Star Ferry terminal too. We did not hop off to any location at this time and just decided to sit back and see everything from the bus.
By the time we arrived back at the terminal, it was past 7 PM. After a quick stop at the Hong Kong Observation Wheel (where we grabbed some light snacks), we decided to go back to Kowloon via Star Ferry.
Over-All Experience Feedback of the Big Bus Hong Kong
As always, we had a fun and hassle-free time with the Big Bus Hong Kong Tour.
Traveling with little kids and elderly can be complicated. I personally think that availing their tours allowed us to see everything without the need to walk from one tourist spot to another.
Getting the tickets via the vouchers proved to be tricky. It made me realize that with the digital age today, printing tickets is not really that necessary anymore.
I would definitely try this again when I go back to Hong Kong with a group!
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