Hong Kong is blessed with many types of public transit, from the ultra fast airport express train at one end to the traditional narrow trams of Hong Kong Island. Those Hong Kong trams are a real treat, and a remarkably good way to see Hong Kong for a really low price.
The trams have run on Hong Kong island for a very long time, they were sort of the original public transit. The current system is one long line the runs from Kennedy Town in the west all the way to Shau Kei Wan to the East. Happy Valley (at the south side of the Happy Valley Horse Race Track) is the other general alternative. All of the trams run down pretty much the same line, going further or shorter depending on demand and the schedule. You have to look at the front of the tram to know which way each tram is going.
Most of the Hong Kong Trams do not go from one end to the other. For the most part, they concentrate in the core of the system, running from either the Western Market or the Whitty Street Depot to Happy Valley, Causeway Bay, or North Point. That is good for touring the city, as they show up very frequently and really let you get around pretty quickly, especially for short trips. The best part is the fare, which is well under $3 for an adult. The fair can be paid in cash or paid with your trusty Octopus Card. Unlike most transit that is either pay first or beep in-beep out, the trams are a much more simple “pay as you leave” system. You enter the tram from the rear, and if you want to go upstairs you use the rear staircase to go up. Coming down you use the front staircase. The seats at the very front and very rear upstairs are some of the best seats for taking pictures and generally drinking in a more true view of Hong Kong as a city.
Using the HK Tramways map, you can see that many of the most popular attractions in Hong Kong can be reached by tram. I personally enjoy riding the trams just because it gets you a chance to see what you might miss riding the MTR trains, all of the things in between the stops. I particularly recommend taking a late afternoon tram through to the North Point depot, as the last couple of minutes the tram goes through the middle of a very busy market, which often reaches right to the edges of the track. You can see a video of the North Point Tram ride here. The market itself is mostly a fish and fresh produce market on one side, and more clothes and such on the other.
The tour to the top of Happy Valley is nice as well, the Happy Valley Race Course is perhaps one of the largest open green areas in downtown Hong Kong, with Horse racing at certain times of the year. The tram terminus point is at the end of the track and is slightly uphill from much of the rest of Hong Kong, giving you a great view.
The Hong Kong trams are also good to ride after dark (remember, Hong Kong is a pretty safe place all considered, just don’t be silly!). You can check out the lights and activity and probably find yourself more interesting places to check out!