Traveling to Hong Kong soon and planning your trip? Make sure to get a local prepaid sim card in Hong Kong to stay connected. It is the cheapest way to have a data connection on your phone with the fastest internet speed. Buying a sim card in Hong Kong is easy and only takes a couple minutes.
This is your complete guide with everything you need to know: best network, up to date prices as per September 2021, where to buy one and my recommendation.
Hong Kong is a breathtakingly beautiful bustling metropole that is home to some amazing tourist attractions and fantastic nature trails, lively traditions, unique cuisine and a melt pot of many different cultures. I recently had to change to visit Hong Kong for the 4th time as it is one of my favorite cities in Asia.
As part of traveling to every country in the world I get to some really cool places. Everywhere I go I write local guides for buying a prepaid sim card to help traveler safe money on roaming costs and get the fastest data connection. In total I wrote more than 150 guides for places like: Thailand, Vietnam, USA, Mexico, Turkey, Europe and many more.
Why buying a local sim card in Hong Kong?
Do yourself a favor and stay connected while traveling. It makes everything so much easier. Think about ordering a taxi through an app, get directions from Google Maps or find nearby local restaurants with good reviews.
Overseas data plans? Did you know that they limit the internet speed? Can you still roam on a 3G connection or do you want 5G? And WiFi? Yes, there is free WiFi almost everywhere in Hong Kong but did you know that roaming the internet on a public WiFi is through an UNSECURED connection. If using public WiFi the use of a VPN is recommended.
Getting yourself a local prepaid sim card for Hong Kong is not only done easy and fast it also guarantees you the fastest internet connection and the best 5G network coverage.
Traveltomtom recommends a SmarTone prepaid sim card for Hong Kong for short visits. SmarTone give you unlimited data per day for 24 HK$ that is $3 per day. So when visiting Hong Kong for just 3 days you can be sorted with unlimited data for less than $10 USD.
If swapping sim cards and changing phone numbers does not have your preference then you might want to look into getting a portable WiFi device for traveling. Personally I am not a fan, read about it in my article ‘How to get WiFi when Traveling’.
Traveltomtom does NOT recommend international sim cards for world travelers. The cheapest way to get connected are local prepaid sim cards! After reviewing and comparing all the international sim cards with global coverage we came to the simple conclusion that most of them are way too expensive. For a complete guide for the best global travel sim cards click on the link above.
RELATED: 10 Best SIM cards for Asia!
Order a sim card for Hong Kong online
When you want to get connected as soon as you land then you can order a Hong Kong sim card online and get it shipped to your home address before your trip. You can already find Hong Kong sim cards for $20 with 6 GB data. Click on the link to find out more.
Where to buy a sim card in Hong Kong
The best and easiest way to get connected is to buy a local sim card on arrival at Hong Kong Airport. There are multiple stores that sell sim cards for tourists at Hong Kong Airport.
In Arrival Hall A you can find a store called SongWiFi that sells prepaid sim cards. But you can also buy them at 7-Eleven, which is located in the middle of the Arrival Hall. There is also a China Mobile store and at Circle-K they also sell prepaid sim cards for Hong Kong, just like a store called 1010 with a big yellow sign. All these stores are all located on L5 in the arrival hall.
There is free WiFi available at Hong Kong Airport for your convenience.
If for some reason you were not able to buy a sim card on arrival at the airport then I recommend you to go to any of the official mobile internet provider stores in any of the malls. There are so many around. Just type in the by you preferred provider on Google Maps and go to the nearest store.
Traveltomtom does not recommend you to buy a sim card from the 7-Eleven or any other of the convenience stores. Why not? These employees are not specialized in selling sim card. You will have to do the activation all by yourself. In an official retail store they do everything for you AND they make sure it works before you walk out of the store.
Unlike almost every other country around the world, you do NOT need your passport to buy a prepaid sim card in Hong Kong, identification is NOT required.
However, this is about to change as per March 2022 prepaid sim card registration in Hong Kong becomes mandatory. Mobile internet providers are already responding to this new law and require now a copy of your passport.
When buying a sim card in Hong Kong make sure to carry your passport, just in case.
Internet censorship in Hong Kong
In huge contrast with China mainland there is no internet censorship in Hong Kong. All social media apps work like normal so there is no direct use for a VPN. However, for safety reasons that is recommended.
Mobile internet providers in Hong Kong
There are 4 mobile internet operators in Hong Kong that sell prepaid sim cards:
- CSL - Hong Kong Telecom
- China Mobile Hong Kong - CMHK
- Three - 3
All of them have excellent network coverage throughout Hong Kong and its outlining areas and islands.
Best 4G/5G network in Hong Kong
Hong Kong is one of the most advanced countries when it comes to 5G mobile internet. Almost all of the Hong Kong area is covered with a 5G signal and that is not limited to 1 or 2 providers, but all of them.
I will show you the 4G/5G network coverage maps and you will understand what I mean.
4G/5G network 3 Hong Kong
4G/5G network CMHK
4G/5G network CSL
4G/5G network Smartone
As you can see from the above mobile internet coverage maps all tourist destinations and places to visit in Hong Kong are very well covered with either a 4G or a 5G signal.
However, we can also clearly conclude that Smartone has the best 4G/5G mobile network in Hong Kong and that the China Mobile and the Three network are a little less advanced.
Sadly and pretty remarkable, CMHK is the only operator that offers a prepaid 5G sim card for Hong Kong.
Prices prepaid sim cards in hong Kong
All prices below are in HK dollar. 100 HK$ is worth around $13 USD.
A CMHK prepaid sim card costs HK$ 68 and comes with 18 HK$ credit. Although, 2 HK$ credit is taken for the registration process and it is a monthly occurring fee.
This CMHK tourist sim card comes with 3 GB data for 5 days. The 16 rHK$ emaining credit/airtime can be used to call any number around Hong Kong and mainland China for 0,25 HK$ per minute.
After you finished the 3 GB data you can top up with the following 4G data packages:
- 18 HK$ = 1 GB valid for 1 day
- 38 HK$ = 2 GB valid for 3 days
- 48 HK$ = 3 GB valid for 5 days
- 40 HK$ = 2 GB valid for 30 days
- 88 HK$ = 3 GB valid for 30 days
Click here to find the latest China Mobile Hong Kong prepaid sim card and top up deals.
All the CMHK data packages as well as the starter package claim to come with unlimited internet, but THIS IS USELESS. After you used the data from your package, the internet speed will be reduced to 384Kbps. Meaning just enough for WhatsApp, basically an E signal.
All the above CMHK prepaid sim cards are sold in the official CMHK retail stores around Hong Kong as well as in 7-Eleven, Circle K and Vango Convenience Stores.
The data packages are rather small, I had hoped to see bigger data packages as with streaming videos and uploading Instagram videos, etc. the usage of data can go fast. Also these are 4G sim cards and why use 4G when there is 5G available.
So I search around and also found a prepaid 5G sim card of CMHK on their website:
- 48 HK$ = 3 GB valid for 90 days.
This lets you roam the internet on the fastest speed possible and no contract is needed. Whenever you used the 3 GB data you simply top up again. When buying a CMHK sim card for Hong Kong this would be my recommendation.
The CMHK 5G sim card can only be bought from an official CMHK retail store or from a 7-Eleven.
They offer 2 different CSL. plug and play Discover Hong Kong Tourist SIM Cards, one for 8 days and one for 5 days and include unlimited calling time in Hong Kong.
- 88 HK$ = 3 GB data for 5 days
- 118 HK$ = 8 GB data for 8 days
Data is valid in Hong Kong AND Macau! So this is a great sim card if you are visiting Hong Kong and Macau in the same trip.
These sim cards also include free CSL. WiFi service wherever you can find a CSL. WiFi signal in Hong Kong.
If you finish the data of your starter package, CSL. Offers the following data top up package:
- 48 HK$ = 3 GB data + unlimited calls
For the latest CSL. prepaid sim card deals have a look at their website in the link.
All the above CSL. prepaid sim cards are sold in the official CSL. retail stores around Hong Kong as well as in 7-Eleven, Circle K ,Vango Convenience Stores and the 1010 mobile shop at Hong Kong International Airport in the arrival hall level 5.
Unfortunately CSL. does not offer a 5G prepaid sim card for Hong Kong, only monthly plans. So if you are a tourist visiting Hong Kong and you want to roam on 5G then a CSL. sim card is not your thing.
Three - 3 Hong Kong
A prepaid 3 Hong Kong All-In-One sim card costs 88 HK$ and comes with 88 HK$ credit. Basically a Three sim card for Hong Kong is free. You can use this credit the way you want to.
Calling costs: 0.1 HK$ per minute and you can buy one of the following data packages:
- 18 HK$ = 1.5 GB for 1 day
- 38 HK$ = 3 GB for 3 days
- 68 HK$ = 4 GB for 7 days
- 88 HK$ = 5 GB for 14 days
There is also a 3 Hong Kong prepaid sim card deal for HK$ 138, which basically means you have HK$ 138 credit instead of HK$ 88.
For the latest Three prepaid sim card deals for Hong Kong click on the link to go to their website.
Unfortunately Three Hong Kong does NOT offer a 5G prepaid sim card for tourists either, just like CSL.
The All-in-one Three sim cards are available self-service kiosks (Live Box) or in authorized 3 Hong Kong stores. You can also purchase Three Hong Kong sim cards at the airport in the 7-Eleven.
They offer 3 different SmarTone prepaid sim cards.
- 48 HK$ = unlimited data for 8 HK$ per hour or 24 HK$ per day, calling cost 0.12 HK$ per minute.
In off peak hours (9.00 pm till 11.59 am) calling costs 0.05 HK$. Data usage is counted daily until midnight and $24 is the maximum charge per day.
- 68 HK$ = ‘unlimited’ data for 30 days, but only 2 GB at full speed. USELESS!
- 98 HK$ = unlimited data for 8 HK$ per hour or 24 HK$ per day, calling cost 0.5 HK$ per minute.
For this last sim card deal there are data packs you can activate:
- 38 HK$ = 2 GB for 3 days
- 68 HK$ = 3 GB for 7 days
Also for SmarTone counts that 5G is only for post paid costumers and not for tourists willing to buy a prepaid sim card.
For more info and the latest SmarTone sim card deals go to their website in the link.
SmarTone SIM cards are available at Circle K and the official SmarTone stores as well at vending machines at Mong Kok East Station and Kowloon Tong station that also sell their cards.
Best prepaid sim card for Hong Kong in 2021
Defining the best Hong Kong prepaid sim card is difficult as they range a lot in price. When you want a prepaid sim card with 5G in Hong Kong then there is only one option. China Mobile Hong Kong is the only one who offers a prepaid sim card for their 5G network. All the other operators limit the 5G network to postpaid only.
If you are visiting Hong Kong longer than just a couple days, then you may want to look into buying a 3 Hong Kong sim card as they have the cheapest data packages.
Since Smartone has the best network and it is the most flexible:
SmarTone is the best prepaid sim card for Hong Kong in 2021!
Overall there is not that much difference in the available prepaid sim cards in Hong Kong. Also keep in mind that if you are traveling to mainland China or Macau roaming charges apply. However, some prepaid Hong Kong sim card deals offer free roaming in Macau and/or mainland China. find the info above.
Buy a Hong Kong sim card online
Does all the above sound too complicated then remember that you can also order a sim card for Hong Kong online. These sim cards will be delivered to your home address and you simply put them in your phone on arrival. The sim cards are pre activated and it is simply plug and play.
Here are some of the options:
- AIS SIM2FLY with 6 GB data in Hong Kong for $19.90 USD.
- 3 PAYG AIO20 with 12 GB data in Hong Kong for $39.90 USD.
- Orange Holiday World with 10 GB data in Hong Kong for $49.90 USD.
Keep in mind that these are data only sim cards and do not include local calls!
Some last tips for buying a sim card in Hong Kong
Do Hong Kong prepaid sim cards auto-activate once you insert them into your device?
Yes, while there is officially no registration with an ID needed, Hong Kong sim cards are automatically activated from its first use. However, this is likely to change soon as per March 2022 registration with your passport becomes mandatory. So far it is still plug and play in most cases.
Traveltomtom advices to always buy a prepaid sim card in an official retail store where it is activated for you by a specialist and they can also advice you the best on the current prepaid sim card deals.
How to get from Hong Kong Airport to the city
The city is very well connected with the city by public transport. Taking a bus is easy, but the most convenient way is to take the Airport Express train. Busses and trains have free public WiFi. Uber is officially illegal, but still widely used. An Uber ride from the airport to the city can easily cost you around $40.
Hong Kong is a very busy city that can get quite confusing especially if it’s your first time visiting. If you’re looking to stay connected via fast, secure, and reliable internet, then getting a Hong Kong local prepaid sim card would be the best move.
Traveltomtom used his research and more than 10 years full time travel experience to write this article to help all the adventurous travelers figure out the best sim card deals in Hong Kong. If you frequently travel to Hong Kong either for work or fun, feel free to add whatever point we might have missed : -)
Enjoy your trip to Hong Kong!