Traveling to Hong Kong soon and planning your trip? Don't waste money on high roaming charges, but make sure you stay connected. Buying a sim card in Hong Kong is easy, but there are also plenty of amazing e-sim card plans for Hong Kong.
This is a complete guide for finding the best way to stay connected when traveling to Hong Kong in 2023. Find out where to buy a prepaid sim card in Hong Kong, a comparison of the 4G/5G network coverage, the best e-sim cards for Hong Kong, up to date prices as per June 2023, my recommendation, info about international sim cards for Hong Kong and a vlog about my arrival and experience buying a sim card at Hong Kong Airport.
Hong Kong is a breathtakingly beautiful and 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. Being one of my favorite cities in Asia I recently visited Hong Kong again, it was my 4th time.
Being a full time travel blogger and nomad since 2012 I constantly get to new countries and in every country I look for the best ways to stay connected. As I am also on a journey to travel to every country in the world I get to some really cool places. Everywhere I go I write sim card guides for tourists to help them save money on high roaming charges. In total I wrote more than 200 guides from around the world: Thailand, Bangkok, Indonesia, Bali, Singapore, Vietnam, USA, Mexico, Turkey, Europe, Dubai, South Africa, Paris, Rome, London and many more.
If you are traveling around Asia and visiting multiple countries then check out my guide for the best sim cards for traveling in Asia in 2023. These Asia sim cards are valid in multiple countries in Asia.
So next time you are planning your adventure abroad come check out Traveltomtom for the latest prepaid sim card and e-sim card advice for your upcoming destination. Bookmark me!
Why buying a local sim card in Hong Kong?
Do yourself a favor and stay connected while traveling to Hong Kong. Trust me it makes everything so much easier and more fun. Think about ordering a taxi through an app, getting directions from Google Maps or find nearby local restaurants with good reviews, finding your nearby friends, checking your online banking apps, emergencies, etc.
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? There is 5G everywhere in HongKong.
And what about WiFi in Hong Kong? Yes, there is free public WiFi almost everywhere in Hong Kong but did you know that roaming the internet on public WiFi is through an UNSECURED connection. That means your data is not protected. If using public WiFi the use of a VPN is recommended to protect your data.
Staying connected in Hong Kong is easy and does not need to cost a lot of money. There are amazing e-sim card deals for Hong Kong and if you want to buy a local prepaid sim card in Hong Kong it is also done easy and fast.
Traveltomtom recommends a China Mobile prepaid sim card for Hong Kong. China Mobile Hong Kong is the only prepaid sim card for tourists that offers 5G. For $78 HKG ($10 USD) you get unlimited high speed data for 7 days.
However, buying a prepaid sim card on arrival in Hong Kong takes a bit of effort. Sim cards at Hong Kong Airport are much more expensive and this China Mobile prepaid sim card plan is not available at the airport, but can only be found in China Mobile stores in the city center.
To avoided all this hassle simply order an e-sim card for Hong Kong and they are really cheap! Hong Kong e-sim card deals already start from $5 USD and for $12 USD you already get 5 GB data. More info about the best e-sim cards for Hong Kong below.
Another great option is a world travel sim card with data. These international prepaid and e-sim cards are valid in up to 130 countries around the world. Check out my comparison of the best travel sim cards with data in 2023 and find some great sim card deals for traveling to Hong Kong.
Another alternative to not swap physical sim cards and changing phone numbers is a portable WiFi device for traveling. Personally I am not a fan, read about it in my article ‘How to get WiFi when Traveling’. Another option is an e-sim card for Hong Kong, which can already give you 5 GB data for $13. Click on the link for more info.
RELATED: 12 Best SIM cards for Asia in 2023
Best e-sim cards for Hong Kong
The easiest way to stay connected when traveling to Hong Kong in 2023 is without a doubt an e-sim card. No need to swap a physical sim card or visit a sim card shop, you arrange everything online in just a couple minutes. You order an e-sim card on the internet, receive a QR code, scan it, follow the steps and you are instantly connected.
Here are some great Hong Kong e-sim card deals:
- 1 GB data for 7 days = $5 USD
- 3 GB data for 30 days = $8.5 USD
- 5 GB data for 30 days = $12 USD
- 10 GB data for 30 days = $19 USD
Click here to directly order an e-sim card for Hong Kong.
The above data-only Hong Kong e-sim cards are from Hkmobile. Data is only valid in Hong Kong and Hkmobile operates on the 4G/LTE network of CSL.
If you are looking for e-sim cards that are valid in up to 70 countries around the world then check out the following international e-sim cards for Hong Kong:
- 10 GB data valid for 30 days = $24.90 USD
- 20 GB data valid for 30 days = $34.90 USD
Order an international e-sim card for Hong Kong directly through this link.
The Three HK e-sim card plan with 20 GB for $34.90 USD is the best value deal you can find and also the e-sim card I used on my last trip. It worked very smooth and it was 5G ready!
Before ordering an e-sim card for Hong Kong make sure your phone is unlocked and e-sim compatible. Pretty much all latest smartphones are e-sim compatible, but if you are unsure ask Google about your smart phone model and find the answer instantly.
Where to buy a sim card in Hong Kong
Hong Kong Airport
The easiest way to get connected when arriving in Hong Kong is to buy a prepaid sim card at Hong Kong Airport. There are multiple sim card shops that sell sim cards for tourists at Hong Kong Airport.
There are several 7-Eleven convenience stores as well as Global Exchange shops that sell prepaid sim cards for tourists. There is a 7-Eleven already before you go through customs.
When you arrive in the Arrival Hall there is also a China Mobile and a 1010 sim card store. All these sim card stores are all located on L5 in the middle of the arrival hall. There is free WiFi available at Hong Kong Airport for your convenience.
Buying a sim card at Hong Kong Airport is very convenient, but expect to pay tourist prices compared to the sim card plans you can find in the city center of Hong Kong. However, there are sim card plans with 30 GB data for around $12, including the sim card registration.
Check out my vlog with my experiences arriving at Hong Kong Airport and buying a prepaid sim card for tourists below, including the opening times, prices, etc.
Retail stores mobile internet providers
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 directly recommend buying a sim card from a 7-Eleven or any other of the convenience stores in Hong Kong. Why not? These employees are not specialized in selling sim card and most important 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.
The sim card registration process in Hong Kong is pretty complicated if you have to do it yourself. You will have to register online, scan your passport, provide all the details and then send it for approval and wait. In some cases people have reported to wait for up to 24 hours to get approved.
Order a sim card for Hong Kong online
To avoid all the hassle of buying a sim card for Hong Kong on arrival you can also order one on the internet. You are connected as soon as you land in Hong Kong. Order an international prepaid sim card for Hong Kong online and get it delivered to your home address before your trip. You can already find Hong Kong prepaid sim cards for $24.90 with 10 GB data.
However, the most convenient way to get data on your phone when traveling to Hong Kong in 2023 is an e-sim card. Order your e-sim card for Hong Kong directly online through this link.
Just like in most countries you will need your passport to buy a sim card in Hong Kong. Before March 2022 you could buy a prepaid sim card without any form of identification, but things changed and a copy of your passport will be taken in the phone store when you buy a prepaid sim card. Your Hong Kong sim card will be registered on your name and passport number and you get a sim card with a Hong Kong phone number starting with +852.
IF you buy a prepaid sim card in a convenience store you will have to do the sim card registration yourself and it is a 6 step verification process and you will need to wait for it to be approved which can take up to 24 hours.
To avoid the registration you can opt for an international sim card or an e-sim card, they only require your email address.
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 need for using a VPN. However, for safety and privacy reasons a VPN is still recommended to protect your data.
Mobile internet providers in Hong Kong
There are 4 mobile internet operators in Hong Kong that sell prepaid sim cards for tourist:
- 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 in 2023
Hong Kong is one of the most advanced countries when it comes to 5G mobile internet. Almost all of the country and especially the tourist attraction in Hong Kong are 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.
3 Hong Kong 4G/5G network coverage map
CMHK 4G/5G network coverage map
CSL 4G/5G network coverage map
Smartone 4G/5G network coverage map
As you can see from the above Hong Kong mobile internet coverage maps all tourist destinations and best places to visit in Hong Kong are very well covered with either a 4G and pretty much a 5G signal everywhere.
We can also clearly conclude that 3 Hong Kong and China Mobile have a much small 5G network than CSL and Smartone and that Smartone has the best 4G/5G mobile network in Hong Kong in 2023.
Prices prepaid sim cards in Hong Kong in 2023
All prices and info below is update per June 2023. Prices are in Hong Kong Dollar and 100 HKD = $12.8 USD and $1 USD = 7.8 HKD.
A CMHK prepaid sim card for tourists costs HK$ 78 and gives you 7 GB data + 200 minutes + 1 GB data in Macau and mainland China. The CMHK sim card package will say unlimited data, but don't be fooled. After 7 GB data on max speed the internet speed will be reduced to 384 Kbps, which is barely enough for using WhatsApp.
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. If buying a CMHK prepaid sim card Traveltomtom advices to visit one of the CMHK stores where they will instantly activate your prepaid sim card on your passport. For more info check the China Mobile Hong Kong website.
At CSL. offer 2 different plug and play Discover Hong Kong Tourist SIM Cards. One for 8 days and one for 5 days and both prepaid sim card plans include unlimited calling time in Hong Kong.
- 3 GB data for 5 days = $88 HKD - $11 USD (now upgraded to 12 GB data for 10 days)
- 8 GB data for 8 days = $118 HKD - $15 USD (now upgraded to 32 GB data for 30 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:
- 3 GB data in HKG and Macau + unlimited calls = $48 HKD - $6 USD
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. Check the CSL. website for more info.
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. tourist sim card is not recommended.
3 Three Hong Kong
3 Hong Kong offers 4 prepaid sim cards plans for tourists:
- 2 GB for 30 days + 2,000 minutes = $50 HKD - $6.4 USD
- 12 GB for 30 days + 2,000 minutes = $100 HKD - $12.8 USD
- 20 GB for 30 days + 2,000 minutes = $150 HKD - $19.2 USD
- 36 GB for 30 days + 2,000 minutes = $200 HKD - $25.5 USD
Check out the Three Hong Kong website for more info.
Unfortunately Three Hong Kong does NOT offer 5G on prepaid sim card for tourists, just like CSL the fastest data speed is 4G/LTE.
The Three Hong Kong prepaid 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 Hong Kong Airport in the 7-Eleven.
A Smartone prepaid sim card for tourists costs $78 HKD which is $10 USD and comes with the following data plan:
- 5 GB data + 15 minutes valid for 30 days in Hong Kong and Macau
Also for SmarTone counts that 5G is only for post paid costumers and not for prepaid sim cards for tourists.
SmarTone tourist 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. Check the SmarTone website for more info.
Best sim card for Hong Kong in 2023
International prepaid sim cards that you order on the internet are more expensive than local prepaid sim cards. The cheapest way to get data on your phone when traveling to Hong Kong is a local prepaid sim card.
However, these local prepaid sim cards you can only buy on arrival in Hong Kong. The easiest way to stay connected when traveling to Hong Kong in 2023 is an e-sim card. You can already get 5 GB data for just $12 USD and you are online as soon as you land.
But as said the best value for money is a local prepaid sim card.
Defining the best Hong Kong prepaid sim card is a little difficult as all of the mobile internet provider have a very extensive network and cover all the tourist destinations in Hong Kong with minimal a 4G/LTE signal.
However, after comparing all the prepaid sim cards for tourists I found out that only China Mobile offers 5G on tourist sim cards. CSL, Smartone and Three do NOT offer 5G, only 4G/LTE on prepaid sim cards for tourists.
Because China Mobile also has a great prepaid sim card for Hong Kong with unlimited data for 7 days, Traveltomtom comes to the conclusion that China Mobile is the best prepaid sim card for Hong Kong in 2023.
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 may apply. However, some prepaid Hong Kong sim card plans offer free roaming in Macau and/or mainland China.
Order a sim card for Hong Kong online
Does buying a prepaid sim card on arrival in Hong Kong sounds too complicated or you simply want to arrive prepared for your trip to Hong Kong and your phone is not e-sim compatible then simply order an international prepaid sim card with data on the internet.
These travel 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 for 10 days = $19.90 USD
- 3 PAYG AIO20 with 10 GB data for 30 days = $24.90 USD
- Orange Holiday World with 10 GB data for 14 days = $49.90 USD
Keep in mind that these are data only sim cards and do not include local calls!
Also another last reminder that you can order an e-sim card for Hong Kong directly on the internet and arrange everything within just a couple clicks. Click here for more info and ordering a e-sim card for Hong Kong or click here for an international e-sim card for Hong Kong.
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 phone?
Since March 2022 the rules for registering prepaid sim cards in Hong Kong have changed. You will need your passport for registering a prepaid sim card for Hong Kong. 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 plans for tourists.
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 you out getting the best sim card deal for Hong Kong. If you frequently travel to Hong Kong either for work or fun, feel free to add whatever point we might have missed.
If you are looking for some travel inspiration I invite you to check out my Instagram page @traveltomtom and follow my journey to visit every country in the world. As per June 2023 I visited more than 155 countries around the world.
Enjoy your trip to Hong Kong!
Some links in this article about the best sim cards for Hong Kong are affiliate links. If you buy any of the products after using an affiliate link I will earn a small commission. Don’t worry this is at absolutely no extra cost to you.