Where to find a SIM card at Hong Kong airport, and which one to get
I put together this guide to help locate the shops at Hong Kong airport that sell SIM cards, and to figure out which one to buy. I travel to Hong Kong often, usually I’m here for work or a bit of fun. Hong Kong can be a busy and confusing place when you first arrive.
There are three shops that reliably sell SIM cards for visitors arriving at Hong Kong airport:
|Shop||Location||SIM Cards Available|
Open 7am - 11pm daily
|Terminal 1 Arrivals. Between the two exits from customs. See map above.||
Open 24 Hours
|Terminal 1 Arrivals. Also between the two exits from customs. See map above.||
Open 7am - 11pm daily
|Terminal 1 Arrivals. Also between the two exits from customs. See map above.||
There are 2 tourist SIM cards available at Hong Kong airport, and they are great options if you are in a rush:
- CSL Discover Hong Kong Tourist Prepaid SIM card, from $88 HKD1
- China Mobile Hong Kong Individual Traveler Prepaid SIM card, from $68 HKD2
Many more good value options are available in the city rather than at the airport.
Which SIM cards are available at Hong Kong Airport?
These are the best SIM card options I’ve found at Hong Kong airport. Better deals are described further down if you can make it to the city before buying a SIM card.
Great for data: CSL Discover Hong Kong Tourist SIM, from $88 HKD ($11.20 USD)
For a short trip to Hong Kong and Macau, the easiest SIM cards to set up with generous data are from CSL:
- For $88 HKD ($11.20 USD), includes 3GB for the first 5 days and then can be topped up to add more.
- For $118 HKD ($15.05 USD), includes 8GB for the first 8 days and then can be topped up to add more.
Personally I find there’s more utility and value in the $118 card, it has better top up options if you’re staying longer.
These CSL SIM cards can be topped up with additional credit if you decide to stay longer, the card and number associated with it do not have a fixed expiry.
Both CSL SIM cards can also be used for data roaming in Macau in the initial 5/8 day period for free (extra payment required if using after the initial period, but it isn’t too expensive). They also have data roaming add-ons available for Mainland China and Taiwan.
Great for calls: also CSL Discover Hong Kong Tourist SIM, from $88 HKD
For local calls, the CSL prepaid SIM card has unlimited local calls.
For international calls, the CSL prepaid SIM is not great value, but it is generally cheaper and easier to use than other options available at Hong Kong airport. To dial overseas with this SIM card, prefix the number with
0060 instead of
+. The card includes some credit for international calls when purchased.
It’s generally expected in Hong Kong to use apps to make calls overseas; the local carriers have had little incentive in recent years to compete on international calls. Making an international call using the phone network in Hong Kong is referred to as IDD (International Dial Direct), and can often require you to prefix the number with a code before dialing.
If you’re from Thailand, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Philippines, or Indonesia and want to call phone numbers back home, China Mobile Hong Kong (CMHK) has great value prepaid SIM cards available. At the airport, these SIM cards can be bought from 7-Eleven or China Mobile, however stock is limited and stores in the city may have more stock.
Great for coverage: also the CSL Discover Hong Kong Tourist SIM, from $88 HKD
All mobile phone networks in Hong Kong offer similar network coverage, each network covers nearly the whole territory.
Congestion can slow down mobile phone data connections in busy parts of the city, for example MTR’s Island Line during rush hour around Wan Chai. More expensive mobile phone providers are often less prone to congestion, though this isn’t always the case.
I found CSL to have a good balance of available despite congestion, and price.
Is it better to buy a SIM card in Hong Kong city or at the airport?
There are better options for SIM cards if you buy in the city. Especially if you are staying longer than the 8 days the CSL bonus pass lasts.
Good value and easy to buy - this is why I like the China Unicom prepaid SIM cards. Consider China Unicom if you’re:
- Travelling soon to Macau, Taiwan, or Mainland China
- Are staying in Hong Kong more than 8 days but less than 30.
There are 2 prepaid SIM cards that suit this situation:
- Greater China 15 day 5GB - $128 HKD.
- Greater China 30 day 6GB - $148 HKD.
Where to buy: Conveniently there is a China Unicom store upstairs at IFC, above Hong Kong train station on the airport express. They may charge a higher price for this convenience (it’s not uncommon for price variations on the same product between shops). I usually buy my prepaid SIM cards from the Wan Chai Computer Centre, located above Wan Chai MTR train station.
3 Mobile Hong Kong
3 Mobile prepaid SIM cards can offer great value. I talk about them more below.
This SIM card can also be bought at the Wan Chai Computer Centre.
Which SIM cards are better value if bought in the city?
For more data, 3 Hong Kong prepaid, price depends
There is a SIM card from 3 Hong Kong that is only sold through little shops dotted around the city which is great value. It has 20-40GB of data, lasts for 6 months, and can be used in China and Macau as well. It’s mostly in Chinese though, so I usually point at in the shop and ask them how much - every shop should be able to give a discount on the retail price printed on the packet. Typically I pay $120 - $180 HKD3, depending on whether I’m using it to roam in China or not.
For more calls, stick with CSL
For local calls, it’s possible to extend the unlimited voice calls included with the CSL Tourist SIM for $28 HKD per 30 days. There’s a code to dial, or in-store staff can help figure this out.
For international calls, use an app. I haven’t found a good reliable way to call foreign countries cheaply from Hong Kong (apart from those listed below). Usually I use WhatsApp, Facebook, or Skype for phone calls; Skype can call local phone numbers all over the world.
If you’re calling phone numbers in select countries, China Mobile offers SIM cards with discount rates specifically for these countries. It’s a good option to investigate if you are going to call only one of: Thailand, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Philippines, or Indonesia.
For longer expiry, also the 3 Hong Kong prepaid
The 3 Hong Kong SIM card I mentioned above, available only from the little phone shops, has a much longer expiry than the prepaid tourist SIM cards.
The CSL Tourist Prepaid SIM card can also be extended with top-up at a CSL shop. It is not as good value though.
Do I need ID to buy a SIM card at Hong Kong Airport?
No, it is not currently a requirement to provide ID to buy a SIM card in Hong Kong.
Is Wi-Fi available at Hong Kong Airport?
Yes, Wi-FI is available at Hong Kong Airport. Connect to
#HKAirport Free WiFi and then agree to the terms and conditions to get access.
Getting from the airport to the city to buy a SIM card
Hong Kong makes it easy to get to the city from the airport by providing bus and train services connected to most of the territory.
These can help you get to Hong Kong Island, or Kowloon, where I typically find better deals on SIM cards.
Bus, with free Wi-Fi
Buses run from the airport to various parts of Hong Kong. These bus routes are numbered with the prefix
A, such as
A11 (airport to Central, Wan Chai, and Causeway Bay) or
A21 (airport to Mong Kok, TST, and Hung Hom).
Wi-Fi instructions are included onboard.
Train, also with free Wi-Fi
The train to and from the airport, called the Airport Express, includes free Wi-Fi. Select
MTR Free Wi-Fi when you get onboard and then agree to the conditions to use.
Taxis in Hong Kong do not have Wi-Fi.
My tip for airport taxis in Hong Kong: If you’re arriving in Hong Kong between 10pm and 7am and going to Wan Chai, Causeway Bay, or any of the hotels near the government offices in Admiralty, tell the driver
hong sui (pronounced more like
hong soy) to use the Cross-harbour tunnel. It’s nearly 10 USD cheaper!
Uber, DiDi, and ride-share
Ride-share still remains an option in Hong Kong, as far as I can tell, for getting from the airport to the rest of the city. At time of writing, it is illegal, carrying passengers still requires a license, however the services can still be booked and passengers carried. With the ubiquity of taxis in Hong Kong, I try to avoid ride-sharing or hailing services such as Uber.
Can I roam with my Hong Kong SIM card to another country
Roaming is expensive with a regular Hong Kong SIM card
Instead, Hong Kong people usually buy a roaming SIM card specifically for the area they’re visiting.
Mainland China, Macau
Many of the SIM cards I’ve talked about can be roamed into these regions easily. The favourites are:
- 3, 20GB Hong Kong + 2GB China & Macau, 180 days validity for no more than $198 HKD.
- China Unicom, 5GB Hong Kong, China, Macau, Taiwan for $128 HKD (15 days validity) or $148 HKD (30 days validity)
If you bought the CMHK Traveler SIM at the airport, it can roam into China from $38 HKD, though I still recommend the China Unicom or 3 Hong Kong options.
If you bought the CSL Prepaid Tourist SIM at the airport, it can roam into China from $48 HKD. It’s slightly better value than CMHK, but China Unicom and 3 Hong Kong are still better. CSL Tourist SIM can be used in Macau without extra charge if you visit within the first 5/8 days (depending on which SIM you bought).
All SIM cards mentioned here roam from Hong Kong as a base. That means all the internet is provided via Hong Kong.
If you’re planning a trip to Taiwan within the next month, definitely check out the China Unicom prepaid SIM cards. The 30 day option includes generous data that can be used in Taiwan as well, and shouldn’t cost more than $148 HKD.
Elsewhere in Asia
China Unicom offers SIM cards covering South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. If you’re heading to any of these destinations next, check out China Unicom as an option to pick up a SIM card now rather than on arrival.
Written by Chris who travels frequently for work and understands what it can be like to arrive somewhere new and unfamiliar.
I wrote Landing Last Minute to help the hurried traveler get necessary information about any destination.