Get an Octopus card.
You can get them from any customer service desk in the MTR stations. They cost 150HKD, comprising of a 50HKD despoit and 100HKD of credit. They make getting through the MTR system much easier and faster. As a bonus the fares are about 10% less than a single ticket entry. On top of that you can use the card to pay for the tram on Hong Kong Island, the Peak Team and Star Ferry, as well as many small shops and cafes in Hong Kong.
Kowloon has a wider range of accommodation than Hong Kong Island. Both are served by the metro along with the buses. For shopping Kowloon has everything. Mongkok has high street stores alongside cheaper places. Yam Mei Tei has traditional street markets including a flower and a goldfish market. On the waterfront you have the top end stores. Kowloon used to be the most densely populated area in the world. Staying on this side means you don’t need to travel far for the famous skyline view of Hong Kong.
On a budget and want to see some good views?
Go to the 55th floor of IFC 2
Find the ground floor reception desk. Behind the escalator there is a reception desk. Present some form of I.D ( a copy is acceptable). They will give you a pass and you can go to the 55th floor for free. An OK view but only over Hong Kong Island and not of the harbour. The windows are clean meaning you can get some decent shots. Also in thisev there is a display about money in Hong Kong.
Go to the 43rd Floor of the Bank of China Building
Another free view, but this time you can see over the harbour. Good, clean windows and totally deserted on our visit. An original identification document is required!
Trains to and from Hong Kong
Hong Kong has a train station where you can get trains to and from China. But, they are only the slow overnight trains. If you want a high speed train across China you can travel to and from Shenzhen. Shenzhen train station is linked by metro to the border and on the Hong Kong side is the MTR to get around Hong Kong. Very convenient, easy and cheap.
We’ve read about people that have had to jump through huge hoops to get their visa for China. A friend of ours was asked for his full travel itinerary, with all the hotels and trains booked, including the entry and exit points booked and tickets printed. This is unnecessary. We found a company which will get your Chinese visa with no proof of any bookings. One form with the usual details on it is all that’s required. They are the Japanese Tour Agency, located at the bottom of Kowloon (a 1 minute walk from the Hong Kong History Museum and about 5 minutes from the Avenue of Stars). 920 Yuan for next working day, 480 Yuan for 4 working day application. I strongly recommend them!