Plan to travel to Hong Kong – The shopping paradise in Asia, but still worry about the Internet, Wifi, and connection? Don’t worry because we will provide you with our guide to the best Hong Kong SIM cards! Today’s blog will cover the types, prices, where to buy, and a detailed guide to using Hong Kong SIM cards. Let’s find out!

Hong Kong Sim Card - GIGAGO eSIM

I. Should You Get a SIM Card in Hong Kong?

The answer to this question must be “YES” for several reasons. To begin with, let’s find out what benefits a SIM card would bring us when compared to a Wifi connection and international roaming service:

  • First, instead of putting too much money on roaming services, a SIM card will help you save a lot of money with affordable local rates for calls, texts, and data.
  • Second, your schedule will be limited because of a Wi-Fi connection. With Hong Kong SIM cards, you will not be worried about losing connection when staying away from Wifi hotspots. Hence, Hong Kong SIM cards ensure that you’re always connected when needed!
  • Third, unlike Wifi and roaming service, a SIM card is easy to use and set up.
  • Finally, with the flexibility of Hong Kong SIM cards, your trips will be smoother when you can search for maps, local services, and local information and stay connected with people around you so well without interruption.

When visiting Hong Kong, staying connected is essential for anyone. However, it is money-consuming if you use expensive data roaming charges on your existing mobile plan, You can burn a hole in your pocket.

Furthermore, free public WiFi is widely available in Hong Kong; however, it comes with security risks and is impossible to use when you are not near the Wifi hotspot. In this case, renting a pocket WiFi device is a good option but it will cost you more.

Hence, do not hesitate to buy a SIM card for your Hong Kong trip! 

II. Types of Hong Kong SIM Cards for Tourists – Which One is the Best?

Hong Kong SIM cards - TDP IELTS
Using Hong Kong SIM cards helps us connect with the surrounding world.

How many Hong Kong SIM card kinds and which one is the best option for travelers? There are 02 main types: prepaid physical SIM cards and prepaid tourist eSIM. 

1. Prepaid physical SIM card in Hong Kong

Generally, prepaid physical Hong Kong SIM cards can be understood as a type of subscriber identity module (SIM) card. It is used in mobile devices and comes with a prepaid service.

There are some important features of prepaid physical SIM cards that you should know:

Benefits of Prepaid Hong Kong physical SIM cardsDrawbacks of Prepaid physical Hong Kong SIM cards
– Reasonable prices.
– Suitable for anyone because there are various SIM card packages with different prices.
– Time-consuming to wait for the physical SIM to set up on your devices.
– Easy to get lost SIM cards when removing them from the mobile device.
– Be limited in the number of devices. One device can use one SIM card only.

2. Prepaid Tourist Hong Kong eSIM

A prepaid tourist eSIM is a digital or embedded SIM card used for visitors. Unlike a physical SIM only used when inserted physically into mobile devices, an eSIM is known as a chip embedded in the device’s circuit board. Moreover, users can simply scan the QR code to download the information, and then associate it with the eSIM package (contained in that QR code) to use.

Here are some of the pros and cons of eSIM that you can refer to in the below table.

Benefits of Prepaid Tourist Hong Kong eSIMDrawbacks of Prepaid Tourist Hong Kong eSIM
– Online purchases: it is convenient for tourists to buy whenever and wherever they are.
– No need for complicated disassembly, just scan the QR code.
Used two SIMs at the same time.
– It can be an eSIM with a physical SIM or two eSIMs. However, it is only available for iPhone models from iPhone 13 and above. Especially, if you use an iPhone 14 produced in the US market, there is no physical SIM card slot. Hence, you can only use eSIM instead.
– Limited in using devices. The only high-end model is usable.
– Function requires unlocked phones.

Our recommendation: You can buy an eSIM for a better experience if you have a eSIM-supported mobile device to activate it.

III. Best Hong Kong SIM Card Packages for Tourists and Price

Hong Kong has the top 4 mobile Internet providers including CSL – Hong Kong Telecom, China Mobile Hong Kong – CMHK, Smartone, and Three – 3. Let’s find more details about the price for the SIM card service here.

Good to know: $1 = 7.81 HKD. 10,000 HKD = $128 (as of January 2024) 

1. Best Hong Kong CMHK SIM Card Plans and Prices

CMHK SIM cards - GIGAGO eSIM
CMHK SIM cards – GIGAGO eSIM

Here is the detailed information for prepaid Hong Kong SIM card plans from CMHK:

  • Cost HKD 78 (~ USD 10) for 7 GB data validity for 7 days.
  • Include 200 minutes and 1 GB of data for Mainland China and Macau.

Insight: The SIM card service from CMHK is the cheapest among the four major operators in Hong Kong. This is the best option for high-speed internet access, so you do not need to worry about censorship/app blocking. Especially, they are the only operator providing 5G access on its prepaid plans.

2. Best Hong Kong SmarTone SIM Card Plans and Price

Hong Kong SmarTone SIM Card offers the plan for the below detailed benefits:

  • Cost HKD 78 (~ USD 10) for 5 GB data valid for 30 days.
  • Include 15-minute validity for Hong Kong and Macau.
  • No 5G access on prepaid plans, only use 4G/LTE.

Insight: Hong Kong SmarTone SIM Card provides tourists with more data than CSL plans but for a shorter validity period.

3. Best Hong Kong Three HK SIM Card Plans and Prices

When choosing Hong Kong Three Hong Kong SIM Card operator, they will offer you:

  • 4 prepaid plans from $50-200 HKD with data varying from 2-36 GB
  • Plans include 2000 minutes
  • No 5G access, only 4G/LTE on prepaid

Insight: This is the most expensive among the operators but highest data allowance. If you have a good economic condition, you can choose this for the best experience.

4. Best Hong Kong CSL SIM Card Plans and Prices 

The Hong Kong CSL SIM card offers tourists 2 prepaid SIM card plans:

  • 3 GB data for 5 days = HKD 88 (~ USD 11)
  • 8 GB data for 8 days = HKD 118 (~ USD 15)
  • Data is valid in Hong Kong AND Macau
  • No 5G access on prepaid plans, only 4G/LTE

Insight: This is a good choice for tourists if they visit both Hong Kong and Macau. Furthermore, plans provide a decent amount of data for shorter trips.

Our recommendation: The best operator is China Mobile Hong Kong because it is affordable for anyone. If you have a good budget, you can choose CSL SIM cards to achieve the best experience. 

IV. Where to Buy a Tourist SIM Card in Hong Kong?

Where to Buy a Tourist SIM Card in Hong Kong?
Hong Kong SIM cards can be bought from online shops, at Hong Kong Airport, or in the cities.

Most tourists visiting Hong Kong often wonder where they can purchase a SIM card for their trip. There are different ways for them to get a SIM card such as buying online, buying at Hong Kong Airport, or in the cities.

Buy a prepaid Hong Kong eSIM card online before traveling

You can pre-purchase and pre-activate an eSIM card for Hong Kong online from providers before your trip. Then, you will be connected as soon as you arrive in Hong Kong without needing to hunt for a physical SIM card.

Pros:

  • Convenient and saves time for physical SIM cards after landing
  • No need to register passport details at stores
  • Can use TikTok and avoid the censorship that physical SIM users experience
  • Low minimum costs starting from $4-12 USD for several GB of data

Cons:

  • Your phone must support eSIM technology
  • Cannot benefit from cheaper local physical SIM card deals

Buy physical Hong Kong SIM at Hong Kong airports

The Hong Kong International Airport has several SIM stalls right at the arrival halls selling SIM cards including 7-Eleven, Global Exchange, China Mobile, and 1010.

Pros:

  • Convenience of getting connected right away upon arrival
  • Some stalls like Global Exchange offer the best deals like 80GB data for USD 11

Cons:

  • Potentially more expensive than city stores
  • Require passport ID for registration

Buy physical Hong Kong SIM online

You can order international roaming SIM cards online that work in Hong Kong from providers like SimOptions. These SIM cards will arrive before your trip.

Pros:

  • Arrive prepared with a SIM on hand
  • Covers multiple countries if traveling around Asia

Cons:

  • More expensive than local Hong Kong SIM deals
  • Need to register personal details online
  • No local Hong Kong phone number

Buy physical Hong Kong SIM Cards in the cities

You can purchase SIM cards around Hong Kong from the providers’ retail stores, 7-Elevens, and convenience stores. China Mobile offers the best deals of 5GB/7 days for $10 with 5G support.

Pros:

  • Cheaper than airport options
  • Support swapping for better deals
  • Can choose a provider based on coverage needs

Cons:

  • Need to locate Hong Kong SIM card stores after arrival
  • Potential registration wait times at some stores

Our recommendations: Depending on your needs, you can buy a SIM card everywhere you want if it suits your situation and condition. However, GIGIGO eSIM recommends you buy at the airport to not interrupt your connection and ensure quality. Plus, you can buy online for instant delivery via email, no need to wait.

V. How Much Data Is Enough for a Prepaid Tourist SIM Card in Hong Kong?

Hence, how much data is enough for a prepaid tourist SIM card in Hong Kong? Let’s give an example! If you have prepaid Hong Kong SIM cards that include 1GB, what can you do?

According to the general information, a prepaid SIM card with 1 GB of data can send and receive about 10,000 emails without attachments, and nearly 20 hours of web pages. Plus, you can use around 8 hours of music and 3 hours to watch videos.

Moreover, according to your needs, there are different recommendations for you to consider:

  • Heavy users need about 5 GB of data or more to use. They can watch frequent video streaming, constant social media updates, and regular use of navigation apps.
  • Medium users only require 2 GB – 5 GB of data to use social media, occasional video streaming, and general web browsing.
  • Light user requests nearly 1 GB – 2 GB for web browsing. However, this data volume will limit their social media use and email checking.
  • Most average tourists will need from 2 GB to 4 GB. This volume suits them to use maps, social media, and updated pictures.
  • In case you are a businessman, you need a data volume between 4 GB and 6 GB for working tasks such as business emails, video calls, document sharing, and some navigation.

Finally, WiFi sharers will require:

  • Data Volume: 3GB – 5GB
  • Usage: Sharing WiFi with other devices, moderate social media use, and occasional video streaming.

Advice: These are general guidelines. Depending on your needs,  actual usage may be different. However,  it's always a good idea to monitor your usage initially and adjust your plan effectively.

VI. Hong Kong Esim- Alternative to Physical SIM Cards to Get Internet

The best alternative is getting a prepaid Hong Kong eSIM which offers numerous advantages over other connectivity options:

  • Easy to set up – eSIM plans can be purchased online from anywhere in the world and are easy to install. You do not need to spend time searching for a physical SIM card.
  • Affordable rates – eSIM plans will offer a good value with unlimited data packages for a fraction of roaming costs.
  • Secure connectivity – eSIMs help you connect to Hong Kong cellular networks, and ensure security.
  • Works anywhere – As an eSIM function, you can stay connected despite geographical distance.
  • No top-ups needed – eSIM packages will include fixed data and validity upfront without the hassle of topping up like physical SIM cards.

With instant activation, affordable rates, and freedom of connectivity, a prepaid Hong Kong eSIM is truly the best choice for travelers to enjoy a trip in Hong Kong.

As one of the best eSIM providers for travelers to Hong Kong, Gigago offers multiple data plan options for Hong Kong, starting from a 5-day plan with 1GB of data per day for $5 as their most minimal plan. They also have 7-day, 15-day, and 30-day plans ranging from 1GB to 50GB of total data, or 1GB to 3GB per day, with prices from $5 up to $89.50.

What benefits you will get when using Hong Kong Gigago eSIM?

Here are the top reasons why you should choose Hong Kong GIGAGO eSIM:

  • Hong Kong GIGAGO eSIM is easy to use. You can 100% buy and set up online, receive eSIM via email, and then scan a QR code to install easily. After that, you just need to activate eSIM when you land in Hong Kong and get connected instantly.
  • The eSIM service from GIGAGO offers you free roaming charges, helps you save data roaming charges, and is free to make calls and texts via WhatsApp, Telegram, Facetime, and so on.
  • GIGAGO’s customers can travel to all locations in Hong Kong and stay connected with anyone.
  • The eSIMs are instantly delivered via email. You do not need to wait for shipping, no removal, and no risk of loss.
  • You can still keep your physical SIM because eSIM is digital, so there‘s no need to remove your original SIM cards, but still receive calls, and SMS if any.

View detailed prices, and information, and buy eSIM:  Hong Kong Gigago eSIM

VIII. Which Hong Kong Mobile Networks Are The Best for Tourists?

Additionally, which Hong Kong Mobile Network is the best for travelers? Let’s research the information from the below table to get the answer:

OperatorChina Mobile Hong Kong (CMHK)CSL Mobile (by Hong Kong Telecom)SmarToneThree Hong Kong (3 HK)
CoverageGoodGreatBestGood
SpeedSuper fastSuper fast Fast Fast
PriceCheapExpensiveCheapAffordable

China Mobile Hong Kong (CMHK)

China Mobile Hong Kong (CMHK) coverage map
China Mobile Hong Kong (CMHK) coverage map (source: nperf)

If you select CMHK, this operator is known as bringing the fastest 5G experience for customers. It provides you with a wide coverage of 4G and 5G networks throughout Hong Kong.

Not only 5G, they also offer 4G LTE, 3G networks, and a tourist SIM plan with unlimited data in Hong Kong.  The speed is capped at 384 Kbps after 7GB and 1GB of data in Mainland China and Macau. Their SIM will be valid for 7 days.

CSL Mobile (by Hong Kong Telecom)

CSL coverage map
CSL Hong Kong coverage map (source: nperf)

CSL Mobile gives their customer extensive coverage of 4G and 5G networks across Hong Kong. Moreover, this operator also offers world-class international roaming services.

Besides, they have good 5G, 4G LTE, 3G, and GSM dual-band mobile services. Especially, customers will receive tourist SIM plans with different data options and unlimited local voice calls, valid for 5 to 8 days.

SmarTone

Smartone coverage map
Smartone Hong Kong coverage map (source: nperf)

Known as a leading telecommunications company in Hong Kong, Smartone provides its customers with various services. Besides, travelers will be satisfied with their qualified 4G and 5G networks. Also, this operator offers a great SIM plan for tourists including eSIM plans.

Three Hong Kong (3 HK)

3 HK coverage map
3 HK Hong Kong coverage map (source: nperf)

Three Hong Kong (3HK) is one of the leading mobile operators providing advanced data, voice, and roaming services in Hong Kong. They offer 5G, 4G LTE, 3G, and GSM dual-band networks. Also, Three Hong Kong can give their customers 5 SIM plans and eSIM for tourists.

IX. How to Use Hong Kong Prepaid SIM Cards and eSIM

 Using prepaid Hong Kong tourist SIM Cards

When you receive a SIM card, there are activation instructions attached to the package:

  • Step 1: Insert the SIM Card. You have to power off your phone, and then insert the SIM card into the SIM card slot.
  • Step 2: Power On and Network Connection. After inserting the SIM card, you can turn on your phone and connect to the local network automatically.
  • Step 3:  Check Balance and Expiry: you should spend time dialing the specified code to check your prepaid balance. You also can set up your phone for mobile data usage by entering the provided APN settings. Then, do not forget to check the expiry!
  • Step 4: Use your phone to make calls and send texts.

Important Note: In case you lose your SIM, please report to the provider immediately to ensure your information security! After finishing your trip, if you have remaining credit, you can consider using it before leaving Hong Kong, and keep the SIM card for future use. In contrast, you can dispose of it.

Setting up and activating Hong Kong eSIM 

If you tend to use Hong Kong eSIM, please follow the below steps:

  • Step 1: Check your phone model first if it is available for using eSIM.
  • Step 2: If yes, you can buy an eSIM. Purchase eSIM online from a prestigious eSIM provider like GIGAGO.
  • Step 3: After receiving your eSIM via email, you should ensure your phone is unlocked to activate an eSIM, then:
    • Open eSIM settings from your phone to add an eSIM by scanning the QR code, or entering the activation key.
    • Follow the instructions presented on your device screen to download and activate the eSIM profile.
  • Step 4: Let’s restart your device and use it to make calls or send messages.

Important Note: If you encounter any issues during the setup process, contact the operator’s customer service for support.

X. FAQs

Which SIM card is best for Hong Kong?

One of the best Hong Kong SIM cards, China Mobile Hong Kong is the top option. They offer you a good prepaid tourist SIM card including 5G for HKD 78 ($10), and 7 GB of high-speed data for 7 days.

Where can I buy a Hong Kong eSIM? 

There are a lot of operators for you to buy a Hong Kong eSIM such as CSL Mobile (by Hong Kong Telecom), Smartone, or Three Hong Kong. However, if you would like to buy eSIM from these operators, you have to show your passport directly, which is not convenient. For the fastest service, you can buy an eSIM online at a reasonable price via GIGAGO eSIM via Whatsapp at +1 657-571-1199 or email at [email protected].

Can I buy a SIM card at Hong Kong Airport?

You can directly buy local Hong Kong SIM cards as well as rent a pocket Wi-Fi.at Hong Kong Airport. Especially, if you are a foreigner, buying Hong Kong SIM cards at the airport will not be difficult because the airport staff are normally fluent in English to support their customers.

XI. Conclusion

In conclusion, selecting suitable Hong Kong SIM cards is necessary for travelers to stay connected with everyone and prepare for the best trip. Whether you’re a tourist or a business traveler, facing data limits and losing connection is inconvenient. GIGAGO eSIM hopes that this Hong Kong SIM card article can give you useful advice for choosing the right connected methods.