The Lingnan Pass is based on Hong Kong’s Octopus Card; a stored value card which lets you travel on the Hong Kong metro, buses, ferries and other public transport with the swipe of the card. So successful has the card been that it’s been imitated in New York, London and in other major cities and around 98% of Hong Kongers use the card.
Several other major Chinese cities in Guangdong also use a stored value card and the Lingnan pass is an attempt to bring all these cards together and make cross border travel in the Guangdong Region easier. Users are able use the card not only in Hong Kong but on public transport in 16 other mainland cities. These are Guangzhou, Foshan, Jiangmen, Zhaoqing, Shanwei, Huizhou, Maoming, Zhuhai, Jieyang, Heyuan, Yunfu, Shaoguan, Yangjiang, Qingyuan, Zhongshan and Zhanjiang, and in Hong Kong.
Frustratingly there is no Shenzhen, although the Octopus Card can be used at some Shenzhen shops.
Where can I buy the Lingnan Pass?
The pass can be bought in Hong Kong – where it is called the Octopus-Lingnan Pass or in Guangdong where it is called the Lingnan-Octopus Pass.
The card is available in Hong Kong from all MTR stations and in Guangzhou from all Gunagzhou Metro stations. Outside these cities, the Lingnan Pass will available from bus and train transport hubs.
The card sells for HK$98 in Hong Kong and RMB80 in China. That’s the same price. Unlike the Octopus Card – which is on loan and can be returned to collect your deposit – you own the Lingnan Pass and it cannot be returned.
HKD vs RMBLike all stored value cards, the card has to be topped up to be used – each journey will automatically deduct the fare when the card is swiped.
What’s different about the Lingnan Card is that it has two separate purses – one in RMB and one in HKD. While the card holds credit in both currencies at the same time, you’ll need credit in HKD for use in Hong Kong and credit in RMB for use in China. There isn’t one credit total, so when your RMB purse is empty you can’t use stored HKD credit in China and vice versa.
It’s simpler in that there is no currency conversion but can be annoying when you run out of credit in a certain currency.
No discounts and no returnsThe Lingnan Card is currently only available for full adult price. There is no card that offers reductions for kids or over 65s.
The card can be topped up with up to HKD $1000 but we would suggest only adding small amounts. The card is unregistered and if lost, the only way of retrieving the stored value is if you have made a note of the card number.
Is it worth buying an Octopus –Lingnan Pass?Absolutely. If you travel regularly between Hong Kong and other cities in Guangdong, such as Guangzhou for the Canton Fair, the Lingnan Pass will not only save you a bunch of hassle but also money. Travel with the card is cheaper than buying single tickets.
If you do buy a Lingnan Pass you don’t need a separate Octopus card for Hong Kong. The Lingnan card is valid everywhere the Octopus is and entitles you to the same cheaper transport prices. Of course don’t expect it to work everywhere. In major cities like Guangzhou and Foshan the card will work on just about all municipal transport but it won’t work on local buses that serve the countryside..