Stick to Hong Kong School Of Motoring, the govt favours them, even though they are more expensive, they are the fastest to get a licence, 4 months should get u a licence unless you fail (Touch Wood).
Learn Manual and stick to learning a car unless in the future you want to be a van/truck driver. When you do get a car, dont bother getting a manual in HK as you will be changing gears like crazy (first / netural / first / netural / first / netural) while stuck in traffic.
HK School of Motoring,
Expensive, nearly most expensive among all..
but fastest to apply a test date,
All teaching performed by school/tutor, and exam by Government Transport Department Officer.
you use the vehicle school/tutor provided to exam.
HK School of Motoring, got one of the easiest route, but good and bad come together, the school is located in Ap Lei Chau, near Aberdeen, so it's not easy to get there.
for all exam, u got to pass Exam A first, it's paper exam, 20 multiple choice questions, exam by computer.
After u pass it, you can apply the learner's license to train ur skills, for vehicle, included, stop and drive on the slope, parking, road test, etc......
For motorbike, split to 2 past, one is Exam B, which can be exam in HK School of Motoring or Kwun Tong Driving School (Restriced by Transport Department.)
Exam B is not difficult, juz a simple test to ensure u can get balance on the bike, know how to stop and drive, make turns and braking......
After u pass Exam B, u can choose the schools outside. For bike, there are 2 major parts, ride a 8-route on the slope for at least 3 times, including stop and drive on the slope, road test. during the whole test, from the time u start the engine, u MUST stick ur right foot on the rear break paddle, otherwise u MUST failed. U cannot place ur right foot on the road even the bike is stopped. So there are only 2 occasions that u place ur right foot on the road, one is the time u ride on the bike but not yet start ur engine, one is finish the exam and u park the bike.
If you get a pass, u can get a P-license(only for motorbike), u can drive but w/ a lot of restriction, including not to take passenger, not to drive over 70km/h anytime, even on the highways, etc....
After one year, NO BOOKED(not including illegal parking) , u can get the real license.
Wait wait...so how long does it take (minimum) to get a driving license for cars in HK (i.e. provided all exams are passed in the first go, etc.) And is it true that HK School of Motoring is given priority over others?
School of Motoring is the most expensive and has the most to offer over all the other driving schools including better classroom-based learning facilities and a dedicated practicing ground made just for new drivers. All the other driving schools are lower-end schools without any special facilities or grounds. This is the same for all of them no matter how expensive they are, be they Lee Kin, Hang Cheung, Good Luck, Tak On, etc. These mostly operate as an agent basis, keeping databases of instructor names and then matching them with students based on time, language and vehicle class. They also don't have any facilities of their own, expect for the vehicles that they lend out to the instructors.
All the instructors for these schools and including the ones from the School of Motoring are the same. They are all required to pass the government's instructor's test and so have the same level of proficiency. You can find their names on the pamphlet that the government hands out when you sign up for the written test at the government office. So don't expect instructors from one school to be better than instructors at another. Any differences in teaching ability lies in the instructors themselves, as every human being has their own style of teaching and this is not something the school can regulate.
The price difference for all the schools is mostly due to their running costs and doesn't reflect the quality of their instructors. School of Motoring is expensive because they have better facilities and equipment. Leekin is expensive because they do loads of advertising. Hang Cheung is cheap because they hardly do any advertising. The overall quality of learning, however, is somewhat correlated, as it is consequential that better facilities leads to better learning.
When deciding on which package to buy from the driving schools, pay attention to how many *hours* of driving they offer. Some offer say 4 grand for 30 classes, but in fact only 20 of those classes are driving lessons. 10 of them will be fillers like safety lessons, video-lectures from professional drivers, or insurance tips. As a rule of thumb, the government says on their pamphlet that they recommend 40 hours of driving practice. But you can buy lower hour packages and then pay for overtime, which divides up to roughly the same price per hour.
As for the syllabus, there is none. All the instructors know that their task is to teach you enough skills to "pass the test" and that is what they will do. The School of Motoring is a little better and will teach you more stuff to become a more rounded person. The exam routes are all set in stone by the government and are known by the instructors and you will be practicing them regularly with the help of your instructor.
With the exception of the School of Motoring, most driving schools will pick quiet streets to teach you driving. The streets that they choose are the same regardless of driving school and is based on the proximity to the place where your exam will be held. This street location has not changed for many years and was passed on through word-of-mouth between instructors. You may not know this but many instructors of the same district know each other, even across schools. They have been driving for many years and see each other on the same road day in and day out. So a word of advise, do not piss off one instructor and hope to get along with another instructor even if they are from a different school. Because the area you will practice in is already fixed based on your exam district and you will run into the same instructor again and the 2 instructors may happen to know each other! This isn't always true, but there is a possibility.
After the driving school assigns an instructor to you, you will be seeing the same person for the whole driving period. This is the same for all schools (that I've heard of). In fact, for lower-end schools after paying the driving school, you won't be hearing from them again. Instead you will be liasing with the instructor directly to schedule lessons. This keeps the schools running costs low and puts the burden on the instructor and student to get things going. But of course if you want to change instructors, you can tell the school and they will do so. That instructor and you will then have to keep track of what you've learnt and your progress.
Most instructors in all schools are old-timers. The government has been reluctant in issuing new licenses to new and younger instructors in fear of pushing the old-timers to unemployment. So don't be alarmed if your instructor is older than your dad. They have been driving for several decades non-stop so regardless of their age, they are pretty acute.
the transport dept website has a list of authorized private driving instructors too.
whether you go for a school or a private instructor, i still believe that the best way to learn is to ask tons and tons of questions relating to driving in hk, street signs, road conditions and scenarios etc.
I'm with HKSM and have my test at the end of the month - that will be about 3 months from when I started. A lot of that time is lectures, etc.
It's all quite easy though. The test routes are really easy, for Ap Lei Chau at least. One instructor said it was way too easy and should be made harder. I must say I agree (but let's see if I pass first!).
I think I paid about 9,000. They offer loans if you can't pay all up front.
The older instructors seem to be better. Some of the younger ones overteach - they talk and talk all the time and it's distracting. One time, I was revving the engine up and releasing the clutch on a hill start and the guy starts jabbering away, 'don't forget this, make sure you do that,' and I just had to tell him to STFU. I also gave him a '1' during feedback
If you can speak Chinese, you can have your pick, but if you don't you'll probably be better off with HKSM. Good service culture, too.