HONG Kong's airport tax is the highest in Asia but the territory also has the cheapest can of beer, according to the latest Visa Travel Cost Barometer. The barometer charts the cost of 16 goods and services in 11 cities in the Asia-Pacific region. However, the barometer shows that Hong Kong is still one of Asia's most expensive cities despite its duty-free status. It ranks as the second most-expensive place to buy a carton of Marlboro cigarettes and third-highest for a one-litre bottle of Chivas Regal. The territory scored second highest for the cost of a double room in a five-star hotel, including a continental breakfast and a local call made from the room. It also comes in the top half of the survey for the price of a two-kilometre taxi ride, a copy of Time magazine and a roll of 35 mm colour film. Savings can be had in Hong Kong on the cost of a postage stamp to London, a can of Coke, alkaline batteries, a Big Mac and a taxi ride from the airport to the city centre. The survey revealed there were still wide discrepancies within the region, with the price of a two km taxi ride ranging from HK$81 in Tokyo and $62 in Bangkok to $4.50 in Bombay and $5.10 in Jakarta. A can of local beer can cost as little as $4.60 in Hong Kong or as much as $15.60 in Tokyo. Tokyo remains the most expensive city in the region for 12 of the 16 goods and services reviewed, while Bombay is the cheapest. To take advantage of the region's best buys, a traveller would stay in a five-star hotel in Sydney, call from a hotel phone in Wellington, take hotel breakfast in Bombay, hire a car in Sydney or take a cab in Bombay, buy Time magazine and batteries in Bombay, duty-free Chivas Regal in Taipei and Marlboro cigarettes in Singapore. The Visa Travel Barometer is compiled every quarter through region-wide price checks by Visa representatives in 11 Asia-Pacific cities.