Friday, April 13, 2012

Ground Transportation to and From Hong Kong International Airport is So Easy!!

Ground transportation to and from Hong Kong International Airport is sooooo easy!!!  The whole city is basically designed like a big funnel into and out of HKIA.   This is not immediately obvious on the map.  On a map it looks sort of like the Hong Kong airport is built on this little side island on the side of an already side island.  On this map, Chek Lap Kok (as it's called) appears as the two white lines on the furthest West big island.

Hong Kong airport ground transportation information
Hong Kong Airport Information
That's not really how it works though.  If you drew a ground transportation map of Hong Kong it would look like a big octopus laying on its side with the airport as the big, bulbous head, the arms are highways, subways, and ferry routes, dotted with hotels, guesthouses, famous sites and restaurants. You will have no problem getting to and from the airport.  Basically, just get in anything with wheels (or a hull) and you'll end up at the airport sooner or later.  I would imagine there is no hotel in Hong Kong more than 40 minutes from the airport.  

The one thing you need, and the name fits, is an Octopus Card.  

Octopus Card

We're going to do more on the Octopus later.  For now just understand that this card is available at the airport, MTR stations, and other stops.  It is rechargeable, swipeable, and works on taxis, subways, buses, ferryies, 7-11s, grocery stores, etc.  It is all your holiday travel needs in a little plastic card.   The Octopus, don't leave your hotel or guesthouse without it.

probably the most common form of transport to and from Hong Kong International is the bus.  There are three major public bus lines in Hong Kong and many smaller ones.  They all take the Octopus and, on routes running to and from the airport, they have luggage racks.  Each company keeps its own route maps and schedules but they all meet at the bus terminal just down from the massive line of luggage pickups downstairs in the terminal.  Call your hotel ahead of time.  Odds are, they are on a bus route.

My personal favorite way to get around Hong Kong is the subway, the MTR.  

Hong Kong subway map, MTR
Hong Kong MTR Map from China Highlights
  The light blue "teal" route running from the main terminal on Hong Kong Island to the airport is the "airport express."  The MTR terminal is downstairs right at the end of the terminal and is kind of hard to miss.   It's the big subway terminal looking thing across from the luggage carousels. It's a great way to get into town.  Be aware though that many of the MRT stations are one, two or even three floors below ground and you may end up wrestling your bags up escalators in a crowd.  

Another exciting and different option, if you're flying into Hong Kong is to catch a ferry at the sky ferry pier in the terminal.  Several ferrys run from the airport and you can even catch one directly to Macau or mainland China without passing through Hong Kong.

There  you go, transportation to and from the Hong Kong International Airport, as easy as saying "Octopus." 

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