Hong Kong Airport Guide

Michael MicheliniBlog, Lifestyle, Travel12 Comments

Be in control of your destiny when you’re traveling and master the Hong Kong airport!

Ever looking to fly into Asia? Most likely you will make at least a connection in Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA).

Over almost a decade now I have been coming in and out of Hong Kong and this amazing airport. My friends and I are always sharing tips and tricks on how to maximize our time here. It is massive, and after reading today’s guide you will be able to get around like a “baller” next time you fly in or out of here.

I’m also hoping after you read this, you can share some of your tips and feedback. I will update this airport guide post so check back often.

Airport Layout & Structure

HKIA has 2 terminals, Terminal 1 and Terminal 2. But don’t worry about needing to take a different taxi or train to one or the other, they are within walking distance. All the flights take off from Terminal 1. Terminal 2 seems to be overflowing for the check-in counters. The public transportation area, as well, is located in this terminal. Flying Air Asia? Go to Terminal 2 for check-in like I did. Then, there is also the “North Satellite Concourse” which has gates in the 500 number range.

There are 7 levels (L1 to L7).

  • L7

  • L6

  • L5

  • L4

  • L3

  • L2

  • L1

For the north Satellite concourse:

  • L5

  • L4

As you can see, the first level should be the basement. To get from each level you can take escalators or elevators.

Here’s a question from a reader about Terminal 1 and Terminal 2:

Hi! My flight will arrive at HKG Int’l Arrival Terminal 2. Is it possible to enter at HKG Arrival Terminal 1 because I need to pick up something at Klook counter? Thank you so much.Melvin

That’s possible Melvin. Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 are actually connected.

Unrestricted Area (Don’t Need a Boarding Pass)

They call the area where the “public” can go, the unrestricted area. There are things you can do even if you don’t have a flight. There are quite a few things here that do attract people to come just for fun or work. My friend, Larry Salibra even likes to use the airport as a free co-working space!

Please note, that once you board your flight (enter the restricted area), you cannot exit and use these services. So make sure you check these out before your flight, or on your way into the city.

Now, let’s dig into some of the facilities and surrounding spots.

World Trade Center Hong Kong International Airport

The WTC – HKIA is a regular member of the World Trade Centers Association (WTCA). This network has over 300 WTCs around the world.

Wtchkia.com
[email protected]

I have yet to visit this business building, but it is a popular icon in the city.

WTC Business Center

On the first floor, they have a massive 11,000 square meter facility. Just like any business center, you can pay by the hour, day, month, or year. They offer secretary, reception, and translation services which can come in handy when coming in and out of Hong Kong. Want to have an address right at the airport? This is where you’d go as they offer mail collection and forwarding. Then the basics of:

  • High speed Internet
  • Wireless, printers
  • Faxes
  • Scanners
  • Copiers

Everything so you can use this as your office away from home.

Need a Conference room?

Show your clients you’re a pro with their 5 training rooms and 2 meeting rooms. Just downstairs from the business center on the ground floor, they offer hourly or daily rates. You should be able to cover all kinds of conference formats as they have all AV equipment and Wifi options.

Getting there – it’s just outside of the airport within walking distance. You can ask any terminal staff to point you in the right direction.

Business center address – 1st floor
Conference center address – Ground floor
Hours: 9am to 6pm Monday to Friday

Airport World Trade Center Club (AWTC Club)

Want to lounge a bit? Upstairs on the 7th floor of this World Trade Center has a Chinese cuisine dining club with a 360 degree panoramic view of the airport. You can also sit back and enjoy the bar and cigar lounge.

Open – Monday to Saturday 11am to 10:30pm
Sundays by appointment only

7th floor, Airport World Trade Center
1 Sky Plaza Road
Hong Kong International Airport
852 – 3153 2332

HKIA Tower

There is a second business tower next to the airport called the HKIA Tower.

Airport Express

The most effective way to get from the airport to downtown. This train has a few stops, with the final stop being your most likely destination, which is Central district, Hong Kong.

Trains run every 20 minutes or even more so no need to worry.

You can pay by credit card.

Hours of Operation:
05:54 to 23:28 and approximately 12-minute intervals from 23:28 to 00:48 daily

Here is where you can make a day trip out of visiting the airport.

Entertainment Zone (Terminal 2)

Aviation Discovery Center

Dream Come True Education Park

Dream Come True Maker Workshop

GreenLive AIR

Skydeck

UA IMAX Theater at Airport

I watched an IMAX movie when I returned from a trip in Southeast Asia. Pretty amazing right? Land in Hong Kong and pick up your luggage, walk a few minutes and you can buy a movie ticket to see a massive IMAX movie. I think the screen went above my head as I was closer to the front of the theatre.

There are a couple screens, so check which ones before flying as they aren’t able to play all the latest movies.

Shopping

You may as well classify this place as a mall. So many luxury brand shops every which way you turn. No need to have a boarding pass to see quite a few of these shops, but I’d vote the real majority of the stores are behind the restricted area.

Why are most shops behind the restricted area? I’d assume because most of the customers are there. Stuck waiting for their connection, early to their flights, looking to spend some cash. Even when I landed in Hong Kong airport my wife was ready to go shopping! A bit too exhausting for me after a flight, but you can see how serious people are to shop in an airport here.

Shopping Bonus: Free HK Delivery

Here is a cool perk from The Hongkong Post. Plan to spend 1,000 Hong Kong dollars or more at the Hong Kong international airport shops? If so, they provide free local Hong Kong delivery.

So buy that LV bag at the airport before you fly to Bangkok! You can have them post it to your serviced apartment in Mid Levels for you free! Check more about this offer here.

The airport branch post office is open from 8am to 8:30pm Monday to Saturday and 8am to 5pm on Sundays and public holidays. Here’s the website for the HKpost

Another Shopping Bonus: Free Gifts, Discounts and Special Offers

HKIA brings your shopping experience to a whole new level with many offers and gifts that make you want to shop more. Be in the know of the latest promotions of your favorite HKIA shops here.

Need advice on shopping and dining options in HKIA? Get yourself one of their Shopping Ambassadors to help you!

I had an experience receiving a cool gift from HKIA back when I first made this blog. Read on below.

Using the Hongkong Post service (Speedpost service) to ship a package over 5 kilograms between Sept 1, 2015 to August 31, 2016? Then you can get a free “heartwarming” special mini USB fan. This must be at the HK airport location or the Tung Chung post office. Limited stock so first come, first serve.

How to get it? Around the airport there are coupons you need to get and fill out. Then you can go to No. 082 in the departures check-in hall, level 7 of terminal 1 in HK airport.

I dug into the fine print and it is only for visitors to Hong Kong, not local residents. Guess they’d ask if you have a Hong Kong ID and if you show it to them they may say you don’t qualify?

So if you want a free mini USB fan, try this out and I’d love to hear how it goes!

Tip – Shop Before Going to the 500 Range Gates

If your flight is departing from the North Satellite Concourse and you want to do some shopping, you’ll have much less choices. They do have a few, on Departures Level 5, which is a restricted area, has:

  • DFS (Duty Free Shops) for beauty, galleria, and normal duty free
  • Swatch
  • Nobletime AV & Telecom
  • Starbucks
  • Relay
  • Travelex Worldwide Money
  • Mannings
  • Toys and Games
  • So Chocolate
  • Chinese Kitchen

But nowhere near as many choices as the main concourse. So if your flight is in the 500 number range, I’d recommend sticking to the main area until you are close to boarding your flight.

Shopping in Unrestricted vs Restricted Areas

So the question is, should you do your gift and luxury shopping before or after you check in to your flight? I would have to recommend after you check in.

I am thinking the prices are lower as they are tax free, depending on the item. This is why you’ll find so many luxury brands and exotic products, those have higher tax rates outside of the duty free zone.

Yet if you’re just dropping off a friend at the HKIA, you can’t check in with him or her. So you will have to deal with the shops in the unrestricted area, where you’ll have less selection but still some cool shops to check out.

Airport Lounge (Massage, Shower)

There is 1 airport lounge in the unrestricted area – The Plaza Premium Lounge. It is just below the Airport Express train in Terminal 2. The idea is you just landed from a long international flight and want to freshen up before going into a big sales meeting.

I have heard about this lounge for years, and finally took my first trip there while writing this guide. It is nice! You enter and check-in on the right side, paying the fee (or your perk card, we’ll cover in a bit) and giving them your passport. Because you’re out of the restricted area, you don’t need a boarding pass here. After finishing, they point you around.

There is a full buffet (I was there for a nice breakfast), and various styles of seating in a lounge layout. You can also sit in a pod style desk seat that has a desktop computer for you to use. I met a few people from Australia while chowing my breakfast down. They bought the tickets to the lounge online before coming so they could relax a bit upon arrival.

You can grab a shower, as well as a massage. Pricing varies on various services, and also by how long you stay there:

Shower – 30 minutes for USD 26.00

Lounge Use – 2 hours for USD 75.00
                           – 5 hours for USD 100.00
                           – 10 hours for USD 116

Private Resting Area (Single) – 3 hours for USD 90
                                                                  – 6 hours for USD 160

You can book your spot in this lounge here.

Check If You Have Free Perks from HSBC or Other Miles Programs

This is when having a Hong Kong credit card came through! I was able to show the receptionist at the lounge my HSBC World Credit card and got right in. They printed out a receipt for me, with 0 on the bottom. Still needed to sign for their records.

Reading the receipt, seems HSBC perk is for a free 3 hour pass.

**Note on Free Lounge** so when writing this guide, I wanted to enter many lounges. When I went to a second lounge, they said there was a problem and made a phone call. Seems you can only use the free perk one time per day. Guess that makes sense, but then I recommend you to decide if you’ll use a lounge inside the restricted area or outside. If you’re arriving in Hong Kong, you’ll only have a chance to use this external lounge.

Airport Taxi Line

Not interested in taking the Airport express or other public transportation methods? You can always opt for a taxi. You will find them lined up to the left door just before entering the Airport Express. Here are some tips they tell taxi passengers, and I’ll break it up into various sections on this guide

Receive a Taxi Information Card

If you take a red or green taxi from the airport, all passengers will receive a taxi information card. An official airport staff will issue this card to you.

This has the rules of the taxi, the laws. Keep in mind, it has the date and time of the ride, as well as the taxi number. You do NOT need to give this to the taxi driver after the ride. This is for you to be able to file a complaint and track the taxi later if needed – such as for lost and found.

There are 3 kinds of taxis in Hong Kong, classified by the color. You won’t see all color taxis at the same time, but because we’re at the airport hub you need to choose them based on your final destination. Here is each one:

Red – Most common – called the Urban Taxi. This is if you are going to Hong Kong island, such as Central and Wan Chai district, or to Kowloon side as well such as Tsim Tsa Tsui or Mong Kok. Most business travelers and tourists will go to these destinations.

Green – New Territories Taxi – Most likely only for locals or students. This taxi operates in a bit further out from downtown – the northeastern (Sha Tin) and northwestern (Tsuen Wan) parts of the New Territories. Because of this, the taxi companies decided to make it under a separate classification. The taxi fare is also a bit less, and the distance is short as well.

Blue – Lantau Taxi – This one I never knew about until writing this guide! This is a local taxi that is only for those who live pretty close to the airport – just around Chek Lap Kok and Lantau Island.

Common Taxi Fees

How much does it cost to get to downtown Hong Kong from the airport? Common, logical question, and the airport has provided a list of average taxi fares for reference. Fares differ based on the specific destinations in the following areas:

Hong Kong Island

Kowloon

New Territories

North Lantau Island

South Lantau Island

Taxi Phone Numbers

Here is a quick list of people to call if you have problems or questions with the taxis. Not just for dealing with the airport, you can use these contacts anywhere in Hong Kong for the taxi service.

1823 Hotline – dial 1823
Transport Complaints Unit – 2889 9999
Police hotline – 2527-7177
Hong Kong Tourism Board – 2508-1234
Airport Authority Hong Kong – 2181-8888
Lost and Found hotline – 187 2920

Free Airport Wifi

I saw years ago people say how great Hong Kong was to provide free internet at the airport. I feel like this should be the default for all airports around the world, yet many skip this. The internet is fast and unfiltered, I’ve downloaded heavy media files with no issues or delays. Here are some tips and notes:

SSID: #HKAirport Free Wifi

Service Hotline: 2188 7799, or visit the customer service counters.

It will need to prompt you to agree to the Terms and Conditions.

Open any website on your browser and it will redirect to a login page. Please note, the website should be HTTP, not a secure / https page.

Please also be aware that the wifi will disconnect after 1 hour. You’ll need to then reconnect by re-agreeing to the terms and conditions.

Important Note: Use the official wifi. I have heard friends mention there are scammers making a fake hotspot to grab personal information. Below is the official name.

Emergency Phone Numbers

In a jam and need to escalate it to professional help? Hong Kong government services have your back. Here is a list of various numbers to call depending on your specific situation:

Airport Police – 3661-2000
Raffles Medical Center – 2261-2626 // 2261-0999
Aviation Security Company Ltd – 2183-9074
Airport Lost and Found – 2182-2018
Airport Enquiry Hotline 2181-8888

Hong Kong Airport Mobile App

I learned this one recently when I connected to the free wifi. A popup showed that the airport now has a free mobile app called HKG My Flight.

What do you need a dedicated mobile app for a trip to the airport? Well, it came in handy when I was a couple hours early for my flight and they didn’t yet announce the gate. I asked customer service for a “best guess” on which gate range or area the flight may take off from. But they said there is no standard way to predict, I just need to wait.

So with this mobile app, I put in my flight number and it allowed me to turn on push notifications. I got an alert that they announced my gate (while typing up some of this guide’s outline) and was able to stroll over there. This is helpful when you’re traveling alone (like I was) and don’t want to get up and check the flight information screens area.

Things You Can Only Do / Access When Arriving at the Airport

So it is worth making a section in this airport guide for services that are only available for you if you are in the arrivals section. Remember the restricted area is for those who land in Hong Kong. This means, you can’t come to the HK airport from Central and check into your flight and find these services.

Ferry to Mainland China & Macau

Want to take the ferry to China or Macau? You can only do this BEFORE you go through HK customs. So if you “stamp your passport” into Hong Kong and then want to turn around and get on the ferry, no can do.

The ferry is a pretty high class way of doing it, but one of the most VIP and comfortable.

Why would you choose to take the ferry? Well, one is it is convenient. The other is if you cannot enter Hong Kong, as you are still in “limbo” or in transit. For example, many Mainland Chinese have issues getting a visa or allowed entry into Hong Kong. HK Customs may deny them entry (if they even attempt to enter). So taking the ferry direct to China from the airport lets them skip entering HK SAR.

Checked luggage?

Make sure to tell the cashier you will have your bags checked. They will have a worker go to the luggage claim area on your behalf to fetch it and get on the boat.

Went through HK customs and now want to backtrack to the ferry? Sorry, no can do. But if you do make the mistake and go through Hong Kong customs first, no problem. There are other ways to get into China and Macau via bus, Skylimo, etc.

Check out our Hong Kong / China border guide where we listed extensive ways to cross from Hong Kong to China and vice versa.

Get a China Visa

Want to enter Mainland China? There is a counter in a restricted area as you leave the arrivals area. You’ll see the booth at Section A and you can wait in line to apply or inquire.

Location Terminal 1, Arrivals Hall, Counter A04

Telephone – 852 2261 2472

Hours: 7am to 10pm, 7 days a week.

Hong Kong Arrival Customs

Entering into Hong Kong will have the customs border check, as any country has. It is a wide room with lots of sections and lots of tellers. A trick for me is to walk all the way to the right, as it is the furthest from where the gates are. The lines will be much shorter.

Apply For a HK Frequent Traveler Pass

This is a big tip! We are all so tired when we arrived at the airport. We just want to get home, right? Well, you can (if you have the energy) look RIGHT after you get through HK customs. There will be a booth that has a sign for the Hong Kong Frequent traveler program.

The frequent traveler booth shouldn’t have more than 1 or 2 people in line at a time. You’ll apply, and pay a fee, 575 HKD.

What is the HK frequent traveler pass? In short, it lets you get through HK customs faster in the future by going in the “VIP” lane. This is not just for holders of this Frequent traveler pass, there are other VIP programs as well.

Free Local Hong Kong Phones

This was a life saver for me on my first trip to Hong Kong in 2007. After you get out of Hong Kong customs, and claim your luggage, you will start to move towards the “unrestricted area”.

There is Exit A, and Exit B. Either will work to find the phone. But you cannot go back once you leave the exit, so look close. You will see a few phones on a pole that allow you to make free phone calls to anyone with a Hong Kong number.

Why a life saver for me? Well, I landed and somehow they lost my checked luggage. I think someone took my bag by mistake, as there was a similar bag by itself on the rotary belt. I filed my claim with lost and found and luckily I had my college friend Cyril’s phone number on my carry on bag. Made the phone call and waited for him to help pick me up.

It is just critical to not leave the restricted area until after you finish making the phone calls. This is because security is pretty tough about letting you back in.

Automated People Mover (Tram)

Funny name! But useful service. On Level 1 (L1) – which I would consider the basement or underground – is a tram. Clean and top of the line. Just a few cars and most people can fit on it – and only maybe 4 to 6 seats on each car so the majority of people will need to stand.

There are 3 stops. One is from terminal 2 to the check-in counter of terminal 1. Then there is one for those who are already checked in to get from the check-in counter to further back gates in terminal 1.

It is super fast and frequent. I think about 5 minutes to and from each stop. My son loved watching through the big window at the front of the tram – the window is massive and it feels like you are driving.

Depending on your gate you may or may not need to take the automated people mover / tram. But if you want to take a joy ride, why not, it is free!

Here’s an interesting question from a reader regarding the tram:

I am arriving by Cathay Pacific on Terminal 2 and have to take a connecting Cathay Pacific flight to Vancouver, Canada . The layover is only 1 hour between the flights. My bags will be already checked in. But still I am told, people often miss this flight due to the transfer from terminal 2 to terminal 1.

Can I book an automated people mover in advance ? What do you advise? What can i do to speed up the transfer process between the two terminals . It is very important for me to reach Vancouver ASAP. My son is not well there, needs hospitalisation. Please help !Radhi

Hi Radhi, we want to help you really. However, the Automated People Mover cannot be booked in advance.

We suggest coordinating with Cathay Pacific if they can do ground arrangements to ensure that you can get on your flight to Vancouver.

Airport Lounges

Enjoy the airport in style! Airport lounges, there are quite a few at HKIA. We’ll cover each one below and their location. Most lounges will have:

  • food, buffet style
  • various chairs and desks
  • massage service
  • showers

It’s a home away from home. Perfect if you’re early for your flight or you have a long layover.

To enter the lounges – pay the fee, or show your VIP card. Then your passport and boarding pass.

Cathay Pacific Lounges

They have the most lounges of all.

The five locations are:

  • The Bridge – Close to gate 36
  • The Deck – Close to gate 6
  • The Pier (Business Class) – Close to gate 65
  • The Pier (First Class) – Close to gate 63
  • The Wing – Close to gate 2

Club Autus – Hong Kong Airlines

Close to gates 201 – 230

Airlines:

  • Aurora Airlines (HZ)
  • Bangkok Airways (PG)
  • FIJI AIRWAYS (FJ)
  • Hong Kong Airlines (HX)
  • Juneyao Airlines (HO)
  • Nepal Airlines (RA)
  • Royal Brunei Airlines (BI)
  • S7 Airlines (S7)
  • Sky Angkor Airlines (ZA)
  • VietJet Air (VJ)
  • VIRGIN AUSTRALIA (VA)

Club Bauhinia – Hong Kong Airlines

Close to gate 23

Airlines:

  • Air Belgium (KF)
  • American Airlines (AA)
  • Asiana Airlines (OZ)
  • Drukair (KB)
  • Ethiopian Airlines (ET)
  • ETIHAD AIRWAYS (EY)
  • EVA Air (BR)
  • FINNAIR (AY)
  • HK Express (UO)
  • Hong Kong Airlines (HX)
  • Philippine Airlines (PR)
  • S7 Airlines (S7)

CNAC VIP

Close to gate 25

Airlines:

  • Air China (CA)
  • China Southern (CZ)
  • Myanmar National Airlines (UB)
  • Shandong Airlines (SC)
  • Sichuan Airlines (3U)
  • Xiamen Airlines (MF)

Emirates

Close to gate 40

Plaza Premium Lounge

There are four Plaza Premium lounges in the airport:

Plaza Premium First

Near Gate 1
Airlines:

  • FINNAIR (AY)
  • Virgin Atlantic Airways (VS)

Plaza Premium Lounge (East Hall)

Near Gate 1
Airlines:

  • Air Astana (KC)
  • Air India (AI)
  • Air Mauritius (MK)
  • Air Niugini (PX)
  • All Nippon Airways (NH)
  • American Airlines (AA)
  • Asiana Airlines (OZ)
  • Ethiopian Airlines (ET)
  • FINNAIR (AY)
  • Jet Airways (9W)
  • MALINDO AIR (OD)
  • MIAT Mongolian Airlines (OM)
  • Philippine Airlines (PR)
  • QATAR AIRWAYS (QR)
  • Royal Jordanian (RJ)
  • Shenzhen Airlines (ZH)
  • SWISS International Air Lines (LX)
  • THAI Smile Airways (WE)
  • TURKISH AIRLINES (TK)

Plaza Premium Lounge (West Hall)

Near Gate 40
Airlines:

  • Air Astana (KC)
  • Air India (AI)
  • American Airlines (AA)
  • EL AL Israel Airlines (LY)
  • Ethiopian Airlines (ET)
  • FINNAIR (AY)
  • Jet Airways (9W)
  • SriLankan Airlines (UL)
  • THAI SMILE (WE)
  • TURKISH AIRLINES (TK)

Plaza Premium Lounge (Arrivals, Terminal 2)

Floor below the Airport Express Platform

Details of this lounge was discussed thoroughly in previous topic.

Royal Orchid

Close to gate 40

Airlines:

  • Air Canada (AC)
  • Air China (CA)
  • AIR NEW ZEALAND (NZ)
  • All Nippon Airways (NH)
  • Asiana Airlines (OZ)
  • Austrian Airlines (OS)
  • Ethiopian Airlines (ET)
  • Lufthansa German Airlines (LH)
  • SCANDINAVIAN AIRLINES (SK)
  • Shenzhen Airlines (ZH)
  • South African Airways (SA)
  • SWISS International Air Lines (LX)
  • Thai Airways (TG)
  • TURKISH AIRLINES (TK)
  • United Airlines (UA)

SilverKris

Close to Gate 5

Airlines:

  • Air Canada (AC)
  • Air China (CA)
  • AIR NEW ZEALAND (NZ)
  • All Nippon Airways (NH)
  • Asiana Airlines (OZ)
  • Austrian Airlines (OS)
  • EGYPTAIR (MS)
  • Ethiopian Airlines (ET)
  • EVA Air (BR)
  • Lufthansa German Airlines (LH)
  • SCANDINAVIAN AIRLINES (SK)
  • Shenzhen Airlines (ZH)
  • Singapore Airlines (SQ)
  • South African Airways (SA)
  • SWISS International Air Lines (LX)
  • Thai Airways (TG)
  • TURKISH AIRLINES (TK)
  • United Airlines (UA)

Sky Team Exclusive

Close to Gate 5

Airlines:

  • Aeroflot Russian Airlines (SU)
  • Air France (AF)
  • China Airlines (CI)
  • China Eastern Airlines (MU)
  • China Southern (CZ)
  • Delta Air Lines (DL)
  • Garuda Indonesia (GA)
  • Kenya Airways (KQ)
  • KLM Royal Dutch Airlines (KL)
  • Korean Air (KE)
  • Shanghai Airlines (FM)
  • Xiamen Airlines (MF)

The Centurion

Close to Gate 60

Qantas Hong Kong

Close to North Immigration Hall

Airlines:

  • Air France (AF)
  • American Airlines (AA)
  • British Airways (BA)
  • EL AL Israel Airlines (LY)
  • Emirates (EK)
  • FINNAIR (AY)
  • Japan Airlines (JL)
  • Malaysia Airlines (MH)
  • Qantas Airways (QF)
  • QATAR AIRWAYS (QR)
  • Royal Jordanian (RJ)
  • S7 Airlines (S7)

United Club

Close to gate 60

Airlines:

  • Air Canada (AC)
  • Air China (CA)
  • AIR NEW ZEALAND (NZ)
  • All Nippon Airways (NH)
  • Asiana Airlines (OZ)
  • Austrian Airlines (OS)
  • EGYPTAIR (MS)
  • Ethiopian Airlines (ET)
  • EVA Air (BR)
  • Lufthansa German Airlines (LH)
  • SCANDINAVIAN AIRLINES (SK)
  • Shenzhen Airlines (ZH)
  • Singapore Airlines (SQ)
  • South African Airways (SA)
  • SWISS International Air Lines (LX)
  • Thai Airways (TG)
  • TURKISH AIRLINES (TK)
  • United Airlines (UA)

Children Play & TV Lounges

Traveling with kids is a great feat. Keeping them occupied and challenged is critical. Also, letting them get a bit tired before the flight will be much appreciated by your fellow passengers.

So you can find a couple different stations in the airport for your kids.

The first is the Children Play area, which has slides and semi-playground facilities. Not as extensive as a public park, but enough to keep your child occupied for some time.

The second option is the TV lounge. Setup as a mini-movie theater, your kid can plop into a seat and catch the latest cartoon movies and TV series. You have your big people seating next to the station where you can catch up on big people things! Such as reading, email, or maybe even a little shut eye, if you dare!

There are about 8 Children Play and TV Areas in the restricted area in Terminal 1, North Satellite Concourse and Midfield Concourse – yours for the choosing!

Various Cultural Displays

I’m not flying international so much these days, but each time I come to the airport there is always some new artwork on display.

The last time I was walking around the theme was on Sichuan, China artwork. Had tons of masks and other iconic figures from the old days.

There are a few spots in the airport with a lot of cultural experience, but even in small corners you’ll sneak some awesome decor.

Drinking Fountains & Hot Water Stations

While you may be hesitant to drink tap water in most parts of Asia – Hong Kong water is drinkable. So if you believe me and the other pubic standards, you can skip buying bottled water and find a public drinking fountain.

Another station you’ll see at the HK airport as well as most airports in Mainland China is the hot water stations. There are usually a couple machines where you can get hot water, warm water, or cold water. Some ideas for using this would be:

  • Tea

  • Hot Cocoa

  • Instant noodles

So maybe pack some snacks and drinks that you can mix with hot water if you have a long layover in HK. Don’t believe they have these kinds of stations in US or European airports. Hot water machines come in quite handy if you’re prepared ahead of time.

Prayer Room

The first time I saw the logo for the prayer room I was pretty confused. No text, just a “bathroom stick figure” that was kneeling down. Tweeting it on social media, I found out this was a prayer room.

Pretty respectable right?

If you need some quiet space to pray or meditate, finding a prayer room may help you out.

Smoking Lounge

Like most airports, as well as facilities around the world now, you cannot smoke at the HK airport. So to help out the smokers, they have designated smoking lounges in various parts of the airport.

Check the map for the closest one to you and light it up!

Hong Kong Post Office

Need to ship some goods? Maybe you have too much in your checked luggage and instead of paying the overage fees you can mail it instead.

There is an official post office right in the airport. If you’re going on a shopping spree, remember there is the free offer to ship your purchases free. If your purchases exceed 1,000 HKD (check the shopping section earlier in this guide).

I need to confirm if there are post stations in both the restricted and unrestricted area, anyone know?

Post stations can be found in the following locations:

  • Check-in Hall of Terminal 1 near Check-in Aisle F
  • Departures East Hall, Level 6, opposite to HUGO BOSS, Terminal 1 (Restricted Area)
  • Near Gate 41, Departures West Hall, Level 6, Terminal 1 (Restricted Area)
  • Near Customer Services Centre, Departures Hall, Level 5, Terminal 2 (Non-restricted Area)

Nice Western-Style Bathrooms

Flying in various parts of the world over the years, I have had to stoop pretty low when entering an airport bathroom. But not in Hong Kong.

Full time cleaning attendants, on average 2 per bathroom, are on call. They are immediately cleaning up the bathroom as the travelers come in and out. Tons of urinals (for the guys) as well as toilets, so even with the high volume of travelers coming in and out there isn’t ever too long of a wait.

And, yes, it is Western toilets – meaning you get a seat. I’ll keep it at that, but things are hygienic and safe – no need to bring your own toilet paper either, it is well stocked!

Remember: Easy Connection To and From Mainland China

To wrap things up, it is worth having a dedicated section for how awesome and easy it is to get to and from Mainland China and the airport. Between buses and Skylimos I think I can get to the HK airport faster from Shenzhen than many parts of Hong Kong itself!

So let’s break down a few of the options.

China Visa Application (If Needed)

Talked about earlier in the Arrivals only section.

Location Terminal 1, Arrivals Hall, Counter A04

Telephone – 852 2261 2472

Hours: 7am to 10pm, 7 days a week.

Make sure you have the visa before you take the Mainland China bus. They should check it anyway, but I’m sure no refunds from the bus company if you’re rejected at the border.

Mainland / Macao Coaches

Where to bus buy tickets: Terminal 2, Arrivals Level 3, Coach station, counters C01 – C09

Cross Border Shuttles:

Operating Hours:

  • Lok Ma Chau (Huanggang) Port (06:15 am to midnight)
  • Shataukok Port (07:30 am to 07:40pm)
  • Shenzhen Bay Port (06:50 am to 10:30 pm)
  • Macao Port (08:50 am to 09:10 pm)
  • Zhuhai Port (06:40 am to 11:00 pm)

Frequency every 7 to 60 minutes

Coaches To Pearl River Delta (PRD) Areas

Coaches are also available for travel to the following areas in PRD, past the Shenzhen border:

  • Dongguan
  • Foshan
  • Guangzhou
  • Huizhou
  • Macao
  • Shenzhen
  • Zhongshan
  • Zhuhai

Operating Hours:
6:50 am to 10:40pm

Frequency
-depends on which operator and destination.

4 Bus Companies

There are 4 operators in HKIA that provide transport services to and from Mainland/Macao and you can get your tickets from their designated counters:

Mainland Limousine and Tour service (Skylimo)

These are the ones I always take. There are 6 different companies who offer the Skylimo service. Before researching this guide I thought Skylimo was a private company, not a “Code name”.

Where to buy China city destination tickets:
Terminal 2, Coach station, counters C01 – C09
Frequency – depends on which city / province.
Hours for these buses: 7am to midnight
Cost 150 HKD
Can use credit card.

6 Limo Companies (“Skylimo”)

Bonus: Hong Kong or Shenzhen Airport?

Many ask me, I live in Shenzhen – why do I take Hong Kong flights most of the time?

The Shenzhen airport is another massive and new international airport which is great but it is further away for me.

Another reason is that there are more international flight choices from Hong Kong. The higher volume of international travelers demands more selections as well as lower ticket fares.

There’s another reason why international flights are cheaper in Hong Kong – taxes. Hong Kong tax is lower, and thus you realize these tax savings as the traveler. Shenzhen has VAT tax on everything and you’ll be paying that tax on top of the cost of the air fare.

But there are times I take the Shenzhen airport flights – for domestic China. So when I fly to Shanghai or Beijing (or any city in China) I book it from SZ airport. Going into China from Hong Kong isn’t as practical. Most of my Hong Kong friends venture into “big and bad” Shenzhen (as they don’t come too often) to fly to other cities in China.

Airport Departure Tax Refund

Question here: has anyone ever gotten the Air Passenger Departure Tax back when flying in and out of HK? And if so, how did you get it back? Do you have to take the ferry to get it back? Thanks

Answer from someone in our wechat group:

just went to the desk on the way out. They gave me cash.

In Summary

So I hope this helps you master the HK airport. It is a massive place and can keep us occupied well over any layover we could have. I still have a lot to explore and I will try my best to update this post as I go.

Did I miss anything? Is HKIA one of your favorite airports? I am loving it, and feel blessed it is the main airport I get to use for my international travels.

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Renaud Anjoran
Guest

Wow. Such a comprehensive guide. Nice!

I have a question about the airport lounge (with shower, breakfast, etc). Is it before or after Customs?

And I have another question about the HK Frequent Traveler Pass. With that pass, can you get through all HK Customs? Or only at HK airport?

Michael Michelini
Guest

hey Renaud, Happy to hear you enjoy it 1) lounge – for the free one (if you have HSBC business world or platinum card) they have 1 on the outside of customs (under the airport express) and 3 on the inside. Its called the Plaza Premium Lounge: Two inside the airport (and a 3rd that is outside under the Airport Express train in terminal 2) * Near Gate 1 * Close to gate 35 & 60 * Outside of checked area – Terminal 2, Level 3 But all other airline lounges are only in checked area (restricted area) 2) HK… Read more »

Renaud Anjoran
Guest

Got it. Very clear. Thanks!

sheng
Guest
sheng

Hi..thank your useful blog.Got ideas for first timer like me..

May I just ask, the arrival hall b,tourist pick up area is still within restricted area? Are there free phone calls, free hot water there? Because we have long hours to wait for the coach in time. Thank you so much

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Ashok
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Ashok

I am landing HonKong and will be going straight to Shenzhen. My hotel is in Luohu area. My usual private taxi man wants to charge 800 yuan. I haven’t used SKYLIMO from HK. Is it easy to get to Shenzhen. Would they drop me straight to my hotel? Do you know best way to travel straight to hotel without costing too much. Solo traveller.

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