Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) has been in operation for almost 20 years, since international flights were moved from Kai Tak Airport, in the middle of the chaotic Kowloon Peninsula, to the newly reclaimed Chek Lap Kok Island – located to the west of Hong Kong’s largest outlying island Lantau.

While the new location is farther away from the city centre, thanks to Hong Kong’s excellent public transport system there are a number of ways to get into town. Here we help you plot the most efficient course to your destination.

HKIA has two terminals (T1 and T2), but all arrivals come into Terminal 1, and it is from here – through two customs channels, A and B – that all transportation is accessed. Unless you are being met with a private vehicle, there are three types of transport from which to choose: the Airport Express train, bus or taxi.

Airport Express

As soon as you pass through customs there’s a service counter for Airport Express tickets to the city. Exit into the Arrivals Hall and large signs point you through to the train platform past another counter plus automated machines doling out tickets – it’s a two-minute walk.

The 24-minute train service is the fastest option to reach Hong Kong Station, the end of the line in Hong Kong Island’s Central District. During that sub-half-hour journey the train also stops at Tsing Yi and Kowloon stations, both of which are well connected to MTR train services reaching different parts of the city (Tsing Yi is best for the “new towns” of Tsuen Wan, Tuen Mun, Yuen Long and Sha Tin in the New Territories; Kowloon for the Kowloon Peninsula’s sprawling districts).

The train leaves every 12 minutes, operating from 0554 to 0048. Download the MTR’s “Next Train” app for real-time updates of the train schedules. In-seat device charging is available in the first and last cabins, and there are four storage spaces in each carriage.

A single-journey or same-day-return ticket costs HK$115 (US$15) while a round trip is HK$205 (US$26). Octopus cardholders enjoy HK$5 discount and there are promotions for travellers in groups of two, three or four with rates at HK$170 (US$22), HK$230 (US$29) and HK$280 (US$36), respectively.

Some websites also offer pre-booking discounts, for example Klook (klook.com) offers a large discount on Airport Express tickets, with single-journey tickets for HK$41 (US$5) and HK$129 (US$16) for a round trip. After purchasing online a QR code is sent to you by email, which you scan at designated platform gates at the station. You don’t actually need a ticket before jumping onto the train at the airport, but you must have one to exit the platform at your destination – there are manned service counters for this at all stations.


Two main bus operators – Citybus and Long Win – carry passengers from the airport to the city. Follow the signage and head down a long slope to the right, leading to the bus terminal. For those unfamiliar with which bus to take to their destination, there’s a large, clear route map before you get to the bus stops. More than 60 lines travel to different areas of the city, with many passing through the city centre. Some provide an overnight service.

The most convenient way to pay is to buy an Octopus card at the Airport Express service counter (HK$50/US$6.5 deposit plus HK$100/US$13 minimum added value), and
get on the bus by swiping the card. Alternatively, coins and notes are accepted but no change is given.


The taxi stands are located down the left-hand ramp outside the Arrivals Hall. There are three kinds of taxi: red, green and blue. Blue serves Lantau Island, green serves the New Territories only, while red covers all Hong Kong destinations except Lantau.

You’re most likely to be hopping in a red taxi, and the flag rate is HK$24 (US$3) for the first 2km, then HK$1.7 for every 200m under HK$83.5, and HK$1.2 per 200m after that. For a ride to Central expect to pay approximately HK$370 (US$47). A taxi can normally carry about three regular-sized suitcases (charged at HK$6 each) in the boot, but you can also put oversized pieces on the back seat.