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Hong Kong Airport
Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) has much to be
proud about and ranks
as the world's 14th busiest facility of its kind, currently seeing
annual passenger levels of around 44 million. It is
surrounded by water and is just 40 km / 25 miles to the south-west of
the central of city, close to both Lau Fau Sha and Ngau Kwu Long.
Facility itself is a modern and impressive complex, due to
considerable reinvestment, forward planning and high standards.
Currently $4.5 billion is being spent to improve facilities, even
further, and this will include an extension of the
central concourse and the construction of the adjacent SkyCity, home to
the AsiaWorld-Expo, SkyPier, grand hotels and a magnificent golf
course. It currently handles upwards of 3.5 million tons
of cargo, features a staff of 60,000 and regularly features Airbus 380
passenger flights, the biggest commercial aircraft on the planet.
Rail: The MTR Corportation Airport Express Line operates
trains that leave the HKG for downtown HongKong (journey time - 23
minutes) stopping at HongKong and Kowloon stations, where check-in and
free porter services are available. The station is located in the
Ground Transportation Centre.
Public buses also leave from the Ground Transportation Centre and from
near car parks 1 and 2. Buses are operated by Citybus, Long Win and New
Lantao. There are 11 Airbus routes to various parts of HongKong,
including North Point Ferry Pier, Hung Hom station and Lam Tin station.
Frequent external bus services are also available. Night buses take
over after 2400. There are also six shuttle routes and a
24-hour Discovery Bay Airbus service, operated by DB Transit.
Cross-border coaches run by five operators offer regular services
between the HKG and major Guangdong cities in mainland China. A
valid travel document for entry to mainland China is required.
Taxis are readily available from the Ground Transportation Centre next
to the passenger terminal. There are separate queues for various
services; urban taxis are red and serve almost all destinations in the
city, New Territories taxis are green, and Lantau taxis are blue.
The SkyPier provides high-speed ferry services between the HKG and
six points in the Pearl River Delta (DongGuan Humen, Macau, Zhuhai
Jiuzhou, Zhongshan, Shenzhen Fuyong and Shenzhen Shekou). Tickets are
available from the ferry transfer desk in the arrivals hall before
travel. A bus service runs from the HKG to the piers.
and Help Desks
The Customer Service Centres can be found in the Departures check in
hall and in the arrivals hall, open daily 0530-2400. Multi-media booths
are located in the East, West and Arrivals halls, with interactive
information and a touch-screen map. There are dozens of 24-hour help
phones located throughout the terminal. Information in English is
Duty-free stores, specialty shops, restaurants, snack bars, a bank, a
post office, HongKong Telecoms office, a police station, and a chapel
are available. Reception rooms, VIP lounges and left-luggage service
are also in the same building. International Direct Dial (IDD)
payphones are available throughout here. The arrival level
provides access to taxis, buses, and hotel transportation
services. Luggage trolleys are provided free of charge and free porter
service is available at the Porter Desk.
Facilities also include ATMs, bureaux de change, a post office,
beauty salon, a children's play area, showers, restaurants, disabled
facilities, Internet cafes, conference and business services and
tourist information desks.
It is small and crowded which makes public transport the best
way to get around. Public transport is cheap, fast and it is widely
used and generally efficient. The bus system is extensive and
bewildering, but you will have to use it to explore the south side of
HongKong Island and the New Territories, though to make things easier,
all routes and stops can be searched online; the major bus companies in
city are the Kowloon Motor Bus Company, First Bus, and Citybus.
The north side of HongKong Island and most of Kowloon are well-served
by HongKong's ultra-modern underground subway, the Mass Transit
Railway (MTR). Three tunnels link HongKong with Kowloon and Lantau.
The Kowloon-Guangzhou (Canton) Railway (KCR) runs from Kowloon to the
Chinese border at Lo Wu (Luohu). Light Rail Transit (fast
modern air-con trams) run in the New Territories connecting the city of
Tuen Mun with Yuen Long. Double-decker trams trundle along the northern
side of HongKong Island, which are efficient and cheap, costing $2 HK
per adult and $1 per child or senior citizen.
The Star Ferry's cross harbor trip between Kowloon's Tsim Sa Tsui and
HK's Central is a quick 8 minute and inexpensive ride (around $2 for
adults) that gives you great views of the harbor and both Kowloon and
HongKong Island. The Tsim Sa Tsui pier is next to the Ocean Terminal
mall, and the Central pier is near Jardine's House.
For connection to the surrounding islands, outlying area, and points up
into the Pearl River Delta, city's ferries are usually faster and
sometimes cheaper than buses or trams. They are comfortable, fun and
harbor views can be stunning, especially if the weather cooperates. For
short trips to nearby islands, medium capacity ferries are available.
For longer trips (Macau, and destinations in the PRC) two basic types
of small ferry craft seem to be the norm; the double hulled "jet"
catamaran, and the faster hydrofoil (aka "jet-foil"). These ferry
services are set up like airlines, with hostesses on board to
sell you everything from beer to cognac. All ferries out of HK are
air-conditioned except for the soon to be obsolete Star Ferry.
Alternatively, if you're really in a hurry, there are also private
helicopter services out of HK. Remember, if you're crossing a border
from HK SAR to the PRC or Macau, you must have your travel documents.
Metered taxis are red with silver tops (green with white tops in the
New Territories, blue on Lantau, and black in Macau) will not pick up
or drop passengers at bus stops. Starting fares begin at $15 HK for the
first 2 km and meters jump $1.40 HK for every additional 0.2 km
thereafter. If you take a taxi to another section (like from New
Territories to Lantau) you also have to pay a return
fare. Cross harbour taxi rides also require payment
of the return toll (with toll prices varying between 20-50
HK$, depending on the tunnel). Cycling in Kowloon or Central would be
suicidal but in quiet areas of the islands or the New Territories, a
bike can be quite a nice way of getting around.
An army of minibuses take up the slack in the labyrinthine streets that
are too small for the large doubledeckers. Each usually runs
a dedicated route that is generally a short loop through a
local area but some will be wider
ranging. Fares and general stops are denoted (in
traditional Chinese and English) by a green placard in the front
windshield or on the top of the roof. Stops can be made
by calling out to the driver when you want to get off; be loud
enough to be heard, and you can either request to stop in English or
give it a shot in Cantonese, which is "yau lok"
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