Arriving in a new city or a new country is always an exciting thing, and orientation does not always come easy – especially when one is traveling in Asia.
Hong Kong’s Chek Lap Kok airport is a pleasant exception and to my opinion it is one of the best airports in the world. Everything is clean, tidy and well thought out. Thus, the travel and arrival is really fun.
After arriving in Hong Kong and leaving the air-conditioned plane, pay attention to the nice ladies from Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) at the end of the gateway who usually hold the mandatory signs for onward flight connections, passenger names and the information on which belt you can claim your luggage.
Sometimes you need to take the two long escalators down and board the Skytrain which departs almost every other minute to the arrival terminal and immigration hall.
If you are a resident of the EU, U.S. or Canada immigration will take you just a few minutes. Depending on which nationality you hold, visitors will be granted a tourist visa for 7-180 days. (Just make sure your passport will be valid 6 month after your planned departure date from Hong Kong).
In order to get through immigration, you just have to fill out the immigration form (see picture). Usually, the immigration forms will also be distributed on the flight. But if you miss out or made a mistake when filling out there is no need to worry. There are enough forms at the immigration.
After you pass immigration you will find yourself in the baggage claim. This area is divided into an A and B section. There are two exits on either side which lead you through customs and eventually to the arrival hall.
Just behind the customs there are some opportunities to exchange currencies or to take a look at one of the official branches of the Hong Kong Tourism Board (if you still feel like you need some information after reading our webpages;).
Now how to get to the downtown area or hotel? Depending on your budget, time and preferences there are several options for those who haven’t arranged any pick-up services with hotels, friends, relatives or colleagues.
1.) Most of the 4 and 5 star hotels have their own little reception desks in the arrival hall (just in the middle) where you can either book a limousine or the hotel’s shuttle bus. Basically, you can calculate HKD $ 500 for a limousine service depending on the hotel and the distance. If you decide to take the coach you end up paying somewhere around HK $ 120. You can save some time and money by booking these services before arriving in Hong Kong.
2.) If you booked a hotel on the Hong Kong Island side you may consider taking the MTR Airport Express. Within 25 minutes you will be in the downtown area of Central and either to another MTR line or taxi depending on your destination. A single journey ticket to ride this train currently runs about HK $ 100. Round-trip costs HKD $ 180. Also you can save some time and money if you book your tickets online (roughly about 10% discount).
Here the link to book the MTR Airport Express online.
3.) Probably the cheapest ways to reach your destination are the orange & white Airport Express buses. Depending on your destination costs vary between HKD $ 25-40. The only drawback for this option is that you have to invest a little bit more time on the bus compared to the taxi and you should exactly know where you need to go.
Pay attention (!) to tender the bus driver the exact fare (!) since they don’t provide you change.
If you are interested to take this option follow this link to Kowloon Motor Bus Company (KMB).
4.) Last but not least…taking a cab/taxi. Beware that there are three different kind of taxi indicating the area of services. In Hong Kong you will find red, green and light blue taxi. All three serve the airport.
The typical Red Taxi you will find almost everywhere in Hong Kong and are already an iconic landmark on Hong Kong Island. These taxi will operate in most of Hong Kongs districts except Lantau Island and Tung Chung Road.
If you choose from Shenzhen to Hong Kong, there are three choices: Lok Ma Chau, Lo Wu and Huanggang. After you pass Lok Ma Chau and Lo Wu Custom, you can take East Railway to Tsim Sha Tsui. If you cross the border from Huanggang, it’s more suitable for those travelling by cars or taking buses to downtown area. My personal opinion is it is not as convenient as from Lok Ma Chau and Lo Wu.
Shenzhen Lo Wu Custom is used by most people (most of the tourists and Hong Kong residents) to cross the border, because the transportation here is more convenient and next to the Shenzhen Main Train Station. Lots of tourists from mainland China are taking train to Lo Wu and pass the custom here.
There are two parts of the customs: China Custom and Hong Kong Custom. In China Custom, the counters for mainland Chinese residents, Taiwan residents and foreigner are in the same floor. The counters for Hong Kong residents are in the downstairs. There are Automated Passenger Clearance System (for multiple-entry permit holders only) and counter-service. You need to prepare to stand in line for a long time. After passing China Custom and moving forward (just follow the crowd), when you see the English and Traditional Chinese sign, you have already arrived the Hong Kong Custom area. Hong Kong Custom also has E-Channel (for Hong Kong residents only) and counter-service. Look for the sign “Immigration Counter” and show your passport or Hong Kong pass, the staffs of the custom will stamp on it and write down the time allowed to stay. The duration of stay is related with your travel documents.
When you pass the custom, you will come to the East Railway station (Lo Wu station). You can purchase the ticket from either the automatic ticket machine or the Customer Service Center. You also can consider to buy an Octopus card which is available in the Customer Service Center. There are three types of Octopus card : Adult, Elder and Child card. Elder and Child Octopus has special discount.
You also can choose to cross the border at Lok Ma Chau where also connects with KCR train station (Lok Ma Chau stations).
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