Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) is a major transportation hub that’s located on the island of Chek Lap Kok, about 35 kilometers (about 22 miles) from Hong Kong’s city center.
Depending on how you choose to get there, the ride to the city center usually takes about 30 to 45 minutes.
If you’re flying into HKG and want to get to the city center of Hong Kong, there are several super affordable and convenient options available to you, including public transportation and private car services.
In fact, for me, Hong Kong is one of the cities where getting to and from the airport is almost painless!
Once you land at the HKG airport, getting to the city of Hong Kong is quite straightforward! Getting around Hong Kong once you’re in the city? Even easier!
Here’s a detailed look at how to get from HKG Airport to the city center, including examples of how to get to popular neighborhoods of Tsim Sha Tsui and Central. We’ll dive into how to get around Hong Kong too.
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Table of Contents
HONG KONG IN A NUTSHELL
Here’s a quick overview of all the useful info you need to plan an awesome trip!
- When To Go: October through December (peak season). January to April or June to September (off-season, good for decent weather and fewer crowds).
- Where To Stay: Popular areas to stay in include Central, Tsim Sha Tsui, and Causeway Bay. You can discover some of my favorite Hong Kong accommodations in this post!
- Nearest Airport: Hong Kong International Airport (HKG)
- How to Get Around: Public transportation all the way! Hong Kong has an extensive public transportation system, including buses, trains, trams, and ferries. The Octopus card is a super convenient way to pay for transportation and can be used on most forms of public transportation.
- Must-Do’s: Take the Peak Tram up to Victoria Peak for stunning views of the city skyline, visit the Big Buddha on Lantau Island, eat loads of dim sum, go to Hong Kong Disneyland, and party it up in Lan Kwai Fong (LKF).
- Before You Go: Pack comfortable shoes for walking around the city, and be prepared for the humidity and occasional rain. If sightseeing is one of your top priorities, consider grabbing the Go City Hong Kong digital attraction pass to save loads of money on attractions! You can buy the Go City Hong Kong pass online here.
- Local Currency: Hong Kong Dollar (HKD) – click for current conversion rates
- ‘Hello’ and ‘Thank You’ in Cantonese:
- ‘Hello’ in Cantonese: Nei hou or Lei hou (你好)
- ‘Thank You’ in Cantonese: M̀h’gōi (唔該)
How To Get From HKG Airport To City Center
There are a few different ways to get from Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) to Hong Kong’s city center. These include:
- Taking the MTR (Airport Express)
- Taking the public bus
- Taking a private transfer service
- Taking a taxi
- Taking an Uber
MTR (Airport Express)
One of the most convenient and affordable ways to get from HKG Airport to the city center is by MTR, Hong Kong’s mass transit railway system.
The Airport Express is a dedicated MTR line that connects HKG Airport to the city center, with stops at Hong Kong Station (Central, Causeway Bay, Wan Chai), Kowloon Station (Tsim Sha Tsui, Mongkok), and several other locations.
Trains depart at approximately 15-30 minute intervals from 05:54 am to 12:48 am (05:54 to 00:48) daily.
To take the Airport Express from HKG Airport, follow these steps:
- Head to the Airport Express platforms, which are located on the basement level of Terminal 1 or the departures level of Terminal 2.
- Buy a ticket at the ticketing counter or from one of the vending machines. One-way fares for the Airport Express start at HKD $100 for adults and HKD $50 for children. Prices are slightly cheaper if you pay for the ride with an Octopus card as opposed to a single-ride ticket.
- At this point in time, depending on how long your trip is, you can also purchase a round-trip ticket, a Tourist Day Pass (which allows you unlimited travel on the MTR and other modes of public transportation, excluding Airport Express), or an Octopus card (best for stays of longer than 2 days).
- Board the train and take a seat. The Airport Express runs every 10-12 minutes, and the journey to Hong Kong Station takes about 30 minutes.
- Disembark at the station closest to your destination.
If you’re going to Central: get off at Hong Kong Station. From here, you can either walk to your hotel or take an airport shuttle bus (see below).
If you’re going to Tsim Sha Tsui: you’ll need to transfer to another MTR line at either Kowloon Station or Hong Kong Station.
- Getting off at Hong Kong Station means you will need to transfer to Tsuen Wan Line (Red Line), which you’ll take to Tsim Sha Tsui Station.
- Getting off at Kowloon Station means you will need to transfer to the Tuen Ma Line (Brown Line), which you’ll take to Tsim Sha Tsui East Station.
- Take note that there are actually TWO different Tsim Sha Tsui stations–one is just TST and the other is TST East. My recommendation is to determine which station is closer to your hotel/accommodation. You’ll want to get off at the station that’s close to your hotel so you can just walk there once you get off at the MTR. Signs (in English) and staff are available to help you find your way.
If you’re going to Hong Kong Disneyland: change to the Tung Chung Line at Tsing Yi Station, and transfer at Sunny Bay Station to the Disneyland Resort Line.
You can get your Hong Kong Airport Express train tickets in advance for a discounted price on Klook. This is a good way to save a couple bucks on transportation, especially if you’re traveling with a larger group!
Airport Express To Airport Shuttle Bus
If you don’t feel like walking after getting off the Airport Express, or your hotel is too far to walk with luggage–there are regular airport shuttle buses that run from Hong Kong Station and Kowloon Station to various hotels in the area.
This free shuttle service, which serves most of Hong Kong’s major hotels, is technically only for those using the Airport Express train. While you may be asked for your Airport Express ticket for proof, in reality, very few drivers actually check.
Signs will point you to the correct airport shuttles at both Hong Kong Station and Kowloon Station, but if you are confused, just ask the staff who will point you in the direction of the correct bus.
Airport shuttle buses on the Hong Kong Island side will start with the letter ‘H’, while shuttle buses on the Kowloon side start with the letter ‘K’. Service hours are from 07:50 – 20:50, every 30 minutes.
Airport Shuttles from Hong Kong Station
Line – H1
- Empire Hotel HK
- Wharney Guangdong
- JW Marriott
- Pacific Place
- Novotel Hong Kong
- Grand Hyatt Hong Kong
- Renaissance Harbour View
- Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre
Line – H2
- Holiday Inn Express Hong Kong Soho
- iclub Sheung Wan Hotel
- ibis Hong Kong Central and Sheung Wan Hotel
- Ramada Hong Kong Harbour View
- Courtyard by Marriott Hong Kong/BEST WESTERN PLUS Hotel Hong Kong
Line – H3
- Empire Hotel Hong Kong · Causeway Bay
- Metropark Hotel Causeway Bay Hong Kong
- Regal Hongkong Hotel
- Rosedale Hotel Hong Kong
- The Park Lane Hong Kong
Line – H4
- Iclub Fortress Hill Hotel
- Harbour Grand Hong Kong
- City Garden Hotel
- Ibis North Point Hotel
- Harbour Plaza North Point
Airport Shuttles from Kowloon Station
Line – K1
- Hong Kong West Kowloon Station
- MTR Jordan Station (Austin Road)
- MTR Hung Hom Station
- Harbour Plaza Metropolis
- Whampoa Garden (Tak On Street)
- Harbour Grand Kowloon
- Kerry Hotel Hong Kong
- Eaton, Hong Kong
- Hong Kong West Kowloon Station
Line – K2
- Marco Polo Hongkong Hotel
- The Kowloon Hotel / The Peninsula Hong Kong
- The Royal Pacific Hotel & Towers / China Ferry Terminal
Line – K3
- Holiday Inn Golden Mile Hong Kong
- Hyatt Regency Hong Kong, Tsim Sha Tsui
- Regal Kowloon Hotel
- Hotel ICON
- New World Millennium Hong Kong Hotel
- InterContinental Grand Stanford Hong Kong
- Kowloon Shangri-La Hotel
Line – K4
- MTR East Tsim Sha Tsui Station/ Sheraton Hong Kong Hotel & Towers
- Park Hotel
- The Luxe Manor
- Empire Hotel Kowloon · Tsim Sha Tsui
- B P International
Line – K5
- MTR Yau Ma Tei Station/ The Cityview
- Metropark Hotel Kowloon
- Royal Plaza Hotel
- Metropark Hotel Mongkok
- Dorsett Mongkok Hong Kong
NOTE: The shuttle service had been temporarily suspended back in 2020 due to the pandemic, so please check here for the latest notices and conditions.
There are a number of super convenient public buses that run from the airport to the different neighborhoods of Hong Kong. These buses are actually quite reliable and quick!
Buses that depart from the airport usually start with the letter ‘A’. Bus fares range from HKD 18 to 48 ($2.30 to $6.15 USD) depending on what your bus’ destination is.
For example, the bus that runs from the airport bus terminal to Central is A11. The journey takes about 45 minutes and costs approximately HKD 40.
The bus that runs from the airport bus terminal to Tsim Sha Tsui is A21. The journey takes about 50 minutes and costs approximately HKD 33.
The double-decker airport buses are air-conditioned and have a large section of shelving to store luggage for the duration of your ride. They’re pretty spacious and comfortable!
The buses can be a tad bit slower than taking the MTR (especially if it’s rush hour), but they’re a really great choice if you’re traveling on a budget!
To take the bus:
- You’ll need to follow the signs for the bus terminal at HKG airport. The bus terminal will be this large outdoor area that has separate signs for all the different buses departing for the airport.
- Look for the signpost for the bus you need to take. If the bus that you need has not arrived yet, you can line up along the railings and wait for it to come.
- Once the bus arrives, simply pay with cash or tap your Octopus card before hopping onboard. There is no need to re-tap once you get off.
Pro Tip: Pop your hotel name into Google Maps and see if there’s a bus from the airport that’ll get you closer to your hotel than the MTR would. If there is, then I’d recommend taking the bus instead of the Airport Express.
Personally, I enjoy taking airport buses to my final destination in Hong Kong because they’re pretty affordable and very reliable. If your hotel/accommodation is located in an area that is served by an airport bus, you could save a few bucks by opting for the bus over the train or taxi option.
You can learn more about bus fares and timetables here.
Taxis are readily available outside the airport terminal, and they offer a convenient way to get anywhere in Hong Kong. The journey takes about 30-40 minutes and costs around HKD 250-350 ($32-45 USD), depending on traffic.
This will be your most expensive but most convenient option as you’ll get dropped off right in front of wherever you need to go. This might be a good option if you’re in a hurry to get somewhere, traveling with children, elderly parents, or towing around a lot of luggage.
To take a taxi from HKG Airport:
- Head to the taxi stand, located outside the arrivals level of Terminal 1 or Terminal 2. Inside the airport, you’ll find signs pointing you to the taxi area.
- Join the taxi line and wait for a taxi to become available. You can choose between a red urban taxi, a green New Territories taxi, or a blue Lantau taxi, depending on your destination.
- Tell the taxi driver your destination and pay the fare. Be sure to have local currency or a valid Octopus card ready to pay the fare.
If you prefer the convenience of a private car service, there are several companies that offer airport transfer services from HKG Airport to the city center. These services typically include door-to-door transportation, and you can choose between a private car, a van, or a larger coach depending on your group size and needs.
The benefit of a private transfer is that you’ll likely have a driver waiting for you at airport arrivals with a sign that has your name on it. That means there is no need to find your way through the airport to get to the correct ground transportation area.
To book a private car service from HKG Airport, I’d recommend pre-booking your ride through Klook.
We use Klook for all our transportation services, activities, and other paid excursions (like Hong Kong Disneyland tickets) throughout Asia, so you can trust that you’re in good hands with this company!
Prices for private car services vary depending on the type of vehicle and the distance traveled, but they generally start at around HKD 320 ($40 USD) for a private car.
Which Transportation Option Is Best From HKG Airport?
The best transportation option from HKG Airport will depend on your specific needs and preferences.
In my opinion, the Airport Express is the option that’ll give you the most bang for your buck.
It’ll get you within the vicinity of your hotel/accommodation within 30 minutes (the same time as a taxi or private transfer would), yet it costs one-fourth of what a taxi or private transfer would.
- You can get your Hong Kong Airport Express train tickets in advance for a discounted price on Klook. This is a good way to save a couple bucks on transportation, especially if you’re traveling with a larger group!
However, if you are in a rush or you simply find public transportation too cumbersome to deal with, then opting for taxi or pre-booked private transfer in HK really isn’t too expensive for a major metropolitan city.
If you’re traveling with a large group, a private car service or a taxi may be the best option, as the price per person will make the ride less expensive for each of you.
If you have a lot of luggage, a private car service or a taxi may be more convenient, as they offer more space for storing bags.
Lastly, if you’re traveling on a budget and have a few extra minutes to spare and don’t mind a slower ride to the city, the bus is definitely a great option, too!
How To Get Around Hong Kong
Hong Kong has an efficient and convenient public transportation system that makes it easy to get around the city without a car. You can pretty much do just about anything and get just about anywhere by MTR and bus.
In fact, that’s how a huge percentage of the population gets around! Let’s quickly cover your options for getting around Hong Kong.
The MTR is by far the most convenient and efficient way to get around the city. The MTR has multiple lines that cover most of the city, and trains run frequently (as in every 2-3 minutes during most times of the day), so you won’t have to wait long for a ride at all!
Fares are based on the distance traveled, and you can pay with cash to get a single ticket or pay with ease with an Octopus card (more on that below).
Hong Kong also has an extensive network of public buses that serve most parts of the city that the MTR doesn’t.
Buses are a good option if you’re traveling to a destination that’s not served by the MTR, and they’re generally less crowded than the subway.
There are big buses (the double-decker ones) as well as small local buses. For the sake of ease, I’d recommend sticking with the larger buses.
The small buses require you to call out where you’d like to hop off, which can be confusing for tourists who aren’t familiar with the area or don’t speak Chinese.
Similar to the MTR, you can pay with cash or an Octopus card. If you decide to pay with cash, just know that the bus drivers don’t carry change.
One of the most iconic ways to get around this city is by taking the ding-ding tram. This historic mode of transportation has been in operation since the early 1900s and provides visitors with an inexpensive way to explore the city.
The ding-dings, aptly named for the sound they make, are basically double-decker trams that operate over 50 routes throughout Hong Kong Island and Kowloon. Taking a ride on these trams is like stepping back in time, as they remain largely unchanged from when they first began running more than 100 years ago.
The fare for a single journey is incredibly cheap at just HK$2.60 (about $0.30 USD) – which makes it an easy way for travelers on a budget to get around town! You can pay with coins or by Octopus card.
Taxis are readily available in Hong Kong and are a convenient way to get around the city. Fares are metered, and you can flag a taxi down on the street or book one in advance through an app like HKTaxi.
Uber is available in Hong Kong and is a convenient way to get around the city. Prices are generally lower than regular taxis, and you can book and pay for your ride through the app.
Get An Octopus Card To Make Your Life Easier
If you plan on using public transportation while you’re in Hong Kong, it’s a good idea to purchase an Octopus card.
Octopus is a reusable smart card that’s incredibly versatile and can be used to pay for multiple modes of transport including the MTR, Airport Express, Light Rail, buses and ferries, etc.
Honestly, it makes it SO easy to pay for your rides without having to fumble with cash or coins.
But that’s not the only thing an Octopus card can do. There are so many stores, restaurants, coffee shops, local vendors, and other establishments that take Octopus cards as payment. You could literally go a whole day without using any credit cards or cash–relying solely on your Octopus card to get around and pay for things!
Initial Cost For Octopus Card
As with most IC cards around the world, you’ll need to pay an initial fee to get a card activated. Octopus cards are priced at HKD $39 (~$5 USD) without any stored value in it.
From there, you’ll need to load it with money.
After your trip to Hong Kong ends, the remaining value can be refunded but the Octopus will be deactivated.
Where To Buy Octopus Card
You can get an Octopus before or after you arrive in Hong Kong.
Before you arrive: If you have an iPhone X or later, or Apple Watch Series 3 or later, simply download the Octopus App for Tourists to add a new Octopus.
At the airport: You can purchase a Tourist Octopus card at the following stores within the Hong Kong International Airport on arrival:
- 7-Eleven (Unit 5T058, Arrivals Meeters & Greeters Hall, or any 7-Eleven outlets)
- China Travel Service (Counter A4, Arrival Hall, Terminal 1)
- MTR Ticket & Octopus Selling Machine (Airport Station)
- Relay (Arrivals Pre-Immigration, L5, Terminal 1)
After you arrive: You can purchase an Octopus card at any MTR station or at a number of convenience stores around the city.
How To Reload Octopus Card
Your Octopus can be reloaded up to HK$3,000 in total value at thousands of locations throughout Hong Kong.
To reload your card, you can easily do that at the Octopus Reload Value machines at the MTR stations or even at random establishments such as 7-Eleven, AEON, Arome, Café de Coral, Circle K, Vanguard, Mannings, Maxim’s Cakes, Maxim’s MX, McDonald’s, and even Starbucks!
Overall, there are a number of options for getting around Hong Kong, and the best choice for you will depend on your budget, destination, and personal preferences. But no matter how you choose to get around, an Octopus card is a convenient and hassle-free way to pay for your rides, your food, your drinks, your shopping, and more!
Consider Getting The Go City Hong Kong Attraction Pass
This easy-to-use mobile attraction pass can really help you see a lot of Hong Kong’s best attractions in a really short amount of time, and it can help you save a ton of money while doing so!
The Go City Hong Kong Pass is a digital attraction pass that provides easy access and admission to some of HK’s most popular museums and excursions. With certain excursions, you’re even able to skip the line, saving you both money and time.
The Go City All-Inclusive Pass is really great for travelers who want to see as much as possible while they’re in Hong Kong. With the All-Inclusive Pass, you can choose between a 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 or 7-day pass that will give you free admission to 20+ museums and attractions throughout the city.
The pass includes admission to the following heavy-hitters and immersive experiences:
- Hong Kong Disneyland 1-Day Ticket: HK$759.00 normal ticket value
- Ngong Ping 360: Cable Car & Ngong Ping Village Experiences: HK$335.00 normal ticket value
- Big Bus Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing Tour – Discover Ticket: HK$380.00 normal ticket value
- Sky100 Hong Kong Observation Deck: HK$218.00
- Noah’s Ark: HK$198.00
- Aberdeen 1773 Fishing Heritage: Sampan and Houseboat Audio Tour: HK$220.00
- Ngong Ping 360 Tai O Pass: HK$315.00
- Monopoly Dreams: HK$260.00
- Authentic Peking Duck Meal at Peking Garden: HK$550.00
- Big Bus Night Tour: HK$320.00
- Hong Kong Heritage and History Tour: HK$450.00
- World War 2 Walking Tour: HK$500.00
- Hong Kong Maritime Museum: HK$30.00
- Peak Tram Special Combo (Peak Tram & Sky Terrace 428): HK$148.00
- Beginners’ Chinese Ink Painting Class: HK$550.00
- Baking Ideas: Traditional Egg Tart Class: HK$399.00
- Chinese Tea Appreciation Workshop: HK$380.00
- Hurricane Candle Holder Workshop: HK$480.00
- The Art Of Chocolate Workshop and Tasting: HK$178.00
- Legend Heroes Park: HK$380.00
Prices start at HK$1479 (~ $180 USD) for the adult admission 2-day All-Inclusive Pass and you can visit literally as many attractions as you can fit into each day! If you opt for more consecutive days on your pass, the pass actually gets cheaper on a per-day basis.
If you don’t plan on visiting a ton of different attractions, Go City also has an Explorer Pass which will still save you a lot of money. With the Explorer Pass, you’ll pay one flat fee for a 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7-choice pass.
The Explorer Pass is best for ticking off a few of your must-sees!
You’ll then have 60 days to use the Explorer Pass on whichever attractions you’d like. There is also no need to pick attractions ahead of time, so you’ll have the flexibility to choose attractions as you go.
Passes start at HK$799 (~ $100 USD) for 3 choices. But similar to the All-Inclusive option, the more choices you opt for, the cheaper it costs per activity!
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