Plane Talk: Airport Transfers in Hong Kong
So you’ve landed in Hong Kong and cleared customs and immigration. You’re so jetlagged you can barely stand, but now you have to figure out how to reach your hotel bed. Fortunately, traveling from Chek Lap Kok International Airport to the city center has never been easier. All you have to do is pick your transport option and go.
The Airport Express
Cost: HK$160 (US$21) round-trip to Kowloon; HK$180 (US$24) round-trip to Hong Kong Island. Travel Time: 20 minutes to Kowloon; 23 minutes to Hong Kong Island. Amenities: Comfortable seats, personal seat-back TVs, and luggage racks by the doors. Pros: You can wheel your baggage cart right up to the doors of the Airport Express, which leaves from a station in the arrivals hall. This sleek, high-speed train is seldom crowded and offers great views of mountainous Lantau Island. Cons: There are only three stations, which means you’ll have to transfer to the free shuttle bus service or a taxi to reach your final destination. Passenger Profile: Those who value convenience, the jetlagged, and first-timers to Hong Kong. (www.hongkongairport.com)
The MTR (Mass Transit Railway)
Cost: HK$17 (US$2) one-way to Kowloon; HK$23 (US$3) one-way to Hong Kong Island. Travel Time: 35 minutes. Amenities: High-tech Octopus Card metro pass automatically deducts the fare when you board. Pros: The five interconnected MTR lines reach all urban areas of Hong Kong. Cons: You will have to catch the S1 shuttle bus from the arrivals hall to the nearby Tung Chung MTR station for HK$3.5 (US$0.50), which adds time to your journey. Rush-hour crowds on the MTR can make carrying baggage a nightmare. Passenger Profile: Impecunious backpackers and those without checked bags -- two mutually exclusive types of travelers indeed. (www.mtrcorp.com)
Cost: HK$23 (US$3) one-way to Kowloon; HK$21 to 45 (US$3 to 6) one-way to destinations on Hong Kong Island. Travel Time: One hour. Amenities: TVs on both decks. Pros: Fantastic front-row views from the upper deck. Cons: Buses can be crowded and are not particularly fast. Many bus stops are open to the elements, so you could end your journey soaked by rain or sweat. Passenger Profile: Anyone going to destinations far from an MTR or Airport Express station. (www.hongkongairport.com)
Cost: Approximately HK$280 (US$36) one-way to Kowloon; HK$340 (US$45) one-way to Hong Kong Island. Travel Time: Up to one hour. Amenities: Hong Kong taxis are strictly no-frills. Pros: Curb to curb service. Cons: The meter’s always running, regardless of whether the traffic is. Passenger Profile: Anyone trying to reach one of those rare addresses not served by public transport. (www.hongkongairport.com)
Cost: HK$500 (US$65) one-way to Kowloon; HK$620 (US$82) one-way to Hong Kong Island. Travel Time: Up to one hour. Amenities: Professional chauffeur, leather seats, and a smooth ride. Pros: If a Mercedes-Benz S320 isn’t fancy enough for you, upgrade to a Rolls-Royce for another HK$300. Cons: Glorified taxi ride at twice the price. Passenger Profile: Business travelers on expense accounts. (www.hklimo.com, www.hongkonglimo.com)
Helicopter Charter Flight
Cost: If you have to ask the price, then you can’t afford it. Travel Time: Less than ten minutes aboard an AS355N Twin Squirrel. Amenities: Your very own crew headset. Pros: Speedy service with aerial views of Hong Kong Island and a rooftop landing on your hotel’s helipad. Cons: The price, the price, the price. Passenger Profile: CEOs, celebrities, visiting VIPs.
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