When you think of Hong Kong, you might think of bright lights, lots of people, Victoria Harbor and the light show on the buildings each night. But did you know that the city’s International Airport is a destination by itself? Rated consistently as one the world’s best airports (voted #3 in 2012 by Skytraxx World Airport Awards) Hong Kong International Airport is a traveler’s delight.
Hong Kong International Airport Facts
- Hong Kong International Airport opened its doors on July 6, 1988.
- It had been constructed at a cost of $20 billion and took six years to complete.
- It is built on an artificially created island that added approximately 1 percent to the city’s total surface area.
- It has 74 moving walkways in total (30 in the Arrivals hall, 34 in Departures, and 10 at the Ground Transportation Center).
- The passenger terminal is 1.27km (0.8miles) long.
- Over 50 million travelers passed through Hong Kong International Airport in 2010. This ranks the airport as the eleventh busiest airport in the world.
Things to Do
Hong Kong is known for shopping and the airport carries on this tradition. The Hong Kong International Airport has two shopping areas; the shopping area at Terminal 1 is called SkyMart, and the shopping area at Terminal 2 is called SkyPlaza. There are more than 200 retail and catering outlets at SkyMart and more than 120 retail and catering outlets at SkyPlaza. Shops that have corresponding stores in Hong Kong outside the airport guarantee that the price you pay at the airport is the same as you would pay outside in town.
Dining options are numerous. From Popeye’s Chicken, Starbucks, McDonalds, and Burger King to traditional Chinese and Asian food, anything you want can be found at the airport. Restaurants vary from fast food to places to sit and eat a nice dinner before catching your flight.
If you are looking for relaxation during a long layover or have to check out of your hotel early and have a late flight, the Traveler’s Lounge offers food, showers, internet access, newspapers, magazines, and international TV channels for a single entry fee. For a heftier fee, the Premier Lounge is also available. You can connect to free Wi-Fi throughout the airport and there are places to catch a quick nap if you do not want to pay to use one of the lounges.
Outside the Airport
The Hong Kong International Airport is closest to Lantau Island, which is easily accessible by train. If you are staying for four to six hours, there are some nearby sights to visit. The Ngong Ping Skyrail travels 5.7 km (the trip takes 25 minutes) and provides views of North Lantau Country Park, the South China Sea, the Airport, and the Tian Tan Buddha Statue.
When you reach the Skyrail terminal, you will find the Ngong Ping Village right next door. There are a number of cultural displays and the Heart Sutra, a classic Buddhist text, can be seen carved into wooden logs.
Easily visible from many points on Lantau Island is the Giant (Tian Tan) Buddha. Located at the PoLin Monastery, this gold colored statue of Buddha is 85 feet tall, once making it the largest sitting Buddha statue in the world. The PoLin Monastery also has a vegetarian restaurant.
If you have more time, Hong Kong Disneyland is located close to the airport and easily accessible by train. Smaller than California Disneyland, it is an easy day trip if time permits.
The Hong Kong International Airport offers a variety of services and activities for all travelers. From local culture to high end shopping, there is something for everyone. So leave your car in the airport parking lot, head off for Asia, and enjoy the layover.