Best Ways to Travel to and from Hong Kong International Airport

Best Ways to Travel to and from Hong Kong International Airport

Check out the following airport transfer options if you’re heading to Hong Kong soon!

Hong Kong’s transport system is undoubtedly one of the best in the world. Thus, it is no surprise that its airport is well-connected to both downtown areas and residential districts. Be it for business or budget travellers, different airport transfer options are readily available as follows.

1. Airport Express

Image credit: Devilreborn

The Airport Express is a fast, convenient, and clear-cut option for first-time visitors and business travellers. Running at a frequency of 10 minutes, the rail service brings you to downtown Hong Kong in 24 minutes.

At the downtown stations of Kowloon and Hong Kong, shuttle buses are available to transfer passengers to nearby hotels and vice versa. For travellers who are staying in these hotels, this would be the most convenient option with minimal journey planning. The list of shuttle bus services and their respective stops can be found here. The frequency of these shuttle buses is 15 to 20 minutes.

Comfortable seating aboard the Airport Express. Of course, this comes at a premium cost. | Image credit: Gavin Anderson

The Airport Express is branded as a premium service. Thus, the cost of every single journey can be rather high. A single trip from the airport to Hong Kong station costs up to HK$115. If you plan to use the subway system (i.e. MTR) frequently during your stay, you may wish to consider purchasing the Airport Express Travel Pass that includes one or two single journeys on the Airport Express, plus unlimited journeys on the rest of the MTR system for three consecutive days. More details can be found here.

2. MTR

If you’re not willing to spend so much for the Airport Express, you may consider taking the normal MTR train to your destination. However, no other MTR lines serve the airport, so you’ll have to take shuttle bus S1 (HK$3.50 per trip) to Tung Chung station, which is about 15 minutes away. From there, continue your journey on the Tung Chung Line that runs parallel with Airport Express, with a few additional stops.

The total cost from the airport to Hong Kong station via the method mentioned above is HK$26.40. Your payment can be made by Octopus card (purchasable at the airport). That’s quite a lot of savings compared to a single journey on the Airport Express!

Shuttle bus S1 connects the airport passenger terminal to the nearby MTR Tung Chung Station. From there, you could travel anywhere on the MTR system at a much cheaper fare! | Image credit: Kwok Ho Eddie Wong, Jeromy-Yu “Jerry” Chan

The downside is that you’ll have a bit of trouble if you have big luggage, especially when you have to jostle with the rush-hour crowd on the train while making transfers at interchange stations. However, for travellers who are looking for a predictable journey schedule on a budget, this is an option worth considering. Travellers can also freely connect to other MTR lines towards the final destination, thus treating it as a single paid journey on the system.

3. Buses

The airport is well-served by the bus network that connects the downtown areas as well as major residential districts, where they call at the same bus stops like any other local bus service. With numerous bus routes and extensive coverage, you’ll most likely be able to reach your destination by bus without making any transfer along the way. Payment is by Octopus card or cash (exact change) upon boarding.

There are three different types of bus services available for travellers:

“A” Routes – Airport Bus Services

A-prefixed bus routes cater specially to travellers going to and from the airport itself. Their routes consist of mostly express sectors between the airport and their respective destinations. They also provide the most direct bus connections to the airport since they head straight to the passenger terminals once they hit the expressway. In fact, they stop right at the departure level, bringing great convenience to travellers as they can directly access the check-in counters right after alighting.

The most useful bus routes for travellers would be A11 and A21, serving the tourist hotspots of Hong Kong Island (Central, Wan Chai, and Causeway Bay) and Kowloon (Mong Kok and Tsim Sha Tsui), respectively. Fares vary according to the bus routes. For example, a single trip on A11 costs HK$40, and that’s already less than half the cost of a similar trip via Airport Express!

“E” Routes – External Bus Services

E-prefixed bus routes provide the most affordable airport transfer options for all travellers. For instance, a single trip on E11 from the airport to Hong Kong Island only costs HK$21! However, journeys on such routes will be longer as they call at additional stops serving the airport service areas as well as the nearby Tung Chung estate. “E” routes cater mainly to local airport employees, thus their fares are much cheaper. They’re the ones who have to make their everyday commute to the airport, after all.

For airport-bound buses, they will serve the passenger terminal at ground level instead of departure level. However, the departure level is still quite accessible from the alighting point via the lifts nearby. If you don’t mind having a long bus journey and a little bit of inconvenience in exchange for the cheapest fares, then this is the option for you.

“NA” and “N” Routes – Night Bus Services

You might think you’ll have to settle for expensive taxi rides if you land past midnight. Fret not! Depending on your destination and flight schedule, night bus services may be available to you. Buses assigned to N11 and N21 operate at regular intervals and they follow similar routings to the daytime A11 and A21, respectively. Both operate daily overnight at a frequency of 20 to 30 minutes. Such services would also be handy for travellers who are catching an early flight.

Night bus routes are aplenty, but most of them have limited departures at specific hours depending on the direction of travel. If you need to make your airport transfer during the wee hours, be sure to check the bus schedules beforehand.

Buses offer a breathtaking journey towards downtown Hong Kong, especially when crossing the scenic Tsing Ma Bridge.

In general, airport transfer by bus is recommended for the budget conscious. Buses also offer some of the most direct options for most travellers who may find en route transfers a hassle especially with big bags and bulky luggage. Travellers can also enjoy a truly scenic journey especially when seated on the upper deck; the view while crossing the Tsing Ma Bridge is spectacular, and one could even catch a glimpse of the world famous Hong Kong skyline from a distance on clear days. Racks are provided on board and some buses have CCTVs installed to help you keep an eye on your luggage. However, travel time is subject to road conditions so be sure to leave earlier in case of unforeseen traffic incidents. Make sure you have at least an hour to spare.

For more information on the bus services, click here.

4. Taxis

Out of all modes of transport, taxis offer the most convenience as they can be requested to drop you off right at your destination. They’re also freely available to hail along the streets. If not, bookings can also be easily arranged.

At the airport, be sure to pick the correct taxi after you determine the location of your accommodation. Taxis come in three different colours, which correspond to the areas that they serve. Most travellers would take red taxis since they serve the major commercial and tourist hotspots within the urban centres. The taxi service areas are:

Red taxis: Hong Kong Island and Kowloon

Green taxis: New Territories

Blue taxis: Lantau Island.

Depending on the distance to and from the airport, majority of taxi fares would range from HK$270 to HK$350, or even HK$400 for far-flung destinations. Additional charges may apply for every luggage placed in the boot, at HK$6 each. Each taxi could carry three regular-sized luggage in the boot. It would be more worth the money if the fare could be shared among travellers in small groups of up to four or five. If you’re willing to spend more for the sake of convenience, pick this option!

There you have it, the best ways to travel to and from the Hong Kong International Airport. If you’re planning a trip soon, it would do you well to take note of all the available transport choices.

Also read: 23 Best Things to Do & Places to Go in Hong Kong

About Author

Tang Wai Kwan
Tang Wai Kwan

Tang finds joy through immersing himself in a local environment, savouring street food and meeting new people. He finds transit maps fascinating and loves navigating through different modes of transportation. While on the streets, he's easily distracted by cats, and he often wonders if cats in different countries "meow" in different languages. When he's not travelling, he's often seen consulting maps and exploring creative ways of getting between places for his next adventure.


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