Arriving at the Hong Kong Airport is a whirlwind experience. It truly is a hub with multiple forms of transportation. The airport is well served by buses, trains, and taxis.
In this article, I'll be going over the various methods of travel including the airport express train, public buses, taxis (and which color to use), Limo AND Tesla rentals, and if Uber is allowed. Read on for more.
Read on: Full travel guide for Hong Kong
Most Efficient Way: The Airport Express
The Airport Express is one of the fastest and more efficient ways to travel between Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) and the central business area. The 35 km journey takes roughly 24 minutes. The train runs efficiently between 05:50 - 00:48 daily departing every 12 minutes.
How to get tickets to the Airport Express
- Tickets must be booked before getting on the train!
- Book your tickets in advance on your phone (which can be scanned at the gate)
- Once in the airport, head straight to the Airport Express Customer Service Centre and buy tickets there
Airport Express Ticket Options
- Airport Express Single Journey Ticket
- Kowloon station HK$90
- Hong Kong station HK$100
- Airport Express Round Trip Ticket (around HK180)
- Airport Express Travel Pass – single or round trip (HK350)
- This type includes 3 consecutive days of unlimited travel on MTR, Light Rail and MTR Bus (Northwest New Territories)
Cheapest Way: Buses
If you're traveling to Hong Kong on a budget, there are plenty of buses that take you to a variety of locations in Hong Kong.
Buses between the airport and Central take around 45 minutes, and only 30 minutes for a ride from the airport to Kowloon. Fares, of course, vary depending on which route you take. But the max you're likely to pay is only $5. Do be aware that buses don't give change, so bring the right amount or risk losing money.
Buses run frequently during the day coming around every 10 minutes. At night, buses are generally every 30 minutes.
The Most Confusing: Taxis
Before you even hail a taxi, you have to know which color you need. Red taxis are most likely what you'll be looking for. They serve urban areas including all of Hong Kong Island and Kowloon. Green taxis serve the New Territories, which is the area of land above Kowloon. Blue Taxis serve only Lantau Island.
Once you have a taxi, don't try to negotiate. It won't fly here. There is a predetermined fare depending on where you are going. You also have to pay a surcharge of $2 for luggage and pay any tolls you pass on top of the fare. Taxi prices are roughly $40 for a ride to Central or Shatin and $35 for a ride to Tsim Sha Tsui.
Most Comfortable: Limo Service
Limousine service will definitely be comfortable, but it will also be expensive.
An English speaking chauffeur will assist you in your journey and you'll be seated in a Mercedes-Benz sedan (seating maximum 3 passengers + 3-regular sized pieces of luggage) or a six-seater luxury minivan (seating up to 6 passengers + 3-large sized or 4-5-regular sized pieces of luggage).
The journey by limo takes about 35-45 minutes to drive in, depending on your destination of course. You don't need to tip in these, it is included in the cost. They also run 24 hours a day but charge extra (HK$200 ($25)) for late night/early morning rides.
Cost is around HK$1,040 ($135) with Trans-Island or HK$680 ($88) with Vigor.
Most Extra: Tesla
Ah, yes. For those who want to be extremely extra on their vacation to Hong Kong you can choose to take a Tesla Airport Transfer in the Model S. The cost is only $50 US - which actually isn't bad. Just make sure you do not have excessive luggage.
Can You Take an Uber?
Uber isn't exactly legal in Hong Kong. But, the app works there and it is used by some. There are crackdowns which come with heavy fines for your driver. If you do get caught you won't get in trouble (the driver will) but you will have to exit the vehicle.
One last thing... even though researching ahead of time is great, I definitely recommend bringing a guidebook along with you.
Lonely Planet Pocket Guides are my absolute favorite because, as the name suggests, they are tiny enough to fit in a pocket or a small bag while still giving you a ton of information. But, here are some other books I recommend as well...
And of course, if you have any questions DO NOT hesitate to reach out to me via Instagram, Twitter, or just shoot me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org).