When travelling from Australia to the UK (or vice versa) one of my favourite airports to transit through is Hong Kong International. I know Singapore Changi Airport gets a lot of love in the industry but for me Hong Kong Airport has far better shops, lounges and phone charging capabilities for those of us flying economy!
If you’re travelling long-haul via Hong Kong these are my tips and tricks for a smooth transit.
When you arrive at HKIA you’ll need to pass through security to get to the departure gates. If you already have a boarding pass, follow the signs for ‘transfers’ and join the queue for security checks. You will need to throw away any unfinished bottles of water and get your electronic goods out of your bag. If you don’t already have a boarding pass for the onwards flight you’ll need to go to your airline’s transfer desk. Their locations are listed here.
Once through to departures head to the Information desk if you’re unsure about where to find any of the places I’m about to mention below. It’s a big airport but the staff speak perfect English so just ask for help.
If you came in near Gate 30 or above you’ll handily already be near to the fantastic Cathay Pacific The Bridge Lounge and Hong Kong’s newest Plaza Premium Lounge. If you’re not flying business/don’t have an airline lounge pass you can pay to enter the Plaza Premium Lounge situated near Gate 40 in the West Hall. (Take the escalators, on your right if facing The Bridge, and head to level 7.)
Depending on how much time you have/what you are in need of, you can just pay for a shower suite. These recently updated rooms feature a powerful shower, sink, toilet and seat and come with all the toiletries and towels you could need – including toothpaste and shower cap. Entry costs $200 HKD (approx £16/ $33 AUD) for a Shower Package or $480 HKD (approx £40/ $80 AUD) for 2 hours lounge use.
Find more information on fees and services here.
If you have a long layover you might want to consider booking a hotel near the airport.
To reach the best shops (and Starbucks) in the East Hall from the West Hall you could walk along several moving walkways in a row and enjoy the view, or you could cheat and take the Sky Train found down the escalators. It’s signposted as a way to reach Gate’s 1 – 20 but is also an easy way to get up and down the terminal.
Take time to shop up a storm in Zara, Jimmy Choo, Mac and M&M’s World. There are many more designer stores but these are just my personal favourites. I also love browsing all the Asian magazines at Relay, but this could just be me!
When it comes to feeding time there are large food courts in both the East and West Hall serving Asian and Western cuisine. The East Hall, in particular, can get rather busy so if you are looking for somewhere to sit down head to Pizza Express (just opposite the food court), Cafe Deco (a few shops down from Pizza Express) or head for the few hidden seats by the window behind Starbucks on the Central Concourse. There is also a Pacific Coffee Company on the Central Concourse if you are in need of a coffee fix.
There are charge points all over Hong Kong airport for all sorts of sockets. Some have tables so you can use your laptop as it charges, whilst others are designed just for phones (look for the sockets hidden in pillars).
There is free and fast wifi all over Hong Kong Airport.
There are a number of fun exhibitions dotted around HKIA. During my visit there was a “Childhood Memories” exhibition near Gate 31, which had a really interesting collection of retro toys from Hong Kong, and a selection of Bruce Lee memorabilia near Gate 62.
Smoke (if you must) in the preassigned smoking lounges found near the toilets in the main terminal.
Because the windows at Hong Kong airport are perfect for it. If you look really carefully you can even spot the cable car on Lantau Island that takes you to Big Buddha.
Are you travelling via Hong Kong Airport any time soon?