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My favorite airport!

  • Apr 1, 2010
Hong Kong International Airport, voted to be one of the best by frequent travelers, is an airport located on reclaimed land Chek Lap Kok Island. It is also commonly known as Chek Lap Kok Airport. The airport replaced the city airport Kai Tak in 1998 after having a huge surge in air travel which posed too much danger by having aircrafts from all over the world flying into the airport located within the numerous numbers of skyscrapers in Hong Kong.

In recent days, I've been breezing through this airport more than any other airports in the world. HKIA is one of the best laid out and well planned airport in the world. It has won 7 of the Skytrax World Airport Awards in last 10 years for customer satisfaction (the other 3 being won by Singapore Changi Airport). HKIA is a 24-hour airport.

For most airlines you can actually check in at 3 transfer or check-in points in town. Hong Kong Station, Kowloon Station & Tsingyi Station when you plan to travel by the HK Airport Express train service  to the airport. 

The baggages will be transferred to the airport without much of a nuisance and then onto the airplane by the HK Airport Express staff. All one needs to do is to simply board the train with cabin baggages. That's it. All set to go. The other best thing about this is one can even check in the day before! This is ideal arrangement for those who are simply transiting in HK for a night or so. No need to carry your bags all the way to the hotel even!

Arriving at Airport
Food! Yes, before you board the Airport Express trains, there are restaurants for your pick above the stations. If those are not what you wish, which is seldom the case, especially with regards to Kowloon Station (where Elements the mega mall is just above it), you can still eat at the airport before going through immigration. There are fast foods, food courts and even snacks for you to buy home. Plenty of shopping at the airport. One can easily spend hours here just browsing!

There are 2 terminals in HKIA, most of the better airlines are in T1 while most budget airlines are in T2. Having been through both terminals, I must say food in T2 is as good, especially the noodle restaurant. However, make sure you go through immigration asap in T2 as there is quite a distance to walk. It does seem that the airplanes actually depart from T1 while T2 simply handles check-in for airlines. Yes, if you cannot check in in town, chances are you'll be departing from T2. 

Immigration Check Point
The beauty of HKIA immigration check point is this. We know that most citizens or residents of a country can go through their respective counters pretty quickly but that's not the case for foreigners arriving as 'aliens'. HKIA took its initiative by giving its frequent visitors VIP treatment. IF you are a visitor who frequent this airport (merely 3x a year), you can apply for a frequent visitor pass which will allow you a different counter specifically designed for this purpose. In other words, shorter queues and a higher degree of efficiency as your data are already prescribed on the digital card. That means it'll translate to more time for shopping! Less frustration to have to wait in long queues too! Don't forget this is one of the busiest airports in the world too!

Inside the passenger waiting area, there are lots of rooms and also shops with local flavor for you to indulge yourself in. If you're not inclined to shop, you can always take out your netbook & surf for free via its wifi services. That's one great service that this airport is providing. In Narita Japan, you'd have to pay for it unless you're inside the airline lounge area. While in Singapore Changi Airport, they make you fill in some details about your cellphone number and I hate the hassle of doing that!

Direct transfer to Mainland China and Macau
For passengers who are heading to Shenzhen, Zhuhai or Macao, you can arrange for your transport by ferry direct to these few cities. Do NOT go through immigration, simply go to the airport service counter and buy your ferry ticket, hand the staff your baggage tags and they'll be taken care of. All you need is to board the ferry & then collect your bags upon arrival in Shenzhen, Zhuhai or Macao. There are a few more cities in mainland China that HKIA do service so that actually save you a great deal of time and money when transiting in HKIA. In General, flights to Hong Kong are a lot cheaper from the U.S. or Europe than flights to Shanghai, Beijing or Guangzhou. You'll also have less problem transiting in HK as staff in HKIA are more proficient in handling international passengers than those from China since it has a lot more years of experience doing so. Hence, for a smooth transition, I urge you to consider using this as a transfer point or transit hub.

Visa Free
Visits to Hong Kong is visa-free for most nationals. Most Asians are allowed a stay of one month (to my knowledge). If you stay a month, walk across to Shenzhen and then back to Hong Kong again, you are entitled to another month. Hence, it is quite a place to be (provided you can afford the high standard living in Hong Kong). If not, you can always go across and live in Shenzhen, China. One catch is that you must be able to get a visa to China. We Asians normally have no problem with it. However, I have heard some westerners had abused the privilege and visas to foreigners are a little dicier. How true that is depends on the individuals, I think.

(A Lunch Featured Review)
My favorite airport! My favorite airport!

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April 07, 2010
I need to come back to HK....I need to get me some more food!
April 07, 2010
I need to get a decent job so that i can make this my home base! LOL... And if I'm lucky enough, someone to pay me flying first class!!!
April 01, 2010
This is by far my favorite airports as well! The shopping... THE SHOPPING! I mean, some cities in the world don't even have such boutiques and HKG has them all! And the food... not bad at all for airport food ;) Great review, Sharrie!  I'm itchin' to go back.
April 01, 2010
Maybe....eventually...a destination. Many, many, many on my bucket list. Great write up!
April 01, 2010
Hong Kong is a must! :-)
More Hong Kong International Airpor... reviews
Quick Tip by . April 02, 2010
posted in UP UP & Away!
It's like a Vegas shopping mall in there! Bring credit cards ;)
Quick Tip by . March 29, 2010
posted in UP UP & Away!
Top airport with the best facilities and shopping in Asia, if not in the world! The best & in close 2nd, Narita!
Quick Tip by . February 09, 2010
One of the top 10 airports in the world. A shopping heaven & a traveler's sanctuary.
About the reviewer
Sharrie ()
Ranked #1
I'm a traveler at heart & have been nicknamed Travel Queen by friends & colleagues alike. Traveling has been my life passion for the last decade or so. As we enter a new decade, I'm excited … more
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 Hong Kong International Airport (IATA: HKG, ICAO: VHHH) is the main airport in Hong Kong. It is colloquially known as Chek Lap Kok Airport, because it was built on the island of Chek Lap Kok by land reclamation, and also to distinguish it from its predecessor, the closed Kai Tak Airport.

The airport opened for commercial operations in 1998, replacing Kai Tak, and is an important regional trans-shipment centre, passenger hub and gateway for destinations in Mainland China (with over 40 destinations) and the rest of Asia. Despite a relatively short history, Hong Kong International Airport has won seven Skytrax World Airport Awards for customer satisfaction in just ten years.

HKIA also operates one of the world's largest passenger terminal buildings and operates twenty-four hours a day. The airport is operated by theAirport Authority Hong Kong and is the primary hub for Cathay Pacific, Dragonair, Hong Kong Express Airways, Hong Kong Airlines, Air Hong Kong (cargo) and Asia Jet (private). It is a secondary hub for Air New Zealand, to a lesser extent Qantas and Virgin Atlantic, all of which use Hong Kong as a stopover point for flights on the Kangaroo Route between Australasia and Europe. United Airlines also uses Hong Kong as a stopover point for flights from the United States to Singapore and Ho Chi Minh City.

Flights are operated by roughly 90 airlines to over 150 cities across the globe, and in 2008 it was the 12th busiest airport worldwide in terms of passenger ...
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