Hong Kong: Airport Express vs. Bus vs. Taxi

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Hong Kong Airport Express Bus Taxi is part of the TPOL Down Under Trip Report.


What’s the best way to get to and from Hong Kong airport? There are three options: the train, the bus, or taxi.

Layover
If you’re in Hong Kong on a layover then I recommend paying for a round trip ticket on the Airport Express. Take it to Hong Kong Island and head to Lan Kwai Fong (see Hong Kong Layover = Lan Kwai Fong).

From the Airport 
The fastest way to go to your destination from the airport is the Airport Express train. If you’re going to the overrated Hyatt Tsim Sha Tsui, take the train to Kowloon and then take the free shuttle bus. If you’re going to the Courtyard, take the train to Hong Kong Island and then take the free shuttle bus.

H2 bus to Courtyard.

To the Airport 
Departing after a long New Year’s evening out, I was happy to learn that there is a direct bus to the airport which takes forty minutes and only costs 40HKD ($5). The bus stop is literally across the street from the hotel and makes limited stops. Unless there’s traffic, I don’t see the point of taking the train. That assumes you take the right bus. Here’s what happened to me:

While aboard, it seemed odd that the bus was stopping all over the city. It also seemed odd when I was the last one on the bus. It was even more confusing when an hour later the bus stopped at a station that was not the airport. I went down the stairs of the double decker and asked the driver if this was the airport bus. She didn’t speak English. I tried in Mandarin and she didn’t speak that either. I tried with hand gestures and she finally said that it wasn’t the airport bus.

Before boarding the bus, I asked the hotel if there were other busses that came to that stop. He said the one that arrives at 4:25PM is the airport bus. The sign says bus 970 and it shows a picture of the plane. When that bus came at 4:25PM, I thought that was the right bus. To make sure it was, I asked the driver if this was the airport bus. At that time, I didn’t know she didn’t speak English. She asked for money and I put 80HKG into the payment box. Looking back, I wonder if she was confused that I was paying so much to board a city bus.

The sign says airport.

Taxi as the Last Option 
Stuck in who knows where, I started walking aimlessly. I tried to pull up Uber just in case it was available in Hong Kong. It wasn’t. I tried to use Google Maps to figure out where I was. Lousy TMobile with its 2G speed barely worked. Finally, I saw a taxi and asked for a ride to the airport.

Of course, this is not where this funny story ends. In Hong Kong, taxis are cash only. I had given the last of my cash to the bus driver and was well short of the 270HKG ($34) I needed to pay shifu. I asked him to stop at an ATM on the way to the airport. The first one was out of cash. The second one was out of cash. At this point, I figured that they were all out of cash post New Years and my best bet would be to give him the rest of my change and drop me off at a metro station. Luckily, the third ATM worked.

Two hours later, I was at the airport having conveniently gone the most indirect way there.

Overall
And that’s how you get to and from Hong Kong Airport.

3 COMMENTS

  1. You can get discounted rates on the HK Airport Express by downloading the Klook app. Use that to purchase the train ticket. HKIA has free wifi – open the app and purchase the ticket while you’re waiting in line for immigration. It gives you a bar code to scan at the train entrance gates.

  2. That sign says that A10, A12 and NA12 are bound for the airport and the bridge port. 970 and 971 are just regular buses. They could make it clearer.

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