Last weekend, I had a 12 hour layover in Hong Kong – one of my favorite cities in Asia. I arrived in the early hours from Los Angeles with Cathay Pacific and was due to fly out at 6PM on Sri Lankan Airlines.
Did you know that you can ride the Airport Express for just $12.90 all the way to Hong Kong City from the Hong Kong Airport return?
My initial plan was to get a boarding pass for Sri Lankan Airlines and proceed to the Cathay lounge for a shower, then get to see the city after that. However, Sri Lankan only opens the transfer desk after 10AM and nobody else was able to print a boarding pass for me. Sri Lankan also does not allow you to use the excellent Cathay Business Class lounge.
So I decided to go through (the largely-empty) immigration at 6.30AM. During my last visits, I had used taxis to get to and from town. However, there is a fast and convenient alternative – the Hong Kong Airport Express gets you from Hong Kong Airport to downtown in just 24 minutes! It's certainly the fastest way from Hong Kong Airport into the city.
The one-way fare is HK$100 (US$12.90) and if you take a return trip the same day, you only pay the one-way fare. Awesome.
The train runs every 10-12 minutes and feels new, comfortable and cool. The train ride – of course – features fast WiFi all the way. I was able to access it with the Boingo subscription that comes as a free American Express Platinum benefit. But you can also get 24 hours' free access if you register with the provider.
You can ride the train all the way to Central and connect to the Hong Kong subway system called MTR.