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There are many ways to get into the city from Hong Kong International Airport (locally referred to as HKIA). The Airport Express (AE) service is a regularly recommended approach for visitors arriving into Hong Kong.
Here are some thoughts to help you decide if Airport Express is the best way for you to travel into Hong Kong after arriving at HKIA.
First, the Airport Express is probably the quickest and most direct way to the city, making three total stops at Tsing Yi, Kowloon and Hong Kong Stations. Visitors considering using AE will most likely be interested in the Kowloon and Hong Kong Stations, which are located in the main parts of the city.
While the Airport Express is a quick approach to the city, it is far from the cheapest. For individual passengers, the AE train service will have you at the Kowloon Station in just 20 minutes (HK$90 per adult, HK$45 per child) and HK Station in 24 minutes (HK$100 per adult, HK$50 per adult). Groups of two or more passengers can avail of a Group Pass discount and on this cost. Families of up to four people can buy a Group Pass for (HK$220 to Kowloon Station) or (HK$250 to Hong Kong Station).
See this link for
Airport Express Group Pass prices from the airport to the city.
The Airport Express trains leave directly from HKIA, every 10 minutes throughout the day, between 5.54am to 00.45am at night. If this is too much of a cost to bear, have a look at using the very good airport bus services also available at HKIA (see below).
The Airport Express provides a very efficient method to get back to the airport from the Kowloon and Hong Kong stations, providing check-in service and luggage drop off for most major airlines. And this can often be done 24 hours in advance. If you do want to go back to the city after checking in, remember to go to the Information desk to ensure your Octopus card is not charged twice.
How do I get to my hotel from Kowloon and Hong Kong Station?
An issue with Airport Express is that there are only two main drop off points, meaning you will likely need to further onward transportation to your hotel. There is a free shuttle bus service from the Kowloon and Hong Kong Stations, which passengers can avail to many of the nearby hotels. Many major hotels in both Kowloon and Hong Kong Island have arrangements for this service but its up to you to find out.
See link for the
free Airport Express Shuttle Bus services from Kowloon and HK Stations to various city hotels.
Services are every 12 minutes for most routes leaving from Kowloon Station and every 20 minutes for routes leaving from Hong Kong Station.
What if my hotel is not on the free shuttle service list?
Hotels not included in the Airport Express free shuttle service may also offer independent pick-up and drop-off services to either Hong Kong or Kowloon Station. You will need to check with your hotel directly to determine if this service is available. Usually, these hotels will offer service on 30 or 60 minute intervals. However, this means that there is a chance, you'll have some waiting time before being picked up and taken to your hotel. If you're not in the mood for this and don't mind paying a bit extra, then probably best to take just take a taxi directly from the airport to your hotel (see below).
Another option would be to take AE to Kowloon or HK Station and then take a taxi the short distance to your hotel. This is a common method for regular visitors as well as HK residents to travel home after arriving at Hong Kong International Airport.
If you are ok with having to make the additional onward transportation to your hotel as well as the AE ticket costs, then Airport Express might be a good way for you to enter the city. However, as implied above, if you prefer lower cost means of transportation, you should look into the very good airport bus service into Kowloon and Hong Kong Island. These routes take more time to arrive into the city but have more drop off points, potentially close to your hotel (You need to know where your hotel is located). Popular bus services include route A21 (HK$33 for adults, HK$16.5 for children) which takes approx. 45-50 minutes into central Kowloon and route A11 (HK$40 for adults, HK$20 for children) which takes approx. 50-65 minutes into central areas of Hong Kong Island.
See this link for
published bus routes and numbers from the airport to various locations around the city
Another consideration, if cost is no issue and you are quite fatigued after a long flight, a taxi might be the best way for you to travel into the city to your hotel, instead of using Airport Express. Taxi service (up to 4 people) is generally HK$215-230 (+5 for each piece of luggage) and HK$280-300 (+5 for bag) for most Hong Kong Island destinations. This approach is generally more expensive than using the Airport Expense and potentially could be longer, depending on the frequently of hotel shuttle service at the Kowloon and HK Island stations providing you onward transportation to your hotel. However, taking a taxi directly from the airport to your hotel, allows to direct point to point transportation with no need for onward connections upon existing the Airport Express at Kowloon and/or Hong Kong Stations.
See this link for published taxi fares from the airport to various locations around the city.
Overall, the Airport Express (AE) service is a very good option for visitors arriving at HKIA and needing transportation into the city. However, its up to you to know if this is the best means for you and your family to enter the city, based on your budget, hotel location and proximity to either Kowloon or Kong Kong Station and most importantly your anticipated fatigue levels after a long flight into Hong Kong.