What to do during a long stop-over in Hong Kong

By John Walton, October 26 2011
What to do during a long stop-over in Hong Kong

Long transit time between connecting flights in Hong Kong? Fancy doing something other than sitting in the airport? Here's our guide for the best layovers in Hong Kong, depending on how much time you've got.

Four hours or under

You probably don't have enough time for a proper visit to the city, so if you don't already have access to a lounge in Hong Kong with your ticket, frequent flyer membership or Priority Pass, consider buying your way into one of the Plaza Premium Lounges.

Each lounge (there are three inside the transit area) costs around A$50 for a two-hour pass, and $70 for a five hour pass. 

If you're tired, spend an extra few dollars on a "Private Resting Area", which is essentially a mini hotel room. Three hours of use, plus a shower, will set you back about A$60. The buffet area with food and drinks is another A$13.

Eight hours or over

An eight-hour layover is long enough that a jaunt into the city makes sense. You probably won't even need a visa, and you'll still have time for a shower in the airport before your connecting flight. (It's Hong Kong. For a good part of the year, you'll need that shower.)

An old favourite if the weather is clear is the Ngong Ping cable car. The Po Lin Buddhist Monastery and the enormous Tian Tan Buddha are within easy walking distance of Ngong Ping and the views are fantastic.

The Tung Chung end of the cable car is only a ten minute (A$6) taxi ride from the airport in either a blue (Lantau) or red (urban) taxi. The cable car operates M-F 10-6 and 9-6.30 on weekends.

Further into the centre of town, we've stuck to accessible and easy-to-find Tsim Sha Tsui for our recommendations, but of course there's all of Hong Kong to explore.

Don't forget, if you have bags to check for your onward flight, you can check them in at the airport train station in town when you arrive from the airport. That means you won't have to carry them with you -- a real bonus.

There's nothing quite like a ferry ride to clear that stuffy long-haul flight air out of your head. Tsim Sha Tsui to Central is the quintessential Hong Kong harbour trip, and it's nearly free -- A$ 50c or so. For a longer excursion, try hopping on and off the Star Ferries to Wan Chai and Hung Hom.  Ferries leave every 15-20 minutes and are only a few dollars each leg.

For a drink with a view after dark, try the Lobby Lounge at the InterContinental. It's a bit staid in the daytime, but the view once the lights start coming up is fantastic. Perfect for a glass of something at wine o'clock, and they make a mean martini too.

If you're up for dropping some reasonably serious cash on a meal with a view, Aqua is one of Hong Kong's hottest spots. Where else can you get Italian-Japanese fusion looking out over the harbour? 

What's your favourite Hong Kong layover spot? Let us know in the comments.

John Walton

Aviation journalist and travel columnist John took his first long-haul flight when he was eight weeks old and hasn't looked back since. Well, except when facing rearwards in business class.

13 Feb 2011

Total posts 31

I can't say that I have had a layover long enough to head into HK city but can say that the showers in the Cathay Pacific lounges are the best ever - bar none!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

05 Jul 2013

Total posts 8

oh, Hong Kong is my favourite stop over spot!!! A lady's market in Mongkok is a must! Make sure sure you bargain hard!!! For a relaxing hours away from the hustle and bustle of the never sleeping city I'd recommed to visit a Stanley village (a bit of a drive on a taxi though), Stanley market is more pricey but oriented for westerners with bigger sized clothing. And if you have more then 8 hours to spare - visit the Dysneyland or Oceal Park for the bigger thrill lovers. Ocean Park has one of the scariest roller coaster in the world which is in the Guinnes Records book.

Be carefull about your carry-on cabin luggage on the way back though. It's so easy to overdo shopping in HK! As you go through the airport, just before the passport control, there is a "check" for hand-luggage, they can pull you out of the line and weigh-in your carry-ons. I have seen them only pull out the people who holds Cathay Pacific boarding pass, although nobody is immuned. If you have boarding pass printed on CX paper, just pop in to Qantas and ask them to reprint it :) then proudly display the Qantas logo of your QF boarding pass (even if you fly on whatever airline) so they wouldn't "touch "you (little trick from experience)

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

05 Jul 2013

Total posts 8

Oh, forgot! You can't miss the Victoria Peak!!! It's a must!!! try to take a tram to the Peak, but don't use this tram for return - usually it's too long line , the wait can be long and you may be late, get a taxi on a way back (very cheap).

Hi Guest, join in the discussion on What to do during a long stop-over in Hong Kong