Hong Kong Airport Express Train – Quickest Way To The City
There are many ways of getting to Kowloon and Hong Kong Island. The Hong Kong Airport Express Train is the Quickest Way To The City.
Even my friend who lives in Hong Kong agreed. A week after my arrival in Hong Kong, when I had lunch with her at Fini’s, she asked, “How did you get into the city?” When I answered that I took the Airport Express, she remarked with a smile, “Smart.” She then told me that she does the same every time she flies back to Hong Kong.
In this article, I will share with you about Airport Express, and how to take this awesome fast and easy ride to your destination.
Hong Kong Airport Express Train – Quickest Way To The City – The Video
From the point when I entered the Arrival Hall of Hong Kong International Airport Terminal 1 to the point where I reached Causeway Bay Station, I did my best to capture the journey on video.
It is hoped this will help you should you choose to try this mode of transport. At least, you can see the signs, how and where to buy the Airport Express ticket, how and where to take the train, and the journey to the city.
About Airport Express
The Hong Kong Airport Express is part of the Mass Transit Railway (MTR) system. It is the quickest way to the city; from Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) to the Hong Kong’s vibrant Central business district.
The journey is 35.3 kilometers (km) and takes just 24 minutes only. While some may say that a cab could be faster, the drive could end up longer because of traffic jams.
From Central station, you can transit to the other train lines that can take you to many other stations such as Tsim Sha Tsui, Mong Kok, Sheung Wan, Wan Chai, Causeway Bay as well as many other stations. As such, if your hotel is near any of the stations, you can easily reach your hotel via the MTR train system.
The Airport Express stations are world-class. There are facilities such as the convenient In-town Check-in desk and the regular Airport Express Shuttle Bus services. Both services are Free! Do check with your hotel if the Airport Express Shuttle Bus goes there. You could easily just hop on it and be in your hotel within minutes!
First and Last Trains
The first train from the airport to the city is at 5.54 am, and the last train is at 12.48 am. So if you arrive any time between those timings, you can choose other alternatives to travel to the city, or have your breakfast at one of the many cafes and restaurants at the airport while you wait for the first train.
When returning from the city to the airport, do note the following first and last trains from each of the stations in town:
- From Hong Kong station to the airport, the first train is at 5.50 am, and the last train is at 12.48 am.
- From Kowloon station to the airport, the first train is at 5.53 am, and the last train is at 12.52 am.
- From Tsing Yi station to the airport, the first train is at 6.00 am, and the last train is at 12.59 am.
Buying an Airport Express Ticket
There are many ways to buy an Airport Express ticket. You can purchase a ticket online. This can be done in advance on the MTR website.
Or if you have an Octopus Card, you can use it. Then there is no need to buy an additional Airport Express ticket.
*Travel Tip: Get the Octopus Card. You can use it to travel around Hong Kong on buses and trains. Plus, it is also very useful for paying for meals, and other items at shops that accept the Octopus Card as a payment method. I have found most stores accept this card.
Or you can purchase the Airport Express ticket from one of the many counters at the airport. There are many counters in the airport for you to buy a ticket for the Airport Express. Simply ask around for directions to a counter. Or you can easily spot one by looking out for the MTR logo.
It was February 2019, and the price of traveling to Hong Kong station was HKD 110. That is very affordable, compared to a cab ride that can cost between HKD300 to HKD400, one way between the airport and Hong Kong central business hub.
Even then, I was very lucky! I had decided to buy a pre-paid SIM card for my phone. This is so that I can access the Internet anywhere in Hong Kong as well as make any calls if necessary.
I found a shop called IOIO, and they had a special package. With the purchase of the pre-paid SIM card, I can get a one-way Airport Express ticket for only HKD50!
*Travel Tip: If you intend to get a pre-paid SIM card, ask the shop if they have a special deal with Airport Express to get really low price for the ticket
Getting on the Airport Express Train
The Airport Express is so convenient. I asked the helpful counter staff, and he informed me that the train runs every 10 minutes daily. And as you can see from the sign below, the journey takes about 24 minutes only!
And here is a screen shot of the video at the part where I am rushing for the train. I was very fortunate. After buying the ticket, as I walked to the Airport Express train platform, the doors just opened, and people were rushing in to get a good seat.
There is no concern for seats actually. Due to the frequency of the train, there are plenty of seats available. And if there is not, simply wait for the next train. After all, it is only a 10 minute wait.
One of the most awesome services that the Airport Express offers is the area for luggage storage. I was carrying a medium sized luggage and a laptop bag. The laptop bag I held close to me at all times since I could easily have it slung over my shoulder with the bag strap.
The medium sized luggage was a concern. It would not be possible to have it next to me when I am seated. In my earlier research, I read that there are areas for luggage to be stowed away. I wondered what that would look like?
And I was pleasantly surprised. Here is a photo of the luggage storage area. Nice huh? You can see more in the video above.
With my luggage comfortably stowed away, I was able to enjoy the super pleasant ride to Hong Kong station that is in Hong Kong Island.
Which Stations Does the Airport Express Stop At?
As the name implies, the train takes an express route. This means it only stops at a few stations. These are Tsing Yi station, Kowloon station, and Hong Kong station. The Airport Express Line is the one in turquoise color.
If you are going to stay at the Disneyland Resort, then you should alight at Tsing Yi station. Switch over to the Tung Chung Line (Orange color), and switch again at Sunny Bay station to the Disneyland Resort Line (Pink color).
Getting to Tsim Sha Tsui, Yau Ma Tei, Jordan and Mong Kok in Kowloon
For those of you staying over at Kowloon side, and your hotel is near any of the stations along the Tsuen Wan Line (Red color), you will need to alight at Hong Kong station. Then, walk over to Central station, and take the train that goes the Tsuen Wan Line.
There are many stations along the Tsuen Wan Line that is popular with tourists; such as Tsim Sha Tsui station, Yau Ma Tei station, Jordan station and Mong Kok station.
These stations are popular because there are many shopping malls, cafes and restaurants near them. And as such, of course many hotels, where tourists are staying at, are built near these stations too. There are also some interesting sights to see; such as Avenue of Stars, Avenue of Comic Stars, etc.
Getting to Sheung Wan, Central, Admiralty, Wan Chai and Causeway Bay in Hong Kong Island
Some of you may choose to stay on Hong Kong Island. If you are, then you simply need to find the closest station along the Island Line to your hotel. These can be stations such as Sheung Wan, Central, Admiralty, Wan Chai, and Causeway Bay.
All of these stations have lots of shopping, cafes and restaurants nearby, too. Causeway Bay is where there are plenty of malls and eating places. For sightseeing, every one of the stations has nearby interesting places to visit.
The popular ones would be Victoria Peak, Mid-Level Escalators, Lan Kwai Fong and many others that are easily accessible from Central station. Sheung Wan has a few surprises too. In fact, if you like to take photos of the famous street art along Hollywood Road, I recommend alighting at Sheung Wan station and start from there.
Reached Hong Kong Station and Exit Airport Express Platform
As mentioned earlier, I bought the ticket as a package with a pre-paid SIM card. The ticket given to me used QR code.
I was unsure how to use it. Earlier I asked the very friendly and helpful staff at the MTR counter, and he explained to me patiently that all I have to do is board the train. There is no checking of ticket when I board, or any turnstile to scan cards or tickets for access.
It is only when we exit that there are turnstiles, and a need to use an Airport Express ticket. For my ticket, I just need to peel away an area and reveal the QR code. Then scan it at the turnstile, and exit.
If you are using the MTR Octopus card, then simply place it on the scanner area of the turnstile to get read, and exit.
You can watch the video above to see what I mean. You can see many people exiting into Airport Express platform and entering Hong Kong station. See the screen shot below.
Free Shuttle Buses
The Airport Express service includes Free Shuttle Buses to train stations, places of interest, and major hotels. Do check the list below in case you are entitled to a Free bus ride right to the front door of your hotel.
Shuttles from Kowloon Station
Airport Express Shuttle K1
At Kowloon station, there is the Airport Express Shuttle K1. This runs every 15 minutes. The first bus starts at 6.15 am, and the last bus is at 11 pm. The bus takes passengers to the following train stations and hotels:
- Hong Kong West Kowloon Station
- MTR Jordan Station (Austin Road)
- MTR Hung Hom Station
- Harbour Plaza Metropolis
- Whampoa Garden (Tak On Street)
- Harbour Grand Kowloon
- Kerry Hotel Hong Kong
- Eaton, Hong Kong
- Hong Kong West Kowloon Station
Airport Express Shuttle K2
Another shuttle called K2 also runs every 15 minutes, from 6.15 am to 11 pm, and takes passengers to the following places and hotels:
- Marco Polo Hong Kong Hotel
- The Kowloon Hotel
- The Peninsula Hong Kong
- The Royal Pacific Hotel and Towers
- China Ferry Terminal
Airport Express Shuttle K3
The 3rd shuttle bus is K3. Similarly, it runs every 15 minutes, from 6.15 am to 11 pm and it takes passengers to the following hotels:
- Holiday Inn Golden Mile Hong Kong
- Hyatt Regency Hong Kong, Tsim Sha Tsui
- Regal Kowloon Hotel
- Hotel ICON
- New World Millennium Hong Kong Hotel
- InterContinental Grand Stanford Hong Kong
- Kowloon Shangri-La Hotel
Airport Express Shuttle K4
K4, the 4th shuttle that runs every 12 minutes, from 6.15 am to 11pm, and takes passengers to the following station and hotels:
- MTR East Tsim Sha Tsui Station / Sheraton Hong Kong Hotel & Towers
- Park Hotel
- The Luxe Manor
- Empire Hotel Kowloon, Tsim Sha Tsui
- B P International
Airport Express Shuttle K5
There is a 5th shuttle that runs every 20 minutes. The first bus is at 6.12 am and the last bus runs at 11.12 pm. It takes passengers to the following station and hotels:
- MTR Yau Ma Tei Station / The Cityview
- Metropark Hotel Kowloon
- Royal Plaza Hotel
- Metropark Hotel Mongkok
- Dorsett Mongkok Hong Kong
Shuttles from Hong Kong Station
Airport Express Shuttle H1
At Hong Kong station, there is the Airport Express Shuttle H1. This runs every 20 minutes, from 6.12 am to 11.12 pm. The bus takes passengers to the following places of interest and hotels:
- HK Convention and Exhibition Centre
- Renaissance Harbour View Hotel
- Grand Hyatt Hong Kong
- Novotel Century Hong Kong
- Pacific Place
- JW Marriott Hotel Hong Kong
- The Wharney Guang Dong Hotel Hong Kong
- Empire Hotel Hong Kong, Wan Chai
Airport Express Shuttle H2
There is another shuttle bus – H2. This also runs every 20 minutes, from 6.12 am to 11.12 pm, and to the following hotels:
- Holiday Inn Express Hong Kong Soho
- iclub Sheung Wan Hotel
- ibis Hong Kong Central and Sheung Wan
- Best Western Hotel Harbour View
- Courtyard by Marriott Hong Kong/Best Western Plus Hotel Hong Kong
- Island Pacific Hotel
Airport Express Shuttle H3
There 3rd shuttle bus is H3. This also runs every 20 minutes, from 6.12 am to 11.12 pm, and to the following hotels:
- Empire Hotel Hong Kong, Causeway Bay
- Metropark Hotel Causeway Bay Hong Kong
- Regal Hongkong Hotel
- Rosedale Hotel Hong Kong
- The Park Lane Hong Kong a Pullman Hotel
- The Excelsior, Hong Kong
Airport Express Shuttle H4
The 4th shuttle bus, H4, also runs every 20 minutes, from 6.12 am to 11.12 pm, and to the following hotels:
- iclub Fortress Hill Hotel
- Harbour Grand Hong Kong
- City Garden Hotel
- Ibis North Point Hotel
- Harbour Plaza North Point
Free Check-in Service
There are times when we check out of a hotel, and our flight is many hours later. Of course, there is the choice of parking our luggage in the safe care of the hotel while we spend a few more hours exploring the city. Before it is time to get to the airport for our flight.
The Airport Express has a better alternative. They have a Free Check-in Service. And it is available at either the Kowloon station or Hong Kong station.
All you have to do is bring your suitcases to either station. Show your Airport Express ticket, and they will assist you to check-in to your flight as well as check in your bags. Plus, you get to collect your boarding pass, too.
This makes life very convenient. You can spend the rest of the day exploring the city. When done, simply catch the train to the airport. Go through the usual immigration process, wait at boarding area, and when it is time board the plane. You can trust that your suitcases will arrive at your destination.
Getting to Butterfly On Morrison Hotel
This particular time I visited Hong Kong, I decided to capture the journey from the Airport Express to Causeway Bay where the hotel I stayed at was located. I stayed at the Butterfly on Morrison Hotel. It was awesome!
I took the Airport Express, alighted at Hong Kong station. At this huge station, I walked over to Central station. Then I took the Island Line towards Chai Wan. At Causeway Bay station, I got off and walked about 20 to 25 minutes to the hotel. You can watch the whole journey in the video above.
Overall Review of Hong Kong Airport Express Train – Quickest Way To The City
The entire ride on the Airport Express was very pleasant. It was easy to get on board a carriage. The luggage storage area was very good and useful. While there was nothing to secure the luggage, all luggage stayed in the storage area very well.
I believe it could also be because the train moved very smoothly. The seats were very comfortable. They were large and has good cushion. And it was all very clean and well maintained.
The screens were very good to keep anyone entertained. Also, they served to inform passengers which stop the train has arrived at
Would I recommend the Airport Express? Yes!
Especially if you are traveling light or like me, with just a medium sized luggage. I don’t recommend it if you have many bags. It may be quite a lot to handle. Especially when you reach your destination station.
Most train stations in Hong Kong have escalators or travelators. But there are many where exit points only have the staircase. So, if you have many bags, it may be very inconvenient to lug it all up many flights of stairs.
I arrived and took the wrong exit. It was one without any escalator. And even with just one medium sized luggage, I found it tiring to drag it up so many steps.
While, as mentioned above, there are Free Shuttle buses to many hotels, they do not serve all hotels. Especially the new or smaller ones. Of course, you can easily catch a cab from the station to your hotel.
But, because my hotel boasted that they are within 10 minutes walking distance from Causeway Bay station, and I love testing this out for my readers, I did the walking. And I can tell you it is no fun navigating the narrow sidewalks of Hong Kong as you drag a medium sized luggage along. All the same time, checking Google Map to see I am in the right direction.
As usual, Google Map failed as it directed me along a longer route. Hence, the 20 to 25 minutes to my hotel instead of 10. In retrospect, taking a cab would be a better choice. Later, I learned there was a shorter route.
Despite the last few paragraphs of down side to taking the Airport Express, I would still highly recommend taking it. It is an excellent experience!
If you have ANY questions about this article, about Getting To and Around Hong Kong, particularly about the Hong Kong Airport Express Train – Quickest Way To The City, ANY at all, please submit your questions as comments below. I will be happy to help you out.
Thank you for reading this.
Wishing you and your loved ones safe, fun and happy travels,