What to do during an 8 hour stopover in Hong Kong?

By aero-seat | Apr 28, 2013, 10:48 AM

Are you permitted to exit the Hong Kong International Airport if you are flying Cathay Pacific with an 8 hour stopover? If possible, could you recommend me something good to do during the time. Thanks

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By tuzza1 | Apr 28, 2013, 10:58 AM

As far as I know you can. you just fill in the landing card. I have done so several times.

there is the train into the city, the same day return is quite economical. then maybe go up to victoria peak or visit markets etc. nice to ride the local tram and public transport is very easy. there is a tourist info as you exit the terminal. 

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By David | Apr 28, 2013, 11:18 AM

Hi Aero-seat, sounds like you have a nice trip planned to one of my favourite cities!

Yes, you can exit the airport for any duration stopover, it's just up to you to be back in time for your onwards flight.

(To help with that: if you've got the right frequent flyer status and especially if you'll be visiting HK again, you might want to consider stopping on your way out of the airport to get your passport validated for the automated 'e-channel' passport check lane, which will help you avoid queues on the way back in - see http://www.ausbt.com.au/fast-track-for-frequent-flyers-at-hong-kong-airport).

HK has a great airport express train to the city – the station is right at the terminal, trains are very frequent and also very fast, in barely a half hour you'll be right in the middle of the city. See this article for more information: http://www.ausbt.com.au/traveller-s-trips-the-hong-kong-airport-express. Grab a same-day return ticket and you'll be good to go. Once you're in the city, the MRT trains are very cheap and get you most places you want to go.

You've got two main stops: Kowloon is on the mainland side of HK and has more of the vibe and buzz and shops and markets; Central is on the island, a bit more the 'admin' centre unless you take the MRT metro train a few extra stops, say to Causeway Bay.

If you want to visit Victoria Peak (scenic lookout, with a great tram ride up the hill and bus ride back down) then Central is the go, although it's a bit of a walk up to where the tram starts, which could be an issue for time if you want to do a lot more than just that.

But for an eight hour stopover, I think you're looking at no more than five hours in the city – allowing 60 minutes to get through immigration and catch the train to the city (can be as little as 45 minutes but I like to allow extra), and another two hours for getting back (30 minutes on the train back, to arrive 90 minutes before your flight, and that's as right as I would feel comfortable).

So I'd consider hopping off at Kowloon, and depending on the time of day, you can visit the markets at TST, wander around and soak up the vibe, maybe head down to the Star Ferry terminal and hop a ferry across the harbour to the island, then make your way to Central and catch the Airport Express train back from there.


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By aero-seat | Apr 28, 2013, 01:05 PM

Thanks Dave and David, is there any special documentation (and do I need to collect baggage) to exit during a formal connection? 

And, when I come back do I need to check-in or go through security again (if I've already got a boarding pass)?

I usually have 2-3 hour stopovers in HK, never something this long.

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By David | Apr 28, 2013, 02:02 PM

No special documentation needed, it's just as if you were ending your journey in HK - just fill out the usual paperwork (which they'll offer you on the plane).

When you come back, as you already have your boarding pass you can go straight through to the departures zone for security check etc.

If you have checked luggage, hopefully it can be booked through from wherever you're leaving from in Australia (eg Sydney) through to your final destination, to avoid having to collect it at HK. If your onward leg from HK is with CX or its DragonAir carrier then that's not an issue, if it's with another airline you need to check if they have any codeshare or interline agreement which lets them transfer luggage between the flights.

If that can't be done and you have to collect your luggage at HK airport, there's still the option to take it with you on the airport express to Kowloon or Central, and then when you arrive, you go straight to the train station's airport checkin desk and check your luggage back in for your outbound flight.

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By aero-seat | Apr 28, 2013, 03:38 PM

That's awesome! Thanks heaps, David. I am travelling from Guangzhou to Sydney via Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific/Dragonair because all the China Southern seats were booked during the Canton Fair in Guangzhou for the next week or so. Thank you again.

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By dragonfly | Apr 28, 2013, 05:37 PM

8 hours in HKG:
I would spend it on a ferry crossing of the harbour, eating in Wan Chai, and a visit to the Peak.  http://www.thepeak.com.hk/
If you are there in the evening, the Night Markets near Jordan are well worth a visit.

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By David | Apr 28, 2013, 05:38 PM

Ah, well you should have no trouble having your luggage go straight from CX to KA, so you can just walk off the plane, zip straight throough customs and head straight to the city - enjoy!

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By David | Apr 28, 2013, 05:42 PM

Dragonfly: that's a good itinerary. Aero-seat: even if you're not there of a night, the markets around Jordan are open of an arvo, worth a wander for a bit of fun (and actually less crowded and less pressure than of an evening). It's worth grabbing some map with MTR stations marked, and taxis are also pretty cheap if you need to hop one to get back to Kowloon or Central station if you're short on time. This time of year I'd suggest leaving a bit more time when back at the airport to have a shower and freshed up after walking around HK for the day - I'd also pack a fresh polo shirt in your carry-on, so you can change into this after a shower at the lounge before your flight on to Guangzhou. Also, keep your carry-on very light, maybe just a lightweight backpack, and leave some room in it in case you pick up anything at the markets.

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By studentflyer | Apr 28, 2013, 10:41 PM

You could do a lounge run in HKIA, if you have OW Sapphire/Emerald status that is. The Wing/Cabin/Pier/G16 lounges are youu's to explore, not forgetting the QF lounge too! You could easily spend 8 hours on lounge hopping! :)

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By Rajat | Aug 05, 2016, 10:54 AM

I have my flight towards India and i have 10 hours stoppage at Hong-Kong, i want to see the beauty and also want to buy some cheap and best chinese products i.e. Electronics etc. is it possible, or where. And what electronics item i can buy cheap there like DSLR camera, Tab.

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