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Hong Kong Layover Guide Things to Know, Do, and More!

Hong Kong Layover Guide: Things to Know, Do, and More!

Local bias aside, Hong Kong is arguably one of the coolest cosmopolitan spots in Asia. Aside from its epic skyline and attractions, it’s also an efficient gateway city for any traveller. 

You see, through Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA), you can easily set off to other Asian gems and further explore over 150 destinations worldwide.  That’s why Hong Kong is a top choice for layovers and stopovers, especially for people with marathon connecting flights. 

If you plan to squeeze in a layover in Hong Kong, we’ve got your back! Make your layover downtime more productive and worthwhile through our Hong Kong layover guide below on what to do, where to eat, how to transfer, and more. 

Planning Your Layover to Hong Kong 

Planning Your Layover to Hong Kong

Opting for flights with layovers and throwing in a night or two to rest and explore for a bit is an excellent way to spice up your trip. 

And the best part? It might even be cheaper than a direct flight! Here’s how you do it. 

Choose Your Flight 

If you plan to fly overseas, there’s a big chance that you’ll need to book connecting flights with layovers.Browse through flight comparison sites and use the same airline or partner airlines to get the best deals. 

Understand Visa Requirements for Layovers 

Before you can go out of the airport and explore, you need to know whether you’ll need a Transit Visa or not. A Transit Visa or Entry Permit is a required travel document for people who wish to enter the city and plan to stay longer than the specified visa-free period. 

Of course, all these can still depend on the person’s nationality. In over 170 countries, including the U.S.A., Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia, a Transit Visa isn’t required as long as the stay is within the visa-free period, so it makes layovers super easy. 

However, non-locals coming from countries like Afghanistan, Cambodia, Nigeria, and others are required to have a Transit Visa for whatever purpose, including layovers. You can check out the detailed remarks for each country or territory here

Store Luggage for Layovers

If you’re bringing lots of bags or luggage, it’s undoubtedly a hassle to drag them around, especially if you have plans to look around the city. 

That’s why we recommend using the luggage storage facilities of HKIA. These facilities are located on Level 3 of Terminal 2. Hourly rates start at  $14, while daily rates start at $165. 

Time Needed for Layovers 

If you don’t have plans to go outside HKIA, the minimum layover time of 45 minutes to 1 hour is enough to book and go to your next flight. However, we recommend adding more time if your trip is around peak seasons or busy holidays. 

Meanwhile, if you plan to have a quick excursion in the city, you can allot at least seven hours before your connecting flight. 

  • 1 hour to deplane and go through immigration and customs
  • 1 hour to travel to get in and out of HKIA
  • 2 hours to roam around and explore
  • 1 hour to return to HKIA
  • 2 hours to check in, get to your gate, and board your next plane

Getting to and from Hong Kong International Airport 

Getting to and from Hong Kong International Airport

Here are the public transportation services operating to and from Hong Kong International Airport. Look into each option below to figure out which one aligns best with your needs. 

Via Airport Express Train 

The fastest and most efficient way to travel to and from HKIA is through the Airport Express Train. You can reach Central Hong Kong in just a span of 24 minutes!

The train operates from 5:54 AM to 12:48 AM daily and departs around every 10 minutes. 

Its airport station is located at Terminal 2. 

On the other hand, if you’re going back to the airport, you can catch the train at the stops at these stations – Hong Kong Station, Tsing Yi Station, AsiaWorld-Expo Station, and Kowloon Station. 

Here’s an overview of how much tickets for an Airport Express Train cost. 

From HKIA to Smart Ticket Octopus Card 
AdultChildAdult Child
Hong Kong Station$115$57.5$110$55
Kowloon Station$105$52.5$100$50
Tsing Yi Station$70$35$65$32.5
AsianWorld-Expo Station $6$3$5.5$2.7

You can purchase a single or roundtrip ticket at the station’s counter or purchase Airport Express roundtrip trip QR code ticket online


  • Fast and efficient transportation option
  • Long operation time Open daily
  • Accessible stations throughout the city


  • Fares are higher than other MTR lines 
  • The online purchase process for tickets can be complicated 

Via Airport Buses

If you plan to explore Tsim Sha Tsui or Central from HKIA, we suggest you take an airport bus at Terminal 1 or 2. Many airport buses have accessible routes that can take you to and from the airport for a very cheap price. 

To give you an idea of how affordable tickets for airport buses are, here are Bus A Routes’ (Airport Buses) fares. 

Bus A Routes From HKIA to Fare 
A10Ap Lei Chau Est HK$49.7
A11North Point Ferry PierHK$41.9
A12 Siu Sai Wan (Island Resort)HK$47.1
A21 Hung Hom StationHK$34.6
A22 Lam Tin Station HK$40.8
A23 Tsz Wan Shan HK$40.8
A25Kai Tak (Via Tsim Sha Tsui)HK$40.8
A26Yau TongHK$44
A29 Tseung Kwan O (Po Lam)HK$44
A29P Tseung Kwan O Station HK$44

However, the downside to airport buses is that the estimated travel time can be slower compared to taxis and express trains. 

Besides that, each route has different operating times, so you’ll have to check the bus schedules before exploring the spots in your itinerary. 


  • Offers accessible routes throughout Hong Kong
  • Affordable fares
  • Has stations near hotels and other accommodation 


  • Travel time can take around 60 to 90 minutes 
  • Different operating times and bus schedules 

Via Taxi or Uber 

Taxi is another convenient transportation option you can take in HKIA. Taxis are easily available outside the airport’s arrivals hall. 

Just note that taxis here are color-coded to indicate the zones where they operate. That’s why taxi fares vary depending on the destination. 

Taxis Operating ZoneFare 
Red (Urban Taxis)Across most of Hong Kong Island (except parts of South Lantau and Tung Chung Road)Up to $375
Green (New Territories)North-eastern part and north-western part of the New TerritoriesUp to $480
Blue (Lantau)Lantau Island and Chek Lap Kok Up to $145

As you can see, taking a cab can leave a dent in your wallet. However, if comfort is your priority, it’s a good choice since taxis offer a door-to-door service. 


  • Offers door-to-door service
  • Easily accessible from the airport
  • Can take you almost anywhere in Hong Kong 


  • Expensive fare

Things to Do During Your Layover to Hong Kong International Airport

Things to Do During Your Layover to Hong Kong International Airport

So, you’ve touched down in Hong Kong, reached the arrival terminal, then decided to opt for a long layover in the city. 

What’s the next move, you ask? Well, if you wish to make the most of your exploration, here are some things to do and places to check out, depending on your layover time. 

Explore Sightseeing Destinations 

Aviation Discovery Center 

Media Credit: Lee

AddressSky Plaza Rd Central, Chek Lap Kok, Hong Kong
Operating hoursMonday to Friday – 11 AM to 10 PM
Saturday to Sunday – 9:30 AM to 10 PM 
Best for 2+ hour layover time 

Inside Hong Kong International Airport, there’s a chance for airplane enthusiasts to see a whole new world of planes up close and explore tons of interactive plane exhibits and facilities. Come check out the Aviation Discovery Center at the Sky Corridor of HKIA Terminal 2 for free!

One of the highlights you shouldn’t miss is the flight simulator. For $40, you can take the pilot seat and experience plane take-offs and landings. Moreover, you can also access the SkyDeck from here and watch the city’s skyline as big jets and planes come and go from HKIA. 

Po Lin Monastery and Tian Tan Buddha

AddressNgong Ping, Hong Kong
Operating hoursMonday to Sunday – 9 AM to 6 PM 
Best for 8+ hour layover time 

Lantau Island is one of the accessible attractions you can explore from HKIA. The popular spots on the island are Po Lin Monastery and Tian Tan Buddha, and they’re situated next to each other, so it’s not a hassle to travel there. 

Here, you can relax and bask in the refreshing highland climate as you make your way to the Lantau attractions through the Ngong Ping 360 Cable Car. 

After the cable car ride, you’ll have to take 268 steps to reach Lantau’s peak and the attractions, so this trip is like a short meditation retreat to keep your mind off your long layover time. 

Victoria Harbour  

Media Credit: Louis Chen 

AddressAdmiralty, Hong Kong
Operating hoursOpen 24 hours 
Best for 10+ hour layover time

If you have a long layover time, we highly recommend exploring Victoria Harbour. It offers a lineup of cool and must-visit spots that will give you a view of how vibrant Hong Kong is. 

To get to and from Victoria Harbour, you can take the Airport Express Train or MTR line in Tung Chung. 

Some of the places you can explore in Victoria Harbour are The Peak, Avenue of Stars, Star Ferry, and Hong Kong Observation Wheel. Of course, you still need to consider how much time you have before your next flight before exploring the top spots in Victoria Harbour. 

Visit Shopping Zones

Citygate Outlets 

Address20 Tat Tung Rd, 大嶼山 Hong Kong 
Operating hoursMonday to Sunday – 10 AM to 10 PM 
Best for 3+ hour layover time 

If you have a short layover time and you want to kill some time before your next flight, you can go window-shopping at Citygate Outlets. It’s just a 10-minute drive away from HKIA, so it’s not hard to get here.

It’s one of the largest shopping malls in the city, and it features more than 90 international brands for fashion, accessories, beauty products, sports equipment, and even household items. 

Apart from that, the mall has several restaurants, a spa, and a cinema, so you can find a variety of things to do during your leisure time.

Temple Street Night Market 

Media Credit: Tim Northey 

AddressTemple St, Jordan, Hong Kong
Operating hoursMonday to Sunday – 2 PM to 11 PM 
Best for 10+ hour layover time 

Take advantage of your long or overnight layover time to shop for souvenirs and gifts at Temple Street Night Market

This night market is a long sprawl of stalls from Jordan to Yau Ma Tei, and it comes to life as the sun dips below the horizon. Here, you can find a range of classic Hong Kong souvenirs like chopstick sets, teaware sets, Chinese-style purses, bags, magnets, and so much more. 

There are tons of fake goods too, so it’s not the best place to buy legit designer items. Unless, of course, you’re looking for a cheaper knockoff version of it. 

Check Out Dining Spots 

Crystal Jade   

Media Credit: Pang Panvirush 

AddressUnit 5T160, 1 Cheong Hong Rd, Chek Lap Kok, Hong Kong
Operating hoursMonday to Sunday – 10:30 AM to 10:30 PM 
Best for 2+ hour layover time 

Don’t let your tummies rumble while waiting for your connecting flight! In an hour or two, you can indulge in authentic Chinese cuisine at Crystal Jade. 

This 1-Michelin Star and multiple Michelin Bib Gourmand awardee has been a go-to lunch and dinner spot for traveling tourists and locals. Some of the dishes we recommend are their Shanghai Xiao Long Bao, Crystal Har Kau, and Deep-fried Yam Puff with Abalone. 

Oolaa Tung Chung  

AddressUnit G30, G/F, Citygate, 18-20 Tat Tung Road Tung Chung, Lantau Island, Hong Kong
Operating hoursMonday to Friday – 7 AM to 12 AM 
Saturday to Sunday – 8 AM to 12 AM 
Best for 4+ hour layover time

If you have more time to spend for your layover, you can get out of the airport to get some munchies. Tung Chung is easily accessible from HKIA, so if you’re craving some European cuisine, just drop by Oolaa Tung Chung. 

What’s good about this restaurant is that it’s open until midnight, so it’s literally an all-day dining and drinking spot. You can visit Oolaa Tung Chung, even if your flight lands late at night. 

Plus, the restaurant offers a collection of 12 menus, so if you wish to try new dishes and drinks, you’re in for a treat! They serve vegetarian dishes too, so there are more options for you. 

Maison Du Mezze 

AddressG/F, Shop G10, Sheraton Hong Kong Tung Chung Hotel 9 Yi Tung Road, Tung Chung, Lantau Island, Hong Kong
Operating hoursMonday to Friday – 12 PM to 3 PM, 5:30 PM to 10 PM 
Saturday to Sunday – 11:30 AM to 10 PM 
Best for 4+ hour layover time

Another restaurant you can check out in Tung Chung is Maison Du Mezze. This restaurant is located in the Sheraton Tung Chung Hotel, which is also a top spot for people who plan to stop over in Hong Kong for a day or two. 

Maison Du Mezze exudes a laidback and stylish atmosphere and serves a variety of traditional Lebanese/Mediterranean fare. If it’s your first time coming here, try their lunch set menu and Taste of Mezze set menu. 

Hong Kong Layover Itinerary Sample 

We made a sample flight and layover itinerary below to give you an overview of how to spend your layover time in Hong Kong. 

Flight Details
Departure Layover Arrival  
March 1, 2024 Stop at Hong Kong International Airport 

Arrival: 10:25 AM
(Layover time – 9 hours)

Departure: 7:25 PM 
March 2, 2024
Katunayake, Sri LankaNarita, Japan
5:00 AM11:30 AM 
DateTime Location 
March 1, 2024 11 AM to 12:30 PM Crystal Jade 
March 1, 2024 1 PM to 2 PM Citygate Outlets
March 1, 2024 3 PM to 5 PM Aviation Discovery Center 

The flight duration from Katunayake, Sri Lanka, to Hong Kong, is 5 hours and 25 minutes, while the flight duration from Hong Kong to Narita, Japan, is 4 hours and 25 minutes. Although layovers may seem impractical, they can still be advantageous if you wish to explore Hong Kong for a bit. 

As you can see, you can enjoy a range of activities depending on your layover time and you can still customize it depending on what you want to do in the city. 

For example, if you have a 10-hour layover time and you want to get out of the airport, you can go to Lantau Island and explore Po Lin Monastery and Tian Tan Buddha or visit Temple Street Night Market to do some shopping. 

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