Last day in Hong Kong (option 2)

In this previous post, I have written about how to spend the last day in Hong Kong the most efficient. Now, I will discuss another option that you can choose.

Hong Kong airport in-town check-in service

When you want to avoid the hassle of walking around aimlessly with your heavy luggage after checking out of your hotel at 12:00 in the afternoon and it is still a long time before your flight, you can make use of the In-town check in service. What it means is that with the Hong Kong Airport Express, you can already check-in at the metro stations Kowloon or Hong Kong from 90-minutes to a day prior to your flight. This service can vary per airline, so it is best to consult your airline company or the official website of Hong Kong International airport. When it is possible for you to already check-in a day before you leave, you can just drop all your luggage off at the specific counter of the airline with which you are flying, located at the Kowloon or the Hong Kong metro station and get your boarding pass already. This is really convenient when you are living close to these stations. The next day, you can still do some shopping and sightseeing, until it is about time for your flight. The extra things you buy can still be stored in your hand luggage. This way, you don't have to waste an extra day in Hong Kong.

The disadvantage is that you are obligated to take the Hong Kong Airport Express train to travel to the airport. The fares are relatively expensive, since per person, you pay HK$100 for the trip from Hong Kong station - airport, HK$90 from Kowloon station - airport, or HK$60 from Tsing Yi station - airport. You can however at least get a 5% discount, when you order it online at the official MTR website. After ordering, you have to collect the tickets within 90 days from the order date at the designated Airport Express Customer Service Centres. In this case, it would either be at the Tsing Yi, Kowloon or Hong Kong Station.

Airport express group tickets

When you are not traveling alone, you can get increasing discounts for traveling in a group of 2,3 or 4 as can be seen in the table underneath.

Airport express train group ticket fares
 The fares are taken from here

So for example, if you are traveling together with one friend, you each only pay HK$80 for a ticket from Hong Kong station to the airport. When you are traveling with two more people, only HK$70 per ticket and with three more people only HK$62,50 per ticket. The conditions are that you can only buy the tickets at any Airport Express Customer Service Center on the day that you are going to use it and you must travel together at the same time, so one person cannot go take the train ahead of the other(s). The MTR staff may ask you to show them the tickets you bought together. On the tickets themselves, you can tell how big the group is supposed to be and from which station you came. So you really cannot lie yourself out of it. Although, nobody ever checked my tickets when I traveled with these tickets.

Freebies with the purchase of the Airport express group tickets

Transformers Airport Express ticket
This time, the theme on the Airport Express tickets was Transformers as the movie just came out, but this changes regularly. It makes it a good collector's item.
Toy Story 3 Airport Express tickets
The airport express cards with the theme Toy Story 3. You can see on the card that a group of two traveled from Hong Kong station.

At the time, there was also a special promotion going on and you would get a Toy Story zip lock bag with a small towel in it for free with the purchase of those group traveling tickets. This compensates the relatively higher prices a bit. Because if you took the city bus (A11), which goes from various places on Hong Kong Island to the airport and also the return trip, it would have only cost me HK$40 per person at most. 

Toy story 3 mini towel
The Toy story 3 mini towel
Toy story 3 zip lock bag
Toy story 3 zip lock bag

Ways of traveling from and to Hong Kong airport

Taking the A11 city bus, requires you to know when you have to get out of the bus and find the hotel in the sometimes scorching heat with heavy luggage, when you have just arrived in Hong Kong, and when you leave Hong Kong, you have to carry all your bags to the bus stop, which can be pretty far away from where you are staying. Some hotels provide special shuttle buses taking you directly from the airport to the hotel and the way back, stopping only at the Coach station on Terminal 2 at the airport and at the hotel entrance. City garden hotel for example charges HK$140 per person per trip. Taking a taxi from the airport to Central would cost approximately HK$280-290 according to this table. Depending on the amount of people you are traveling with, the pieces of luggage, and how much you think the hassle you save is worth, you can figure out which traveling method is the best for you. 

The Airport Express train can really be convenient for travelers going to Hong Kong for the first time as it can be easily located at the airport. You barely have to carry your luggage up and down and it provides free shuttle buses at the Hong Kong and Kowloon stations to most major hotels and transport interchanges.

Because I was traveling alone to Hong Kong for my internship, I thought it would be really nice to not have to deal with my heavy luggage or to ask directions from strangers all the time. My luggage was weighing a staggering 30 kilos, because of my extensive formal work wardrobe, so it was not an easy task to roll the heavy suitcase around. I just bought an Airport Express ticket, after retrieving my suitcase at the airport, rolled the suitcase on board of the train as there is no height difference between the platform and the train, and placed the suitcase in the designated area on the floor of the train (I cannot imagine having to lift the suitcase or even bring it above my head >_<). I also didn't have to worry about people stealing my suitcase as the trains are never really crowded with people. I could just comfortably sit down and relax on the luxurious seats, while the train doesn't shake around or make loud noises, and calmly recover from the exhausting 12 hour flight. You can also enjoy the nice view from the windows. After arriving at the Hong Kong station, it was very easy to find the terminal with the free shuttle bus to my hotel. The friendly bus driver helped me carry the heavy suitcase on the bus, which is part of the free porter service that comes with my train ticket. After a short bus ride, I got out of the bus right in front of the hotel entrance. Everything just went smoothly.

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