Airport Explore, Travel
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Airport Explore: Hong Kong International Airport

I have visited many airports over the years for my travels.  Many times, there are at least a few hours of free time between my connecting flights.  This series aims to give the reader an idea on what to do, where to eat, and where to shop on your next layover or destination.

If you are flying to any destinations in Southeast Asia, you will likely pass through Hong Kong International Airport (“HKIA”) which is the hub for Cathay Pacific. HKIA has two terminals,T1 (the larger of the two) and T2, which also offers free Wi-Fi.  For those flying internationally, you will most likely end up at Terminal 1.

I fly from New York to Vietnam once a year for my charity work and have passed through Terminal 1 on numerous occasions.  I now have a plan to make my stay at HKIA as efficient and enjoyable as possible.  After spending at least 10+ hours on the plane, I rush through security to get to the terminal to visit the Plaza Premium Lounge.  The west hall location is located near Gate 40 (level 7) and the east hall lounge is located near gate 1 (level 6).  Plaza Premium Lounge also has a Shower & Relaxation Hall located near Gate 60 (level 7)

Plaza map

The main attraction for me is the shower stall.  For approximately USD 26.00 or HKD 200, you have one hour in your own private shower room with a spa shower.  This is a luxury after flying halfway around the world in economy class.  The Plaza Premium Lounge provides all the amenities of a hotel bathroom to make it even easier for you to get refreshed and look fabulous on your next flight.

Plaza 5

If you have an even longer layover, you can also opt to hang out in their lounge which provides amble comfortable seating, food, and drinks, all for a reasonable price per hour.  The minimum hourly stay is two hours for approximately USD 60 or HKD 480.  I have used this service before and highly recommend it if you do not want to explore the airport and have more than two hours to kill before your boarding time.

Plaza 4 Plaza 3 Plaza 1 Plaza 2

Photo Source:  Plaza Premium Lounge

I usually have one to two hours left before my connecting flight to Vietnam after I shower and refresh myself.  My next focus is to load up on decent food at the airport.  This is not a gourmet meal that you’ll get in Hong Kong but if you are stuck in Terminal 1, these are my favorite options

Maxim’s Jade Garden (Level 8 near check-in hall mezzanine)

I really like their dim sum which is at least the best you’ll get at the airport.  It satisfies my real food craving after mediocre airplane food.  I usually go here if I have an early flight back to the US.

Park Loh Chiu Chow Restaurant (Level 7 in the East Hall)

You can also check out Park Loh Chiu Chow for a quick bite of dim sum and congee. They serve other dishes but I usually stick to dim sum and congee when I come here.

Tsui Wah Eatery (Level 7 in the East Hall)

If you are craving a quick snack, you can make your way to Tsui Wah Eatery for some milk tea and light pastries.

Tsui Wah Restaurant (Level 8 near the check in hall mezzanine)

You can also make a stopover for some local dishes at the sister restaurant if you want a more substantial meal.

Precious Congee

HKIA also has a bustling fast food court from which you can grab some excellent options on the go.  The only one I remember going back to was Precious Congee.  My stomach is usually weak after a long flight full of airplane food and snacks loaded with preservatives, so I tend to favor congee (rice soup) or noodles soups.  They are much kinder to your stomach.  Precious Congee has a variety of delicious congee that sooths the hungry stomach, making it an easier option for me when I have limited time at HKIA.

If you still have time after refreshing and eating at Terminal 1, you can stroll around the numerous shops beckoning your wallet with open arms.  There are always the ubiquitous duty free shops and designer shops which I tend to avoid.  I have never found a reason to lug extra alcohol/ cigars/ perfumes/ designer goods back to the US.  I focus on shopping for things I do not normally find in the US or browse for things that I forget to pack.

Giordano (Level 7 in the East Hall)

Giordano is the equivalent of the Gap from Korea.  I like to stop by the store to pick up some basics like socks, tights, and T-shirts for those moments when I forget to pack those things or want to wear something new for the second leg of my journey.

I also like to stop by all of the beauty shops to load up on lotion sample for the flight.  The must have samples are eye cream, hand and face lotion, and cleansers.

Kiehl’s (Level 6 east hall)

A New York based company that has high quality skin care for the flight.  This is an excellent place to stock up on samples for your next flight.

Manning (they have a few locations located throughout the terminal)

I remember popping into this store to get some over the counter medicine and the sheet masks for the plane.  They have an assortments of beauty products to check out if you are bored or hunting for those last minute souvenirs.

I hope that you now have a better idea of what to do at Hong Kong International Airport over the two to three hour layover.  Please leave me a comment of other places I should check out at Hong Kong International Airport or other interesting airports.

For related articles, visit the TRAVEL page.

Author:  Chau Hoang 

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