As far as I’m concerned, there’s really only one way to get from the airport to the city and it’s the Airport Express. Sure, you can take a taxi or a bus, but I have no idea how much time that would take and I can’t imagine a taxi would be cheaper at all.
As soon as you get through immigration, you’ll see the huge Airport Express desk where you can buy your ticket. At the counter, you’ll have a chance to purchase a one way or a round trip ticket.
The round trip ticket for the Airport Express alone is $210 HKD (about $26 USD). The daily metro pass is $65 HKD and the tourist pass for a round trip fare on the Airport Express along with 3 days of metro rides is $350 HKD. You can check out the most recent prices here at the Hong Kong Airport page.
Metro (MTR) Pass
You’ll also have the opportunity to purchase a daily metro pass for 3 days. If you’re unsure about whether to purchase the metro pass, you can also buy it at various metro stations in the city. My thought on this is if you’re traveling solo or just as a couple, the daily pass makes sense. However, if you’re traveling with a group of friends, it may not be worth it. It’s very possible a cab split 4 ways is cheaper than taking the metro. It may be worth the time to figure out your situation but my feeling is the larger the group, the less the daily metro becomes worth it.
As a solo traveler, I ALWAYS get the metro pass. not only is it the cheapest way to get around, but also the easiest. Hong Kong’s streets can be congested and you’ll find that the metro will get you almost anywhere you need to go. I find that it’s just easier for me to purchase the metro pass in conjunction with the Airport Express ticket but you can purchase it at any of the major metro stops in the city.
One thing to note about the 3 day metro pass is that the clock starts the moment you use it for the MTR and not the Airport Express. However, you also get to use it for the full day of your 3rd day. So, if you arrive at 8am and use the metro, you’ll basically be riding the MTR for free the last day. Although your 72 hours would technically be over at 8am on your 3rd day, you still get the remainder of the 3rd day to ride the MTR at no additional cost.
Express time and free shuttle buses
The express takes exactly 24 minutes (because it’s advertised that way) and if it’s off, it isn’t off by more than a few seconds. When visiting Hong Kong, you’ll more than likely be getting off at either Kowloon or Central station.
At Kowloon station, you’ll want to head straight past the ticket scanning gate and go toward the elevator (just to the right past the escalators). From there, you’ll want to go up to level G (one level up) and then make the first left. You’ll see the signs on the ceiling as well pointing you in the right direction. Right in front of you is where you’ll see the 6 seating areas for the different shuttles. If you’re unsure of which shuttle to take, you can ask the person sitting at the counter and they’ll be able to assist you. The shuttles depart about every 10 mins so you won’t be waiting very long.
Airport Express back to the airport
If leaving from Hong Kong Station, depending on your airline and destination, you’ll be able to check in for your flight at the station. That way, you won’t have to carry the bags you’re going to check anyways onto the train and through the airport. If departing for the US, that option isn’t available since you have go through secondary screening.
When you’re leaving Hong Kong, you can take your card back to the desk at the airport (departures is on an upper level so you’ll have to go down the escalators one level to get to the desk). When you return your card, you’ll be refunded $50 HKD.