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On my trip home back from Sri Lanka, I had the opportunity for a stopover in this incredible city. I wanted to write a long layover guide to Hong Kong, as it seems a very popular place to stop on flights back to the US.

It’s truly the most ideal city I’ve been to on a layover when it comes to ease of getting in and out of the city — the transportation is fast, convenient, and set up in a way that is easy to understand. The Long Layover Guide to Hong Kong

At first, when I landed from a red-eye flight, I thought I would skip heading into Hong Kong. But after thinking it through, I realized there was no way I was going to spend the entire day in the airport.

So instead of turning right to connecting flights, I made my way to immigration. The Long Layover Guide to Hong Kong

The Long Layover Guide to Hong Kong

The Long Layover Guide to Hong Kong

A quick ten minutes of passing through, I was out in Hong Kong.

What was a caffeine-fueled adventure, turned into one of the best days I’ve spent exploring by myself in a city.

Whether it was the delirious state of mind or lack of sleep, Hong Kong woke up a new side of curiosity for me.

I realized something when I was there — traveling alone requires a lot of self-motivation. It would have been so much easier to sit at the lounge in the airport, read my book, take a nap and hang out. It took a lot of mental energy to push through to go explore.

Self-motivation is something I am always wanting to get better at, whether it’s small things like going to the gym, taking the 5 minutes to make the bed, or in this case, heading out to explore Hong Kong.

This is what I love about travel — the opportunity to sharpen skills and refine ourselves.

Anyways, back to Hong Kong.

The Long Layover Guide to Hong Kong

Whether you’re stopping for 5 hours or in my case 12, you can easily access the airport.

It is vital you calculate how much time it will take to get back, plus the time to get through security and passport control before your flight.

I breezed through on the way in but that may not always be the case.


I would suggest that you need at least 5 hours to get in and out of the city and to get back in time for your flight.

First, calculate how much time you will have.


Travelers from the US do not need visas to enter, so it makes passport control uber easy.

For other passengers, be sure to check out the Visit Visa Website as per Hong Kong guidelines.

Storing luggage

I had a small backpack and a carry-on with me when I got off the plane in HK and I surely wasn’t going to drag it around while visiting.

Hong Kong Airport has a great service in Terminal 2 on level 3, where they will store your bags securely for around $2 an hour. You simply go to the counter and they weigh it in and in return give you a slip of paper.

Here’s more information on their site.

Getting to and from the airport

This was the easiest part. The fastest way in is with the Airport Express which is right in the middle of Terminal 2. It departs about every 10 minutes, and gets you right into the heart of the city in around 24 minutes for $14.

I’d recommend going all the way to Hong Kong Station to see more of the city. There are other stops that are closer like Kowloon Station.

Simply purchase a roundtrip ticket at the counter and keep it with you to enter/exit at each station.

More information on the Airport Express.

The Long Layover Guide to Hong Kong

The Long Layover Guide to Hong Kong

Things to do on your layover

Explore a local market (5+ hour layover)

There is Cat Street where they are selling art, Chun Yeung Market where local produce, Flower Market, and Goldfish Market is popular.

The Tram to Victoria Peak (8+ hour layover)

This is one of the most popular things to do in Hong Kong, as it provides an unparalleled view of the city. However, you will need a bit of time as often there is a wait to go up.

Take Bus 15 from Exchange Square bus terminus near MTR Hong Kong Station, Exit D.

Walk the neighborhood (as much time as needed)

This is what I did while I was in Hong Kong.

I got off at Hong Kong Station, and started walking.

I knew I wanted to see Man Mo Temple and grab coffee, with a lunch eventually at Kaum at Potato Head.

So I headed out on foot and got to see much of the neighborhood this way.

Take the Star Ferry (5+ hours)

Get off at Kowloon Station and grab the ferry over to Hong Kong island for under a dollar. It’s scenic and gives you a great view of the area.

Coffee shops to check out near Hong Kong Station

Restaurants within a taxi ride/long walk of Hong Kong Station

The Long Layover Guide to Hong Kong

The Long Layover Guide to Hong Kong

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These are the sites I use most to book my own trips. Using the links below is a great way to support Bon Traveler’s travel journalism at no extra cost to you. If you need help organizing your itinerary, get my free travel itinerary template here.

1. Book Your Flights

Use Skyscanner to find the best flights. It searches 100s of airlines and websites across the globe to ensure you’re not missing out on any route options or deals.

2. Book Your Accommodations

Use for hotels and guest houses. They have the biggest inventory and consistently offer the best rates.

3. Book Your Tours & Experiences

Use Viator or Get Your Guide to find the best tours and experiences. They are my favorite tour search engines. I always check both as their inventory varies depending on the destination.

4. Book Your Car

Use Discover Cars or to find the best car rental deals. I recommend comparing rental agency reviews on Google to ensure you are booking with the best company in that destination, as the reviews are often more accurate than the car rental search engines.

5. Don’t Forget Airport Lounge Access

Get a Priority Pass membership to gain access to 1,400+ VIP lounges and airport experiences worldwide. The Priority Pass app is the first thing I check when I have a layover. I’ve been a member for over a decade, and having a comfortable place to relax before and between flights makes air travel so much more enjoyable.

6. Don’t Forget Travel Insurance

I never leave the country without travel insurance. It provides comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong (ie. illness, injury, theft, and cancelations, etc.). I use it frequently for my travels to stay protected.

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  1. Brilliant write up. You say to allow five hours out and back into the airport. So if I have an 11.5 hour layover then I probably won’t have time to do the tram to victoria peak?

    • Jessica Wright Reply

      It would be pretty tight on time. The lines at the tram are often rather long as well…

  2. I will have a 17-hour layover in March. IS that enough time to visit Disney for 4 or 5 hours?

    • Jessica Wright Reply

      I think it should be enough depending on how quickly you can get out of the airport..

  3. Audrey Wong Reply

    If I have a 7 hour layover, it would be quite tight to go out and back in?
    You said the airport express takes 24 mins, and 10mins to get the the train from terminal 2. How did it become 5 hours – is that including security?

    • Jessica Wright Reply

      I am suggesting 5 hours minimum to make it worth it to go into the city, inclusive of the train times/customs/reentry. I think anything less than that of a layover is not worth it since you need to calculate time before your next flight.

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