My arrival in Hong Kong was so smooth, from the moment I picked up my bag from the carousel to the moment I stepped off the free airport shuttle and landed at the footstep of my hotel. It couldn’t have been easier. It was as if someone, somewhere, knew exactly what I needed to do and where I was planning to go. The organization of the HK airport is completely logical, which allows for a nice, swift transfer to your destination.
After claiming my bag, I walked through the customs doors expecting to do the usual catwalk past the crowds of people who were awaiting the arrival of their loved ones. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised to find an isolated hallway prior to the release of passengers into the “public zone”. Across from the double doors was a currency exchange booth, which was coincidentally where I needed to go. It made perfect sense. In most airports, you usually have to weave through crowds of people before exchanging a wad of foreign currency for everyone to see. Adjacent to the currency exchange was a ticketing station for the MTR (Subway), which again, just so happened to be exactly what I needed! I told the clerk behind the desk where my hotel was. She responded by telling me which subway stop I needed and sold me the appropriate fare, while pointing out where I could find the entrance to the subway. After exiting the isolated hallway and entering the “public zone”, I continued with the flow of traffic when I nearly walked into the sign that read “City Trains Ahead”. Clearly, not difficult to find at all! Accustomed to Toronto, and other major cities such as Boston and New York, where I have lugged my suitcases on the subway, I was a tad nervous to try and navigate here while stuffing myself and my big backpack onto the packed subway. Again, pleasantly surprised, this subway turned out to be what I considered a deluxe GO Train (excuse the Toronto reference). And by deluxe, I mean the GO Train doesn’t even compare. This was a super-sleek, hi-tech, and high speed train that was used for the sole purpose of transporting airport passengers to the three major city centres. Equipped like a coach bus with room to stow your luggage, there were also cushioned seats that faced the plasma TVs and digital route lines with an exact countdown of time until the next stop….they even had free wifi!
After disembarking the train, I was a bit nervous about making my way through the city station. I remembered that the nice clerk at the airport told me that my hotel offered a free shuttle service….I just had no idea how that worked or where they were supposed to pick me up from, and of course I didn’t think to ask. Before I could even begin to wander around aimlessly, there was a lady in a MTR uniform ushering me towards a big sign that read “Hotel-Airport Shuttle”. How did she know? It must have had the big “tourist” sign stamped on my forehead. After following the sign, I proceeded down a short hallway where I saw a mini bus terminal. And again, before I could even read a route map or open my mouth to ask, there was another station attendant who asked me which hotel I was staying at. After telling him, he bowed his head and escorted me to the door of Bus #2. The glass door opened, I threw my bag in and got on the bus. Four stops later and I was at my hotel!
A completely hassle-free process! If only we had something like this in Toronto….