If your flight leaves from Hong Kong airport (HKG) early in the morning, (before 6am) you may want to know the best way to get there. Good thing for you Hong Kong has tons of public transport, including overnight services.
Different airlines close their checking desks at different times. For example, some airlines require you to check in at least one hour before departure, while for others the checking closes forty five minutes before departure, or sometimes even less. If you are planning to arrive for an early morning flight, appraise yourself of exactly when you need to get to the airport at the latest.
The first Airport Express leaves Hong Kong station at 5.50 a.m., Kowloon station at 5.53 a.m. and Tsing Yi at 6.00 a.m. It takes twenty four minutes, so will have you at the airport at 6.14 a.m. After that the headway between trains is ten minutes. Keep in mind, depending on your destination and airline, it may be possible to check-in your luggage the day before, and you’ll simply hop on the train with carry-on the day of your flight.
- First train from Hong Kong 5:50 am
- Kowloon 5:53 am
- Tsing Yi 6:00 am
See the full timetable here.
The Airport Express basically runs like clockwork, so you can plan around this timetable. Arriving at the airport station there are no exit barriers, free carts are arranged on the platform and there is easy stairless access to both Terminals One and Two from the train, so from the time you step off the train you should get to the checking aisle for your airline in under five minutes – if you know where you are going it will be more like two or three minutes. The aisles are in reverse order, so if checking in to e.g. aisles K or H (Hong Kong Airlines and Dragonair, respectively) it’s closer coming off the front end of the train, while for aisles B or C (Cathay), it’s closer coming off the back end of the train.
Time taken by the train to get to/from the airport
- Hong Kong to Airport: 24 min
- Kowloon to Airport: 21 min
- Tsing –YI to Airport: 13
- Where to purchase the ticket: Any Airport express customer service center/ticket issuing machines.
- Discount tickets: Purchase AE discount tickets from Klook. We purchase from them to save a few ducks, including many readers.
- Group Discounts: MTR offers group fares on the AE. See here for more details.
- Free ride for kids under 3.
Buses are the cheapest way to get around Hong Kong. E buses are the cheapest but their services start at 5:25 earliest. If your plan is earlier e.g. 4 am, you need to consider using night buses “N” buses.
Day Service, around 5:30am
HK’s A-numbered airport buses publish a first departure time. Full details can be found on the websites of the bus companies Cityflyer and Long Win. Each shows you the routes and if you click on the timetable icon you will see the time of the first scheduled bus departure. Many services start at around 5.10 a.m. For example, A10 service starts at 5.30 a.m. and A11 and A43 at 5.10 a.m.
Bear in mind that the departure time is from the first stop so the first departure from a given stop will be later depending on how far down the route it is. Travel time to the airport will vary depending on how far the journey is, though at that time of day at least traffic tends to be light. These buses are generally reliable but as with many bus services, the timetable is a guide not an exact rendition like it can be with the Airport Express, so if you are worried that the bus timing is a bit tight to make your flight you may wish to consider alternative forms of transport.
The cheaper E-numbered buses also operate at similar times, starting at around 5.30 a.m. in general. Bear in mind that the E routes tend be to slightly slower than the A routes due to more stops. See the timetables on the websites of Cityflyer and Long Win.
Night service, around midnight to 5am
If you would like to take a bus and these services are not early enough, you may consider the limited nightbus service. These are listed on the airport website. Main services include the N11 for Hong Kong side and N21 for Kowloon side, but in fact there are services from most parts of Hong Kong – look through the route listings for more details. Like E routes, night buses tend to make more stops (for example at various airport outbuildings and stops in Tung Chung) so pay attention to the estimated journey times – the time it took you to take the A11 from the airport, for example, will be shorter than the time it takes you to take the N11 back to the airport.
If your hotel is in Central, Tsim Tsui or Tung Chung you will use bus N11, N21 respectively. Here is a link to a more Citybus Night Buses information, click on the overnight owl. Schedules and fares are also available on that site.
These night buses start operating at 00:15 and end service at 5:30. From there you can use the normal buses mentioned above.
Time taken by the buses
- Night buses: 45 to 60 minutes depending on your location and route.
- Daytime buses: 60 to 90 minutes depending on location, route, and traffic.
You can get a taxi/uber at your hotel/place of stay. Most front desks are happy to arrange for one. Otherwise, you can flag one down.
Travel time: depend on the hour. The taxi can take between 30-45 minutes to get to the airport overnight when there is little traffic.
Hong Kong Taxis are charged by the meter. Approximate taxi fares are available here.
STAY AT THE AIRPORT
If these options don’t appeal to you bear in mind that there is an airport hotel directly connected to the main terminal building, the Regal Airport Hotel as well as some hotels fairly close by, such as the Novotel Citygate in Tung Chung town center, several minutes’ taxi ride or a short bus ride from the airport
You can stay at these properties and not have to wake up so early for your flight, but there is really no need as the city hotels are still accessible as you can see above.
Any method you choose, you will not have a problem getting to or from HKIA in the dark hours.