A Night in HKG
January 4, 2012 7:48 PM   Subscribe

I have an overnight layover in Hong Kong. I've never been to either the city or the airport. What can/should I do?

I land in Hong Kong international airport on Friday at 10:45 PM Hong Kong time with my boyfriend and my sister. We fly out of HKG at 9:45 AM the next day. None of us have ever been to Hong Kong before.

Is there any benefit to leaving the airport? Anything to do at that time of night? If not, is there something that we can check out in the airport? We'll probably be tired but we don't need to sleep if there's something more exciting to do (the subsequent 20 hours on a plane will be ample napping time).

We are Canadians of legal age (in Canada -- the sister can't drink in the US of A). All of our luggage is headed straight home without any input from us so we'll only have carry-ons to deal with. We like to eat, but I don't eat meat.
posted by AmandaA to Travel & Transportation around Hong Kong (4 answers total)
Many restaurants in Hong Kong are open quite late. I've been to a hot pot restaurant at midnight and we had to wait 15 minutes for a table because it was completely mobbed.

Victoria Peak is open until midnight, but as you probably won't be able to make it in time, you can simply walk up the peak. There's actually a quiet little park close to the top that is quite nice and you will see one of the most amazing views in the world.

I don't think that HKIA restos/shops are open 24 hours, but it's definitely got a nice lounge where you can get a shower/massage/nap for about 500 HKD. Well worth it in my opinion. Also, free wi-fi everywhere. Once the shops are open, the shopping is fantastic.
posted by so much modern time at 8:12 PM on January 4, 2012

i'm not a native, and someone who lives there could possibly point you to less expensive/cliched choices perhaps, but... i've overnighted in hong kong twice, and was stuck in the airport at night a third time as well. the airport is pretty standard, you won't be missing anything if you get yourself into hong kong post haste. hong kong is gorgeous by night. totally agree on victoria peak, that's a heck of a view, get to the top no matter what! i took a taxi to get up there late at night, i didn't get the impression the park it was closed to the public or anything (i wandered around for an hour or so then found a waiting queue of taxis to take me back down) just that the tramway was closed (and i see it closes at midnight, so i guess i must have done this after midnight then) also just walking around downtown after dark is pretty cool, it's all modern and urban and sleek; i found cool statues, buildings, walkways, and a hip hop bar just wandering around randomly in the middle of the skyscraper district.

also, kowloon has long stretches of hong kong's famous neon overkill for miles on end, that's very much worth a look. i combined that with a late night foodie excursion - my cabbie was very helpful, (not to mention fluent in english) and was able to take me to a nightspot with great wontons right in the heart of the neon district - obviously ymmv but i've found the taxis to be good value and service every time i used them.

both overnights i spent less than usd $100, but more than usd $50 (closer to 100 though) to run around hong kong till like 4 in the morning, taking taxis, eating noodles and dumplings, having a beer or 2 at a hong kong hip hop barclub, etc not cheap, but it would be a lot more if you were staying for a week! if you can get back to crash at the airport instead of sleeping in a hotel in the city, you could make this the cheapest hong kong trip ever.
posted by messiahwannabe at 10:53 PM on January 4, 2012

The lounge at the airport is totally worth using. You pay by the hour, and it includes buffet food and drinks, internet access and loungers. You can pay extra for a sleeping cubicle at one of the lounges (there are several). You can get a 10-minute shoulder massage also in the lounge quite cheaply.

Alternatively, there are nice quite loungers where you can stretch right out behind some plants near the big glass window in the airport. Not far from the shops or the gates. I slept in one of those for six hours and it was great.

There are lots of reasonably priced restaurants in the airport as a whole, too, if you choose not to use the lounge.
posted by lollusc at 12:32 AM on January 5, 2012

Hmm, you arrive at 10:45 PM, Customs and airport shenanigans can take a while in HK if its busy then you can get the Airport Express train (30 mins) or a Taxi (about 30-40 mins) into town. Realistically you won't make it into town till after Midnight.

But then Hong Kong is actually still quite lively till late in the night so it might be worth it. There will still be restaurants open and perhaps some of these late night food spots that pop up. However the Vegetarian Options are VERY limited in HK.

There are a lot fo bars open very late down near Wan Chai - but its a bit 'sleezy' with mostly expats and some strip clubs etc.

I imagine that around Temple Street Night Market and towards Mong Kok on Nathan Rd is still pretty lively at night as well. but I think the markets might start to close up around 1am

Its a shame you can't extend a day as its really quite worthwhile to spend a whole day in HK.

On the other hand - the food options in the Airport are ok-ish. They have a few HK style foodstuffs amongst the McDonalds but its not really the same experience.
posted by mary8nne at 3:57 AM on January 5, 2012

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