Hong Kong International Airport Arrival, Immigration, and Macau Ferry

Sunday, September 22, 2013

(Updated February 2017: Hong Kong no longer offers visa on arrival for Indian nationals. Please read this: http://www.desiyatri.com/2017/02/no-more-direct-visa-free-entry-into.html)

Visitors from most countries travelling to Hong Kong as tourists do not need any prior Visa. Please see this page for detailed information on Hong Kong Entry requirements: http://www.immd.gov.hk/eng/services/visas/visit-transit/visit-visa-entry-permit.html. In general, a short immigration form that is provided in flight to HK needs to be filled up and submitted to the immigration official along with the passport or other travel document that is valid for another six months. Other requirements include sufficient funds to cover the cost of the stay, and a confirmed return or onward journey ticket within a certain number of days as applicable to your country. Other than that, the immigration official has to trust you, that you will leave HK after the permitted period of stay. They generally do not trust single male travellers coming to Hong Kong for the first time and single young women coming from China or Vietnam or Thailand. I think you get the picture. All such suspects are taken aside for an interview before they are allowed an entry. But to the credit of Hong Kong immigration officials, they are always very polite and very professional. Their questions are pertinent and they expect honest answers. Depending on the number of persons waiting for their interview, this process can last up to an hour or even longer. When a visitor is not able to satisfy them, the immigration people can even refuse entry. Otherwise, you may say thanks and enter. Passports are not physically stamped but instead a small thermal print-out, like an ATM slip is given to the visitor on which the permitted period of stay is indicated. The second copy of the immigration card is also returned to the visitor. Both of these are to be preserved and presented to the immigration officials at the time of leaving Hong Kong. All immigration is free, there is no entry or visa or any other fee. Keep reading...

Hong Kong International Airport - Immigration Counters

After Immigration

You will be able to collect your checked baggage after immigration. Just look at the TV screens or ask one of the airport staff on which belt your flight's baggage is. Change your currency into HK dollars at the airport if you are not already carrying HKD. ATMs are available at the airport and some HKD can be withdrawn here for immediate needs. If you are carrying another currency like USD or something else, it not a good idea to change everything at the airport because exchange rates at any airport in the world are just horrible. In Hong Kong, Chungking Mansions is the place to find the best exchange rates in the city.

Travelling To City

Decide how you wish to travel to the HK city before leaving the airport. Inside the airport, you will find directions to go the Airport Express Train, Buses or Taxi. Buses are the least expensive followed by the Airport Express Train. If travelling with a family of 3-4, Taxi can be a good option. Solo traveler will do best taking the Train or a bus if you know the bus number that takes you to your hotel. Check your hotel website where they will most likely mention the bus number from airport. All the three modes of transport will be available if you arrive during the day, but arriving late at night may leave you only Taxi as an option. Also, buy an Octopus card at the airport that you can use on the Airport Express Train, City MTR (Metro) Trains, local buses, 7-Eleven stores, etc. You will get this card at the Airport Express Train counters. There are package Octopus cards that entitle you to one-way or two-way ride on the Airport Express Train and unlimited rides on the local MTR network for a fixed number of days. Consider buying one of those. Up to date information on facilities for passengers at Hong Kong International Airport can be accessed at www.hongkongairport.com.

Way to Immigration and Macau Ferry

Upon arrival at Hong Kong International Airport, aeroplanes dock in to an aero bridge. After coming out of the aero bridge there are sign boards in English pointing in the direction of Immigration and China/Macau ferry. See the following pictures and read on...

Arriving at Hong Kong International Airport

Ferry Tickets

If you plan to take a ferry from the airport (sky pier) to travel to mainland China or Macau, you need not go to Hong Kong immigration at all. Just before the immigration counters, a right turn brings you to the ferry ticket counters.

Hong Kong International Airport - Immigration / Macau Ferry Intersection

Now see the above picture. At this point you will have to take a pick. Whether to proceed to immigration counters or to the Macau ferry ticket counters. China/Macau Ferry ticket counters are located just before immigration. If taking a ferry, you need not worry about your checked baggage. The Macau / China Ferry company will bring your checked baggage and deliver it to you in Macau or mainland China after immigration at the destination. Ferry tickets are to be purchased against HK Dollars and in cash only.

Hong Kong International Airport - Macau Ferry Ticket Counter

Note The Ferry Timings

Ferry services from the sky pier are available during day time only and there are gaps in the service timings in the afternoon. In such a case, to avoid a long wait at the airport, one may consider the option of going to Hong Kong city to one of the ferry terminals there and catch a ferry from there. Of course that will require immigration that is a few minutes' job. Later go out of the airport and take a public bus. Read about bus number A-11 below.

Airport Bus A-11 To Ferry Terminal

Bus Stop A-11 From Hong Kong Airport To Macau Ferry Terminal

When I arrived at HKIA at about 5 pm, the guy at the ferry ticket counter told me that the next ferry service to Macau was a few hours away. He suggested that I took the A-11 bus to the North Point Ferry Terminal in the city. I did just that and was at the ferry terminal within 30 minutes. I was able to reach Macau a full two hours before the time it would have taken if I had waited for the airport ferry to Macau. The airport ferry ticket counter people even have a small printed bus stop map that they give free of cost to help the passengers. On the list, the ferry terminal is the third stop but actually the first stop where the bus stopped was the ferry terminal. Just ask a fellow passenger or the bus driver if you do not know where to get down.

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Posted by Narinder Singh


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I left my day job in October 2013 and became a full time blogger. I love travel and hence a travel blog was the obvious place to start from. The result is desiyatri.com. I currently live in Bengaluru, India. - Narinder Singh.


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