Hong Kong Layover: Transit Visa, Things to Do, Hotel, Transport

Written by Sally Guo Updated Jun. 28, 2023

Have a layover in Hong Kong? Fear not! It’s quite easy to transit in Hong Kong and Hong Kong also offers a lot of activities to keep you occupied during your layover.

This article covers everything you need to know to make the most of your Hong Kong layover, including Hong Kong transit visa, things to do during the layover, hotel, and transport options, and luggage storage tips.

Do I Need Transit Visa for Hong Kong Layover?

Nationals from about 170 countries, including the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada, can visit Hong Kong without a visa. Check whether you need a Hong Kong visa to leave the airport.

If you are an Indian national, you are required to apply for and successfully complete pre-arrival registration (PAR) online before you can visit Hong Kong visa-free.

Top Things to Do during a Layover in Hong Kong

Hong Kong is a bustling city with plenty of things to see and do. Even if you only have a few hours on a layover, you can still experience some of Hong Kong's top attractions. Here are the top things to do during a layover in Hong Kong:

top attractions map for hongkong layover

1. Ride the Star Ferry on Victoria Harbour

Located between Hong Kong Island and Kowloon, Victoria Harbour is the heart of Hong Kong. With its impressive skyline of towering skyscrapers and glittering lights, Victoria Harbour is an iconic sight you should not miss, especially at night when the stunning light show - A Symphony of Lights illuminates the cityscape.

Taking the Star Ferry across Victoria Harbour is a great way to see the skylines and experience the beauty of Hong Kong. The ferry is affordable and operates frequently, making it a convenient option for a short layover.

The shortest voyage (Tsim Sha Tsui - Central) takes about 7 minutes and costs about US$0.5.

Victoria Harbour

2. Take the Tram to Victoria Peak

Victoria Peak is the highest point in Hong Kong. The Peak offers the best view of the skyline and Victoria Harbour, making it a popular spot for locals and tourists.

Taking the tram is the best way to get to the Peak. Along the way, you will see trees and skyscrapers on both sides seeming to recede behind you. It only takes 6 minutes and costs about US$8 for a single trip.

On the Peak, you can enjoy panoramic views of Hong Kong, walk along scenic trails, have a meal at one of many restaurants, or take photos at Madame Tussauds Hong Kong.

3. Have Fun at Hong Kong Disneyland

Hong Kong Disneyland is a magical place to have fun for visitors of all ages. There are plenty of rides and attractions to enjoy, you can also meet your favorite Disney characters, watch live shows and parades, dine at various themed restaurants, and view the spectacular fireworks show.

Whether you're traveling with family or friends, visiting Hong Kong Disneyland will surely be an unforgettable part of your layover in Hong Kong.

We offer Hong Kong Disneyland tickets at a reasonable price!

4. Explore the Temple Street Night Market

Temple Street is a local street market in Kowloon. It's a great place to shop for souvenirs, try street food, and experience the local culture.

As the sun sets, the market comes alive with colorful lights, haggling vendors, and delicious street food. Browse through the stalls to find souvenirs, clothing, electronics, and more. Don't miss the fortune tellers, street performers, and traditional Chinese opera singers.

5. Go to Happy Hour at Lan Kwai Fong

Located in Central, Lan Kwai Fong is famous for its restaurants, bars, and clubs. It is home to a diverse range of dining options, from upscale restaurants to street food stalls.

The bars and clubs in Lan Kwai Fong offer a vibrant nightlife experience, with live music and DJs. It's a great place to meet new people and enjoy a night out.

6. Try Dim Sum in a Local Restaurant

From savory steamed dumplings to sweet egg tarts, there is a wide variety of dim sum to choose from. Dim sum is not only delicious food but also a cultural experience of Hong Kong. Don't miss out on the chance to indulge in this tasty and unique cuisine during your layover.

7. Visit Po Lin Monastery and the Big Buddha

Po Lin Monastery is one of Hong Kong's most famous attractions located on Lantau Island. The monastery has one of the biggest bronze statues of Buddha in a sitting position in the world, called the Big Buddha or Tian Tan Buddha.

Taking the Ngong Ping 360 cable car from Tung Chung is the best way to get to Po Lin Monastery. It will take you over the lush greenery of Lantau Island and offer breathtaking views of the Big Buddha statue. The single trip takes 25 minutes and costs about US$20~25.

Big Buddha statue

8. Relax at Repulse Bay Beach

If you want to escape the busy city and relax by the beach, Repulse Bay is a great option. It's a popular spot for swimming and sunbathing, with plenty of facilities and restaurants nearby. The scenery is stunning, and it's a great way to unwind during your layover.

Recommended Hong Kong Layover Tour

With convenient public transport (MTR) and the wide use of English in Hong Kong, it is easy to get around during your Hong Kong layover.

Here, we have provided several tour options based on the lengths of layover times. You can choose one of them based on your schedule.

If You Have a 4-Hour Stopover in Hong Kong

If your layover is less than 5 hours, you are not recommended to leave the airport as it takes at least 45 minutes to travel to and from Hong Kong International Airport, and you will need to return 2 hours before your next flight.

Hong Kong International Airport is one of the world's best airports. It provides free WiFi and a wide variety of shops, restaurants, and entertainment facilities. You will be fully entertained.

If You Have a 6-Hour Layover in Hong Kong

You are recommended to take a blue taxi from HKG to Tung Chung, it takes about 10 minutes and costs US$0.1. Then take the Ngong Ping 360 cable car to visit Po Lin Monastery and the Big Buddha.

On this route, you can enjoy the natural beauty of Lantau Island.

If You Have an 8-Hour Layover in Hong Kong

You are recommended to go downtown by Airport Express. Take a Star Ferry ride to visit Victoria Harbour, take the tram to the Peak, and walk along the Avenue of Stars.

By experiencing the iconic Hong Kong skyline, you will enjoy the classic Hong Kong urban landscape.

If You Have a 12-Hour Layover in Hong Kong

Besides the must-see Victoria Harbour and the Peak, you are recommended to add Temple Street Market to experience local life, visit Repulse Bay to relax on the beach, or go to Lan Kwai Fong to enjoy a night out.

If You Are Traveling with Kids

Hong Kong Disneyland and Ocean Park Hong Kong are great options for a family-friendly adventure.

Hong Kong Disneyland

Disneyland offers a magical experience with its thrilling rides, Disney characters, and stunning parades. Meanwhile, Ocean Park is a marine-life theme park that is both entertaining and educational, featuring animal exhibits, exciting rides, and breathtaking ocean views.

Want to book Hong Kong Disneyland tickets or Ocean Park Hong Kong tickets? We can help!

If You Would Like to Visit Macau

Visiting Macau is recommended if you have more than an 8-hour layover in Hong Kong.

Most foreign tourists can enter Macau from Hong Kong without a visa. Check whether you need a Macau visa or not.

Taking a ferry at SkyPier is the best way from Hong Kong Airport to Macau. It takes about 70 minutes and cost US$35. You DO NOT need to go through immigration and reclaim your baggage.

However, the ferry is only available on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday during the Covid-19 period. The alternative way is to take a taxi or a shuttle bus to Macau via the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge. It takes about 50 minutes for a single way.

Recommended Tour: 1-Day Macau Seat-in-Coach Tour from Hong Kong

Transport Options from HKG to Downtown

There are several transportation options for travelers to get from Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) to downtown.

Airport Express (Highly Recommended)

Airport Express is the fastest and most convenient from HKG to downtown. You can enjoy free WiFi throughout. Travel between the airport and Central takes just 24 minutes on the Airport Express and only costs US$15. The trains depart at approximately 15-30 minute intervals from 05:54 to 00:48 daily.

hong kong airport express

By booking Airport Express Tickets in advance, you can board the train with a QR code conveniently, and no need to redeem physical tickets!


Taxis offer a door-to-door service to and from HKG. It takes about 40 minutes (if there is no traffic jam) and costs US$50 for a single way.

Hong Kong taxis are color-coded according to their operating areas. Urban taxis (red) operate in most areas of Hong Kong. You can catch a taxi at the Taxi Station, located near the left-hand ramp outside the Arrivals Hall.

Public Bus

Hong Kong International Airport is well-served by public bus routes. The buses provide relatively inexpensive but more time-consuming transport options.

You can take A11, E11, and N11 routes from HKG to downtown. It usually takes more than 1 hour to get to Central.

Hotel Options for Hong Kong Layover

If you have an overnight layover in Hong Kong, having a good rest at the hotel is important for your next trip. Here we have listed some hotel recommendations for your reference.

Recommended Hotel near Hong Kong Airport

Regal Airport Hotel is a 5-star level hotel. It has an excellent location near HKG, only a 2-minute walk or 1-minute ride via shuttle bus from the arrival hall A of Terminal 1.

The hotel has direct access to the Airport Express Line, which brings you to Central within 30 minutes.

Recommended Hotels in Downtown Hong Kong

Recommended hotels near Hong Kong Station in Central: Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong (luxury), Lan Kwai Fong Hotel (superior), and Mini Central (budget).

Recommended hotels near Kowloon Station in Tsim Sha Tsui: The Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong (luxury), The Royal Pacific Hotel & Towers (superior), and Hang Ho Hostel (budget).

Where to Store My Luggage during a Stopover in Hong Kong?

If you will pick up your luggage before your next flight and don't want to take it during a layover trip, you can store the luggage at Hong Kong airport. The baggage storage facility is on Level 5 of Terminal 1, opening between 5:30 and 1:30 daily.

Storage fees are calculated based on storage duration, baggage dimension, and weight. For standard baggage, the storage rates are US$0.13 per hour or US$18 per day.

Do I Need Exchange Money on a Hong Kong Layover?

If you plan to do a short trip to downtown Hong Kong or Macau, you’d better exchange some cash before leaving the airport. Cash can be used for transportation and snacks on the streets. Credit cards can be used in most places, such as shopping malls and restaurants.

It is easy to find a currency exchange service inside the Arrivals Hall at HKG.

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