Hong Kong Essay, Research Paper
No one who ever flew into Hong Kong’s Kai Tak Airport could ever quite forget the experience of landing in one of the world’s most densely populated cities. The runway extended out into the bay and continued past apartments so close you could almost reach out and touch the laundry fluttering from the bamboo poles. But Kai Tak, which ranked as the world’s third busiest for international passengers in 1996 and as the world’s busiest cargo airport, was retired in 1998, and taking its place is the new Hong Kong International Airport (tel. 852/2181-0000), four times the size of Kai Tak. Situated just north of Lantau island on Chek Lap Kok Island and reclaimed land, about 15 miles from Hong Kong’s central business district, the new, state-of-the-art airport is one of the world’s most user-friendly. Two runways operate 24 hours a day; a shuttle train, moving walkways, and 124 immigration desks keep people flowing efficiently; and a baggage-handling system delivers bags in approximately 10 minutes.After Customs, visitors find themselves in the arrivals hall. One of the first things you should do is stop by the counter of the Hong Kong Tourist Association (HKTA) in the arrivals hall, where you can pick up a map of the city, sightseeing brochures, and a wealth of other information, as well as get directions to your hotel. It’s open daily from 6am to midnight.Also in the arrivals hall is the counter of the Hong Kong Hotel Association, where you can book a room in one of its 60-some member hotels free of charge; it’s open daily, from 6am to 1am. Note, however, that they do not have information on rock-bottom establishments, but they can book rooms in several low-priced lodgings and the YMCAs.If you plan on traveling to Macau, stop by the Macau tourist information counter, also in the arrivals lobby; it’s open daily from 9am to 10:30pm.You can exchange money at the arrivals hall, but since the exchange rate here is rather unfavorable, it’s best to exchange only what you need to get into town. About $20 (U.S.) should be enough, and be sure to tell the bank teller that you need small change if you plan to take the airport bus (described below), since exact change is required.At any rate, all passenger services, including the passenger terminal, arrivals hall, and transportation into the city, is on one level, which means you never have to use a staircase or elevator.If you need to leave luggage at the airport, there is a luggage-storage counter on the departure floor.A Note on Departure: One of the benefits of the Hong Kong International Airport is that you can check in at one of two satellite stations-at Hong Kong Central Station at Exchange Square and at Kowloon Station north of Kowloon Park, both served by the Airport Express Line (see below). Both allow you to check in, get your boarding pass, pay your departure tax (which is HK$50 for adults and children), and have your bags transferred to the airport, for a fee of HK$30. You can also travel directly to the airport and go through check-in there, which takes approximately 30 minutes. At any rate, passengers waiting for their flights can browse at the Hong Kong Sky Mall, with more than 100 outlets offering merchandise and food.