Hong Kong International Airport is an airport sitting on a man-made island near Tung Chung, a suburb of the city of Hong Kong. The travel time between the city center and the airport is anywhere between 30 minutes and 90 minutes, depending on traffic and your location in the city. The two primary ways to get to this massive airport is the MTR-Airport Express and CityFlyer / Long Win Bus Services. This airport is known for it’s sheer size and exotic traffic from every corner of the Earth. From South African Airways to American Airlines to Air France, this place has it all. I will try to cover the best spotting locations from around the airport to give you the best chance at getting some great shots.
The SkyDeck – 25L/R arrivals
Location – Terminal 2
Access – The SkyDeck is inside the Aviation Discovery Center, where you will have to buy a ticket, which ranges from 15 to 25HKD. You will then take an elevator to the roof where you can get 360 degree views of the entire Hong Kong Island and the whole airport, along with the container-ship ridden waters of the South China Sea and the Tung Chung Bay.
Tips – This spot is not recommended during summer afternoon’s because you will be completely backlit, causing dark and not very nice photos. This spot is open from 11:00a.m. to 10:00 p.m. on weekdays, and 9:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. on weekends and public holidays.
Dragonair Bridge – 07R departures
Location – Near Catering Road East
Access – Ride bus S64 and get off the “Cathay Pacific Catering Services” station. This spot gives some great views of planes departing RWY 07R to the east, but you will want to come on a clear day. This spot works best on widebody aircraft, which happens to be HKG’s most special trait. HKG handles more daily wide bodies than any airport in the world besides Dubai – International.
Tips – For this spot, you’ll definitely need a DSLR camera that can get high-quality shots from a distance. A lens of 300-400 mm length is sufficient for full-frame shots of widebody aircraft, and 500+mm for any narrowbodies to fill the frame. If you don’t have these kind of lenses, you will have some cropping to do.
HAECO – 07L arrivals, 25L departures
Location – South Perimeter Road
Access – To get to this location, take bus S52 and disembark at the final stop on the route. This spot will give some incredible backdrops on your photos, with some crazy mountains and light behind the aircraft. This spot is a favorite among locals.
Tips – This spot is quite close to the action, requiring only 200-300mm for a full-framed wide body aircraft, which you will see a whole bunch of here. 350+mm is recommended for narrowbodies like the Airbus A320, Boeing 737, and anything smaller than a B767.
Big thanks to Dorlok (@dorlok.aviation on Instagram) for the photos and information for this article. Dorlok is a spotter from Hong Kong that enjoys spotting and photography. He also is a student pilot in the Piper Warrior. He sometimes goes up to Taipei – Songshan Airport for photography as well, and shoots some incredible night shots you can find here.