As Sean and I were making our way to beautiful Bali, Indonesia at the end of February, our flights had us stuck with a 17-hour overnight layover in Hong Kong. Originally, we thought that maybe we’d just tough it out and spend the night on the airport floor, but after 22 hours of travel from Calgary, we were unbelievably grateful that we’d decided to treat ourselves to a proper night in a hotel in Hong Kong.
We had booked months in advance at a hotel called The Cosmo Hotel Hong Kong, located on Queen’s Road East right in the heart of the action. The room cost us about $120 USD for the night, but for a comfy king sized bed and a hot shower after 22 hours of traveling, our stopover was completely priceless.
We took the Hong Kong MTR’s Airport Express line from the airport to Hong Kong Station, which took about 20 minutes and cost $25 USD return per person. (Note: Prices are cheaper the larger your group is.) It was super comfortable, easy and efficient, and Cosmo provides a free shuttle from Hong Kong Station to the hotel every hour. It was a little bit of waiting around, but we couldn’t complain for the price.
Once we got to our room, we were exhausted, but our hunger was more important than anything, so we took advantage of Cosmo’s free shuttle to Causeway Bay, one of Hong Kong’s main shopping plazas.
To say that we were overwhelmed would be a fantastic understatement. The lights of Causeway Bay had the streets lit up like it could have been midday, but in reality it was 9pm. The sounds, the smells and the sheer volume of human beings packed onto the sidewalks put us both into sensory overload mode. But hungry as we were – we decided to push on in search of something delicious. We spent about 90 minutes meandering through the endless shops and streets and malls of Causeway bay.
I wish we could say that we found something delicious, but instead we ended up in some weird little chain restaurant, finally settling for it simply because it had broken English on its menu. We ordered strange ramen noodles with chunks of what I can only hope was pork floating around in it. It wasn’t delicious. It wasn’t even decent. It was actually borderline gross, but I was starving, so I slurped back the noodles anyway, grateful to have anything at all in my grumbling stomach.
We hit one of the dozen 7-11 stores along the main road on our way back to the shuttle to pick up a few random snacks for the hotel room, which turned out to be a blessing when we woke up at 4am with jetlag.
The Cosmo Hotel airport shuttle transferred us back to Hong Kong station the next morning and we zipped back up to the airport via MTR. Hong Kong airport is massive and overwhelming but there is really good signage everywhere, so it’s actually fairly easy to navigate. Now all we had left to do was check our bags and board our flight to Bali!
If you’ve got a long overnight layover in Hong Kong and you don’t mind shelling out a little bit of money, I’d say that spending a night in the city is absolutely worth it and so easy to do. For me, Hong Kong was cool to see, although I’m not sure if I’d ever go back by choice. I feel like I saw what I needed to see.
Have you ever been to Hong Kong? What was your experience like?