You know that long, long line of extremely tall towers that you see when you land at Hong Kong International Airport? That’s Tung Chung—Hong Kong International Airport’s closest suburb.
Tung Chung was once a humble fishing village, until the airport was moved from the old Kai Tak area in Kowloon to the artificial island of Chek Lap Kok, built specifically for the new Hong Kong International Airport.
As a result, the MTR extended onto Lantau island via the Tung Chung Line, and with it came lots and lots of high rises, a sprawling outlet mall, and the Cable Car Terminal of Ngong Ping 360, which whisks you up to the Big Buddha.
But there are a few other hidden gems in Tung Chung—hiking paths, a beautiful stone fort, patios where you can have a drink and watch the planes take off, and lots of restaurants. This also makes Tung Chung a good location to stay overnight if you have a very early flight out of Hong Kong.
What to see and do in Tung Chung
Tung Chung MTR Station deposits you into Citygate Outlet Mall, which, much to the surprise of visitors, doesn’t seem to have any cheap clothes. Instead you’ll find lots of brand name shops like Armani Outlet, Burberry, Swarovski, and Kate Spade.
Just outside Citygate is the Ngong Ping 360 cable car terminal which takes you up to the Big Buddha and Ngong Ping Village. You can’t miss the elevated terminal, and be warned, on weekends there are quite long lines, so try to go on a weekday, and buy your tickets beforehand.
Tung Chung Fort is a short taxi or bus ride away, and a beautiful declared monument, dating back to 1832, complete with cannons. You can walk around the fort, and climb up to the top of the fort walls for some very cool photo ops. Nearby are some popular Thai and Nepalese restaurants – your nose will undoubtedly lead you there.
If you like hiking, you can take a short walk on the Tung Chung Battery Trail through a small forest, turn right onto Tung Chung North Road, and walk until you reach a narrow footbridge through the mangroves leading to the old Ma Wan Chung Village, to see what Tung Chung was like pre-airport days.
Got little kids in tow? Then bring a change of clothes to let them jump through the Citygate Fountain, located right outside the mall and MTR station. This open air fountain is a popular spot to cool down on a hot summer day.
What to eat and drink in Tung Chung
There is a handful of restaurants around Tung Chung MTR Station, such as Genki Sushi, Pizza Hut, and Starbucks, as well as many inside the mall itself.
At the nearby Fu Tung Market, there’s good dim sum to be had at Deluxe Cuisine, yummy noodles at Ajisen Ramen, and a few cheap and cheerful spots for a quick bite, primarily the chains Tsui Wah and Cafe de Coral.
If you walk all the way through Citygate, exit at SaSa, cross the bridge and on the left take the escalator down to street level, you’ll find a lovely outdoor patio to be enjoyed at Resto, where every minute or so you can see planes taking off.
At the Tung Chung Fort, there are three restaurants that can send a shuttle to pick you up at Citygate or the Tung Chung MTR station if you give them a call. Handi Restaurant and Mansarover both have authentic Indian cuisine, while Melody Thai has awesome Thai food. All three are highly recommended.
Where to stay in Tung Chung
Tung Chung is a popular area for pilots and cabin crew to live, and as a result you can find dozens of Airbnb rooms available in the tall towers of Seaview Crescent, La Rosa, and Caribbean Coast. And the view from the 51st floor isn’t too shabby either.
If you’re looking for a budget hotel, you won’t find one here, unfortunately. But if you’ve got some dollaz to burn, the Novotel Citygate, which is attached to the Citygate Mall, has rooms that are bigger than many Hong Kong apartments, as well as a lovely outdoor pool. Their lounge also has live music on Friday or Saturday nights.