Kai Tak Airport, Hong Kong
I remember my fight into Hong Kong and landing at Kai Tak International Airport. I had a window seat and it sure seemed like we were flying through the city with the tall buildings seemingly touchable as we came in for our landing. I'm not sure if Kai Tek is still used much as there is a new International Airport now on Lantau Island. Kai Tek is an easy bus ride to Kowloon if that is where you want to go.
I want to give a tribute to the most exciting toutchdown ever that was called "Hong Kong Approach"...
That was enough a reason for going to HK!
Search on the web with the phrases "Hong Kong Approach" or "Kowloon Approach" to vitually experience the thrill.
I had one in 1989 and the airport was closed in 1998.
The spectacular landings on Kay Tak airport sadly enough belong to the past. Here pilots even needed to take a special exam before having a permit to fly between the skyscratchers around the airport (you can actually see what people are doing in their appartments, which can lead to surprises).
Hong Kong has excellent public transport, although rather full. Touroperators have an wide range of siteseeingtours, which are recommendable to do as first-time-visitors. Hereby one can count the cruises through harbor, bay and Aberdeen (traditional floating market). There is also a ferry going between Kowloon and Hong kong island. It guarantees perfect views from the water.
Too bad they closed the old airport. Talk about a terrifying landing. We're coming in on approach and there's water to the left and people's laundry hanging on their balcony's on the right. I could actually look into the flats and see people sitting down. It was some angle.
Hong Kong's new airport is open, and you can no longer enjoy the experience of dropping onto Kai Tak's single runway jutting out into the harbour. It didn't help that there was a hill at the other end. You knew what flying was all about when some pilot, trained on fighters, banked his 747 heavy on to its side and thudded down on the runway. If you kept your eyes open, you could catch glimpses of life in the high-rise apartments: mothers bathing their babies or stir-frying lunch, fathers stretching in their vest or playing mah-jong with the neighbours.
If you've ever flown into the old Hong Kong airport, you understand the scary 'Hong Kong Curve' approach.
It is the reason that buildings on Kowloon were not allowed to reach more than 16 stories in the air.
.........with the new airport completed on reclaimed land, the approaches to the New Hong Kong airport are much safer now...
Hong Kong airport is one of the most spacious and architecturaly rich airports in the world.
It serves as a regional hub and a major international airport.