Hong Kong International Airport

Hong Kong International Airport is known as Chep Lap Kok Airport by the locals, as it was built on the Island of Chep Lap Kok which was reclaimed for the project. Completed in 1998, it now handles almost 50 million passengers a year.

The old Hong Kong Airport was right on the island itself, and landing there was decidedly more exciting as at some point you seem to be flying right into the island. The runway extends into the sea, and on more then a few occasions aircrafts had overshot the runway and ended up in the water.

Chep Lap Kok Airport however doesn't hold such excitement. Designed by famous British architect Sir Norman Foster, it is covered in a sea of grey. I can never understand why grey is such an attractive colour for high-tech architects. It gives the place an overall "sameness" that can be disorienting.

Once when I was in transit to China, I went into a bookshop and was tempted to buy a book. As it was quite a heavy tomb, I decided to get it on the way back. While in transit I went back to what I thought was the same bookshop and looked for the book. For the life of me I couldn't find it, eventhough I was so sure of it's location in the shop. I later on found out that I was actually in another shop at a different end of the airport, and as it was the same chain it was done up in exactly the same way - down to the shelves and graphics. And because the airport looks the same from almost everywhere because of the overall greyness, I am sure this happens quite a lot !

The ceiling is one of the most interesting aspects of the design, with origami-like skylights which let in natural light.

The food hall is where some splashes of colours were allowed.

The main "fuselage" of the airport which connects to the departure lounges. There are long stretches without travelators so be careful with your flight time or you may end up having to run to the gate - as I did on one occasion.


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