Hello again everyone! Summer is in full swing in Hong Kong, which means we are alternating between exhausting heat and humidity and pouring rain. This week our walking tour is a little different because it takes place in an entirely air-conditioned location: Central Station. This is my home MTR station, so I know it well.
Start out on the MTR. Any train will do, but this one is on the Tsuen Wan line (red) and I took it from Kowloon Tong, the subject of last week's tour.
Exit the train at Central, which is also an interchange station for the Island line (blue) and the Airport Express.
Join the crowd racing for the escalator.
Stand to the right, walk to the left, if it's not too crowded for you to move.
On this level of the station you can pick any exit to take you up into the buildings and streets of Central.
If you're not in too much of a hurry, you can always stop to check your email or read this blog.
You've just left the Tsuen Wan line, but you can see the Island line to your left.
This is rush hour, but there are always lots of people heading in and out of this station.
Stay on this level and follow the signs to the Airport Express.
You'll pass all sorts of shops underground. This one sells gold-plated figurines.
If you don't know where you're going, the maps are clear and appear regularly throughout the station. MTR signs are always available in English in HK.
Keep following the airport signs, winding through the pillars and hallways of the vast underground station.
Eventually you'll reach a long hallway with a moving sidewalk.
Go all the way to the end, where you'll find this cavernous opening with a colorful balcony. Remember that you are still underground.
There are always different displays decorating this portion of the station.
I particularly like this one.
You'll find an additional long hallway with moving escalator. Keep following the signs.
The hallway is lined with advertisements, like this one for the final Harry Potter movie. It will be playing here in English and Chinese versions.
You'll reach the end of the hallway. By the way, have you noticed how clean everything is here?
The hallway opens up into another huge space lined with shops. At this point you are in Hong Kong station. Central and Hong Kong stations are connected underground, as you've just discovered, but they are technically two different stations.
There is a stall selling books!
You can also buy traditional dried foods and Chinese medicine here.
If you want to get a sense of where you are, there are plenty of signs. You are one level above the trains but you are still below ground.
Turn left and keep following the signs.
If you feel like leaving the station at any point, the signs will even have pictures showing you which exit to take.
If you don't get lost in the crowds...
...you can make your way out of the paid area of the station here. Sorry this picture is blurry, I was trying not to stop and get in the way of the busy people behind me.
You'll need to swipe your Octopus card to get out of the station.
Take the escalator up to the next level.
Take a look back at the crowds as you rise into the relative quiet above.
This is where you can get a taxi if you are coming from the airport...
...or you can hop on the train that takes you to the Hong Kong International Airport (best airport in the world) in about 25 minutes.
Wait just six minutes before you are on your way to somewhere exciting!
If you are not heading off into the unknown, you'll find yourself in the IFC mall, where you can find a snack, a book, or anything else your heart desires.
This concludes our walking tour for the week. We'll be taking a temporary break from our explorations of Hong Kong for the next month. On Saturday I am hopping on that airport train and flying off to beautiful Bali for a week. From there I'll be going home to the USA for three weeks before returning to HK in mid-August. I'm also plotting an epic American road trip during that time, so it looks like it'll be a big travel summer for me. I won't be able to post full-blown walking tours, but I'll try to share some pictures with you from the road each Wednesday instead. Bookspotting will continue uninterrupted, and I'm planning some more book reviews for you, so come back and visit A Kindle in Hong Kong throughout the summer. Happy travels!