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Trip Report: Kai Tak Airport

Wed Jun 25, 2003 8:09 pm

The journey started with a 6 minute walk to the bus stop from my house. At the bus stop, after a 2 minute wait for route 116, a Dennis Trident of New World First Bus arrives. The bus was around 1/4 full and the interior clean as usual. The bus had........

NO!!!, NO!!!, not that kind of trip report!!!!!
Getting back on track, I went to Kai Tak Airport for the first time since its closing today, wondering what had happened to this place.

30minutes on from where the "CENSOR" kicked in....... :P

First, I had a look over the perimeter fence. Parts of the western airport area which was beside the road has been turned into a lorry parking lot and a cross-border bus storage area. I then made my way into the arrivals hall of the terminal building.

The taxi and airbus terminal was still there, not a thing changed, except there were no taxis nor buses and quese control railings have been removed. There was loads of torn canvas hanging from the roof, don't know why they were there. A very sad sight anyways.

I then proceeded into the waiting hall. The original ceiling and flooring were there and the air-conditioning SMELT as it was, 5 years ago. The escalators and stairs going up to the departure hall as well as half the waiting hall and the route to the carpark was cordoned off, "Staff Only". Some of the arrivals TV monitors were still there, showing nothing. Signage still exists, although the plastic labels have been turned inside out. "Welcome to Hong Kong" was still there.

I went up the arrivals ramp into the former "Restricted Area". Imagine yourself walking into the final customs area from the waiting hall! The inside had cheap, thin walls and offices for various government departments as well as Job Centres. The arrivals of the old airport has been converted to Government Offices. The immigration booths and the luggage reclaim were gone (DUH!) but there were still evidence of the old function of the building. The yellow line on the floor in front of where immigration was there can still be seen. The lettering, "Please wait behind the yellow line" was gone though. Surprisingly, the luggage inquiry booth was still pretty intact, with the proper signage. I could not go any further as beyond that was "Staff Only"

I went outside the arrivals hall and went up an escalator to the departures drop-off point. The Airport entrances for deparures were marked A, B, C, D etc. so that one can know which is the closest to their check-in counter. These signs were still there. First door in was the karting mall. This mall has long closed and the karting track was rather messy. Remnants of old, empty duty-free shops remained, as well as the original flooring and ceiling.
Second stop was the Bowling Alley. The original floor tiles were still there, but covered with a new false flooring. This bowling complex consisted of a relatively large bowling alley and a games arcade. Still no way to the old terminal gates, I was getting frustrated.

Working towards Departures entrance A from the other side (some have been removed due to the large size of the FORMER karting mall) I entered a HUGE car showroom, with heaps and heaps of shining, parked, pristine 2nd hand cars. Original flooring and yellow-orange ceiling still there, woo hoo! Before I knew it, I was on the other side of the Airport building, at the gates. Again, empty remnants of Duty-free shops can be seen beyond the "staff only" tape. Most of this area is "Staff Only" except the part where the car showroom is. The gateside area still had the carpeting from the Airport days, but much dirtier. 5 years of busy airport activity did not create this much dirt. Must be the cleaning service then. The entrance to the gate was there but looking through the window, the gate structure has been long removed. One can also see that most of the concrete where the aircraft parked have been dug up except the area near the terminal. What's left of it, faded taxi marking beside the "gates" remain. The yellow line and the parking position of B777, B747, A340 etc. remain. I found one intact gate for the "Outer Bay buses". The escalator going down to the sitting area to wait for buses was there, behind the closed door, but the area devoid of seats.

On another wall, a microphone for announcement was still there, complete with instructions onto WHEN to use the mic and HOW to make the annoucement.

I left the terminal building through Departures Entrance A, and noticed that the single glass skylight in the check-in area which provided natural light was still there.

Note: The Karting mall and bowling alleys takes up the former check-in area, customs and immigration areas. The Car showroom takes up the same, but extends to the area right beside the gates.

On the way out, I saw the Regal Airport Hotel. This has been renamed yet again. After the airport closed, it was the Regal Kai Tak Hotel. Now, it is the Regal Oriental Hotel. I made my way through the carpark, back down the escalators to the arrivals floor. The big clock on the carpark wall was still functioning, showing the correct time but the temperature indicator above was blank. The "Hong Kong International Airport" label was gone.

After 30mins of touring, I was ready to go home and proceeded to the bus stop.

The old terminal building has changed a lot in its use inside but you can still see the relics showing what this building once was and the memories that rest within it.

Posts: 1278
Joined: Tue Oct 16, 2001 4:05 pm

RE: Trip Report: Kai Tak Airport

Wed Jun 25, 2003 11:23 pm

I go to the Karting Mall all the time. Still rather nostalgic to park in the parking lot sometimes.
Posts: 1665
Joined: Fri Apr 20, 2001 5:08 am

RE: Trip Report: Kai Tak Airport

Fri Jun 27, 2003 4:18 am

Pictures people pictures!..................very good report btw.
Kids!....we are going to the happiest place on earth...TIJUANA! signed: Krusty the Clown

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