In transit, outside

It’s early morning. The plane’s overhead lights are back on, you’ve had your eggs or congee, stretched your legs in the bathroom queue and you’re approaching the runway at Hong Kong International Airport. Orange gleams on the horizon. The passengers heave a heavy sigh of relief, while taking an expectant breath.

It’s unfortunate that you’re only here on a layover. The closest you’ll get to the outside world is the air slipping in between the vacuum that just took you halfway around the world and the seemingly flimsy raised corridor connecting it to the arrivals hall.

Hong Kong International Airport grants more than 100 international airlines runway and parking space. The mammoth corridors, spotless around the clock, have nearly 12 000 public seats. It’s designed to make layovers bearable, but every person has his or her limit of artificial light and recycled air. So why not walk beyond no man’s land?

Without overstepping any laws, every South African passport-holder can walk through customs and spend their layover discovering the city. Your luggage is booked through to your actual destination, so you can tick some attractions off your list while you’re supposed to be in transit.

There are two ways to spend your time here – take a cableway over the countryside and find some peace in religious monuments, or hold your breath and jump head-first in between the soaring skyscrapers of the iconic Hong Kong skyline.

Click here to read the full feature, published in Sawubona Magazine in May 2016


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