Scenes from Hong Kong’s Borders

Hong Kong is a unique microcosm of Chinese & Cantonese culture, hanging onto its sovereignty by a thread as mainland China continues to exert intensifying control of the city-state. Under its “One Country, Two Systems” approach, Hong Kong maintains sovereignty from China until 2047, but its existing status as a Special Administrative Region blurs the lines of the agreement.

Welcome to Hong Kong‘s Kai Tak International Airport.

Hong Kong’s former Kai Tak Airport was world famous for its dare-devilesque approach, during which airplanes would make a drastic banking turn over Kowloon Walled City and land crosswind onto the narrow strip sitting in the harbor. Pilots found it exhilarating and terrifying, passengers barely noticed, and onlookers prepared to witness a crash. There was nothing quite like watching a Boeing 747 land just a few meters above your head as it was banking desperately to hit its target.

China Air Boeing 747, after overrunning the runway
British Airways 747 landing at Kai Tak, photo owned by Fishstick Monkey:

Chep Lap Kok — Welcome Aboard

As Hong Kong grew in population and became an increasingly critical financial city and trading port, a new airport was needed. Kai Tak could no longer meet the demand of flights to and from Hong Kong, and the dangerous approach was clearly an issue. The only problem, however, was Hong Kong’s land squeeze. The solution? Create land!

HKG Chek Lap Kok Airport, Public Domain from wikipedia
I’m sure even the Ordinary Ferry is a good time :)

The Futian Checkpoint

If you decide to enter Hong Kong via public transportation, you will likely pass through the Futian checkpoint. At this point, both city’s subway lines reach their terminus, and passengers must disembark to cross the border. An enclosed bridge stretches between China and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, with each country’s respective immigration process on opposing sides.

The MTR intercity train, just before leaving Hong Kong
Hong Kong Star Ferry

Journalist, entrepreneur and student - Boston College, University of Otago. Adventurer and consultant for conducting business in Asia. Ethereum tips: muse.eth

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