Once known for its perilous turns as aircraft would approach Hong Kong, Kai Tak Airport has long been defunct as a place of aerial landing. Now, the Kowloon-based jutting runway will serve as a different kind of landing zone– one for cruises.
After 15 years of dormancy the airport is reopening with a new look and renewed identity: the repurposed Kai Tak Cruise Terminal opened June 12 to the tune of US$1.1 billion. Designed by architect Norman Foster’s firm, who also designed Hong Kong’s international airport, the gleaming terminal building is akin to an airport with chrome exteriors and cavernous ceilings. A rooftop garden with unobstructed views of Hong Kong’s skyline will open in the future as well.
The terminal can accomodate some of the largest cruise ships in the world with sizes more than 300 meters long. The dock is a welcome addition to Hong Kong’s tourism industry as the country’s mostly commercial ports can’t accomodate larger cruise liners.
For now, public transport doesn’t reach the Kai Tak airport, so land transport may be a challenge. Though for the resourceful traveler in water-based Hong Kong, another journey by boat may be in order.
For a taste of old-country nostalgia watch this clip of Kai Tak’s stomach-churning descent into landing.