Above and below at Kai Tak

This recent new build, or re-build to be more precise, has quite a history.  Looking at its rooftop garden doesn’t reveal much about what happened here in the past.

This was the Hong Kong International Airport, also known as Kai Tak, until 1998, an airport known for the difficulty of landing and takeoff, and as the location of a number of accidents. Hemmed in by the buildings of Kowloon and the waters of Victoria Harbour, the process of landing here became known as the “Kai Tak Heart Attack”.

Rooftop garden at former Kai Tak Airport, Hong Kong, November 2018

Since the closure of the old airport in 1998, it has been converted into a cruise terminal, with a rooftop garden that is open to the public. The first ship berthed here in June 2013.


Its sleek and curvy design is the work of Foster + Partners.


It is a striking structure to gaze at from the neighbouring land, the gardens are a pleasure to stroll around and it provides great views from the roof.

View from Kai Tak rooftop

The top feature for me, though, are the arches that swoop overhead at each end of the structure, with angular arches providing viewpoints to sea.


Down below, is not so exciting. You can arrive here by ferry if you time it right. I would have had a long wait when I was trying to get across on a Sunday so in the end I took a short taxi journey instead, arriving beneath the multi-storey car park that sits beneath the gardens.  Inside the building you find restaurants, shops and areas for exhibitions. It was empty and very unexciting as I made my way through it, but I had seen a ship depart from the terminal before I headed across to it. Figures show that business there is growing each year, and more development is still underway, with two MTR Stations due in 2019.

Work continues down below, November 2018



Copyright Debbie Smyth, 19 November 2018

Posted as part of Photo a Week

8 thoughts on “Above and below at Kai Tak

  1. I missed my chance to fly into Kai Tak as well as the adventure. The replacment airport is gorgeous in its own way. And Hong Kong is an utterly fascinating international city IMHO. Thanks for this 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh my! Not cheap, I’m sure. I remember being somewhat concerned when I flew in there all this years ago. But standing on top of the cruise terminal, just little me not a huge plane, it didn’t seem so cramped


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