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They used to say that the best view when landing in Hong Kong's old Kai Tak airport was on the right side of the plane. This was because you get a wonderful view of the Manhattanesque Hong Kong Island. This was especially a treat at night as all the skyscrapers are wonderfully lit up. This, however, was not the reason why you were told to sit there. The real reason was that, if you sit on the left hand side, the view you get just before landing was directly into the tenth floor of an apartment block in Kowloon - where else can you see a Chinese meal cooked whilst sitting on a 747?

Kai Tak was famous for being one of the most difficult international airports to land at - pilots required special training before they were allowed to go there. Based in Kowloon, jutting out into Victoria Harbour, landing requires a right hand turn just (like, really just) before landing. The reason the pilots have to do this is that behind the runway, landwards, there are the hills of the Kowloon Peninsula. Pilots fly keeping these high rise apartment covered hills to the left, aiming at a chequerboard until the last moment.

Sadly, the experience today is not nearly as thrilling. Hong Kong was handed back to China in 1997, and the new Norman Foster designed airport at Chek Lap Kok completed in 1998.

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