An "unearned" view of the downtown skyline and Victoria Peak from the ferry.
The breathtaking skyline of Hong Kong ranks in the top five of the world's most stunning cityscapes.
Hop onto a 23-minute train ride from the airport to Hong Kong station, and from there take a taxi ride to a hotel in the heart of the city.
The 123-year-old Star Ferry is an inexpensive way to take in the views of Victoria Harbor from Hong Kong Island to Kowloon. You’ll see the 72-story glass-walled Bank of China tower, designed by I.M. Pei, which resembles growing bamboo shoots.
The Peak Tram to the 1,800-foot Victoria Peak has been around for 120 years and is a charming (and less exhausting) way to get to the peak for panoramic views. A hiking trail encircles the peak, and the northern part of the trail looks down on the skyline with sweeping views of the lush island, including distant beachfront settlements and the sea.
The Hong Kong Trail's most scenic sector, called the Dragon's Back, is one of the region's most spectacular hikes. Dragon's Back is appropriately named because the three-mile route follows a high, narrow ridge with views on both sides of seaside villages and the coastline jutting into the South China Sea. The trailhead is well-marked and the hilly, winding path easy to follow through low forest.
Lantau Island, home to Hong Kong International Airport, is accessible by the modern MTR rail line. There’s a rigorous trail up to a mountaintop monastery – or you can take the cable car to the summit. Once there, you’ll find a tranquil 75-foot-tall bronze Buddha within the ornate Po Lin Monastery.
A three- to four-hour trek downhill on a scenic, rather steep route will take you to the ferry to central Hong Kong. Adventurous hikers can opt for the 45-mile-long Lantau Island Trail at the summit to visit Tai O (a 10-mile hike), a traditional fishing village built on stilts.
The MacLehose is the region's longest trail, and it crosses the New Territories, the northern section of Hong Kong that adjoins the Chinese mainland. On the way, you encounter remote temples, eroded sea caves, jungles screaming with macaque monkeys and remnants of a WWII trench called the Gin Drinker's Line.