Hong Kong attracts visitors with its iconic skyline, dazzling shopping and culinary scene, and distinct Chinese and British cultural influences. The former British colony is an autonomous region comprised of islands and mainland areas off of China’s southern coast. Crowd-pleasers include Hong Kong Island’s high-rises and colonial landmarks, Kowloon’s street markets, tram rides to Victoria Peak, and scenic cruises on Victoria Harbour. Guided tours are the easiest way for visitors to take the pulse of urban areas without getting lost or feeling overwhelmed. Once visitors have explored the island urban center and Kowloon, they head to more islands and autonomous regions nearby. Lantau Island and Macau, with its Portuguese colonial sights and glitzy casinos, are some of the most popular day trip destinations.
Hong Kong Island
The one-time center of British colonial government, Hong Kong Island houses the region’s commercial and shopping heart, the Central District. Here, towers, malls, markets, and entertainment hubs sit amid colonial-era buildings. Travelers come to visit Victoria Peak, Aberdeen floating village, Stanley Market, and a wealth of parks and shopping and dining destinations. Most city tours start at the island and include Victoria Peak tram rides, ferry rides to Kowloon, and harbor cruises.
Travelers looking for a quick, flexible introduction to Hong Kong Island should book this bus tour, which includes a ticket for a Star Ferry crossing and entry to Victoria Peak tram or Sky100 Observation Deck.
Those looking for highlights might like this half-day excursion, which offers a well-rounded experience with stops at Victoria Peak, Stanley Market, and Aberdeen.
This evening harbor cruise affords clients views of Hong Kong’s skyline and syncs with the Symphony of Lights sound-and-light show.
Clients interested in the history of Hong Kong cuisine should take this tour, which visits both popular and hidden eateries to sample Chinese- and British-influenced staples.
Read more about Hong Kong Island tour options here.
Set on the mainland, Kowloon encompasses the northern part of Hong Kong and is less assuming than its neighbor across the water. The district is home to leafy parks, Buddhist and Taoist temples, and more colonial buildings, but is a magnet for shopping. Popular areas near Nathan Road and Mong Kok are a sight to behold, a heady mix of night markets, neon signs, flower and food stalls, tea houses, and endless shops. Guided tours stop at most of the highlights, and help travelers navigate the densely packed district.
This private tour is ideal for clients who want an in-depth look at Kowloon and includes a visit to one of its poorest areas—a rare opportunity to see Hong Kong away from the city lights.
Clients who want to taste Kowloon’s working-class cuisine might be interested in this tour, which visits Jordan district for local food gems away from the tourist scene.
On this tour, clients can experience Mong Kok when night markets come alive. Bonus: This tour includes transportation to and from your hotel and a dinner upgrade.
Read more about Kowloon tour options here.
Hong Kong’s largest and least populated Island, Lantau is a peaceful foil to the urban bustle of its neighbors. Visitors come to visit stilt villages, ride the Ngong Ping cable car, and see the Big Buddha statue (Tian Tan). Private and guided tours cover all the main highlights in a day or so without hassles.
An overview of Lantau’s highlights condensed into a seamless day, with ferry ride transport and a cable car ride to the Giant Buddha.
Aimed at clients wanting a comprehensive experience in the comfort of a private vehicle, this tour combines a visit to a stilted fishing village with temple stops and skip-the-line access to the Big Buddha.
Ideal for travelers with a layover at Hong Kong Airport, this tour includes airport transfers and an all-day subway pass. Bonus: A cruise, dinner, and stargazing excursion.
Read more about Lantau Island tour options here.
About an hour’s ferry ride from Hong Kong across the Pearl River estuary, Macau is an autonomous region with Portuguese colonial-era buildings, 21st-century architecture, and Las Vegas-style gambling palaces. Visitors make the day trip from Hong Kong to view UNESCO World Heritage Sites—including the A-Ma Temple and Ruins of St. Paul’s—and spend time at casinos. Most tours take a full day to sightsee, visit casinos, and ferry rides.
Clients looking for a well-rounded experience should take this excursion, which combines a guided walk around old Macau’s landmarks with a buffet lunch and optional casino visit.
This private tour lets visitors personalize their itinerary and adds lunch at the revolving cafe on Macau Tower.
Travelers who want to visit Macau’s casinos should book round-trip Cotai ferry tickets. The high-speed ferries travel from Hong Kong to Macau’s Taipa Terminal, where shuttles head directly to major gambling palaces.
Read more about Macau tour options here.
Things to Know
When to Visit
Hong Kong is ideal to visit from October to February when it stays dry and comfortably warm. The hot and wet weather of June through September is best avoided.
Walking is best over short distances, but the Mass Transit Railway system (MTR) (rechargeable Octopus Cards are valid on all public transport) is ideal for longer trips. Otherwise, travelers can pick from ferries, cross-harbor taxis, funiculars, and trams.
Travelers should take care not to leave trash on Hong Kong’s beaches as litterers may be slapped with heavy fines.
Things to Bring
The city’s brilliant markets make a spare suitcase for storing souvenirs a useful item.
What the Locals Know
Tourists coo over the skyline at Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade, but locals favor Kwun Tong or West Kowloon waterfront. Both offer equally impressive panoramas of Victoria Harbour and the main island.