If you’re flying in and then flying out of Hong Kong Airport, you can still find plenty to fit in to a stopover in Hong Kong beyond the airport lounge.
The airport is a major international hub and with so many connecting flights there are now a couple of dedicated transit tours set up to let you see the best of the city in as little time as possible.
Hong Kong Orientation Tour: Enviable Harbour View
This 4-5 hour tour offers up Hong Kong in a nutshell.
An air-conditioned tour bus will take you from the airport to your first stop: the Lantau Link View Point & Visitors' Centre, where you can gaze upon the world's longest road-and-rail suspension bridge connecting Lantau Island with Hong Kong's urban districts.
Next, you'll be whisked into the heart of the packed streets of Tsim Sha Tsui in Kowloon to experience Hong Kong at its breakneck best, before ducking through the crowds and getting an Instagram-worthy shot with the jaw-dropping harbor front.
Take a Star Ferry ride to Central, where Hong Kong's financial district and government institutions stand – you'll cross scenic Victoria Harbour as you go along. The land-based part of the tour then traces a route down Hollywood Road to make a stop at Man Mo Temple and the antique shops in the vicinity.
The trip ends when you board the Airport Express train at Hong Kong Station back to the airport, a trip that takes no more than 30 minutes – more than enough time to catch your next flight!
Lantau and Monastery Tour: Go Big or Go Home
If time is truly of the essence, then try the Lantau and monastery tour, which, as the name suggests, never leaves Lantau Island.
Lantau is the biggest of Hong Kong’s islands, but once you’ve escaped the airport and the new town of Tung Chung the landscape is bucolic and broken up by just a handful of traditional villages.
The tour kicks off with a visit to Tai O: this hidden fishing village on the south side of the island features dozens of houses built on stilts above mud flats. Huddled together and built ramshackle style from concrete and corrugated iron sheets, the village still trades off its dried seafood stalls and fresh fish served in local restaurants.
Next, you'll tackle a steep path up a 520-metre plateau to visit Po Lin Monastery and see the Tian Tan (Big) Buddha. The monastery's ornate grand hall from the 1920s is beautiful, and the vegetarian food served up by the resident monks is delicious. The area's most irresistible sight – the 250-ton bronze statue of the Buddha – is one of the ten biggest Buddhas in the world and is an awe-inspiring sight.
Finally, you’ll get a bird’s eye view of Lantau’s endless greenery when you take the optional Ngong Ping Cable Car ride. The glass-bottomed gondolas swing above the forested hillsides and afford views over the South China Sea. The tour concludes at about 4pm, when you'll be dropped off at the airport hotel.