Best Hong Kong Travel Review: Nature Meets City

Hong Kong isn't just about the modern marvels of its city centers, but even the beautiful parks, trails and wilderness of Hong Kong Island and more farther afield. So for the September/October 2009 issue of ISLANDS magazine, writer Tony Perrottet bounces between Hong Kong's natural and urban wonders to explore why this travel destination is one of the world's best, with so much to be explored. See his story (along with Matthieu Paley's amazing photos) and plan your Hong Kong trip based on his travel advice below.

Hong Kong Airport Fly Cathay Pacific for direct flights from major U.S. cities such as New York (JFK) to Hong Kong (HKG).

Hong Kong HotelsStay in some of Hong Kong's famous hotels, now offering great deals. Even if you don't stay, they're well worth an afternoon visit. High tea at the Peninsula dates back to the heyday of British rule in the 1920s, and the 28th-floor bar, restaurant and, yes, even the bathrooms all have stellar views. The once-staid Mandarin Oriental just reopened after a $140 million renovation; rooms feature design so cutting edge it can take half an hour just to figure out the light switches. And the sumptuous Island Shangri-La is perhaps Hong Kong's most distinctively luxurious hotel, with generously sized rooms, an over-the-top spa and a truly spectacular outdoor swimming pool, encircled by skyscrapers.

Hong Kong RestaurantsEat dim sum, the dumpling heart of Hong Kong cuisine, which is usually served from early morning till about 5 p.m. The Island Shangri-La's Summer Palace offers perhaps the most exquisite dim sum in the city. For more economical bites garnished with local color, try the Tao Heung dining halls. With multiple locations around Hong Kong, the restaurants specialize in healthy, creative foods.

Hong Kong ToursHike with Hong Kong's two best freelance hiking companies: Hansen's Hikes, run by Michael Hansen, and Walk Hong Kong, run by Swiss Marco Foehn and New Zealander Jackie Peers. Both the companies offer a wide range of hiking, cycling, bird-watching and photography tours relying on public transport. Hansen's Hikes is more economical. Remote Lands arranges tours for travelers to meet artists and gallery owners of Hong Kong, as well as visits to the China Club.