3-Hour Tour: Hong Kong

Leave the airport and live it up during flight delays and layovers

Iconic Hong Kong Harbour is best viewed from the Star Ferry.

For most travelers, flight delays and layovers are annoying, but the extra time doesn’t mean you have to confine yourself to the airport’s duty-free shops. It may only be three hours, but consider this your vacation bonus to see Hong Kong.

First Hour: Hong Kong International Airport has a quick and easy airport shuttle that whisks passengers from the arrivals hall to Central, Hong Kong’s financial district, in 24 minutes; trains leave every 10 to 12 minutes. The remaining two hours gives you plenty of time to get a flavor of Hong Kong.

Second Hour: Grab delectable dim sum at Maxim’s City Hall on the second floor of City Hall in Central, where the dim sum is still served from stainless steel carts. Order the siu mai, steamed dumplings with pork and prawns topped with crab roe and mushrooms.

Take an inexpensive ride on the Star Ferry from Central to Tsim Sha Tsui and snap pictures of the Hong Kong skyline; tickets are $2 to $3 each way. Boats depart every six to 12 minutes and the trip takes seven minutes each way but affords some of the best views of the former British colony.

The Star Ferry is one of the cheapest ways to enjoy Hong Kong. Flickr/Rob Young

Third Hour: Hong Kong is known for its shopping. Window shop and peruse the racks at The Landmark on Des Voeux Road, which features a who’s who of designer boutiques, including Harvey Nichols, Dior, Gucci, and Tiffany’s. The adjacent Alexandra House and Prince’s Building are also crammed with dozens of clothing, shoe, and accessory shops.

End your tour with a drink at one of the 100 restaurants and bars located on the ladder streets of Lan Kwai Fong. Bustling at all hours, it’s where expats, locals, and tourists congregate for happy hour and late-night drinking and dancing. Should you decide to party all night or if you've gone on a spending spree, you can check your bags for your flight at the train station.

Lan Kwai Fong is Hong Kong's most popular spot for late nigth drinks. Flickr/JParise