Fly into Hong Kong and spend a few days discovering its diverse attractions – from shopping in bustling Kowloon to hiking along one of the islands' well-marked lush trails. Eat dim sum downtown and head up Victoria Peak for an after-dinner drink to remember. Take a boat or a train to Guangzhou and sample yet more Cantonese delights, along with some fine colonial architecture, maybe stopping off in modern Shenzhen for a peek at the new China. From Guangzhou, take a bus, train or flight to Guilin and spend a day visiting its mountainous and man-made attractions. The following morning take a boat along the Li River to Yangshuo, where you can spend the next few days hiking and cycling through the famed idyllic limestone scenery. Head back to Guilin for the return flight to Hong Kong. Take the ferry over to Macau and enjoy a day or two soaking up the splendid architecture, fine cuisine, small fishing villages, temples and beaches. Whether flying into the vast, ultra-modern Chek Lap Kok Airport and being whisked into the city center on the hi-tech, ultra-fast Airport Express, or arriving by boat at the China Ferry Terminal, Hong Kong, with its population of seven million, never fails to impress. You instantly know you're somewhere special, particularly the first time you lay eyes on the spectacle of the skyscraper-filled island from the Kowloon side. After weeks or months on the road in China, Hong Kong is the perfect spot for some dining, shopping and splurging. But if it's the great outdoors you're after, there are plenty of hikes and beaches in the territory as well. Hong Kong is a place where even the mildest exploration can offer stark contrast and both traditional Chinese and colonial history lurk beneath the city's slick modern exterior. Whether swimming in the sea or hiking an island trail to a small shrine through lush tropical undergrowth on one of the outlying islands, it's difficult to imagine that the gleaming skyscrapers are only a short boat ride away. Forty miles across the water, Macau also served its time as a colony and its Portuguese history has engendered a laid-back ambiance unique in China, which remains to this day despite a recent building boom. Walking through the architectural monuments of Macau's stunning historic center you'd easily believe you were in Lisbon, were it not for the occasional Taoist temple. Conversely, a trip out to the islands will take you on a journey into Macau's casino-laden future at Cotai and then back to its past amidst the small fishing villages and beaches of yesteryear on Coloane. This a highly detailed guide to everything you need to know about Hong Kong, Macau and their surroundings - the places to stay, the restaurants, and what to see and do - along with an extensive introductory section on China as a whole. The author lives in China and has been a tour guide there full-time for close to 10 years. This guide is an excerpt from his much larger guide to all of China, also published by Hunter, which is 650 pages in the print edition.