For many years Hong Kong was the gateway to China and it is still a great place to start or end your trip to the Middle Kingdom. A British colony until 1997, it has a distinct culture that combines both Cantonese and British heritages. This British involvement also makes it easy to get around as an independent traveler, as many people speak English and public transport links are well developed.
Hong Kong Airport Express train is a comfortable and quick way to get between the airport and the city. There are stops in Central and Kowloon where you can check your bags which is quite convenient. You can check-in two hours in advance of your flight in the city. It's also handy if you want to check your bags early and then do some things in the city before catching your train to the airport.