Top 10 Things to Do in Hong Kong
As someone looking to get away from the manic energy of Singapore, Hong Kong might not seem like the best place for a holiday, given its reputation for being an even crazier metropolis. However, under the glass and steel face of Hong Kong, there is a cultural and natural landscape that is dying to be explored. It is away from Hong Kong’s cityscape that its Chinese roots, colonial architecture and people truly fuse to create something that is simply inexplicable.
Over 70% of Hong Kong is mountains and national parks, some of which are home to geological and historical gems. Once you escape the chaos of the city, you might just find yourself in a Song-dynasty village, hiking on an island, or kayaking among deserted volcanic sea arches. Or maybe all of that, and then some. Here are 10 activities that are perfect for reconnecting you with nature in Hong Kong:
1. Get on a junk
No, that isn’t a bad joke, hear us out. What better way to get the feel of a place than to explore its waters? Surely the islander in all of us can understand that. Rent what is locally called a ‘junk’ (a traditional boat) and wander away into the waters, taking sneak-peaks of distant shores, dramatic volcanic remains, and so much more.
There are three beautifully restored junks offering cruises, with different amenities on board, and different departure locations. Pick a cruise (day or evening), hop on, gaze at the peaceful water, observe the glistening of the waves, and let the gentle rhythm of the boat lull you into tranquility.
2. Hike it up
If sun and surf aren’t something you particularly fancy, then you can always heed the call of the hills. Hong Kong is home to many mountain ranges and hills, which present some exciting hiking opportunities. With trails that are available for novices as well as seasoned hikers, there’s something for everyone.
One particular hiking trail that is remarkably scenic is the Dragon’s Back Trail (don’t worry, it isn’t as intimidating as it sounds!), Time Magazine’s “Best Urban Hike in Asia” for 2004. The destination is the Shek O Peak, from which you can savour a 360° view of Hong Kong.
3. Hit the beach
- Whether its surfing, swimming, sunbathing or just lounging with a cocktail in hand – no matter what you enjoy, there’s a beach for everyone in Hong Kong. From popular tourist spots like Shek O Beach and Repulse Bay, to the concealed and relatively undiscovered beaches on Lamma Island, there are dozens of options. You can also spend some time with the marine life, with even turtle sightings at some spots like Sham Wan Beach if you’re really lucky. Take your pick, make sure you don’t forget your swim wear and sunscreen, and get your beach game going!
4. Explore a nature reserve
Apart from being a commercial hub, Hong Kong also has a staggering number of national parks and nature reserves. Ponds, mudflats, wetlands and mangroves are just some of the sights you’ll see in the various nature parks of Hong Kong. Add to that some rare wildlife sightings, and you’re in for the experience of a lifetime. Some popular choices include the Hong Kong Wetlands Park, the Mai Po Nature Reserve and the Hoi Ha Wan Marine Park.
5. Trek your way across the Wilson Trail
While Hong Kong has a variety of trails for every type of hiker, there are a few that can give even the most seasoned hikers a run for their money. One such route is the Wilson Trail, which is recommended for those looking for a challenge. Meant for experienced hikers and adrenaline chasers, this 78 kilometre, ten stage trail cuts through 8 of the country parks in Hong Kong.
Stage one of the trail (4.8 kilometres) already rewards you with stunning views of the Twins (a double hill) and Violet Hill. Along the way are the scenic panoramas of Stanley village and the company of beautiful butterflies. The views are stunning all the way up to the finish point, where a sense of accomplishment and pride awaits you.
6. Pedal Away
Surprisingly close to Hong Kong’s downtown area are some cycling routes that will not only help burn some calories from all the overeating you’re sure to do as a tourist in Hong Kong, but also offer stunning views of the sea and the mountains.
Take your pick from a wide range of routes, get yourself a set of wheels, and set off on a cycling adventure. There’s the Tai Lam Mountain Bike Trail for experienced mountain bikers, the Nam Sang Wai which takes you through woodlands, and many more to choose from.
7. Have a picnic at the park
Hong Kong has many park spaces for people to relax and get away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Pack yourself a picnic basket, make your way to one of the many parks, and savour a lovely day spent outside. Green places like 8 hectare Hong Kong Park and the 13.3 hectare Kowloon Park are go-to spots for large doses of optimism, happiness and warmth, attracting large numbers every day. You’ll find people singing, children playing and happy faces all around.
8. Hop onto a ferry
Don’t have enough time to rent a junk for that perfect, lazy getaway? No problem, hop onto a ferry to spend just enough time on the water. Book yourself a seat on the iconic Star Ferry, and you’ll be able to take in a stunning view of Hong Kong’s coastline over a short 7-8 minute ride. Make sure you get an upper deck seat for a breezy unblocked view and plenty of photo opportunities though!
9. Head to The Peak
Hong Kong is no stranger to mountains and beautiful hills. However, one particular summit is a must-visit – Victoria Peak, or just The Peak, as the locals call it. Whether it’s your first or umpteenth time in Hong Kong, taking in Hong Kong from The Peak is always special. When you’re at the top looking down, the noise of the city fades away, and you can truly experience the beauty of Hong Kong. Plus, you can always snap some stunning photographs from a vantage point that high!
10. Lose yourself on Lantau Island
Lantau, Hong Kong’s largest island, is massive, and perfect to lose yourself in. The northern tip of the island is home to more touristy destinations like Disneyland and the Tung Chung shopping complex, but the rest of Lantau is rural and charming in its own delightful way. You’ll find fishing villages, untouched beaches and countless hiking trails spread across the mountainous interior.
Many also flock to Lantau for a glimpse of the Big Buddha, a humongous 34m tall Tian Tan bronze Buddha statue. From Tung Chung MTR station, take a gondola ride if it’s a clear day, or opt for the bus if you prefer a ride up some mountain roads. This brings you to the drop off point, where it’s another 268 steps up to the Buddha statue. There’s also a monastery and a museum nearby if you wish to explore further.