Think of Hong Kong and you might imagine a forest full of towering skyscrapers, sardine-packed trains and a bustling commercial harbour. It is the ultimate shopping and foodie haven, a place that never sleeps, with the only limitation being how much are you willing to spend. A popular tourist spot, yet how many of us have gone beyond the cliche circle of activities that tends to draw the crowds?
Rather than covering its conventional attractions, we thought we would delve deeper and offer up more unusual activities. Hong Kong is the top in Asia for the extent that its land is designed for conservation. Its outdoor pursuits are right by its urban doorstep and with sustainability growing in importance, why not consider doing some of its more unique outdoor pursuits when in Hong Kong?
The Hong Kong Wetland Park consists of a 0.25 acres visitor centre (Wetland Interactive World) and a 61 hectare conservation, education and tourism facility that opened in 2006 at Tin Shui Wai in Yuen Long.
Intended to showcase some of the incredible diversity found in Hong Kong’s wetland ecosystem, the visitor centre has a wide range of activities and features for locals and tourists alike including five themed exhibition galleries focusing on biodiversity, civilization and conservation. Soak in the hands-on experience of being a wetlands reporter, take snapshots with wetland “celebrities” and don’t forget to say hi to the singing fish when you are there!
Apart from the exhibition galleries, you will also find a 3D cinema and trick art, a souvenir shop, an indoor swamp adventure-themed play area and resource centre to ensure that your wetland education is imparted in a fun and memorable way. The perfect place to introduce children to the importance of nature conservation.
Image by Hong Kong Wetland Park
On the other hand, the outdoor Wetland Reserve consists of recreated wetland habitats that have been specially designed for waterfowl and other wildlife residents. Special features include the Mangrove Boardwalk, Butterfly Garden, Stream Walk. There is also the Riverside Hide, Fishpond Hide and Mudflat Hide, each of which are equipped with telescopes and bird viewing guides. Finally, don’t forget to visit Pui Pui, the Hong Kong Wetland Park’s very own celebrity salt-water crocodile.
This park is popular among the locals and you will often find a gaggle of schoolchildren present on their school trips. The park also runs a Volunteer Scheme where local nature lovers can participate in the protection of the wetlands as well as promote the importance of environmental protection.
Bonus tip: If you are a bird lover, come during the autumn or winter season when the migratory birds have returned. If you come during the spring and summer, the Butterfly Garden will be the biggest highlight.
For more information, visit: https://www.wetlandpark.gov.hk/en
Sunset Peak, also known as Tai Tung Shan, is Hong Kong’s third highest peak at 869 metres above sea level. Situated on Lantau Island, it is well known for its sunset views and sea of silvergrass.
We would classify this as a moderate level hike which consists mostly of a trek up flights of stairs. Try starting from Pak Lung Au to reach the top for the sunset, where your path will be lined with shrubs and tall, wavy grass. You will encounter stone sheds that were built in the early world wars as holiday homes for early English missionaries. The path does branch in different directions, so make sure you take the right one to head up to the Sunset Peak! The journey should take you around two hours. Do remember however that it gets dark quickly, so make sure you bring along a torchlight.
Bonus tip: Go in the autumn or winter to find a carpet of silvergrass trailing the hike up.
Source: TripAdvisor @ Alessandra
Ping Shan Heritage Trail is Hong Kong’s first-ever heritage trail filled with historic Tang dynasty buildings including Hong Kong’s oldest pagoda, Tsui Sing Lau Pagoda. Once a humble market village, this trail of ancient architectural wonders now nestles between residential and commercial developments and is perfect for those seeking a glimpse into the past.
This trail can be easily done by yourself as there are plenty of multilingual information signs around to provide insight into the history and buildings that you will encounter. Some highlights you do not want to miss include the aforementioned pagoda, the Shrine of the Earth God (who was believed to protect villages and homes), the 200-year-old walled Sheung Cheung Wai village, the Yeung Hau Temple, the Tang Clan Ancestral Hall, the 16th century Yu Kiu Ancestral Hall, the Kun Ting Study Hall, the Ching Shu Hin guesthouse with its elaborate carved panels and murals and the Ping Shan Tang Clan Gallery, which is a visitor centre housed within the Old Ping Shan Police Station.
To get here, take the MRT to Tin Shui Wai Station and use Exit E3. When you arrive at the ground floor, cross Tsui Sing Road and begin your tour with Tsui Sing Lau Pagoda.
Top tip: Don’t forget to bring your insect repellent!
The Hong Kong UNESCO Global Geopark covers 50 square kilometers of the northeast coastline and is perhaps one of the most alien-like terrains you will encounter in Hong Kong. Sea cliffs, sea caves, sea arches, sea stacks, notches and blowholes litter this terrain and will leave you in awe, even if geology was never your cup of tea.
The highlight of the Hong Kong Global Geopark is the Sai Kung Volcanic Rock Region with its imposing series of honeycombed basalt columns. Unlike the dark basalt columns you might find in places like Taiwan’s Penghu Island, these columns can appear pinkish or golden under certain lighting.
The Sedimentary Rock Regions boasts 400 million rocks that existed since the age of dinosaurs. It is an area that is awash in vivid sunset hues, with red bright hues found being attributable to the iron oxide that coats the sandstone and siltstone. If you happen by this place, make sure to see the Devil’s Fist: a human-sized sandstone weathered down by wind and waves to form a shape akin to a creased wrist with finger-like protrusions.
For such a stunning place, you can naturally find a good hike to get in your daily exercise. The MacKehose Trail ranks as one of Hong Kong’s best hikes and will bring you to a gorgeous beach framed by rhyolite columns, stunning peaks and remote bays. Needless to say, this is one place that we would highly recommend not missing!
For more information, visit https://www.geopark.gov.hk/en_index.htm
Hong Kong has a spectacular abundance of wildlife and natural surroundings. If you are looking for a more eco-friendly holiday in Hong Kong, the activities above should be a good launch pad for your itinerary. Rather than following a predictable itinerary, why don’t you hop on a plane to explore the lesser side of Hong Kong?
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A faith-driven Sarawakian lawyer who believes that it is never too late to start crafting a socially impactful legacy. When not grappling with warranties and liabilities, she loves pursuing adrenaline-fueled adventures, improving her Español and playing the violin. You can find her at @vidadeliya or https://www.vidadeliya.com