Beyond the skyscrapers: Nature in Hong Kong

I have long been yearning to return to Hong Kong, for many reasons, but the most important one is that it’s the very first foreign country I ever visited – and that’s getting close to thirty years ago. (Ouch.)

Discovering nature in Hong Kong: beaches, islands, mountains and hiking trails

Nature in Hong Kong: Shout out to Mochachocolata Rita, New Kid on the Loch and Stephen Kurczy for these great images

Discovering nature in Hong Kong

I’ve been collecting information and images on Pinterest on my Hong Kong Trip Plan board and the most fascinating thing I’ve discovered is that, contrary to my memory, Hong Kong is not all skyscrapers: there is nature in Hong Kong!

As part of my plan to get back there one day I wanted to create a bit of a list of some beautiful places to visit in Hong Kong. I love that even a huge metropolis can have these pockets of natural beauty. It reminds me that you really always have to look beyond the stereotype and expect that there are all kinds of surprises and unexpected things to see and do at a destination.

(I also want to find the perfect place to stay when I do return – and my friend Sam wrote this great summary of places to stay in Hong Kong broken down by area and budget.)

Shek O Beach

I figure Shek O village and beach must be gorgeous because the internet tells me lots of Cantonese pop videos are made there! It’s also quiet and has gorgeous sand (important for kids to play in).

Shek O Beach, Hong Kong

Rocks at Shek O Beach, Hong Kong

I discovered the beauty of Shek O beach via Mochachocolata Rita’s blog and if you want to know what you can eat before or after your beach trip there her post Fun Weekend at Shek O Village and Beach includes tantalising pictures from their meal from a nearby Thai restaurant.

Lantau Island

This gorgeous picture is from Jennifer at Travel Bug Within – I met Jennifer at the Problogger conference last month and she was one of many people I wished I could have spent many hours talking to. (I think that conference should last a whole month.) Jen is a bit of a Hong Kong obsessive and tells me that Lantau Island is a 45-minute ferry ride from central Hong Kong and home to that giant Buddha at the Po Lin Monastery, but also full of gorgeous beaches – her tip is Cheung Sha Beach.

Lantau Island in Hong Kong

Beautiful sunset at Lantau Island, Hong Kong

You can read more on Jen’s blog – this picture’s from her Hong Kong is my addiction post.

Tai Long Wan

Pristine from New Kid on the Loch is a big fan of escaping the urban jungle of Hong Kong and discovering all that nature. (Yep, she found out about it long before I did!) This picture is of one of the beaches at Tai Long Wan (which translates to Big Wave Bay) in the New Territories of Hong Kong.

Beach at Tai Long Wan, Hong Kong

One of the beaches at Tai Long Wan in Hong Kong’s New Territories

Pristine’s post describes a hike she took visiting some of the beaches at Tai Long Wan.

Geoparks

Obviously when I’m thinking about a future Hong Kong trip it’s one with a kid. I’m definitely trying to train my son to love amazing landscapes but realistically he will sometimes need more than just a nice sunset! Katie from La Jolla Mom lived in Hong Kong for five years and one of her tips for exploring Hong Kong with kids was to visit the geoparks – lots of interesting geography to discover and my son’s eyes lit up when I mentioned hexagonal volcanic columns! (He’s into volcanoes at the moment …!)

Hong Kong Geoparks

One of the eight geoparks in Hong Kong – image via Anthoria/FlickrCC

I have to remember not just the geoparks – but everything in Katie’s 14 Things to Do in Hong Kong with Kids – some very handy tips there.

Urban Adventure Tours

MacLehose Trail

Not only is there some nature in Hong Kong, there’s actually a LOT of nature in Hong Kong and one of these concentrations is along the MacLehose Trail – a 100km hiking trail through mountains and beaches. Journalist Stephen Kurczy put me on to it. And it looks gorgeous!

MacLehose Trail hike, Hong Kong

View along the MacLehose Trail hike, Hong Kong

There are some crazy people who apparently hike the entire length of this trail without stopping for sleep (crazy stuff like 36 hours at once) but Stephen was smarter and did it over four days – his post on How (not) to hike Hong Kong’s MacLehose Trail tells the story (and includes a mean rat).

Stanley Main Beach

I’d heard of the Stanley Market in Hong Kong and it turns out (well, maybe everybody knew this except me), there is also the Stanley Main Beach nearby. It’s a less off-the-beaten-track side of nature in Hong Kong but it still looks pretty nice to me.

Stanley Main Beach in Hong Kong

Stanley Main Beach in Hong Kong

Leonny from Our Everyday Things has written a lovely post about Visiting Stanley Main Beach and I have to say that I’m impressed she managed to prevent her kids from getting wet or sandy because I know that won’t work with my son!

Peng Chau Island

Island hopping in Hong Kong sounds like my kind of thing. Peng Chau Island (and apparently there’s also a Ping Chau so don’t get them mixed up!) is just to the south of Lantau Island and is full of beaches, old temples and the quietness that comes from having no cars (just like why I love our Rottnest Island – oh except it has no temples!).

Peng Chau Island, Hong Kong

Looking out from tiny Peng Chau Island, Hong Kong

I discovered Peng Chau Island from the very cool Hong Wrong blog – editor Tom describes it as Hong Kong’s Least Loved Outlying Island (but he likes it!).

More nature in Hong Kong tips?

Come on Hong Kong fans: please add your nature tips in the comments. I love visiting big cities but even more than that I love to be able to escape from them for a few hours or a day.

 

 

 

Comments

  1. Hi Amanda as you know I love,love, love Hong Kong (yep HKG obsessive) and your post captures so many great places to go and see/do/try there. Thank-you so much for letting me contribute and your pinterest board is amazing.
    Jennifer

  2. Oh you are giving me itchy feet! Looks like there certainly are some gorgeous some to visit. What is it that is drawing you back to Honk Kong what did you about it. ps. I think Volcanoes are pretty cool too 😉

    • Haha sorry about the itchy feet Druime!! Hong Kong fascinates me because of its recent history and return to China; and for its amazing food; and just from sentimental reasons since it was my first time abroad … and now because of the beaches and mountains too!

  3. I would add Lamma Island. It’s a short ferry ride. Go walk around the trail and there’s a little beach, too. Then, have seafood at one of the restaurants there. You can also hike the Dragon’s Back trail on Hong Kong Island for some exercise… it’s very popular with locals. Thanks for the inclusion!

  4. I don’t know why, but I really never thought of HK having so many beaches. Must be a bit thick! I’ve only spent a couple of days there in transit – though I really enjoyed my time there. Will have to go back and explore further.
    J

    • You are not thick at all, unless I am too, it hadn’t really occurred to me either until I started coming across all these idyllic Hong Kong beach scenes on Pinterest! Definitely a new side of HK to me.

  5. I’m so glad I have found this website 🙂 Currently travelling Australia from England and off to Hong Kong in February . Thank you

  6. Ah yes the amazing place that stole my heart! I had four wonderful years in the famous City that Never Sleeps. It really has everything – a great blend of East meets west and the tropics meets the big city! Inspired me to start my blog! My favourite beach was always a little beach just south (?) of the Stanley markets. It has a gorgeous little beach hut style cafe. Hope you get back there soon!!

    • Sounds like I will need to hit you up for some tips before I go, Nicole! The way you describe it certainly makes me want to make an even bigger effort to get back there sooner.

  7. Maureen Sellick says

    We had one day in Hong Kong and did a hop on hop off bus tour of the city, followed by one to the south side and was pleasantly surprised to see beautiful beaches and bays etc. so different to the built up hubbub of the city.

Speak Your Mind

*

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.