Hong Kong is full of surprises; here are a dozen quirky tips on how to see some very different sides to the area while enjoying a city break.
1. Go butterfly viewing: The Fung Yuen Butterfly reserve in Tai Po is home to more than 200 different species of butterflies, including the rare White Dragontail and Birdwing Swallowtail. Learn about Hong Kong’s ecology on a guided tour or stop by the Fung Yuen Nature and Culture Education Centre to further your knowledge of Hong Kong’s various flora and fauna.
2. Explore Hong Kong’s natural wildlife; Tin Shui Wai is home to one of Asia’s best wetland parks. View a plethora of local animal life there, including birds, freshwater critters and Pui Pui the crocodile.
3. Buy some picnic supplies (your hotel might offer them – check at reception) and hop on the Disneyland MTR to Inspiration Lake. You can relax on the lawn, walk the promenade or rent a pedal boat on the lake itself.
4. Engage in a variety of water sports at the St. Stephens Beach Water Sports Centre. Rent from their supply of sailing dinghies, windsurfing boards, kayaks and canoes for a twist to a simple beach day.
5. Take a trip down the city’s memory lane by walking though Hong Kong’s old abandoned oyster beds in Lau Fau Shan. Have a chat with the elderly oyster farmers who live in the area, then enjoy some fresh seafood on the shore.
6. Take to the ice. Where better to cool off than at one of Hong Kong’s ice rinks? The ones at Megabox in Kowloon and Elements in Tsim Sha Tsui both boast international-sized ice rinks that offer plenty of room to unleash your inner figure skater.
7. If your little one is in the mood to play pretend, visit the Dreams Come True Education Park located in Hong Kong airport. Kids can dress up in various costumes and uniforms and try their hands at being firefighters, astronauts or whatever their dreams may be.
8. Experience a renaissance: for an insight into a neighbourhood in the midst of a cultural re-birth, take a trip to Chai Wan, Hong Kong’s East Side. This area, formerly known as Hong Kong’s industrial factories, now houses small stores, galleries, and cafés in its warehouse towers.
9. The government pool at Sai Kung is a great way to keep cool; pack the towels, sunscreen and snacks and head to Wai Man Road to enjoy both the lap pool and the family-friendly kids’ pool and water slides. Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, take the one-hour hike through the East Country Park to Sai Kung’s freshwater river pools. After a dip, make for the nearby beachside village of Sai Wan for a snack.
10. Hire a junk or fishing boat at Sai Kung Ferry Pier and journey to Big or Little Millionaire’s Beach. Relax and enjoy the serenity of the lagoon-fed coast, then finish the night with seafood on the pier.
11. Go market shopping. Journey to Kowloon Park and peruse a farmers’ market of arts and crafts. These stalls are set up each Sunday and public holiday from 1pm to 7pm, and the focus is on painting, photography and sketching.
12. Go for a dive. Yes, there is diving in Hong Kong, with plenty of aquatic wildlife to see. Book with one of the various clubs, such as the South China Diving Club, or forge your own path at one of the recognised diving locations. Good places to start include Ho Ha Wan Bay (known for starfish and jellyfish) or Little Palm Beach East (known for sea horses, cuttlefish, and pufferfish).
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