Hike the MacLehose Trail
Hong Kong might seem like one huge concrete jungle at first glance, but escaping from the city’s built-up hubbub will reward those with a yen for lush landscapes. If you’ve already conquered the popular Dragon’s Back Trail on Hong Kong Island, try tackling the Sai Kung leg of the MacLehose Trail — a hiking trail that covers most of the New Territories — instead. Begin your hike at High Island Reservoir East Dam, where you’ll glimpse hexagonal rock columns and waves crashing against stone pillars (very Game of Thrones!). The route continues along a narrow cliff edge, passing the inner bay of Long Ke, before concluding at the scenic Sai Wan Beach.
To get to High Island Reservoir, make your way to Sai Kung Country Park Visitor Centre by taking bus 92 or green minibus 7 or 9 from Sai Kung Bus Terminus. Then, take a taxi to High Island Reservoir East Dam.
Also read: 8 beautiful hiking trails to conquer in Asia
Kayak at Sha Ha Beach
While in Sai Kung, do also check out Sha Ha Beach (Tai Mong Tsai Rd, Sai Kung) for a spot of kayaking. The bay has several inlets and islands all waiting to be explored, including the tiny, remote Catholic village of Yim Tin Tsai. But if kayaking isn’t your cup of tea, you can opt instead to paddleboard or windsurf.
Feast at Kwai Fong Market
For cheap and tasty eats, check out the little-known Kwai Fong Market (Kwai Chung Plaza, Kwai Fong), a shopping plaza with an array of food stalls selling everything from fresh juices to savory crêpes. We’d especially recommend Haru & P (2/F, Shop C07), a tiny bakery serving up freshly made lolly waffles in flavors like chocolate and caramel.
Glimpse dolphins at Tai O
Why visit the dolphins in captivity at Ocean Park, when you can admire them in their natural habitat? The Chinese white dolphin makes its home in the waters off Hong Kong, so head over to Tai O (take bus 11 or the ferry from Tung Chung) for a boat tour, where you might get to see the majestic creatures frolicking in the sea. But if you’ve left your sea legs at home, don’t despair — you can also glimpse the dolphins from the coastal hiking trail above the village.
Cycle along the Shing Mun River
Make your way north to Sha Tin, rent a bicycle, and pedal along the Shing Mun River all the way to Tai Po. Once there, head to Tai Po Waterfront Park (Dai Hei St, +852 2664 2107) to fly a kite alongside the local residents, and ascend the Tai Po Lookout Tower to enjoy glorious sea views.
Sip cocktails at Ozone Bar
Locals and tourists usually head to the nightlife hubs of Lan Kwai Fong, Soho and Wan Chai for their tipples. For a more inspiring view, Hong Kong is also home to the world’s highest bar. Perched 118 floors above ground, Ozone Bar (118/F The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong, International Commerce Centre, 1 Austin Rd West, +852 2263 2263), with its excellent cocktails and even better views, promises to leave you on a high in more ways than one.
Bird-watch at Hong Kong Wetland Park
Ornithologists will find nirvana at the pristine Hong Kong Wetland Park (Wetland Park Rd, Tin Shui Wai, +852 3152 2666). The 62ha park is home to over 235 bird species, along with other forms of wildlife, like mudskippers and butterflies. Don’t forget to visit Pui Pui, a saltwater crocodile who has been living in a beautifully landscaped outdoor enclosure in the park since 2006.
Find peace at Nan Lian Garden
Escape to Nan Lian Garden (60 Fung Tak Rd, Diamond Hill; +852 3658 9366) for a breath of fresh air. The ornate Tang dynasty-style pavilions, delightful water features, lush greenery and tranquil birdsong at this landscaped Chinese garden make it the perfect place to unwind after a chaotic day in the city. There are even noise barriers in place to filter out the sounds of traffic!
Admire the city skyline
For a different perspective of Hong Kong’s skyline, abandon the Central Ferry Piers and head to West Kowloon Waterfront Promenade (Austin Rd West, Tsim Sha Tsui) instead. Visit in the evening to watch the skyscrapers of Hong Kong Island glimmer with sunset hues.
Alternatively, head to Domain (38 Ko Chiu Rd, Yau Tong, +852 2870 2660), a mega-mall overlooking the harbor. Ride the escalators up to the rooftop garden for great views of the eastern face of Hong Kong Island.
There’s also the newly built Kwun Tong Promenade (178 Hoi Bun Rd, Kwun Tong). It’s an ideal vantage point for the ICC Light and Music Show, which takes place across the water at 7.45pm and 9pm every night.