Know Hong Kong like never before for its beauty, less explored attractions, unending list of activities and cosmopolitan food
Have you ever slept under a pitch-black sky, with sounds of waves, the sight of twinkling stars & greenery everywhere, enclosed on 3 sides by mountains and on 4th by a never-ending sea? A group of friends, some music, some food, preparations for barbeque, and installing your tent? Tai Long Sai Wan, you were a paradise land for me, an unforgettable memory that is etched in my heart forever.
Tai Long Sai Wan is the best camping site in Hong Kong. Given on any holiday, you will find at least 20–30 tents across the shore, soaking in the beauty of nature. The easiest way to reach there is by getting a ferry from Sai Kung and the most thrilling way is to trek for 2 hours first up and then down the hill; with all camping goods in your backpack, water cans, tents and food. Despite the effort, once you reach this amazing beach, all lethargy vanishes away and you feel transported to a heavenly smell of sand and nature. Late At Night, if you step out of your tent, you will see a FLUORESCENT ALGAE lighting up the dark blue sea in pattern with waves, a phenomenon that you will never forget in your life.
I have lived for 5 years in Hong Kong and being an explorer by nature, I have visited many neighboring islands like Lamma, Peng Chau, Cheng Chau, Lantau, and a few more. Lamma being my favorite as you could start your journey from 2 sides, either by stocking on various local restaurants which serve mouth-watering vegetarian food to world-famous seafood, then getting to the beach, lying, relaxing and then trekking; or you could start with a trek, dip in the water, barbeque at the beach and later cycle around and try the local cuisines. Just don’t forget to try the juicy pineapple sticks when you reach on top of the mountains.
Reaching all these islands is simple, you need to find a way to the Central Ferry Pier, and hop on to one of the boats going to these islands. Do remember to take the ferry schedule with you as the ferries have fixed to and fro slots. Also, download a language converting app as the locals might not speak your language. For the rest, just follow the map and your instinct.
Other than camping and trekking which are favorite hobbies of Hongkongers, there are of course world-famous beaches like Repulse Bay which deserve more than just one visit. I am in love with beaches somehow their atmosphere is always relaxed. I have my best stories burrowed here. At this beach, the line up of amazing restaurants with music will lift your spirit, and the drinks and food make it a jolly good place to stay all day. Elevating your movie experience to a whole new level, enjoy blockbuster films on the rooftop terrace of this beach for free. Feel free to bring your food and wine. Blankets are provided on request.
Shek O beach deserves a mention for the big waves and the Butterfly beach for its beauty. Then there’s Stanley which is the posh side of a beach day with yummy waffles and enchanting sunset views. With more than 450 hikes, 100 beaches, and 260 outlying islands, Hong Kong is a heaven for nature lovers and sun-seekers.
Another attraction of Hong Kong is the cruises, ranging from day cruise to overnight to 2-days to a week and more. I used to see a lot of these ferries and cruise ships sailing from Tsim Tsa Tsui pier or Wanchai pier. There’s food, music, games, and interesting company. With everyone wanting to unwind, its a perfect place to meet and greet new people. The pirate ship is my favorite. One could also book these cruises online in small groups or for a birthday party or private occasion of 40–50 people. I had a chance to go for one of these cruise parties and they are everything you imagine and more.
For long weekends, you could also book government and private country parks and recreation centers which have many activities like archery, tennis and badminton courts, golf courses, etc with rooms to stay in at very economical prices. In areas like Yuen Long, you could even go strawberry picking after your stay at the recreational center. A 2–3 day stay with friends and family is a good stress-buster at any of these places. I remember staying there for a Christmas Eve in a group of 20, we played games all day, barbequed at night with songs and stories and slept in bunker beds and played morning pranks on each other.
Another stress-buster for people like me who have ample time on their hands is shopping. Shopping is a treat in Hong Kong, from Local shopping at Tsim Tsa Tsui stores to Causeway Bay and Central streets to branded shopping at flagship brand stores and malls, Hong Kong has a great fashion sense, some of it borrowed from China and London and mixed into a unique pattern. You will never get bored if you a small or medium size Asian. For large sizes, except the brands, I would recommend visiting the super economic night markets of Jordan and Mong Kong and the collective market of Sham Sui Po which has everything inclusive of fashion clothes, electronics, board games, raw stitching material and copy of any new hype in the market.
During my stay in this beautiful & active country, I was introduced to another hobby called cycling. Explore the city and race with your peers on these amazing cycle tracks of Hong Kong, to name a few Tung Chung trail, Tai Wai to Sha Tin, Tai Po Waterfront Park, West Kowloon Waterfront Promenade, etc.
Other than all of these, the list of activities in Hongkong is endless, you can start from playing at government sports centers, reading at libraries or playing board games at Jolly Thinkers, jump crazy at Ryze or Bounce, dance all night at Lan Kwai Fong (popularly known as LKF), participate in kayaking at Dragon Boat Festival, hike for passion, visit ocean park for thrilling rides and Disneyland with your kids, this place is packed with action, you need to find what’s yours.
If you love activities, Hong Kong is never going to bore you. But if you love food, Hong Kong is going to surprise you. Being the cosmopolitical hub this place is, it thrives on new recipes. You can get every cuisine here, Japanese sushi’s, Korean rice, Chinese delicacies, Asian delights, Indian tandoori platters, Vietnamese rice rolls, Medditerarean falafels, Thai curries/salads/soups and anything you can name under the sun. In fact, most of them are available in veg versions also, you just need the right search keywords on google.
With one of the fittest world transport and fine architecture, you could spend months exploring this place. I would recommend at least a fortnight to wander around this beautiful place. Living here is expensive, try Airbnb or stay with friends or family. Download KMB application for buses and Cantonese/Mandarin to English translator on your phone, and you’re all set to go.
Signing off with my experiences and advice. Adios, Amigos.
About the Author
A Marketing Professional, an MBA from a reputed university in India, Priyanka has traveled the world for work and pleasure. She loves reading, hiking, playing badminton and table tennis, trying and cooking new cuisines, meeting new people, and observing people and cultures. She believes in writing about true experiences and sharing them with the world.