Known for its towering skyscrapers and bustling city life, it’s no wonder that Hong Kong comes top of mind for travelers looking to shop and get a taste of Michelin-quality meals. While the world city hosts a plethora of activities for casual travelers to enjoy, it’s definitely still a top destination if you’re on the lookout for some extra adventure.
Experience Hong Kong like never before through its rich outdoors and various activities fit for those looking to stretch their legs and get in on the action.
1. Experience stand-up paddling across majestic river views
Three Fathoms Cove, right by the seafront villages Yung Shue O and Sham Chung, is the perfect location for a scenic getaway from the city. With views of rolling hills and cerulean waters under your feet, stand-up paddling is the perfect activity to try out while propelling through Hong Kong’s rich biodiversity. Depending on how much you want to challenge yourself, paddlers can go as far as Tang Chau — an uninhabited island around 2.6 km to the west of Sham Chung, to catch panoramic views of Tolo Harbour.
Surrounded by mangroves and fish farms that boast a vast variety of species, paddling through Yung Shue O will treat you to Hong Kong’s diverse sea life, and maybe even a rare butterfly sighting as the village is also recognized as a butterfly hotspot.
2. Challenge yourself by taking on the 60km Super Bike Track
For those who don’t mind breaking a sweat, Hong Kong offers various cycling routes for beginners and experienced cyclists alike. Cycle through Hong Kong’s wetlands, parks, and mountains on the new 60km “Super Bike Track” that connects Tuen Mun and Ma On Shan in the New Territories.
Don’t forget to stop by and take a breath of sea air around Cheung Chau, a beloved island among tourists and locals. Feast your eyes on the promenade’s quaint villages, Instagrammable cafes, and contemporary establishments.
3. Catch the waves and wakesurf along a sprawling peninsula
If you’re more a fan of riding the waves than touching the clouds, wakesurfing is definitely a fun option to try out while in Hong Kong. A popular activity among locals, wakesurfing is the perfect activity to bask in the Hong Kong warmth.
Filipino model and Hong Kong Superfan Jeanine Tsoi shares how she prefers to spend her weekends outside of the city, and would often go wakesurfing in Sai Kung from summer to mid-fall with friends. Jeanine shared that she’d also like to hike more mountains and try wakesurfing in other areas besides Sai Kung while she’s in Hong Kong for her Master’s degree.
A former fishing village, Sai Kung Town offers visitors a variety of water sports that range from diving to kayaking, making it a top destination come summertime. Surf along the coast of the Sai Kung Peninsula and enjoy the various beaches it has to offer with the wind in your hair and refreshing waters at your feet.
4. Kayak through 55 million years of history and fascinating volcanic rock formations
Often referred to as a unique “Geopark in the City’’ due to it being only an hour away from the bustling center, the Hong Kong UNESCO Global Geopark is nothing short of fascinating geoattractions. These include volcanic hexagonal rock columns, sedimentary rock formations formed over 55 million years ago, as well as mangroves and coral communities, all spread out across the Sai Kung Volcanic Rock Region and the Northeast New Territories Sedimentary Rock Region that make up the geopark.
The geopark is unique not only in its various natural attractions but also in how they allow visitors to experience Hong Kong’s natural beauty. Instead of the usual walking tours, a popular and more exhilarating way to explore the park is by kayaking. Marvel at rock formations and sea caves from up close, and even through uninhabited islands via kayak.
5. Explore Hakka culture in a former salt-producing village from the ‘90
A former salt-producing village that was abandoned in the 1990s, Yim Tin Tsai’s saltpans were developed by Hakka settlers that came to the small town of Sai Kung. In 2015, the historic saltpans were restored for demonstration purposes and earned a UNESCO Asia-Pacific for Cultural Heritage Conservation. Years later, visitors can catch glimpses of Hakka customs, heritage, and folklore from Hakka settlers that migrated over 300 years ago.
6. Stroll through the idyllic and IG-worthy Peng Chau island
A relaxing escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, the small island of Peng Chau offers visitors a variety of vibrant arts spaces, aesthetically pleasing cafes, and quaint little shops full of unique knick-knacks and souvenirs.
A former commercial hub during the Qing dynasty, Peng Chau housed various factories and small businesses on the island and is perfect for those that love visiting places ingrained with history. The island is also full of Instagram-worthy locations, such as old factories, beaches, and temples that showcase its one-of-a-kind personality.
7. Visit enchanting villages and islands from the longest pier in Hong Kong
Once a closed border town, Sha Tau Kok has gradually reopened with its pier restarting operations in June 2022. Built in the 1960s, the pier is the longest in the city and can take visitors to Lai Chi Wo, Kat O, and Ap Chau among other islands. The pier is located on the east-most point of Hong Kong, close enough for a glimpse of Shenzhen across the border.
Lai Chi Wo is the oldest, largest, and best-preserved rural settlement near the New Territories’ northeast coast. You can immerse yourself in the greens of its mangrove forest and large fung shui woods surrounding its 300-year-old Hakka village.
Another island you can visit is Kat O, a former fishing village that houses the Kat O Tin Hau temple built during the Qing dynasty to honor Tin Hau, the “Goddess of the Sea” and protector of sailors and fishermen, or Ap Chau, best known for its spectacular, Instagram-friendly, ochre-colored rock formations –including one shaped like a duck’s head.
8. Go on an exhilarating hike over, under, and across Hong Kong’s vast natural beauty
A go-to destination for hikers, Hong Kong’s many trails not only cater to hikers of varying skill levels but also to nature lovers looking for a way to fully immerse themselves into the natural beauty of Hong Kong.
Beginners can try out the Lau Shui Heung Reservoir hike, taking them to the Instagram famous “sky mirror”. Meanwhile, intermediate hikers can try out the Tai Tam Reservoir hike that takes hikers from Quarry Bay in the north of Hong Kong island to the beautiful beaches in southern Repulse Bay through the Tai Tam group of reservoirs.
Experienced hikers can also challenge themselves with the Wilson Trail — stretching from Stanley Gap, on Hong Kong Island all the way to Nam Chung in the New Territories. Indonesian avid hiker and Hong Kong Superfan Ida Serena Purwati recommends High Junk Peak as one of her favorite trails. Hikers may choose between the easy or leisure trails, both offering amazing views along the way, and chill by the beautiful Clear Water Bay Beach after the hike as a reward.
As Hong Kong is gearing up to welcome international guests back into the city, it is now ready to show off more of its diverse and natural wonders. Add these to your itinerary for your next visit and make lasting memories you’ll cherish for years to come while crossing off some items from your bucket list.
Hong Kong has something for everyone be it shopping, dining, or the arts. Check out more of the new adventures you can explore in Hong Kong at https://www.discoverhongkong.com/.