As fatigue from social distancing measures sets in, the need for a calming escape away from the bustling city increases. While we know that views from secluded islands like Jin Island and challenging hiking trials like Sharp Peak are breathtaking, they also require money (to charter a boat), energy and time that may not be an option for everyone.
That’s why we have put together a list of natural wonders of Hong Kong that let you soak in nature without the sweat and tears.
High Island Reservoir: The hexagonal rock towers
Part of Hong Kong Geopark, the High Island Reservoir is one of the best-groomed scenic routes in Sai Kung.
The High Island Geo Trail lets you walk amongst the majestic 140-million-year-old Hexagonal Rock columns.
From afar, you’ll see the vertical rock stacks on the towering Po Pin Chau—a small islet separated from the main island.
Along the trail, an educational display of different types of rocks offer some context to what you’re looking at.
If you’re up for it, a relatively new Biu Tsim Kok extension takes you to a vantage viewpoint. The viewpoint offers a panoramic view of the reservoir as well as Long Ke Wan, which is dubbed one of the most beautiful beaches in Hong Kong.
How to get there: To access the High Island Reservoir, you can take mini bus number 7 or bus number 94 from Sai Kung Town Centre. Then, get off at Pak Tam Chung Bus Terminal. After that, there’s an approximately two-hour hike to the observation point.
A new mini bus route number 9A was added in 2021 to ferry visitors between Pak Tam Chung directly to the viewpoint of the East Dam of High Island Reservoir.
Lai Chi Wo Village: Historic feng shui forest
There are countless reasons to visit Lai Chi Wo.
To name a few:
It’s one of the oldest and best-preserved Hakka villages in Hong Kong.
It’s also one of the few places where you can visit a lush traditional feng shui forest in the city. Feng Shui forests are a protected patch of forest next to a traditional village for geomancy reasons. Most of the feng shui forests are sacred grounds that aren’t open to the public.
The area is home to some of the oldest trees in Hong Kong.
From the 50s to the 70s, many of the villagers emigrated overseas, abandoning most of the villages and farmlands. A new initiative in the 2010s recruited passionate farmers to move in and revitalise the village. A new community has been formed.
Today, the new villagers run interesting activities from art jamming, to eco-farming, to a tour into the feng shui forest. A farmers’ market happens on the first Sunday of each month. Don’t leave without trying some of the Hakka cuisine and some locally grown delicacies in the village.
How to get there: A ferry operates between Ma Liu Shiu Pier and Lai Chi Wo on the weekends and public holidays. (Ma Liu Shui Pier is a 15-minute walk from the University Station in the New Territories.) The ferry journey takes around one and a half hours.
Hiking is also feasible but would require some hiking experience and more preparation. It is about a two and a half hour hike from Lai Chi Wo to Wu Kau Tang, where you can take bus 275R or mini bus 20R to Tai Po Market.
Do check the ferry and bus schedules before going as transport is very limited.
Tung Ping Chau: The easternmost uninhabited island
The easternmost island of Hong Kong makes for a perfect one-day trip into the wild. It’s because the crescent-shaped island is home to many unusual and colourful rock formations. Check out the brown and orange sedimentary rocks that look like layered sponge cakes.
The Tung Ping Chau Country Trail stretches around six kilometres around the island. Some of the interesting landmarks include the rippling wave-like shoreline at Lung Lok Shui (Dragon goes into the water).
How to get there: A ferry runs between Ma Liu Shui and Tung Ping Chau on weekends and public holidays. The boat journey is about 90 minutes. Ferries are limited so please check the ferry schedule before going.
Tai Tam Reservoirs: 21 historical monuments amongst nature
Every visit to the Tai Tam Reservoirs reminds you of the beauty of living in Hong Kong.
A short journey away from the densely populated city centre, sits the picturesque historical natural wonders of Hong Kong.
The easy one-hour circular walk takes you along the century-old masonry bridges that connect the group of reservoirs. Some 21 historical monuments sit within the Tai Tam Country Park and Reservoirs.
But don’t limit yourself to just that circular walk. There are multiple treks around the Tai Tam Country Park.
How to get there: Tai Tam is easily accessible by bus 6 or 66 from Exchange Square in Central to Wong Nai Chung Reservoir. From there, it is about 1.5 kilometres from the Tai Tam Reservoirs.
But, you can also hike directly from Quarry Bay to Tai Tam, which will take around two to three hours.
Tai Po Kau: Wildlife watching in the forest
Boasting one of the city’s oldest forests, Tai Po Kau has been dubbed an ideal place to learn about Hong Kong’s wildlife.
Spanning 460 hectares in the New Territories, Tai Po Kau is a nature reserve with lots of family-friendly hikes.
With over 160 species of birds, it’s the place that Hong Kong’s bird-watching community frequent. It is also said that leopard cats and deer will roam this area.
Those who aren’t afraid of the dark could consider joining a guided night tour.
Walk Hong Kong sometimes hosts a four-hour night walk. Participants may be able to see some of the local snakes, owls, and fireflies after the sun sets.
How to get there: You can take bus 72 which runs from Tai Wo Station, or mini bus 28K from Tai Po Market to Chung Tsai Yuen. Chung Tsai Yuen is a few minutes from the nature trail’s entrance.
The trails are colour-coded for different durations—but they are all easy enough for hiking beginners. Look into different trails before making your trip or deciding whether your little ones would enjoy it.