Many visit or stay in Hong Kong without ever stepping foot in the New Territories. Lucky for you, we’re here to ensure you don’t make the same mistake.
Unfairly assessed as the ugly stepsister among the S.A.R.’s three main regions — expat-friendly Hong Kong Island and the “dark” peninsula of Kowloon make up the other two — the NT comprises an astounding 85% of the small-but-mighty city. In fact, roughly 3.5 million Hongkongers call it home.
So, what do the New Territories have to offer the intrepid daytripper? From geological sites replete with weird but cool rocks, to wet wonderlands ruled by mudskippers and mangroves, these six New Territories outings are a breath of fresh air — literally! And all you have to do is hop on the MTR and/or ride a bus to get there.
What makes Hong Kong one of the most convenient cities to live in? Efficient, clean, and well-connected public transport.
When setting off into the New Territories — and, for that matter, anywhere in the S.A.R. — keep your Octopus card handy. You can access the MTR, buses, public light buses or minibuses, and even the NTs’ own Light Rail (more on that later) by simply tapping your card as you enter. Depending on where you’re commuting from, you’ll want to top up your Octopus with at least HK$100.00. This should more than cover your roundtrip, and leave funds for extra supplies you may need like water and a snack or two.
You can easily top up in increments of HK$50.00 at MTR stations and convenience stores like 7-Eleven and Circle K, so don’t panic if you find yourself in the red.
Cheapo Tip: Starting from the 16th of each month, you can collect a public transport fare subsidy by tapping your Octopus at Octopus Service Points, outlets of 7-Eleven, Circle K, Wellcome, Market Place by Jasons, Market Place, 3hreesixty and Jasons ichiba, and Subsidy Collection Points installed at each MTR station, light rail customer service center and designated ferry piers. The subsidy will be credited to your Octopus automatically — a welcome boost to your balance!
MTR: Every MTR station has at least one barrier-free access. Wheelchair users can travel from street level to the platform at all stations with public lifts or wheelchair aids. Where elevators are not available, whether from the street to concourse or from concourse to platform, wheelchair aids/stair climbers provide access. If you need the stair lift or stair climber, notify a staff member by speaking into one of the call boxes located at the station entrances or exits. Passengers who require portable ramps to go from the platform to the train can approach MTR personnel for help.
For detailed information on specific lines or stations, it’s best to check the Barrier-Free Facilities Search section on the MTR website.
Public light bus: Minibuses are not accessible to wheelchair users. They are equipped with features like seat belts, braille plates with the bus license numbers, grab poles, route display panels, and alighting bells.
Bus: Most buses offer dedicated spaces for wheelchairs. Buses also typically include safety features like grab poles, reserved seats, low floors covered with slip-resistant material, and alighting bells.
Light Rail: All Light Rail stations are accessible to wheelchair users. Train compartments have designated areas for passengers using wheelchairs.
Ma Shi Chau
Rock up to Ma Shi Chau for a peek into the Permian era!
This islet is a designated special area within the UNESCO Global Geopark. Home to pre-Jurassic rocks dating back over 280 million years, as well as a natural bridge or tombolo accessible during low tide, Ma Shi Chau is the sort of strange, untamed place you’d never expect to find in Hong Kong. The nature trail here is mercifully flat and rarely crowded. Sights of interest include a serene pebble beach and striated sedimentary stones in vivid reds and orange.
How to get there:
Ride the MTR to Tai Po Market Station on the East Rail Line. At the MTR station, take Exit A3 to the minibus terminus and follow the signs for the green minibus 20K to Sam Mun Tsai. Take the bus to the final stop, which is Sam Mun Tsai New Village. When you get off the bus, you should see a pavilion with a sign pointing you towards Ma Shi Chau Special Area. Follow the red signs and make your way through the village. From behind the village, take the steps that go uphill towards the cemetery. Keep walking till you reach the tombolo. Look out for the sign that reads “Hong Kong UNESCO Global Geopark: Ma Shi Chau Special Area”.
Tai Mei Tuk
You love a boozy brunch as much as a biking adventure. You contain multitudes, and Tai Mei Tuk does too!
For outdoor activities aplenty, there’s no destination more wholesome than Tai Mei Tuk, located near Plover Cove Reservoir. Arguably the best way to explore the area is via bike, which you can rent from any one of numerous shops located along Ting Kok road. If you’d rather spend the day on your feet, there’s abundant trails and even a possibly haunted waterfall (Bride’s Pool). Otherwise, beeline for the Water Sports Centre (closed on Wednesdays) for windsurfing, kayaking, sailing and more.
How to get there:
Ride the MTR to Tai Po Market Station on the East Rail Line. At the MTR station, take Exit A3 to the minibus terminus and follow the signs for green minibus 20C or KMB 75K. Depending on where you’re headed, get off at Ting Kok or the final stop, which is Tai Mei Tuk Bus Terminus. Both buses run throughout the week.
About as far north as you can go without venturing into Shenzhen, Mai Po is a designated nature reserve looked after by World Wildlife Fund Hong Kong (WWF). Family-friendly and perfect for budding or experienced naturalists alike, this northerly zone is a biodiversity hotspot. Spot mudskippers and crabs sliding along the marshland, and scan the vast landscape for elegant white egrets and black-faced spoonbills. Learn about gei wai, a traditional method of shrimp farming unique to the area.
How to get there:
Since Mai Po is a protected area, the only way to access it is by obtaining a special permit or joining a tour. WWF’s Mai Po tours include a shuttle service. Ride the MTR to Yuen Long Station on the Tuen Ma Line. Then, take Exit H and make your way to Long Ming Street.
Otherwise, ride the MTR to Yuen Long Station on the Tuen Ma Line. Take Exit G1 or G2 and walk down to the transport interchange at Long Yat Road. Ride KMB 76K to Mai Po Village. Walk 20 minutes along Tam Kon Chau Road to reach the Mai Po Visitor Centre.
Nam Sang Wai
Catch a break from Central’s pigeon-infested alleys with an escape to Nam Sang Wai. This true bird watching paradise — it’s not just for octogenarians — boasts fishponds, reed beds, and mangrove trees unlike anywhere else in Hong Kong. It’s also home to the only surviving river-crossing wooden ferry in the city.
How to get there:
Ride the MTR to Yuen Long Station on the Tuen Ma Line. Take Exit G2 and make your way to the Yoho Mall bus stop. Take either KMB 76K or minibuses 36, 37, 38, and 75. Alight at Hong Mo Kiu bus stop and walk along Nam Sang Wai Road.
Lau Fau Shan
A Hong Kong oyster? In this economy? It cannot be, and yet it is — at least in salt and sun-soaked Lau Fau Shan.
Threatened by rampant development, Lau Fau Shan’s 700-year-old oyster farming culture has declined considerably. However, it’s still possible to get a taste of local oysters here — freshly stir fried, dried, or transformed into sauce. The combination of seafood restaurants and scenic views mean that this fishing village offers up a shucking good time.
There’s really only one way in and out, and the area can get busy on weekends, so it’s worth planning to take a taxi or Uber for your journey back.
How to get there:
To get to Ha Pak Nai, famed for its sunsets, ride the MTR to Yuen Long Station on the Tuen Ma Line. Take Exit B and walk to Tai Fung Street Terminus for GMB minibus 33. Alight when you see the fish farms. Follow the signage leading to the mudflat.
Ping Shan Heritage Trail
Not to be confused with Tai Ping Shan in Sheung Wan, the Ping Shan Heritage Trail is composed of 14 historical sites depicting traditional life in the New Territories. From ornate ancestral halls to Hong King’s only ancient pagoda, this is a rare opportunity to experience the city’s lesser known history beyond the four walls of a museum. People reside in these walled villages, so be respectful and make sure you’re not trespassing!
How to get there:
There are many ways to get to the Ping Shan Heritage Trail by MTR and bus. To get to the Ping Shan Tang Clan Gallery, we recommend riding the MTR to Tin Shui Wai Station on the Tuen Ma Line. Then, take Exit A. From here, you can hop on the KMB 276 bus, and alight at Ping Hing Lane, Ping Shan. Walk for four minutes. Alternatively, ride the MTR to Yuen Long Station on the Tuen Ma Line. Take MTR Bus K65 to Ping Hing Lane, Ping Shan, then walk for five minutes.
Cheapo Tip: While you won’t hear the endearing ding ding of the Island’s historic tramways up in the NT, the northwestern New Territories enjoy access to the Light Rail or North-West Railway. Ride the MTR to Yuen Long Station on the Tuen Ma Line. Then, alight and take the 761P light rail to Ping Shan stop. Walk for a few minutes.