Hong Kong's - Lonely Planet

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Hong Kong's - Lonely Planet

HONG KONG

The green guide

With Special Feature on Seafood, Chinese Style!

Head beyond Hong Kong’s

amazing high-rise harbour

cityscapes and you may be surprised

and delighted by its abundant green

spaces. You’ll find hundreds of square

kilometres of protected nature

reserves in uplands, woodlands,

coastlines and marshes.


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For more information, please visit discoverhongkong.com

Parks & Gardens

It’s easy to get out and commune with

nature in Hong Kong as the urban areas

are blessed with superb parks and gardens.

Some, such as Hong Kong Park, are

carefully tended and artfully arranged with

sculptures, waterfalls and stone ‘mountains’

while others, such as Hong Kong

Wetland Park, embrace mother nature

with open arms.

Hong Kong Park

%2521 5041; www.lcsd.gov.hk/parks/hkp/

en/index.php; 19 Cotton Tree Dr, Admiralty;

Enjoying a family day out in Hong Kong Park

Birdwatchers will be spoiled for choice

in Hong Kong; some 450 species of birds

live in or visit the territory. The richest

areas for birdwatching include Mai Po

Marsh and the Hong Kong Wetland Park

at Tin Shui Wai.

admission free; �park 6am-11pm,

conservatory & aviary 9am-5pm, tours

8-10am Wed; Bus 12A; Metro: Admiralty

(exit C1)

Stroll through a little slice of rainforest and

come face to beak with exotic birds at the

Edward Youde Aviary, Hong Kong Park’s

captivating star attraction. Don’t miss

the Flagstaff House Museum of Tea Ware

(%2869 0690; www.lcsd.gov.hk/CE/Muse-

um/Arts/english/tea/intro/eintro.html; 10

Cotton Tree Dr, Admiralty; admission free;

�10am-5pm Wed-Mon) housed in the

oldest colonial building (1846) still existing

in Hong Kong and containing a fascinating

collection of antique Chinese tea ware.

Victoria Park

%2890 5824; www.lcsd.gov.hk/en/ls_park.

php; Causeway Rd, Causeway Bay; admission

free; �24hr; Metro: Causeway Bay (exit E), Tin

Hau (exit A2)

The biggest patch of public greenery on

Hong Kong Island, Victoria Park is a popular

place to stroll. In the morning look out for

the slow-motion choreography of t’ai chi

practitioners. It’s also worth a visit during

the atmospheric Mid-Autumn Festival

when lantern-bearing crowds gather to eat

moon cakes and enjoy the harvest moon.

Hong Kong Wetland Park

%2708 8885; www.wetlandpark.com;

Wetland Park Rd, Tin Shui Wai; admission

adults/children over three $HK30/15; �10am-

5pm Wed-Mon; Tram: KCR West Rail to Tin

Shui Wai then Light Rail 705 or 706; Bus 967

A facility dedicated to conservation and

education, the Wetland Park in Tin Shui

Wai comprises a vast visitors’ centre, galleries

and 60-hectare wetland reserve,

criss-crossed with trails running through

a variety of recreated habitats, including a

mangrove swamp and mudflat. Look out

for mud skippers, rare birdlife, and local

celebrity inhabitant Pui Pui, the saltwater

crocodile, and learn more about the

region’s glorious native fauna, such as the

green turtle and reclusive mouse deer.

Trails

Hong Kong’s large country parks and

dramatically rugged terrain make it an

excellent place for hiking. Numerous trails

thread through Hong Kong Island, the

New Territories and the Outlying Islands.

The four main ones are the MacLehose

Trail at 100km the longest in the territory;

the 78km-long Wilson Trail, which runs on

both sides of Victoria Harbour; the 70kmlong

Lantau Trail; and the 50km-long

Hong Kong Trail.

Hong Kong Trail

http://www.hkwalkers.net/longtrail/eng/

hktrail/hktrail.html

Starting from the Peak Tram upper

terminus on The Peak, the 50km-long Hong

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Admiring the stunning scenery

When hiking or trekking in Hong Kong

don’t forget to pack plenty of water,

snacks, a weatherproof jacket, a sun hat,

maps and a compass. October to March

is the best season for the harder sections

of trails. At high elevations it can get very

cold so bring warm clothing.

Kong Trail traverses four country parks.

The 13-sq-km Tai Tam Country Park is the

most beautiful of the four, with its dense

emerald woods and trickling streams. It’s

possible to hike the entire trail but most

hikers tackle individual sections.

Lantau Trail

http://www.hkwalkers.net/longtrail/eng/

ltrail/ltrail.html

The mountainous, 70km-long Lantau Trail

offers spectacular views of Lantau Island’s

empty green expanses, mountain peaks

and monastic retreats. It takes just over 24

hours to walk in full, but the trail is divided

into a dozen manageable stages ranging

from 2.5km (45 minutes) to 10.5km (three

hours).

MacLehose Trail

http://www.hkwalkers.net/longtrail/eng/

mtrail/mtrail.html

The territory’s longest hiking path spans

the New Territories from Tuen Mun in the

west to Pak Tam Chung on the Sai Kung

Peninsula in the east and offers a chance

to reach some very remote country. It

passes by Ma On Shan (702m), the territory’s

fourth-tallest mountain and ends

in the spectacular, remote and wild Sai

Kung peninsula. The trail is divided into

10 stages, ranging in length from about

4.6km (1.5 hours) to 15.6km (five hours).

Wilson Trail

http://www.hkwalkers.net/longtrail/eng/

wtrai/wtrail.html

This trail is unusual in that its southern section

(two stages, 11.4km (4.5 hours)) is on

Hong Kong Island, while its northern part

(eight stages, 66.6km (26.5 hours)) crosses

the eastern harbour to Lei Yue Mun in New

Kowloon and then carries on into the New

Territories. Highlights include excellent

views over the south-eastern side of Hong

Kong Island and out to Lamma Island.

The boats and seafood restaurants of Sok Kwu Wan (Picnic Bay)

islands

Hong Kong’s outlying islands offer a

greener, slower-paced side of Hong Kong

compared to the teeming city centre.

You’ll find country parks with hundreds

of kilometres of hiking trails, sea breezes

and remnants of traditional village life. The

islands are also a colourful encyclopaedia

of animal and plant life - a boon for nature

lovers. What’s more, some of Hong Kong’s

best beaches punctuate their rocky coasts.

Lamma Island

With no cars, leafy, low-rise Lamma Island

makes a perfect place to find some open

space, peace and quiet. The island also

features plenty of pubs and eateries to

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The Ngong Ping cable car and Tian Tan Buddha

Hong Kong’s main outlying islands are

so easy to get to from Hong Kong Island

with regular ferry shuttle services departing

from the ferry terminal in Central.

keep you sated. The territory’s third-largest

island after Lantau Island and Hong Kong

Island, Lamma Island is home to an estimated

5000 fisherfolk, farmers and foreigners.

At Sok Kwu Wan, the island’s ‘second’

village you’ll find many excellent seafood

restaurants. Lamma Island also has some

good beaches, excellent hiking and lively

pubs, as well as a small organic farm where

they grow herbs and teas. Drop by and

check out its aromatic output.

Lantau Island

Hong Kong’s largest island, Lantau (Cantonese

for ‘broken head’), is home to some of

the region’s best and most remote beaches,

wilderness trails, monasteries and monuments,

including the giant Tian Tan Buddha

(Giant Buddha), easily reached via the

dramatic cable car from Tung Chung near

the airport. Part of Lantau Island’s appeal is

its generous dimensions, ruggedly beautiful

terrain and low population.

Cheung Chau

Once a refuge for pirates, Cheung Chau’s

modest dimensions and winding pathways

past temples, beaches, fishing boats,

sampans and mini chandleries make it a

delightful destination for a day trip. Bring

your camera for some of the best shots

of traditional maritime life on the south

China coast.

Peng Chau

Tiny Peng Chau is perhaps the most traditionally

Chinese of the outlying islands,

with narrow alleyways, crowded housing,

closet-sized seafood restaurants, a couple

of small but interesting temples and oldfashioned

corner shops. The soundtrack

to this sleepy time capsule will likely be

Cantonese opera leaking from old transistor

radios, the chatter of elderly residents

and the slap of their mahjong tiles on the

tables.

NgoNg PiNg 360

Bus: 2 from Mui Wo, 21 from Tai O, 23 from

Tung Chung, or cable car

Situated on Lantau Island, Ngong Ping

360 (www.ng360.com.hk) is an entertaining

visitor attraction comprising Ngong

Ping Village and the lofty Ngong Ping

cable car. The 5.7km-long cable car makes

for a panoramic 25-minute ride from Tung

Chung, with dramatic views of Hong

Kong’s International Airport and out over

the South China Sea (especially thrilling

if you opt for a glass-bottomed ‘crystal

cabin’ cable car carriage), all the way to

Ngong Ping Village, where you’ll find

traditional Chinese architecture, a lovely

tea house, and an assortment of shops

and restaurants.

Beaches

Hong Kong Island

Repulse Bay

Bus: 6, 6A, 6X or 260

Upscale Repulse Bay is home to some of

Hong Kong’s richest residents, drawn by

its long, golden beach. Known as Chin Shui

Wan (Shallow Water Bay) in Cantonese, it

is Hong Kong Island’s most popular beach.

The beach has showers and changing

rooms and shade trees at the roadside.

Shek O & Big Wave Bay

Shek O: 20 minute bus ride from Shau Kei Wan;

Big Wave Bay: Bus 9 or 309 (Sunday only)

The dramatic, mountainous double decker

bus ride to Shek O (sit at the front upstairs

for the best view) is worth the trip alone

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Green Tours

http://www.discoverhongkong.com/eng/

things-to-do/nature-kaleidoscope.html

Want to find out more about Hong

Kong’s green spaces and ecosystems?

Then book one of the Hong Kong

Nature Kaleidoscope tours through the

Hong Kong Tourism Board. Tours include

walks around the Mai Po Wetland,

a tour of sleepy Tai O village’s shore and

mangrove habitats, an ecotour of Long

Valley and a trip to the Kadoorie Farm

and Botanic Garden.

but on arrival you’ll find a delightful smallscale

village, low-key cafes and one of the

best stretches of beach in Hong Kong.

You’ll get even more space to yourself on

Big Wave Bay’s fine and often deserted

beach 2km north of picturesque Shek O.

Look out for the rare prehistoric carvings

etched onto the headland here.

Beach and island seafood

Hong Kong’s selection of slippery, slithering

seafood is a culinary highlight of any stay

in the region, but to ensure the very best

of maritime masterpieces, it’s important to

know where to find the freshest, tastiest

catch. Three particular destinations stand

out in the competition for Neptune’s best;

make your way to any of those below to

savour Hong Kong’s delights of the deep.

Sai Kung

Metro: Choi Hung then minibus 1A or 1M; Bus: 92

Also known as Hong Kong’s ‘back garden’,

Beach Swimming

The most accessible beaches are on

the southern side of Hong Kong Island,

but some of the best ones are on the

outlying islands and in the New Territories.

Lifeguards patrol Hong Kong’s

41gazetted beaches from at least April

to October.

Sai Kung boasts – along with its stunning

scenery, old Tin Hau temples and massive

country park – a range of huge outdoor restaurants

catering to seafood-lovers running

along its lovely waterfront. Try Chuen Kee

Seafood (%2791 1195; 53 Hoi Pong St, Sai

Kung; �11am-midnight) for beautiful harbour

views and carefully cooked crabs and

lobsters, or celebrity favourite, Kam Kau Kei

(%2719 8432; 145 Pak Sha Wan, Sai Kung;

�11.30am-3pm & 5.30-11pm).

Lei Yue Mun

Metro: Yau Tong (exit A2)

This quaint little seaside village, tucked

away in Kowloon’s southeastern corner,

offers you an unusual take on your seafood

experience: make your selection from

the lively fish market stalls on offer, then

take your haul along to the restaurant of

your choice to have it cooked for you. Stop

off for supper at the Lung Mun Seafood

Restaurant (%2717 9886; 20-22 Praya Rd

West; �noon-10.30pm), a decades-old restaurant

with tasty Cantonese specialities

such as lobster with cheese and deep-fried

big mantis shrimps. Alternatively, tuck into

grilled prawns in barbecue sauce or salty

Seafood for sale

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and spicy king mantis prawns at Gateway

Cuisine (2727 4628; 58A Hoi Pong Rd,

Central; 11am-11pm), amid spectacular

scenery.

Lamma

Ferry: Yung Shue Wan or Sok Kwu Wan from

Central (pier 4, Outlying Islands ferry terminal)

or Aberdeen

Car-free and carefree Lamma Island, one of

Hong Kong’s most popular weekend getaways,

offers delicious seafood to fill you up

after a long day swimming and hiking in glorious

green surroundings. Dining options are

concentrated between the two main villages

of Sok Kwu Wan and Yung Shue Wan; with

a popular hike connecting the two, you can

stop for lunch at one, then work up an appetite

for dinner at the other. While Yung Shue

Wan offers a variety of restaurants and pubs

serving up delicious Asian and Western food,

Sok Kwu Wan is the island’s seafood highlight,

with a range of terraced restaurants

standing high up on stilts above the bay.

The most popular sorts of seafood here are

infused with fresh chillies, garlic or ginger:

try the chilli crab, garlic prawns, or steamed

fish with ginger and spring onions at the

award-winning Rainbow Seafood Restaurant

(%2982 8100; 23-25 First Street, Sok Kwu

Wan, Lamma; �10am-11pm), which also offers

a free ferry shuttle service for diners who

reserve in advance. Back on the other side of

the island, tuck into seafood with a view in

Yung Shue Wan, at the Lamma Seaview Man

Fung Seafood Restaurant (%2982 0719; 5

Main Street, Yung Shue Wan; �10am-11pm)

where you can dine outdoors whilst admiring

the maritime scenery.

Dining on exquisite seafood is one of

the highlights of any visit to Hong Kong,

and enjoying deep-sea dinners Cantonese-style

sees this culinary art form

raised to perfection. Two key elements

characterize seafood, Cantonese style:

freshness and simplicity, with fish so

fresh it’s usually still swimming.

seafood, chinese sTYle

Cantonese seafood – most frequently

served steamed or deep-fried, enlivened

with a touch of soy sauce, ginger, chilli or

green onion – is best tasted on the islands

of Lamma, Sai Kung and Lei Yue Mun, whose

fishy dishes are impossible to forget. But

remember: the trick to a delicious dinner is

all in the ordering. On Sai Kung or Lamma,

seafood is most often ordered direct from

the restaurant’s own fish tank - simply point

your finger at the soon-to-be-dish that takes

your fancy. Meanwhile, on Lei Yue Mun,

your culinary adventure takes on an added

twist, with a trip to the fish market to select

your catch, after which your chosen restaurant

will gladly steam, fry or sizzle it up for

you. Bear in mind, when browsing, that the

price of your catch – be it fish, lobster, crab

or shrimp – is usually calculated by weight,

so you’ll pay a premium for a particularly

plump specimen.

Finally, it’s important to note, before you

tuck right in, that creating perfect Cantonese-style

seafood dishes depends on

matching the cooking method to the type

Dining at a seafood restaurant, Sai Kung

of seafood you want to eat. Shrimp are best

steamed plain or with garlic, fried with a

drop of soy sauce, or pepped up by deepfrying

with salt and pepper. Crab, meanwhile,

tastes best when fried with green

onion and ginger, or given a deep-fried

zing with garlic and chili; head over to the

Wai Kee or the award-winning Rainbow

Seafood Restaurant on Lamma to sample

these treats for yourself. Alternatively, tuck

into lobster baked with cheese sauce and

noodles or fried up with green onion and

ginger, and oysters served hot-pot style or

deep fried to perfection. Chuen Kee Seafood

or Fai Kee Seafood Restaurant – which also

cooks up a deliciously unusual sea urchin

fried rice – are both great Sai Kung picks.

Meanwhile, for something unusual, look out

for clams fried with ‘Dou Chi’, a type of Chinese

fermented black bean. Finally, if it’s fish

you fancy, select it steamed with soy sauce

and green onion, fried with vegetables, or

served up in hotpot. The long-established

Kam Lung Seafood Restaurant and the

stunningly-located Gateway Cuisine, both

on Lei Yue Mun, make for delectable dining

experiences. But wherever you dig into

your Cantonese seafood extravaganza, you

can be sure you’ll be craving the tantalising

tastes of Hong Kong’s islands long after

you’ve returned home.

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