Having just got back from leave, most of you will not be surprised to hear that I have the back to ‘HK and work Blues’
Thankfully though, a top global travel guide has shifted my mindset.
Lonely Planet has just released its ‘Best in Asia’ list – its pick of where to go in Asia over the next 12 months. The 852 comes in at number five!
Forget the city’s soaring skyscrapers and the Big Buddha though; Hong Kong earned its spot in the rankings because of its “natural heritage” – specifically the UNESCO-designated Global Geopark in Sai Kung.
It covers around 50 square kilometres of the country park and aims to educate visitors about Hong Kong’s fascinating rock formations, some dating back to the age of dinosaurs! Eight sites along the coastline allow you to get up close with rare volcanic and sedimentary rocks, and explore cliffs and sea caves.
Guided boat tours can transport you around the islands that make up the park, or if you want to strike out independently, you can take a 15 minute ferry ride out of Sai Kung Town to hike, swim or watch the wildlife in the area. If you’re short on time, a shuttle bus can get you to the East Dam of the High Island Reservoir for HK$90 round trip – just remember to book with the excitingly-named Volcano Discovery Centre.
If you’re looking to learn a bit more about Hong Kong’s cultural history, Lonely Planet also recommends a trip to Lai Chi Wo, a 400-year-old walled Hakka village, where you can join architecture tours or a Hakka dumpling-making workshop. Some geopark tours stop at Lai Chi Wo and a new ferry service can get you there from the Ma Liu Shui Pier near the Chinese University on Sundays and public holidays.
Don’t worry if you prefer the city though, Lonely Planet also recommends some pit stops for urban jungle explorers, get yourselves over to the Darkside. There are brilliant areas such as Sham Shui Po, where artists from the HK Walls project have brightened up old commercial buildings. I heart the Darkside!
What hidden tourist gems have you discovered in Hong Kong? Just because I am born and raised in Hong Kong doesn’t mean I know about everywhere! Let me know in the comments – I’d love to try them out!