Outdoor Fun: Hiking and Beaches

Many people from Hong Kong and abroad often comment on how small and crowded it is, but have you ever wondered actually how big it is? In fact the entire territory is fairly large, about twice as big as San Francisco and similar in size to New York City and Paris! Naturally, the next question then is why does Hong Kong appear to be so crowded and small? It is because the vast majority of people live and work in less than 20% of the territory, which means that the other 80% is more or less unpopulated.

Given that most of Hong Kong is unpopulated, it makes it a great place to have fun outdoors, especially for hiking and beaches. Since most of us spend the majority of our time at CityU and the crowded city center, going on a hike or to the beach is a wonderful way to relax from busy city life. Some good choices include parts of the new territories, outlying islands, back of Hong Kong Island and the sea (boating).

Since everyone is so busy, a good choice is Lion Rock (獅子山) because it is right behind CityU! If you want to walk there, simply go towards Baptist University on Cornwall Street until you reach the entrance to the country park (about 25 minutes). For those who want to save their strength for the hike, you can take green minibus 73 from the bus stop across from Beacon Hill and the CityU Student Residence or Festival Walk and then get off at Tin Wang Court (天宏苑).

Once at Lion Rock Park there are a number of things to do to suit many different people’s wants. If you want to simply relax outside there are a number of places to have picnics and fire pits where you can barbeque or cook food. Also, if you want to improve your health, there is a 15-station fitness trail, jogging paths and hiking paths. For those up to the challenge, the peak of Lion Rock provides views of the “Lion Rock” itself and panoramas of Kowloon. After you are done and ready to go home, it’s just a short bus ride or walk back to CityU.

View from the Lion Rock

So, whenever you want to take a break from your studies or city life, Lion Rock Country Park provides an easy and convenient choice.

The Reunification Pavilion was built on the mid-slope of Lion Rock to commemorate Hong Kong’s reunification with China in 1997.

As explained, Hong Kong includes many places to enjoy the outdoors. When you have more time on the weekend or holidays, Sai Kung (西貢) is an excellent choice for beaches, hiking and camping.

First you need to get to Sai Kung Town and the fastest way from CityU is to first take the MTR to Choi Hung station and then get on green minibus 1 or 1A towards Sai Kung Pier. Once you arrive you should take a walk around, where you can get a chance to see a less busy side to Hong Kong life. Then once you are ready to hike or swim, there are a number of choices and in this article I will introduce you to one of my favorite options, Tai Long Wan (大浪灣).

From Sai Kung Town you can take bus 94 to Wong Shek Pier (黃石碼頭) and then transfer to a boat (about HK$20). Given Tai Long Wan’s more obscure location the crowd is much smaller than other beaches like Repulse Bay (淺水灣) or Shek O (石澳). Still, you will be happy to find there are plenty of facilities, including the basics such as lifeguards, nets and restrooms, as well as cafes, restaurants and places to rent camping and water sport gear. If you have the time, camping there for a night or two provides a great beachfront ocean view for free (if you have your own camping equipment or for around HK$150 if you rent).

Besides camping there are also a number of other activities available at Tai Long Wan, including hiking and water sports. Right from the beach you have access to the MacLehose Trail (麥理浩徑), which you can hike for hours if you want. There are also a number of water sports including diving, kayaking, swimming and surfing. The water in Tai Long Wan has the HKSAR government’s grade 1 rating (the highest), ensuring a nice time. Another big plus for this beach is that any equipment needed for the aforementioned activities can all be easily rented at Tai Long Wan.

There are also beautiful beaches on the Lantau Island and Lamma Island.

Lastly, while I strongly recommend Sai Kung and Tai Long Wan, it is important to remember it does time a bit of time to get there. To be safe I would give yourself about 2 hours to reach Tai Long Wan from CityU’s campus. So, when you are not too busy with classes, Tai Long Wan is the perfect choice for a getaway within Hong Kong.