Natural Hong Kong

Neon lights, gleaming skyscrapers and busy city streets may initially spring to mind when thinking about Hong Kong, but venture outside the metropolis and a natural wonderland awaits

By Hong Kong Tourism Board
Published 8 Apr 2019, 23:37 BST
Image: Sharp Island, Sai Kung
Image: Sharp Island, Sai Kung

From sprawling paddy fields and sea caves to white-sand beaches, mangroves, and of course, the clear waters of the South China Sea, there's a wholly different side to Hong Kong begging to be discovered. This year, the Hong Kong Tourism Board has curated five eco-adventure tours, as part of their Green Tourism Pilot Scheme. Each one is sustainable and environmentally friendly, showcasing a different element of this enchanting region.

Best for: Coastal curiosities
Geopark Boat Tour, Sai Kung Islands
Sai Kung has been dubbed Hong Kong's back garden, and its numerous islands are remote, untamed and utterly spectacular. Among the geological phenomena visitors will witness are towering volcanic columns on High Island and rhyolite on Sharp Island, as well as sea stacks, sea caves, and the longest stretch of coastline in Hong Kong. This three-hour tour, beginning at Sai Kung Pier, reveals the country's rich geodiversity, all the while bobbing along in a traditional Chinese fishing boat.

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Best for: Chinese culture
Lantau South Fishery and Heritage Tourism
Traditional fishing villages like the charming Tai O still dot Hong Kong's largest island, Lantau. Wandering through its sleepy streets you'll likely come across children gathering seaweed with grandparents in shallow bays, or dangling their legs over the verandas of traditional stilt houses. Next stop on this this five-hour tour is the nearby village of Yi O, where visitors will see farmers tending to their rice paddies, before continuing to Fan Lau Fort and the greeny-blue waters of the Shek Pik Reservoir.

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Best for: Incredible views
Geopark Hiking Tour
The volcanic columns, visible along the coast of the Sai Kung High Island Reservoir can't be seen anywhere else in Hong Kong. Formed 140 million years ago after an enormous volcanic eruption, they are almost otherworldly in appearance, lying horizontally like the pages of a book. After pausing for lunch in Hakka village, this hike winds along the island's long and sinuous coastline. Look in one direction across verdant countryside, while in the other the South China Sea stretches as far as the eye can see.

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Best for: Going back in time
Lai Chi Wo Hiking Tour
The 400-year-old village of Lai Chi Wo is perhaps Hong Kong's best-preserved Hakka walled village, where houses, temples and ancestral halls open on to recently revived paddy fields. This stroll then weaves through dense mangroves with their intricate lace-work of roots, and past the white-flower derris, a climbing vine with arm-like branches that form natural swings. Plus, nature enthusiasts will revel in the butterflies, dragonflies and plethora of bird species likely to be viewed en route.

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Best for: Volcanic beauty
Sai Kung Volcanic Rock Region
The rocks peppering Sharp Island are both endearing and bizarre in equal measure. They bear an uncanny resemblance to pineapples, and are but one of the geological phenomena revealed during this tour. The mile-long spit of land has two wonderful beaches, and when the tide is low enough, visitors can walk 800ft from Kiu Tsui beach to the nearby island of Kiu Tau. After the hike, a visit to the Volcano Discovery Centre at Sai Kung Pier will reveal more about Hong Kong's unique landscape.

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Each of these tours is available to book through Hong Kong Tourism Board's partners. Discover more of Hong Kong's rural wonders here.


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