Plan a trip out of the city for a breath of fresh air!
A little-known fact is that Hong Kong Island and Kowloon Peninsula make up only 10% of the total territory. The New Territories and the outlying islands account for the remaining 90%. If you’d like to getaway from the city,consider taking a day trip to the region’s more laid-back outskirts. Lantau Island, Lamma Island, Cheung Chau and Peng Chau are the four major outlying islands of Hong Kong. Pier 4 along the Central waterfront has ferries that make regular trips to these islands.
Lantau Island is the biggest island, almost twice the size of Hong Kong island.Start your day trip in the purpose-built Ngong PingTourist village. Here, the main attraction is the 34-meter-tall Big Buddha, also known as Tian Tan Buddha, which is the world’s largest outdoor bronze sitting Buddha. The trek up to the Buddha is 268 steps so be sure to have the proper footwear for the climb. Catch your breath after at the Li-Non Tea House, which sells blooming teas –tea bulbs that open up into beautiful flower blooms in hot water. There is an extensive menu here to sample and purchase from.
For a less typical itinerary, head to Tai O on the west coast, and if you’re lucky, you can see some endangered pink dolphins. If the slower pace of life lulls you into an overnight stay, choose the non-profit Tai O Heritage Hotel, an elegant colonial-style inn with only 9 rooms, where all proceeds go to Tai O cultural organizations. Be sure to buy the local specialty of dried shrimp paste to take away with you.
Lamma Island is a quick 20-minute ferry ride away from Hong Kong’s city center. No cars are permitted on the island, making it a quiet hideaway. The friendly Island Bar is a good place to nurse a cocktail or two, while Bookworm is a café that doubles up as a lending library. Both places are excellent for whiling a lazy afternoon away.
If you are in the mood for a more adventurous trip, alight from the ferry at Hung Shing Yeh Beach and hike up and over the hills to Sok Kwu Wan on the island’s east coast, where you will be rewarded with the freshest seafood in the island’s popular restaurants. The hike should take about an hour and a half at a brisk pace.
If you cannot get enough of shopping in Hong Kong, consider visiting Shenzhen, right across the border in China. It is the retail outlet for Pearl River Delta, home to the manufacturing headquarters of the country. Catch the East Rail Line to Shenzhen, which is just across the border from the last stop of the line at Lo Wu.
There is no need to go further than the immigration point, where a shopping center, Luohu Commercial City, also known as Lo Wu Shopping Plaza, will delight the most demanding of shoppers. Queen Spa c
an offer a welcome respite for tired feet.
*For more recommendations on what to do in and around Hong Kong, do visit discoverhongkong.com and sassyhongkong.com.