Hong Kong’s hidden gems: the character spots the place the locals like to relax | Discover Hong Kong like a neighborhood

Sunset over the historic Tai O village.

Sit at a wintery desk and dream of diving right into a mountain pool, or get by means of the night commute by picturing a heat sea someplace distant. We all want slightly escapism, however in these fantasies, adrenaline-inducing Hong Kong isn’t usually the primary place that springs to thoughts. Although provided that 80% of the sub-tropical territory is crammed with fertile jungles and undeveloped islands, it most likely ought to. Because in addition to feng shui and monetary markets, this can be a metropolis of hidden lakes, tumbling waterfalls and untouched seashores. Here’s escape big-city life, in a giant metropolis.

Tai Long Wan seashore
With its pristine white sand and crystal-clear water, Tai Long Wan seems like a slice of rural Thailand has been dropped on to one of many world’s most densely populated city hubs – body-surf within the clear, rolling waves, and also you’ll query whether or not frenetic Central is even in the identical time-zone. Like many astonishingly lovely locations, Tai Long Wan isn’t straightforward to get to. Helicopters and personal boats from Central are on provide, however for mere mortals, the MTR practice to Sai Kung, adopted by the 94 bus and an hour-long hike are the best choice – hopefully including to the Robinson Crusoe impact of all of it. Make a day journey of it, and eat in one of many small noodle bars within the jungle behind the seashore.

Surf’s up: Tai Long Wan beach isn’t easy to get to, but it’s worth the effort.

Surf’s up: Tai Long Wan seashore isn’t straightforward to get to, nevertheless it’s well worth the effort. Photograph: Alamy Stock Photo

South Bay seashore
Unlike most main metropolis seashores, South Bay doesn’t come with a stack of skyscrapers or a waterfront of heaving bars. Instead, there’s one rickety cafe promoting coconut water and sandwiches, fringed by thick, seemingly impenetrable jungle reaching all the best way as much as the Peak. Now, this “deserted island” aesthetic is an phantasm, as South Bay seashore is definitely within the coronary heart of Hong Kong – a mere stroll from teeming Repulse Bay and a 20-minute drive from Central. But inaccessible by public transport (take a taxi from the closest bus cease) and bordered by nationwide parkland, it’s the supreme method to shut the door on metropolis life for an hour; crack open a coconut and calm down.

Sai Kung Volcanic Rocks
In the center of Hong Kong’s Unesco-accredited Global Geopark is a sight value getting on a aircraft for. For a couple of spectacular miles, the shoreline is flanked by a collection of pale rose and whiskey-coloured rocks that plunge into the churning sea. These honeycomb-like partitions are the results of an enormous volcanic eruption about 140m years in the past, throughout which lava and ash solidified into dramatic columns. And in small coves minimize into the rocks, you may swim out to sea and watch the rocks flip from pink to deep honey and again once more, as the daylight sparkles out and in from behind the clouds.

Sai Kung: Hong Kong’s very own paradise.

Sai Kung: Hong Kong’s very personal paradise.

Man Cheung Po infinity pool
In the numerous compilations of “Hong Kong’s best pools”, Man Cheung Po persistently outdoes even probably the most lavish artifical incarnations on the Peak. Why? Because this pure infinity pool is hidden within the rocks close to the historic Tai O village, and even comes full with a tumbling waterfall or two. Built on rickety stilts beneath which wood boats manned by wrinkled locals glide by, Tai O has been the center of Lantau island’s fishing commerce for hundreds of years, and wandering round it for an hour or two lets you momentarily wipe off 100 years of Hong Kong’s speedy evolution. Afterwards, take the quantity 11 bus again to Tung Chung MTR or spend the night time on the Tai O Heritage Hotel, with its century-old cannons and nook turrets.

Tai Tam Mound Waterfall
Hong Kong is a metropolis that pulsates with vitality – typically the one method to step again and recharge is by discovering a slice of solitude to flee to. And Tai Tam’s thick jungle and rocky hikes present the right alternative for slightly contemplation. Follow the path to the Tai Tam Tuk Reservoir the place, hidden amid dense vegetation above the lake, is a small, sign-less path resulting in the pleasant Tai Tam Mound Waterfall. Impossible to search out for those who don’t understand it’s there, savvy hikers usually bask within the pleasure of getting this clear stream and tranquil pool totally to themselves.

Tai Tam Mound Waterfall, pond and a small dam made of rocks in Hong Kong, China.

Tai Tam Mound Waterfall is one in every of Hong Kong’s best-kept secrets and techniques. Photograph: Tuomas Lehtinen/Getty Images

Plover Cove Country Park
The best method to persuade reluctant hikers to sort out the rocky ascents and dazzling solar at Plover Cove Country Park is by mentioning the storybook-like swimming pools that dot the panorama. Pretty all yr spherical, these swimming pools are notably spectacular within the wet summer time months, when the rivers swell and threaten to burst out of their banks as they plunge into darkish blue swimming pools. To expertise this idyllic scene for your self, hike north from the Plover Cove Reservoir, cross the bridge and emerge in entrance of the picture-perfect Mirror Pool. Or, for a tad extra drama, attempt the close by Dragon Ball Pool, which is ready round a waterfall that plunges 35 metres in two fundamental drops. It does require some scrambling by means of rapids to entry – however hopefully that provides to the pleasure of the cool swim ready for you on the finish.

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