Today’s sponsored post brings us alittle closer to home, the vibrant, dynamic city of Hong Kong. Riding on a tram to the top of The Peak, catching the Star Ferry across the harbour, gawping at the incredible skyline and shopping at one of the many markets are all must-dos when visiting Hong Kong. But if you want to come back knowing you saw a side to Hong Kong not every tourist did, you need to get off the beaten track.
Hike Up Smuggler’s Ridge
In the heart of the New Territories, an area dense with protected country park, Smuggler’s Ridge is a stretch of low peaks with vertical drops on each side, offering panoramic views over the bustling metropolises of Kwai Chung, Tsuen Wan and Sha Tin, along with the long stretch of Ting Kao Bridge and the distant peaks of Lantau Island on one side, and the sparkling Shing Mun reservoir and verdant hillsides of various mountains on the other.
What really marks this hike as special though, is its history, which can only be truly appreciated if you ignore the signs warning ‘Danger. Desolate trench. Do not enter’. Do this and you will discover the remains of Shing Mun Redoubt. Constructed during WWII, the redoubt is formed by a series of underground bunkers and pillboxes connected by cement passageways that formed the key part of the Gin Drinker’s Line, an 18km-long string of defense positions along the hill separating Kowloon from the New Territories. The tunnels are named after famous London locations by homesick soldiers, and the inscriptions remain – ‘Shaftesbury Avenue’, ‘Regent Street’, Piccadilly’, and ‘Charing Cross’, and the main command post of the redoubt, ‘Strand Palace Hotel’.
Discover the Hidden Beauty of Tai Long Wan
This involves another hike, however it is one on which you are constantly rewarded by stunning views, empty trails, and, at the end of it, the beautiful Tai Long Wan beach. White sand, turquoise sea, rugged headland, and usually not a soul in sight. This is truly one of Hong Kong’s best-kept secrets and an ideal place to escape the crowds and noise of the city.
Photo from iloho
Do Tai Chi In the Park
If you’re an early riser, or if jet lag has forced you to become one, visit one of Hong Kong’s many urban parks to see elderly ladies and wizened old men doing their morning exercises, often to traditional Chinese music. Various types of Tai Chi may be performed, some with huge red fans, others with ornamental swords, but all of it absolutely captivating. It’s a tranquil way to start the day in an otherwise manic, bustling city. Try Kowloon park if you are staying in a Tsim Sha Tsui hotel, or Victoria Park if you are in a hotel on the Island.
Flickr photo by rayparnova
Wander Around Hong Kong’s Local Markets
Hong Kong is justifiably famous for its markets selling clothes, bags, shoes, antiques, and furniture but its wet markets are just as fascinating and show a side of Hong Kong life that you might otherwise miss. The Chinese often visit the food markets daily to stock up on fruit, vegetables, fish, and meat, and the produce is so fresh that it is often still alive up until the point that you buy it, when it is killed, gutted and chopped right in front of your eyes – a trip to the wet markets certainly isn’t for the squeamish!
Flickr photo by msmccomb
Mong Kok and Yau Ma Tei in Kowloon have good wet markets, whilst Central has one of the largest and Causeway Bay’s is worth a trip purely for the fact that it is located just one block from the glitzy Times Square shopping centre, full of designer stores and swanky restaurants. Here is a great example of Hong Kong’s extraordinary mix of old and new, traditional and modern.
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