A side worth exploring
You’ve done the girls’ weekend, the Rugby Sevens, and rubbed shoulders with the seven million people living on the dinky 426 square mile landmass. Now it’s time to escape the tourist traps, towering shopping centres, and that final finger licking serving of Peking Duck. It’s time to see another side of fabulous Hong Kong and here’s how!
#1 – Junk Trips
For any Hong Kong local, junk trips are one of the highlights of the summer months. What could be better than leaving the Central harbour aboard your (fully catered if that’s the preference) junk, sailing to one of the many outlying islands or quiet beaches, and dropping anchor for a few hours allowing you to jump in the sea or take a speedboat out for a spot of wakeboarding? Great for families or groups of friends alike, junks can be rented for the day or evening.
Great for larger, more rambunctious groups, Jaspas cater to a minimum of 14 adults or cost of US$1,167 per boat and are fully inclusive of food and beverages. Boats sail from 10.30 – 17.30 or 19.00 – 23.30.
To Book: +852 2792 6001, [email protected]
If you’re only a small group without a full day or evening to spare, the beautiful Aqua Luna sails around the Hong Kong harbour on 45-minute journeys every evening with individual tickets for sale. The red-sail Chinese junk sets out from both Tsim Sha Tsui and Central every hour six times nightly from 17.30 and 17.45 respectively, and costs from US$35 for adults and US$20 per child.
To Book: +852 2116 882
#2 – Hidden Restaurants
We’re not sure if the statistic “Hong Kong has more restaurants per capita than anywhere else in the world” is true or not, but we think it might be! The city prides itself in its cuisine, both home grown and foreign, and the topic of conversation usually tends to revolve around eating, new restaurants and er…eating. While the famous stalwarts such as the Jumbo Floating Restaurant and high tea at the Peninsula are always good choices, we’ve picked a few lesser known options for you to try.
Under Bridge Spicy Crab
Word of warning: come with chewing gum. The fresh crab cooked with what can only be described as a mini-mountain of fried garlic is probably one of the city’s best dishes. This always-busy restaurant is not surprisingly located right under a bridge, and serves up some great dishes including clams with black bean sauce, scallops with garlic and vermicelli, and roast chicken.
Details: +852 2893 1289, G/F-3/F, Ascot Mansion, 421-425 Lockhart Road, Wan Chai
A great spot for Hong Kong’s most famous cuisine, dim sum, this Michelin-starred restaurant is elegant and relaxing with a great selection of dishes (and surprisingly not too fussy). Be sure to order a plate of barbecue pork and crispy pork belly (delicious!), as well as the other dim sum staples – shrimp dumplings, sticky rice, black bean spareribs and barbecued pork buns.
Details: +852 2543 5919, Shop A, 84-90 Bonham Strand West, Sheung Wan
The Cheese Room at Caprice, Four Seasons Hotel
This is one of Hong Kong’s best fine dining spots, but people aren’t always aware that the cheese bar is located right next to the restaurant. With the most extensive cheese cellar in Asia (if not Europe as well), this is right up there with our favourite spots in the world. The cheese is delivered on wooden platters and expertly explained by Caprice’s General Manager, Jeremy Evrard. The selection is immense, the French butter is some of the best we’ve tasted, and the wine selection isn’t too shabby either!
Details: +852 3196 8860, 6th Floor, Four Seasons Hotel, 8 Finance Street, Central
#3 – Hong Kong Hikes
Burn off those calories in Hong Kong’s backyard: a hiker’s paradise, over 40% of Hong Kong’s landmass is reserved for country parks and nature reserves. No matter how fit (or unfit) you are, there are trails for everyone ranging from rambling family walks to highly strenuous peaks reserved for more avid hikers. The sights you can see along the trail are also extremely varied with canopied reservoir treks, walks overlooking the city centre, as well as hikes to remote beaches on outlying islands.
One of the most popular and scenic trails on Hong Kong island, Dragon’s Back runs from Shek O Road to Tai Long Wan Beach (although you can get on and off at different points) and the undulating hills are reminiscent of a dragon’s backbone. This hike is great for families or those who prefer a more relaxing walk.
Maclehose Stage 1
Part of a 100km, 10-stage trail that runs through much of the New Territories, this particular leg of the Maclehose is arguably the most scenic. Walk along reservoirs and climb steep peaks before descending onto some of the most picturesque beaches in Hong Kong. Numerous cafes have set up on the beach so be sure to stop for some fried rice, fresh coconut and frozen pineapple rings!
#4 – Races
Hong Kong residents work hard, play hard, and also exercise like fiends. City trails are often busy in the mornings with running youngsters and the elderly doing their morning tai chi, and gyms are on just about every street corner. The city hosts a tonne of annual races ranging from the official Standard Chartered Marathon in February, to smaller running races, ocean swims and team obstacle challenges amongst others. While the majority of longer running events are saved for the cooler winter months, why not sign up for a water-based race while in Hong Kong? It’ll make all that eating and drinking a little more guilt-free.
Splash and Dash – May 11, June 8, June 22, 2014
Splash and Dash is a series of three run/swim combo races with separate adult and junior (19 and under) categories. Choose between the Sprint, or more difficult Challenge categories, and jump in the pool to start your training now!
Suunto Lantau 2 Peaks – October 5, 2014
A very challenging race taking in Lantau Island’s towering Sunset and Lantau Peaks, this race covers a lot of altitude. However, when you do get to the summits, the views are stunning and it’s a great way to explore this nearby island.
#5 – Stay
Our favourite is by far the Upper House.The views, the space and the 24/7 personalised service are what make this property one of our favourites in city of shoebox hotel rooms. The rooms and bathrooms are amongst the biggest in Hong Kong, with sweeping views of the city, meaning you’re able to enjoy a nice glass of bubbly from your oversized tub. Just what you need to recover from a full day of hiking!
This article was contributed by our friends at Lightfoot Travel
All Images: Lightfoot Travel