Not all who wander are lostJ. R. R. tolkien
Hong Kong is the go-to place for many Filipinos who just want to get out of the country. Why not? It’s near with a short 2-hour flight. There’s no visa needed. A lot of fellow Pinoys work there; you don’t have to worry being “alone” or lost. It’s basically one big Chinatown! Hong Kong is a small region so exploring the usual tourist places is very accessible. When you frequent the country, surely you’ll exhaust all those common places. Where do you go to next?
Here are a few suggestions – albeit lesser known they’re nothing short of amazing to include in your itinerary. You don’t need someone to go with, well maybe someone with a few Cantonese words handy. You’ll enjoy the view, the ambiance and the feel, away from the city’s fast-paced lifestyle.
Tai Tam Reservoir
This is a dam in the eastern territory that provides a tranquil spot for people who just want to take a break from the city’s hustle and bustle. It’s also a recreation area to go biking, strolling and simply absorbing that calm and soulful rhythm that’s may be missing in your daily work life. There’s an area to go for BBQ with family and friends to make the trip worth your while. You can also check out the Tai Tam Mound waterfalls, a few minutes away on foot. Be pleasantly surprised at this little gem with its cool water and serene environment. See, the weekend doesn’t have to be spent in your couch?!
How to go there: Take MTR to Sai Wan Ho station. NWFB route 14 to Tai Tam Reservoir (North), Tai Tam Road.
Tsim Sha Tsui East Promenade
This area is actually just an extension of the Avenue of Stars, in the eastern part. I love this place because it’s still in the heart of the city yet away from the actual chaos. It’s where I go for an evening run or simply sit on the benches for some deep thinking or quiet time.
How to go there: Go to the Avenue of Stars and make your way towards east. Walk further and follow the “stars”.
Ohhh, I miss Kennedy Town! Nestled in the western part of the HK island, this area has a laid-back vibe mixed with exciting arrays of activities that can cater to your liking. Lots of local bars and restaurants align the waterfront for you to try out. The Sai Wan swimming shed is for you if you want to feel the water on your feet (well, almost). It’s actually a no swimming area but you can stay until the sun sets for a more intimate vibe.
How to go there: Take the MTR Island line and alight at Kennedy Town station. For a more scenic ride, take the tram until Kennedy Town stop.
Did I hear you scream for shopping? Better step right up, we have it here. In one of the buildings in Mongkok you can find tiangge-style shops that house the most fashionable outfits at a bargain. Alight in Mongkok station, look for “Argyle Center” and you’ll have your fill of stylish clothes for your office or casual wear. I used to love going there, but I guess as you mature, you have other priorities in mind. Men have their own building too. I think it’s the one nearer Dundas street.
How to go there: Take the MTR Kowloon line (red line) and alight at Mongkok station.
Cheung Chau Island
Cheung Chau is one of the outlying islands that’s a few minutes away from HK island. It’s accessible via ferry at specific schedule. One of the most admirable things about Hong Kong is its public transportation. It’s soooo efficient and precise you don’t even need a car. Anyways, I like going to Cheung Chau to get my ice cream bun fix. Just hilarious! Walking distance from the ferry terminal is the public beach. I prefer this beach than that of the more popular Lamma Island.
How to go there: Take the Cheung Chau ferry from Central pier. The trip is around 35-40 minutes.
These are just a few of the lesser touristy places in Hong Kong. There’s actually a lot more walking tours that can satisfy your daily steps reading. This has been one of HK’s charms (or harms?) as a very walkable city. It has that old and new, fast and slow vibe that brings more color to this city of organized chaos. The stark contrast makes it ever more endearing to call it my second home.
– Ria Cruz