Hong Kong’s best country parks
The best place in Hong Kong to take in sweeping views of the New Territories – it is the highest peak in Hong Kong, after all. This is also one of the only places in Hong Kong to regularly experience frost, so be sure to wrap up warm if you’re heading here in winter. The combination of mist and frost creates a stunning visual spectacle well worth the effort.
This is a good one for kids or older outdoor enthusiasts as it’s one of the best equipped country parks in the city, replete with picnic and barbecue areas, disabled access, a tai chi terrace and children’s play areas.
This mammoth area – a huge 4,494 hectares – encompasses everything that’s great about natural Hong Kong – beaches (Sai Wan being arguably the best in the SAR), hiking trails, grassy slopes, hills and coves. Don’t expect to come and do it all in one day. Plan ahead, take your time and enjoy.
Hong Kong is rightly proud of its country parks. Kam Shan Country Park was one of the city’s first and is famous for its many monkeys (macaques). Home to approximately 1,800 of them, the park, known to many as Monkey Hill, is a great spot for hikers and offers fantastic views of the New Territories. A large number of wartime ruins remain well preserved in one corner of the park – the famous fortifications of the Gin Drinker’s Line.
Encompassing a large chunk of South Lantau, this country park is surrealistically transportative considering its dense jungle, mountain peaks and rugged trails are just 45 minutes from Central.
Despite being second to South Lantau in terms of size, Tai Lam is king in two other respects – hiking and butterflies. The former refers to the astonishing 12 separate trails found within the park. The latter is something of an ecological hot potato as the park was recently found to be the most diverse butterfly spot in the city – a title now under threat with plans to build public housing on the fringes on the park. Get in now in case developers ruin things later.
Tucked away near the border with Shenzhen, Plover Cove is pristine and relatively untouched. It’s home to some of Hong Kong's oldest rock formations – if that’s your jam – as well as scenic spots like the famous Bride’s Pool and tons of hiking trails of all different difficulties.
Tai Tam is the largest country park on Hong Kong Island, covering a fifth of its entire land mass – it’s a wonder that developers haven’t done more to concrete over this urban oasis. Tai Tam’s is notable for two things. First, its reservoirs – it has four of them and they’re lovely. Second, World War II relics – namely forts. A fascinating remnant of the last century’s conflicts.
Another one that’s fairly straight-forward to access, it being only a short bus or cab ride from Tsuen Wan MTR Station. This stunning expanse features the famously idyllic Shun Mun Reservoir. A trail snakes around the entire park, which takes about three hours, and lets you take in a stunning variety of flora and fauna. Be sure not miss the arboretum which houses more than 300 varieties of trees.
Famous vistas, dramatic mountains and rugged trails await at Ma On Shan Country Park. As well as taking in Kowloon Peak and its glorious panoramic views, be sure to check out the Grave of Dr Sun Yat-sen’s mother in Pak Fa Lam. If the weather’s set to be decent, try doing an overnighter at one of the campsites in the park and make use of the barbecue areas.