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Photograph: Shutterstock

Things that you didn’t know you could do in Hong Kong

Fireflies? Paragliding? Surprise yourself with some unexpected things that you can do in Hong Kong.

By Time Out Hong Kong
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Hong Kong is world-famous as a food paradise and a concrete jungle with an iconic skyline made up of tall, twinkling skyscrapers. We are also blessed to have some of the coolest art galleries and best malls in the world. However, contrary to what some may think, there's also loads to do in this city for those looking to escape the norm for a few hours. Here's a roundup of some of the most unexpected things you can do right here in the city. By Hoi Man Yau

RECOMMENDED: Tired of the summer heat already? Check out our list of the best night hikes in Hong Kong.

Unexpected things you can do in Hong Kong

Go Firefly spotting

Many have seen these critters on TV, but few Hongkongers have had the chance to see them with their own eyes. Surprisingly, many of these luminous creatures inhabit Tai Po Kau Nature Reserve, one of Hong Kong’s most beautiful natural sanctuaries. The best time to try and spot fireflies starts at around 7pm during the summer months. You can find them near the creek, particularly in the bushes as you walk along the bank. While you are there, keep an eye out also for barking deer, turtles, and even porcupines. During winter, you will  spot owls perching on branches and a plethora of colourful butterflies.

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bonfire
Photograph: Unsplash/Chuttersnap

Get toasty around a campfire

We’ve all indulged in many a cliché movie where the protagonists huddle around a campfire and tell ghost stories, sing cheesy songs, or pour their hearts out to their fellow campers under the stars. Whether you are hoping for an intimate moment or just looking to roast a few marshmallows, one thing is for sure, a campfire is quintessential to any camping experience, and you can do all this right here in Hong Kong. There are many beautiful campsites in Hong Kong, but we recommend the Wan Tsai West Campsite, as its location by the sea affords campers a pleasant view of the sea by day, and the gentle sound of the oceanic currents by night. It's also easily accessible via a relatively gentle trail that even children won't have a problem traversing – just in case you want a family singalong.

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Do some paragliding

Most Hongkongers have hiked the picturesque trail of Dragon’s Back, but perhaps not so many have taken flight from this famous spot. Soar through the skies and wave at hikers before gently gliding down to a soft landing. Regulations and limitations are constantly changing surrounding paragliding, so we recommend doing extensive research before trying it out. The Civil Aviation Department advises hobbyists to stay in the eight most popular areas for paragliding to avoid unwanted intrusions in Hong Kong’s crowded airspace. 

You can book a paragliding experience with Ascendia Sports.

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Photograph: Shutterstock

Snap a picture of the Milky Way

Most of us city dwellers only ever see one or two stray stars on a clear night – and a dazzling, starry sky is definitely not what comes to Hongkongers' minds when we think about the view after dark. Though Hong Kong’s most famous night view is of its illuminated skyline, travelling to the more sparsely populated regions of the city can be incredibly rewarding for stargazers. Armed with a proper camera, you can snap your very own picture of the Milky Way right here in Hong Kong. Who’d have thought?

We recommend Cape D’Aguilar as a fairly accessible stargazing spot. Try to visit in the summer as it is the prime season for taking pictures of the Milky Way. Before you go, check the weather conditions to see whether the night will be suitable for stargazing; otherwise, your journey might end up being for nought.

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Ung Kong Chau (Bluff Island)
Ung Kong Chau (Bluff Island)
Photograph: Courtesy Diving Adventures Ltd.

Go wreck diving

Hong Kong has its fair share of sunken boats – and even cars – the fate of which is sometimes shrouded in mystique and unsavoury rumours. Experienced divers can travel to Yin Tsz Ngam, famous amongst divers for the ruins of a sunken cargo ship dating back to the 60s. Though the ship has suffered the ills of erosion, the cement packages it once held remain largely intact, and some have become artificial reefs that host an abundance of aquatic life.

Alternatively, travel to Bluff Island, a diving spot where you can find a sunken car – said to have been purposely sunk by evidence-destroying smugglers – along with a magnificent coral reef teeming with aquatic critters.

You can book a wreck diving experience through companies like Diving Adventure.

Sandbox VR
Sandbox VR
Photograph: Courtesy Sandbox VR

Experience virtual reality

VR seems to be the next big thing, but if you don’t feel like shelling out on your own personal headset, there are options in the city which allow you to have virtual reality fun with your buddies without breaking the bank. Whether you are looking to cooperate with your party to quell the next zombie apocalypse, smoke some errant aliens, or put wiley pirates to the better end of your musket, you can live out your fantasies in an immersive virtual experience for a reasonable price at VR spots around Hong Kong including Sandbox VR in TST and VR Arena in Causeway Bay.

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