Hong Kong

The Secret Side of Hong Kong

Words by Shaun Cunningham & Photographs by Nadia Daly Hong Kong

Aiya (goes the Chinese expression for frustration).

Hong Kong has a major image problem and I'm amazed by the number of seasoned travellers who simply have it wrong, when it comes to Hong Kong. For those who only know Hong Kong as skyscrapers and shopping centres, it's time you heard the truth.

Nearly 75% of Hong Kong's land is countryside and an astonishing 40% is parkland. We're talking beaches, jungle and mountains.

Yes, in residential and commercial areas, Hong Kong has some of the highest density living in the world, but it's the building-up, rather than out strategy that has allowed for so much of the region to remain blissfully wild.

There are also 263 islands in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong

The average traveller to Hong Kong takes the train from the airport on Lantau Island and then remains on Hong Kong Island. But the next time you're in town, consider taking a Junk (old Chinese boat - very economical) to an island like Po Toi and enjoy a fresh seafood lunch in the tranquil surrounds.

You don't need to take a boat though to get into the wild. Jump in a taxi from central Hong Kong and ask the driver to take you to the beginning of the Morning Trail, just off Conduit Road. The drive will take you 5 - 10 minutes and within moments you'll be enveloped in jungle. Keep an eye out for porcupines!

Hong Kong

On the way over you could swing by Tai Tam for a hike along the beautiful reservoir. Here you can even go for a swim in a waterfall, it's wonderfully refreshing in the summer heat, and capable of making the city centre feel very far away indeed.

So the next time you head to Hong Kong, give the shopping centres a miss and head for the hills, you'll be amazed at what you discover.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong

Hong Kong

Hong Kong