Out, about and active in Hong Kong

Samantha Leese

Journalist and author

A high-rise hub beloved for its fantastic food and top shopping, Hong Kong’s outdoor offerings tend to play second fiddle to its urban pursuits. But, if you know where to go, you’ll find the city enjoys more opportunities to get outside than most. From hiking and boating to harbour running and the lesser-spotted ‘squishing’, discover the best of HK’s great outdoors



No less that 300km of designated trails span the territory’s country parks, with options for everyone from weekend walkers to serious trekkers. A good place to start is the 2.8km Morning Trail, which can take hikers from a healthy brunch spot, Locofama in hip Sai Ying Pun, to the top of Victoria Peak in under an hour.

For more of a challenge, Tai Mo Shan or Big Hat Mountain (Hong Kong’s tallest peak) offers hiking routes that vary in length and difficulty. The ridge-top path that makes up Stage 8 of the 100km MacLehose Trail is tough but popular.

Tai Mo Shan Country Park is also home to Hong Kong’s highest waterfall, Ng Tung Chai. Choi Lung dim sum restaurant (+852 2415 5041) in nearby Chuen Lung Village, a local treasure for more than 40 years, is the place to refuel after a hike and a dip.

Boating: junk trips


Junk season kicks off when the weather starts to warm up in March and, though spring also brings wetter weather, many Hong Kongers will sail come rain or shine. From private yachts which can be chartered overnight to no-frills vessels that are rented for the day, options for boating around Hong Kong’s 200-plus islands are plentiful. In 2015, a pair of expats started up junks.hk, a neat website where users simply pick their preferred date to see a list of available junks, a choice of destinations, and a selection of catered food and craft beer.

Squid fishing (a.k.a. Squishing)

Squid fishing aka Squishing

This evening activity is a fun and unusual way to enjoy Hong Kong’s outdoors. Tour companies such as Jubilee and Grand Holiday International (+852 2395 0788) organise fully catered boat trips, and catches can be cooked fresh on board. Squid fishing season runs from April to October (the best months are May and June) and, since the creatures tend to squirt ink when caught, dark clothing is advised!

Harbour Running

Harbour Running

The friendly Hong Kong Harbour Runners group gathers every Wednesday at 7.45pm – alternately on the Hong Kong and Kowloon sides – for a scenic 8km jog. All levels of runners are welcome and shorter distances are possible. It’s free and a great way to socialise too.

Chilling out

Chilling out

Hong Kong Historical Walks

Venture outdoors at a gentler pace on guided rambles by local journalist Jason Wordie. The full-day New Territory Forest Hiking Tour, for example, explores the fascinating walled villages and clan halls of rural Hong Kong. Places can be booked on scheduled outings or made for private groups.


Repulse Bay Beach is the most accessible of Hong Kong’s best seaside spots, flanked by beachfront mall The Pulse, offering hip cafes, restaurants and boutiques. Further down the coast you’ll find Shek O, a charming village with a small beach and a more bohemian vibe. Further afield, a junk trip to Tai Long Wan in Sai Kung makes for the perfect chilled day out or, over on Lantau Island, Cheung Sha Beach recalls the more famous sandy stretches of Thailand – bring a picnic and stay until sunset.

Where to stay, eat and shop once you’ve had your fill of fresh air…

Where to stay eat and shop once youve had your fill of fresh air


The Upper House boasts a chic clientele and some of the most spacious guestrooms in town. Their 49th-floor Café Gray Bar serves up signature cocktails and awesome views of Victoria Harbour.

Hotel Icon in vibrant Tsim Sha Tsui brought together many of the city’s leading design talents, including Vivienne Tam, who created the hotel’s Designer Suite.

Ovolo Southside (pictured above), a warehouse-to-hotel conversion in gentrifying Wong Chuk Hang, is within walking distance of art galleries and hidden eateries such as 3/3rds.

The fishing village of Tai O in southwest Lantau offers a rare glimpse of old Hong Kong. The nine-room Tai O Heritage Hotel, formerly a colonial-era police station, has been recognised by UNESCO with an Award of Merit.


Mott 32 serves Cantonese food in a cool basement venue – think industrial-chic with Chinese imperial details. The roasted duck is a house specialty and not to be missed.

Opposite the fruit sellers of Wan Chai Market, Serge et Le Phoque offers no dinner menu as such; order either five or seven courses and the chef takes it from there.

For posh picnic supplies and incredible Banh Mi, head to Sunday’s Grocery in up-and-coming Kennedy Town.


Visit Gough Street’s fashion and homeware boutiques for a taste of local entrepreneurship. Check out TikkaSheerHomeless and – for a sweet pitstop – Ms B’s Cakery.

Find more top eats, activities and accommodation, plus all you need to know before you go, in our Hong Kong guide.

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