With Asia’s World City being roughly two hours away from Manila, it’s no surprise that Hong Kong is an easy hotspot for Filipinos. I mean, who wouldn’t want to take a few days to immerse in this bustling, yet brilliant city? However, every now and then, even visiting the usual attractions can become a little too predictable, and we end up craving for something a little different.
There are numerous “less touristy” activities to try, but here are the three recommended ones to consider for your next visit to Hong Kong (including directions on how to get there):
1. Take a Hike
Okay, before grunts or eye-rolls are ensued at the thought of exercise during vacation, it isn’t all that bad here. Hong Kong is a very fast-paced city, and all the noise can be a little too much for a local to handle. One thing they do to escape it? Hiking. Not only do you get a workout, but at the end of your journey, you’ll be treated to some breath-taking views that your eyes can feast on. Did I forget to mention killer photos for your Instagram feed or Snapchat?
Here are some recommended hiking trails:
Gives you spectacular views of the South-Eastern part of the Hong Kong island and the coasts, including the popular Shek-O beach. Directions here.
If you want views of the famous Victoria Harbor and a bit of the Kowloon side. Directions here.
MacLehose Trail (Stages 1 & 2)
Gives you a glimpse of the more tropical sections in Sai Kung, New Territories. Directions here.
2. Hit the beach.
Hong Kong’s got some pretty neat shores and beautiful waters, too. Here are some where you can sunbathe, swim, even surf:
Located down south of the Hong Kong island, it is considered one of the most popular beaches for locals to get away to.
How to get there: Take the MTR on the Island Line to Shau Kei Wan, take exit A3 and find the number 9 bus to Shek O. Taxi is another option as well.
Big Wave Bay Beach
Close by Shek O, this beach lives up to its name thanks to some serious waves here—calling all avid surfers!
How to get there: Same directions at Shek-O above, but get off the number 9 bus at the junction of Big Wave Bay and Shek O Roads (on a sharp hairpin bend), and walk for 10 minutes.
Repulse Bay and South Bay Beach
Another relaxing go-to destination for locals, but unlike other beaches, there are numerous shops and restaurants opening up that are just a few steps away from the beach.
SB Tip: Try some bayside al-fresco dining at the cafés or restaurants at The Pulse, a beachside complex on Repulse Bay.
How to get there: There are a few buses that go to Repulse Bay from Central (numbers 6, 6A, 260, 6X), from Causeway Bay and North Point (numbers 63, 65), or even from Tsim Sha Tsui on Kowloon side (number 973), marked to Stanley. Get up when you see the tall blue building block with a big hole in it.
Another relaxing beachside that can be followed by an easy 2.5-hour hike or a fresh seafood dinner at Rainbow Seafood.
How to get there: Take a ferry from Central Pier 4 to Sok Wu Wan. The journey takes 30-40 minutes. The seafood restaurants are an approximately 1 minute walk from the ferry pier.
BONUS: Sheung Luk Stream (near Sai Wan Beach, Sai Kung)
If you’re up for something more daring, try cliff diving at the waterfalls here. You may have to wait for your turn to take a dive, though it will be worth the anticipation—you can try taking a fun boomerang for your Instagram before you jump. Directions here.
3. Dine in markets or dai pai dongs (open-air food stalls)
You have to indulge a little, right? And what better way than having a bit of what the locals chow down on—after all, a Hong Kong trip is definitely not complete without sampling some of its delectable food. From egg waffles to dim sum to fish balls, here are three areas you can check out for some cheap street eats:
Sham Shui Po
One of the oldest districts in Hong Kong, there are a variety of dai pai dong eateries and street food vendors that can be found around the area. Check out Fuk Wing Street, Pei Ho Street, or Kweilin Street to find these food trails and you’ll be well-fed.
How to get there: Sham Shui Po is located on the Tsuen Wan line (red line) on the MTR.
If you stop by Dundas Street, you will also find a string of food stalls here. Dundas Street also happens to be the home of Fei Jie and Kai Kei Street Snacks. Must-try street foods here include grilled calamari, smelly tofu, and curry fishballs. The variety of food here is enormous, you might want to consider coming here on an empty tummy.
How to get there: Mong Kok is located on the Tsuen Wan line (red line) on the MTR.
Tai O Fishing Village
A quaint fishing village known for its stilt houses located in Lantau Island, freshness is also guaranteed when it comes to their seafood and street market. If you’re lucky on one of the boat rides here, you might spot some pink dolphins, too.
How to get there: From Ngong Ping Village, take bus 21, which leaves about every hour. A taxi ride from here would cost around 50HKD. If you’re coming from Central, take the ferry from Central Pier 6 to Mui Wo, then Bus No. 1 to Tai O. From Kowloon, easiest is the MTR to Tung Chung Station, then Bus No. 11 to Tai O.
Hong Kong is a sleepless city, and no matter what time of the day it is, there’s always something to do and yet so many hidden gems waiting to be found. Try getting out of the tourist zone for a bit and you’re bound to find yours.