Hong Kong: The Greatest Outdoorsy Holiday You’ve Never Thought Of
From kayaking to off-road mountain biking, and some of the best hikes in Asia, Hong Kong has a bunch of outdoor beauty you didn't even know existed...
Hong Kong conjures up many immediate images.
Drool-worthy food, towering skyscrapers (it has the largest number in the world, fact fans), and a bustling cityscape chock full of people, colour and energy.
What you may not instantly think of is world class hikes, a variety of watersports, and beaches that would put Australia to shame.
Even better, every one of these is easily accessible from the city centre, meaning you can bounce between Michelin-starred local delicacies, kaleidoscopic culture clashes, and zen-inducing back-to-nature realness with ease.
Don’t believe us? Here are five reasons why Hong Kong is the greatest outdoorsy holiday you’ve never even thought of…
Hiking Dragon’s Back is the ultimate city break
It’s weird to start a rave about a mountainous hike with talk of public transport, but here we go.
Getting to and from the city’s most iconic of hikes is bewilderingly easy.
A simple metro tube journey and short bus ride later, and you can go from the hustle and bustle of Tsim Sha Tsui (read: skyscrapers) to lung-filling greenery in just over an hour.
The hike itself is just as accessible, with a gentle, calf-bolstering stroll upwards to a 360 view of surprising beauty. On one side you’ve Tai Tam Harbour, dotted with boats and gentle sparkling waters, while on the other you’ve cosy coves and ocean that stretches out to nothing until it hits Taiwan.
The view from the pinnacle is Instagram gold, with undulating hills stretching out for as far as the eye can see (hence ‘Dragon’s Back’) in one direction, and the tiny city skyline way out in the other.
As you descend, you’ll mosey through paths of lush vegetation and trickling waterfalls, before finishing at…
Waves for days
Big Wave Beach - a dreamy sandy beach with great surf and appropriately Aussie beach bum vibes.
Grab a beer, buy a paddleboard, and slap on the sun cream - you can spend hours sunbathing, swimming and eating your day away.
The Dragon’s Back hike was named the Best Urban Hike in Asia by TIME, and with so much versatility on offer, it’s hard to disagree.
Heard to Hoi Ha Wan Marine Park for an off-road adventure
While Hong Kong’s city centre is pretty compact, the surrounding land deemed ‘HK’ is actually pretty blardy huge.
Sai Kung East Country Park takes up a sizeable chunk to the east of the CBD, and offers an array of cycling, hiking, and watersport adventures for those craving a break from the city. It’s known as the city’s ‘garden’ for good reason.
We were guided around Sai Kung’s East Country Park on a mountain biking session that unveiled a side of the city we hadn’t seen coming. Ocean-flanking trails wound in and around the coastline, past mangroves, cow-filled fields, floating fishing villages, and - best of all - a staggering array of dogs (including, yes, doges-a-gogo).
We circled back for lunch at a local institution - a tiny, outdoors restaurant serving beer the size of your head, and food freshly made using ancient ovens.
Inhaling native, delicious food, as the sun beats down on your face is a special experience. Something made even better by…
Kayak your cares away
Yes, you can kayak in Hong Kong - and no, we’re not talking about dodging yachts in Victoria Harbour.
Sham Chung also boasts azure still waters, and a bevy of undulating green hills around you to calm you tf out. As you paddle around fishing villages and islands, flying fish skip merrily around you, and egrets coast above.
Squint hard enough and you can spot Tai Po’s incredible, gigantic mega-Guanyin (one of the biggest in Asia) off in the distance.
The city really is watersports galore
Kayaking’s the tip of the thankfully metaphorical iceberg.
From stand-up paddle boarding to windsurfing, wake boarding to snorkelling, scuba diving and more, it’s a water-lover’s paradise.
Even better, if you cba to leave the city but still want to get your exercise kick, you have the option of…
Virtual Reality exercise
Yes, you read that right.
If the weather’s rubbish (or you really really can’t be bothered to venture out of your hotel for the day), then Hotel Vic on the Harbour boasts an Icarus - a virtual reality flying machine that combines fitness and virtual reality to give you a head-spinning exercise experience.
Fly through glowing rings as you struggle to maintain your core, and laugh your butt off as your bum goes vertical as you flail around, trying to maintain control.
Like Hong Kong, it's a dizzying, energising experience - and, if you want it to be, one that is as heart-pumping and fit-friendly as any other.