Escape to greener pastures at these deserted spots
Tired of crowds everywhere? Can’t deal with noisy streets, or tiny real estate? Want some one-on-one time with a special someone – or just to be alone? You need a bit of time out from Hong Kong, and we feel you. Despite their locations in urban areas, these parks and gardens are all pretty deserted – a rarity in the SAR. Grab your friend – or a book and some snacks – and head to these greener pastures for the ultimate escape.
Harbourfront, Wan Chai
Walk beyond the hordes of tourists at the Golden Bauhinia Square (nothing to write home about, by the way), and you’ll find a sprawling waterfront space with glitzy views of the harbour. A sexy harbour view isn’t exactly unusual in Hong Kong, but here, you’ll have it pretty much all to yourself – especially on quiet weeknights. Take your leisurely stroll further east, and you’ll see the historic Fenwick Pier, which is where the US Navy lands when they visit Hong Kong. Grab a spot by the water, and ponder the meaning of life… or reenact military landings in your head. Whatever floats your boat.
Water fountain, Hong Kong Park
We love Hong Kong Park, an urban oasis perched in the midst of Central and Admiralty’s skyscrapers with views of multimillion-dollar mansions on the Mid-levels above. If you walk a little bit further towards the hotel enclave in Admiralty, however, you’ll spot a water fountain accessible through steps in a tiny pond that surrounds it. The picturesque spot is normally deserted, save for the occasional newlywed couple doing photos. It’s the perfect place for a quiet date – or just some self-reflection. Just, uh, wear waterproof shoes.
Playground, Magazine Gap Service Reservoir
Half-playground, half-park, this secluded spot at Magazine Gap Service Reservoir comes complete with views of the island’s skyscrapers. Accessible through Magazine Gap Road on the Mid-levels, it’s about halfway up to the Peak by car. Save for Sundays when the place fills with kids and some hikers, this is a curiously quiet spot – the perfect place to find a bit of solace on your own, or even (gasp) exercise.
Signal Hill Garden, TST
It’s hard to believe that this hidden gem is just steps away from the heart of TST’s flurry of restaurants, bars and malls. This tiny hill’s biggest claim to fame is the Signal Hill Tower, a declared monument built in 1907 that previously served as a time apparatus for the Hong Kong Observatory until 1933. Next to the red-brick historical structure is an urban park complete with a Chinese pavilion and not a lot else, except maybe one of two Chinese grannies exercising by walking backwards (believed to help blood flow). You could follow their lead, or whisper sweet nothings into a loved one’s ear – no one will disturb you here.
Waterfall Bay Park, Wah Fu Estate
It’s not quite big enough that you’d call it a beach – yet this waterfront bay has curiously survived rapid development on the island west neighbourhood of Pok Fu Lam, providing a respite for joggers, dog-walkers and lonely souls like yourself. With a gentle waterfall in the background and an ocean that goes on for as far as the eye can see, it’s hard not to feel at one with nature and all that.
Andrea Lo is a freelance journalist and translator based in Hong Kong. After cutting her teeth in the industry as a staff writer at a lifestyle magazine, she embraced the freelance life in 2015 and hasn’t looked back. She spends her time exploring the best of Hong Kong’s dining and nightlife scene, trialling new fitness trends, and travelling to exotic locales – all in the name of “research”.