A Neighbourhood Guide to Southside
We’ve been cooped up in our homes for far too long so it’s only right we treat ourselves to a weekend getaway. Often, escaping the city is just the remedy we need. We’re here to give you the ultimate guide for Southside – hole in the wall art galleries, secret trails you can take on and the best places to satisfy any cravings.
The Aberdeen and Wong Chuk Hang neighbourhoods are home to a burgeoning art scene, with a number of galleries all opening up. Here are a few worth checking out:
Blindspot Annex: Whether you’re a diehard photography fan of an amateur armed with an iPhone, Blindspot Gallery will be of interest. The gallery features pieces by up-and-coming photographers all over the world.
Gallery Exit: Specialising in works that cross boundaries, Gallery Exit shows pieces in various medium.
Art Statements: Art Statements is renowned for its exhibitions of internationally acclaimed artists across the world.
The Cat Street Gallery Annex: The original branch of the Cat Street Gallery is located in Sheung Wan, and its Annex in Wong Chuk Hang boasts a sprawling space with contemporary and modern pieces from both up-and-coming names and acclaimed artists. Viewing is by appointment only.
Pekin Fine Arts Hong Kong: If you enjoy Chinese art, make time for Pekin Fine Arts’ Hong Kong outpost. The Beijing-based contemporary art gallery represents international names with a particular focus on artists in the region, and is also a champion for promoting Asian artists.
Plum Blossoms Gallery: Art gallery Plum Blossoms was established in the 1980s and continues to be a force to be reckoned with in the local art scene. Expect to find cutting-edge pieces by young Chinese artists alongside an a collection of antiques.
It may surprise those who only know Hong Kong to have towering skyscrapers, but Hong Kong is surrounded by green. Green hills, green mountains, green parks, and more. Some smack dab in the city, and others a little bit off-track… Here’s a list of our 5 favourite hidden trails, for when you feel like forgetting where you are.
Man On Shan’s Waterfall –
In this heat, it’s nice (if not, ideal) to be able to cool down as a reward from your hike. Head on over to Ma On Shan’s Country Park with some water, a bathing suit, and don’t forget appropriate shoes. The trail can get quite tricky!
Let’s get high
High peaks, but only moderate exertion – sounds like a dream. High Junk Peak in New Territories is one of Hong Kong’s sharpest peaks, and once you’re up there you get a full view of everything. And by everything, we mean everything – ocean, mountains, and skyscrapers.
The road less travelled
When you hear Lamma Island, you usually think of that family trail that connects the two sides of the island, ending on an overcrowded beach. Little do people know that there’s an off-beaten track, Mount Stenhouse (Shan Tei Tong), that includes getting down on your hands and knees, following coloured ties as guides, and an incredible view.
Let’s get down to business
When going for hikes, people usually opt north: New Territories and Kowloon is where people believe the good, worth-it hikes are. But if you head down south to the southmost island in Hong Kong, there’s some beautiful scenery there too. The Po Toi Country Trail can get quite challenging so you might want to bring a couple friends, but we promise it’s worth it!
The ancient one
Lamma and Cheung Chau are some popular islands to visit if you ever want to feel like you’ve left Hong Kong for the day, but they can get quite repetitive. Look a little further, and head to Tai O to walk along the Tung O Ancient Trail. Not only will the distance make you feel like you’ve left the city, but the iconic stilt houses will transport you to another time.
Tung O Ancient Trail
while hip cafes and restaurants keep opening up in cool warehouse spaces. Best of all, you’ll find Ovolo Southside here, with an awesome rooftop bar, Above, to boot. Don’t say we never help you with anything!
If you’re getting bored of the usual go-to restaurants in Central, head to Southside and try out underrated cafes and restaurants that will want you begging for more.
Dim Sum Restaurant
Overrated: Maxim’s Palace City Hall
Underrated: Saam Hui Yaat
Iconic dim sum restaurant Maxim’s Palace City Hall offers piping hot dim sum on trolleys, the old-school way. The huge crowds, loud decor, and long lines, however, are just a little bit too much for some. For a low-key dim sum experience, head to Saam Hui Yaat. An unassuming spot located on the edge of Pok Fu Lam, this eatery is still decked out with features from the 1980s: think a no-frills decor complete with tiled flooring, and menus where prices are indicated with a traditional Chinese writing system of numbers. Here you’ll find all the crowd favourites from a good dim sum meal: har gow, siu mai, and thousand-layer cake. Everything is in Chinese, so bring a Canto-speaking friend.
Looking for something a little different than your standard meal on dry land? Located on a 63-foot yacht, Kea’s Kitchen offers a truly unique dining experience. Run by affable owner Kea, the floating private kitchen is docked at the Aberdeen Typhoon Shelter, offering Thai-inspired cuisine against a picturesque setting for two nights a week. Two set menus are on offer: for HK$598 or HK$798, you’ll have the chance to try a range of Thai dishes, many of which use fresh seafood ingredients.
Any health nuts in the house? Nestled in an industrial building in Wong Chuk Hang, the original Southside branch of 3/3rds is a sun-drenched, welcoming space, providing healthy foods using fresh, top-quality ingredients. There are salads and sandwiches aplenty, with a menu that changes regularly.
The Butchers Club
While meat-lover heaven The Butchers Club now boasts a number of outlets around town, its very first branch is a private kitchen nestled in the Tin Wan neighbourhood in Aberdeen, which boasts a dry-ageing room. The space accommodates up to 16 people and serves a signature “Big Beef Experience” menu, while also hosting regular sausage-making and nose-to-tail butchery classes.
Vietnamese restaurant Noodle Mi runs a small Sheung Wan outlet – but there’s also a more spacious branch in an industrial building in Wong Chuk Hang. What’s special about the place is that everything on the menu caters those who are gluten-intolerant, with a selection of hot, piping pho, delicious salads and Vietnamese classic banh mi.
ABOVE, the rooftop bar at Ovolo Southside, has gorgeous views of the rolling hills of island south, plus the beach and the ocean beyond. It’s a sprawling, laid-back space to kick back with a classic cocktail or a refreshing glass of prosecco. What’s not to love? If you get bored of the view (hardly likely), come for a spot of people-watching – there’s always a glamorous crowd gathered here.
To cover all of this, there’s nothing better than a staycation at Ovolo Southside.