Top Off-the-Beaten-Track Activities for Visitors
You’ve ridden the Peak Tram and the Star Ferry, hiked to the Big Buddha, enjoyed high-tea at the Peninsula and shopped to your heart’s content in Causeway Bay. What should you do next during your time in Hong Kong? Check out these off-the-beaten-track activities that Hongkongers love. Just don’t go telling everyone about it…
Drink French Wine On An Outlying Island
While tourists mostly flock to Lamma for the outlying island experience, Peng Chau – a tiny, laid-back isle just off Lantau, shouldn’t be overlooked. Believe it or not, the sleepy isle was once a booming industrial centre, but these days it’s a peaceful neighbourhood that makes for a great day out. Head to Les Copains d’Abord (Peng Chau Square, (852) 3483 0692), a French cafe in the main square not far from the ferry pier. There you’ll find a very decent collection of French wines, starting at just HK$40 per glass, plus delicious nibbles like cheese and charcuterie. Do call ahead to check opening hours.
Getting There: Take a ferry from Pier 6, Man Kwong Road, Central
Hit a Deserted Beach
The Southside of Hong Kong Island boasts plentiful beaches, but come summer time, they’re full to bursting with everyone and their grandma, maid, dog…you get the idea. Thank goodness for Turtle Cove Beach: located east of Stanley Beach just by Tai Tam, it is accessed through a pretty secluded entrance that requires a bit of a walk to get to. There are basic facilities like changing rooms, but there are no food vendors in sight, so be sure to bring some water and snacks with you!
Getting There: Take the no. 14 bus from Sai Wan Ho MTR station on the Island Line, to the stop just after Tai Tam Reservoir. Take the stairwell that leads down to the beach.
Jam With Hipsters
Central has no shortage of partying hotspots and watering holes, but if you’re looking for a alternative night out, check out Sense 99. Housed in a three-storey colonial pre-war structure, Sense 99 is an art exhibition/gig space that’s popular with a hipster crowd. There are instruments on the top floor that are often used for impromptu weekend jams. Grab a Tsingtao beer and people-watch while chilling out on the top floor terrace. Sense 99 operates as a members’ club for a HK$200 annual fee, but members can bring guests. Not looking to sign up? Make a friend!
99F Wellington Street, Central
Catch An Old School Hong Kong Movie
Committed to preserving Hong Kong’s film heritage, The Hong Kong Film Archive houses a huge archive of information and materials that is sure to impress everyone from hardcore film buffs to those with a passing interest of Hong Kong’s cinematic history. The HKFA is equipped with its very own cinema, which features regular screenings of Cantonese classics. You can catch the golden era of Hong Kong film right here. Who said Hong Kong was a cultural desert?
50 Lei King Road, Sai Wan Ho, (852) 2739 2139
Go Stand-up Paddle Boarding
If you’re a lover of watersports, make time for a visit to Sha Ha Beach in Sai Kung. While the area is home to a number of larger-sized beaches, Sha Ha is a much smaller one that caters to kayakers, windsurfers and of course, stand-up paddle boarding lovers. We recommend SUP because the waters are normally pretty calm and not overcrowded, making it an ideal beach to paddle away in your own speed. There are numerous watersports centres located right on Sha Ha offering equipment rental.
Getting There: Take the red minibus that goes directly to Sai Kung from Dundas Street, Mong Kok. It takes about 30 minutes without traffic. Be prepared for a bumpy ride – red minibus drivers are known for their take-no-prisoners approach on the wheel.
Marvel At the Medical Sciences
The medical sciences might not be high on your Hong Kong agenda – but this suggestion is worth checking out. The Hong Kong Museum of Medical Sciences, located on the Mid-Levels just by the hip PoHo neighbourhood, is housed in a beautiful Edwardian-style structure that’s particularly popular with couples doing wedding photos. As its name suggests, the museum offers information on the medical sciences, including Chinese and western approaches to medicine, as well as a captivating look at the the Bubonic Plague that ravished Hong Kong in 1894.
2 Caine Lane, Mid-Levels, (852) 2549-5123
Have Secret Dim Sum in the Mountains
You already know that dim sum is a must-do in Hong Kong. Take the dining experience to the next level at Duen Kee Tea House, a hidden dim sum restaurant nestled in Tai Mo Shan, the highest mountain in Hong Kong. A family-run business, it’s a no-frills kind of place that operates on a self-serve policy. Fresh, hot dim sum, roast meats and of course, teas are on offer. After your meal, servers count the number of plates on your table. While you might expect a bit of a brawl over delicious food at a self-serve place, Duen Kee has a chilled, pleasant vibe.
57-58 Chuen Lung Estate, Route Twisk, Tsuen Wan
Getting There: Take the no. 80 minibus from Chuen Lung Street, Tsuen Wan.
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”.