Hong Kong, you must have heard of this city. Located in Asia Hong Kong is one of the busiest financial centres in the world. Apart from that, Hong Kong is also one of the most fun cities you could ever be in! From historical sites to nature to nightlife, you name it.
Though located on the other side of the globe, Cathay Pacific got it all sorted with their direct flights from Toronto to Hong Kong, bringing you to this wonderful Asian city in 16 hours with one easy flight booking.
Nature Lovers! Here’s a list of the must visit nature sites you must visit in Hong Kong.
1. Cape D’ Aguilar
Cape D’ Aguilar, also known as “HokTsui”, is a peninsula located south of Shek O, also a personal favourite of mine. The trail into Cape D’ Aguilar ends with a Marine Reserve which offers panoramic views of the blueish sea and wonderful sky, spectacular scenery to be enjoyed from the coastal cliff. Let’s get on with how to get there.
Getting to Cape D’ Aguilar was not so easy in the past, and not until recent years when it became a popular location for shutterbugs did it become more easily accessible by public transport.
The most recommended way to Cape D’ Aguilar is by Bus No. 9, where you can easily hop on from the Shau Kei Wan Bus Terminus. The bus route brings you into the mountains of Shek O Country Park, already providing some eye-catching sceneries along the way.
There is already a dedicated stop called “Cape D’ Aguilar” so you will not have to worry about finding the stop to get off. Go along the main road after you do, and it takes around 45 minutes from there to travel through the beaten paths around the Radio transmitting Station to arrive at the Marine Reserve, where you will find the sea caves and the lighthouse. Almost towards the end of the road, there will be a junction letting you know you’ve reached your destination, Cape D’ Aguilar.
Going left up the stairs will bring you to the century-old lighthouse, built-in 1875, and the view from the cliff there needs no introduction. However, little do you know, there are two astonishing caves next to it.
Both sea caves in Cape D’ Aguilar are naturally formed by the wave erosion, after waves splashing against the coastal rocks years after years. Going down on the right after you have returned to the previous junction will bring you to the Marine Reserve, where the Hong Kong University Swire Institute of Marine Science and the caves are located at.
Before reaching the building, the first cave with you will see on your left down the stairs is the Thunder Cave, known for the thundering sound it makes when hit by sea waves. (Be careful going down to the cave as tall and jagged grass lies upon the path). Looking upward and forward when inside the cave shows you the slice of sky and sea through the openings, where you can explore creative photo compositions on.
After leaving Thunder Cave, taking the same route back and behind the Institute of Marine Science is where you will find the Crab Cave. The Crab Cave is named after the resemblances of a crab claw when viewed from above. (Another friendly reminder to be careful when climbing up to the top).
Just before you go, don’t forget to have a look at the skeleton of a killer whale named “Hoi Wai” which has been displayed outside the Institute. Hoi Wai had been performing in the Ocean Park, one of the two theme parks in Hong Kong, until her unfortunate death in 1997. She has been part of our collective memory for our generations of Hong Kong citizens ever since.
The scenic cliff and sea caves are definitely Marine Treasures of the Cape D’Aguilar, reminding us of the importance of preserving our mother nature.
2. Thousand Island Lakes (千島湖）
Another favourite of mine, also a recent hot spot on Instagram, is the “Thousand Island Lakes” located at Tai Lam Chung Reservoir. The Reservoir was built between 1952 to 1957 in Tai Lam Country Park, and the
MacLehose Trail Stage 10 that we are taking today passes through the north side of the reservoir.
How do this “thousand islands” all make sense? The reservoir was built in an afforested area and was once an open valley. Now flooded, those many hills which were inside when the reservoir was being filled up peek out of the lake, creating a stunning scene of dozens of small islands in the centre of the reservoir. It is a huge resemblance of the original thousand island lake (“Qian Dao Lake”) which is located in Zhejiang, China, and definitely sets itself apart from other reservoirs you can see in Hong Kong.
The easiest way to get there is to first head into Tuen Mun station by taking the Western Rail Line of the MTR. Once you get there, you will find a minibus stop for minibus number 43, outside of the wet market complex at Ho Pong Street. A bus departs every quarter and will bring you directly to So Kwun Wat Village, where the beginning of this hike begins. (Alternatively, you may opt for a taxi ride from Tuen Mun station to So Kwun Wat Village as well).
After hopping off, you shall see a temple right in front of you. Follow the trail on the left of the temple, and as you continue, there shall be a MacLehose Trail Stage 10 sign, showing you the way to Tai Lam Chung Reservoir and letting you know that you are on the right track.
Simply follow the Trail and after around an hour of small slope climbing, you will arrive at Reservoir Islands Viewpoint (“千島湖清景台”), which is the midpoint and the climax of our hike. Completed in late 2019, the viewpoint is a new viewing platform recently built, giving you a commanding view of the Tai Lam Reservoir.
You may spend up to an hour here in an attempt for your award-winning shot (it is indeed very, very crowded on the weekends).
Since the viewpoint is technically the highest point of our trail, the rest of the hike after leaving there is fairly easy. Return to the path you were taking and you can either keep going in the direction you were taking, and head towards the end of the MacLehose Trail Stage 10, or return to the city by exactly the same way you came.
If you have decided to keep going, then with more or less an hour of declining stairs you will find yourself at Tai Tong. In recent years Tai Tong became extremely famous for the leaves of Sweet Gum Tress that turn fiery red during Autumns and Winters (November to February depending on the weather).
These trees have been planted along the trail, and are definitely an epic bonus scenery full of red leaf trees if you are coming at the right season. To reach the city, keep walking downhill for 20 to 25 minutes until you see a junction with a bus stop across the street. It should be easily seen as there is usually a long queue of people waiting for the same bus after their wonderful hike.
Instead of checking out the picturesque sceneries online, why not try to experience yourself? Fly from Toronto to Hong Kong now! Book your flights with Cathay Pacific, one of the top 4 leading global airlines in 2019, the 5-star airline with top-notch passenger experience and one providing the best onboard products. Have a safe and pleasant journey with Cathay Pacific and catch you in Hong Kong soon! See you there!