Exploring somewhere new around your home city has been the only fun time during the year with masks and rounds of anti-Covid measures for all of us around the globe, or at least for me in Hong Kong. Before this pandemic, rarely did I really take time to appreciate and discover the hidden beauty of this small busy city when I put my focus on all the hustles and bustles, tremendous pressure and fierce competition in both studies and career. Known for its fast pace of living, I decided to do the opposite which is to slow things down and plan some relaxing day trips with my friend. Getting pleasure from enjoying the slow steps and moments is absolutely my definition of a getaway. If you are ready for a little tour to take a look at another side of Hong Kong, just follow along!
Having a brunch in a cozy cafe
Always start your day with a brunch and some coffee! Sai Kung is a place to kick off your amazing journey to islands, beaches, hiking trails and even UNESCO Global Geoparks where spectacular landscapes of Hong Kong can be found. Having an array of stylish cafes to choose from, from shiba cafes that welcome your pets to join you for a meal to chic cafes with outdoor seating to allow you enjoy the sunshine and breeze, pick one of them and it is gonna surprise you. I have been to Cozy Coffee and 2084. They served really nice western and Asian-fushion food respectively with numerous plant-based vegan options to cater all your needs. The Peking wrap from 2084 is surely worth recommending so don’t miss it when you come!
Chilling by the beach
Having your stomach full, it’s time to head to the Sai Kung pier for hidden gorgeous beaches and spend your afternoon with the waves. As soon as you get to the stalls along the pier side and tell the staff that you want to go to Ham Tin Wan, they will quickly lead you to the speedboat which costs $300hkd per person for a round trip. Yes, it is expensive I know...but I forgot to tell you guys another name of Ham Tin Wan and that is ‘the Maldives in Hong Kong’. I was indeed in doubt but would still like to give it a go and maybe come back with a surprise. On your way to the bay, what surrounds you are never-ending mountain views and diverse geographical landforms such as sea caves, sea arches and the tilted column layers. The unique landscapes are all formed by years of erosion and volcanic activities. A quick glimpse of the geography together with some sightseeing, I must be travelling haha!
Not the best time to travel to the Maldives, but at least I’ve got this! I swear I did not put any filters on my photos. In a densely populated small city like Hong Kong, it is absolutely rare to be in a quiet nice beach with crystal clear water. After a year without travelling to other cities, finally I could imagine immersing myself in a tropical paradise. Not until I took some time to wander around did I realise there are such beautiful beaches in my home city.
Another one nearby is Sai Wan Beach. After getting off from the bus NR29 to reach Sai Wan Village, you will need another 45-minute hike to reach the beach. If you have more friends with you, you may take a taxi instead to save long waiting time and share the fares among yourselves. The hike is more like an easy one so don’t worry if you are a beginner. There are local tuck shops near the beach for you to get some snacks and beers. You may get yourself some noodles with luncheon pork and egg which is one of the popular signatures we order as locals when we are in Cha chaan teng, Hong Kong-style cafes.
It feels magic to watch a perfect wave break onto the shallow reef and rock layers plus our sandy toes. After some photoshoots near the coast, simply lay down on the colourful beach towel, enjoy sunbathing and play some of my favourite music. I call it a more-than-perfect day!
Tip: Although the area of two hidden beaches are indeed big and wide, it is still a lot better to enjoy your beach day trips during weekdays to avoid the crowd. Make sure you take away all the trash including the food packaging and cans in order to well conserve these remaining unpolluted pure places! We have also made an effort to do some beach-cleaning In Sai Wan Beach before we left.
Enjoying sunset by the hike
The sunset session is always the last thing I want to miss. Leaving the smoothing sand came the hike back to the city side at around 6pm, the golden bright round sun had been the greatest accompaniment. We could never take our eyes off the sky as the pastel colours changed every single second. From yellowish orange to pinky purple, how not to love and treasure moments like this? I usually fail to describe the beauty of afterglow as well as my gratitude of a laid-back day in words as it is simply a relief from the busy routines and a come-back for my inner soul.
Apart from this short hiking route, you can also replace the costly boat ride I previously introduced to hiking. The view is utterly mesmerizing but make sure you start your day early and reserve enough time if you would like to spend more time chilling along the beach like we did.
I hope to create this ‘Exploring Home Series’ not only to inspire everyone of you to treat it as a great opportunity to find out more about your city and share my authentic ‘travelling experience’ as a local, but also for me to feel grateful and proud to be in this amazing city all over again. Feel free to share with me some special places from your city!