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13 Hidden Gems in Hong Kong You Probably Didn't Know

Chan Ting Yi

2017 September 14

 

 

There are definitely lots to see, eat and do in Hong Kong, which can be quite boring especially for frequent travellers to the city. Apart from the usual touristy sites, there are also a bunch of hidden gems in Hong Kong worth a visit. From lesser known streets to secret eateries, Hong Kong is certainly a charming place to explore!

 

 

 

Places to See

 

1. Shek Kwu Chau

 

  

 

Located on the coast of Lantau, Shek Kwu Chau used to be known as the “Coffin Island”. The island houses a rehabilitation clinic - Society for the Aid and the Rehabilitation of Drug Abusers (SARDA). Expect to see the extensive classical inspired structures built by the patients at the clinic over decades. Although the island is entirely off limits to the public, there is one day in November when it is open for visitors. Catch the date and head to this “secret” island!

 

Directions: From Cheung Chau, take a 20 minute ferry.

 

 

2. Tai Tong Organic Ecopark

 

 

 

The Tai Tong Organic Ecopark is a 30 acre farm located in Yuen Long. The park facilities include grassy lawns, covered pavilions, koi ponds, a mini zoo and a butterfly exhibit. It is a great place to take your little ones as the kids can learn more about organic farming and even grow their own vegetables there. Popular activities include strawberry and lychee picking, fishing and BBQ as well as agricultural workshops. Strawberry picking season is during December to April. You can also choose to pay $100 for an activity package that includes the entry fee and 4 activity ticket vouchers. The Ecopark also holds public events such as the Tai Han Peony Flower Show annually.

 

Address: 11 Tai Tong Shan Road, Yuen Long, Hong Kong

Opening Hours: Daily 9am-6pm

Directions: Long Ping MTR Station → Take K66 bus to Tai Tong → Tai Tong Shan Road → follow signs to Ecopark

 

 

3. Sai Wan Swimming Shed

 

 

 

Built in the 1950s, the swimming shed is historically used as a changing room and wooden pier for nearby residents who swam in the sulfur channel. Enjoy the beautiful sunset view as you walk along the pier while watching the waves crash against the rocks. It is truly an instagram worthy site and a notable location for wedding photographers. If you’re looking to escape the busy streets of Hong Kong, you can head to the shed in the late afternoon to chill.

 

Address: Mount Davis, Hong Kong

Opening Hours: 24/7

Directions:Kennedy Town MTR → Walk along Victoria road and look out for the red and white sign (approx 15-20mins)

 

 

4. Victoria Peak Garden

 

 

 

Many would be familiar with the popular breaktaking views of Victoria Peak. The Victoria Peak Garden nearby is a lesser known part with streams and ample shade. As you head uphill along Mount Austin Road, you will be elevated 554 metres above sea level. Unlike other parks in Hong Kong, this garden allows pets to roam around. The garden used to part of the governor of Hong Kong’s residence with its winding paths, open green lawns and pagodas. Enjoy the greenery while taking in the views of the west and south of Hong Kong Island.

 

Address: Mount Austin Rd, The Peak, Hong Kong

Directions: Short walk from The Peak Tower that can be accessed via bus or Peak Tram

 

 

5. The Bethanie

 

 

Located on the hills of Pok Fu Lam, The Bethanie is a grade II listed neogothic church and an academic complex. Originally built in 1875 by the Paris Foreign Missions Society, the church was an important base for the missionary work of the French Catholic church in East Asia until 1974. At present, the church is home to the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts. It consists of 3 parts - the Chapel, Sanatorium and the service wing. The Chapel is perhaps the most beautiful section of The Bethanie with its symmetrical designs and verandah on all 4 sides. The basement of the church houses a museum displaying the historical items of Bethanie and French missionary’s activities in Asia throughout the past 300 years. Guided tours are available and you can also rent the place for wedding ceremonies.

 

Address: 139, Pok Fu Lam Road, Hong Kong Island

Directions: Follow signs to Chinese Cuisine Training Centre Institute

 

 

6. Yick Fat Building

 

 

Located on Yau Man Street, the residential complex comprises of 3 towering apartment blocks that houses many thousands homes. Perched atop launderettes, massage parlours and workshops, the building certainly embodies the allure of old Hong Kong. It is no surprise that it graced the cover of photographer Romain Jacquet-Lagrèze’s book Vertical Horizon in 2012. It also appeared in Michael Bay’s Transformers. The backstory was that Bay was confronted by 2 men who lived in the building as they requested for 100,000 HKD for the filming in their homes. The building is certainly iconic given the huge contrast to the glossy residential towers just a block away.

 

Address: 1048-1056 King's Rd, Quarry Bay, Hong Kong

Directions: Tai Koo Station → Exit B → Head west on King Road’s for two blocks (building located behind you)

 

 

7. Cheung Po Tsai Cave

The cave was said to be the pirate Cheung Po Tsai’s stash house during the Qing Dynasty. He owned more than 60 ships and led 50 thousand pirates. The entrance of the cave is approximately 10 feet long while the distance from the entrance to the exit is about 88 metres. With its damp and slippery floors as well as its narrow pathways, visitors are expected to walk in single file. You will also be expected to enter the cave with the help of an iron ladder. Remember to bring a torch light with you as the cave can be quite dark.

 

Address: Cheung Chau Family Walk, Cheung Chau, Hong Kong

Directions: 30-55 minute ferry ride from Cheung Chau Public Pier to Sai Wan Pier OR 2 km walk from Cheung Chau Village along Sai Wan road

 

 

 

Places to Eat

 

1. Duen Kee Tea House

If you’re looking for a secret dim sum place near the mountains, Duen Kee Tea House is the place to go. Located near Tai Mo Shan, the tea house is based out of a spot right in the middle of the mountains. Duen Kee is a two storey family run establishment that is entirely self serve. You can choose from a variety of dim sum from Siu Mai, Lo Mai Gai to Hakka Rice Cake and Silver Rice Noodles. There are ample seating - indoor seats at the top floor and al fresco dining on its patio. Enjoy the 50s yum cha experience with the tea house allowing customers to bring in chirping birds in cages.

 

Address: 57-58 Chuen Lung Estate, Route Twisk, Tsuen Wan.

Directions: Trek to Tsuen Wan → 15 min minibus ride

 

 

2. Hung Fook Seafood Hot Pot

 

Offering a wide assortment of traditional hot pot soups such as fish head, Hung Fook serves up their soups in charcoal hot pots. Barbeque options for meats and a wide variety of seafood are also available. If you’re looking for an outdoor casual hot pot experience, Hung Fook is the place for you. Although it might be quite warm for summertime, it is definitely worth the heat!

 

Address: G/F, 86 Lok Shan Rd , To Kwa Wan, Hong Kong

 

 

3. Yuen Kee Dessert

 

With a long history since 1855, Yuen Kee Dessert serves up traditional cantonese dessert soups. Using stone grind to make their sweet almond and sesame soup, generous bowls of dessert are served in traditional cantonese bowls. The store is known for their Mulberry Mistletoe Tea, Walnut Soup, Red and Green Bean Soup. All desserts can be paired with lotus seed and/or egg.

 

Address: G/F, 32 Centre Street, Western

Opening hours: Daily 12pm-11.30pm

Directions: 2 minute walk from Sai Ying Pun MTR station (Exit B1)

 

 

Bonus!

1. Visage One

 

 

This swanky establishment runs a hair salon during the day and transforms into a speakeasy jazz and blues bar by night. The narrow 2 storey loft can only be identified by a handwritten sign that writes Visage one, Hair, Music. Saturdays are Jazz nights and the gigs are only by word of mouth as there are no official website or social media page. Owned by Benky Chan, Visage One offers a one on one experience in the shop. He invites various musicians to come together simply to jam. There are no stage, no entrance fee and no mixed drinks, just a pure night of jazz. Music starts at 8.30pm but try to get there early to grab a seat.

Address: LG/F, Po Lung Building, 93 Hollywood Rd, Central

 

 

2. Tram ride to Shau Kei Wan

 

The long tram ride itself to Shau Kei Wan lets you watch the bustling streets of Hong Kong from a distance. At Shau Kei Wan, you can explore the market and temples in the vicinity. The market is located in the middle of the old crowded streets with stocks of meat, produce, seafood, clothing and medicine available. Built in 1877, the Shing Wong Temple is popular amongst the local residence. The Tin Hau Temple, dedicated to the Goddess of the sea, hosts a number of well preserved murals, woodcarvings and pottery. You can also choose to visit the Hong Kong Museum of Coastal Defence built in 1887 by the British. The museum features a historical trail of the British in Hong Kong.

Directions: MTR Shau Kei Wan Station (Exit C)

 

 

3. Tai Hang Fire Dragon Dance

 

The Tai Hang Dragon Dance can be traced back to the 19th century folk tale of the village trying to stop a run of bad luck. A typhoon, plague and python that ate the villages’ livestock were inflicting much pain and suffering to the villagers. The villagers then made a huge dragon from straw and covered it with incense sticks, which they then lit. They danced for 3 days and 3 nights and the plagues finally disappeared. At present, the dance has become China’s third national list of intangible cultural heritage. 72,000 incense sticks are used to make the dragon that is between 60-80 metres long and requires 300 people to carry it. The dance is held between 3-5 Oct this year at around 8.15pm-10.30pm on the 3rd and 4th and till 10pm on the 5th.

 

Address: Tai Hung, Causeway Bay (Best Vantage point: Wun Sha Street)

 

Directions: MTR Tin Hau Station (Exit A1) → Cross King’s Road and turn right → Walk straight to second junction on the left to enter Tung Lo Wan Road

 

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