There’s more to Hong Kong than just dim sum and shopping at Tsim Tsa Tsui. It’s worth taking some time off to appreciate the local culture by visiting museums, ancient temples or going on guided walking tours. You might just discover a different side to the bustling city that you’d never seen before.
Ping Shan Heritage Trail
Need a break from the urban landscape of Hong Kong?
Try the New Territories, a hidden gem whose rural beauty is often overlooked by travellers with little time to spare.
Certainly not a sanitised tourist attraction, the rustic kampung life provides a stark contrast to the skyscrapers and extravagance of Central and Hong Kong Island.
A first in Hong Kong, the 1.6km Ping Shan Heritage Trail is a self-guided tour through a village still inhabited by descendents of the Tang Clan. Linking up 12 traditional Chinese buildings within easy walking distance of each other, the trail is ideal for history buffs who are curious about the culture of Hong Kong.
Highlights on the trail include the Tang Clan ancestral hall, a study hall, and the ancient Tsui Sing Lau Pagoda which was built more than 600 years ago during the Ming dynasty.
Offering a glimpse into pre-colonial Hong Kong, visitors have an opportunity to learn more about indigenous life in a convenient one-day excursion. Admission is free.
Sheung Cheung Wai, Yuen Long District
Tin Shui Wai Station
Wishing trees and Tin Hau Temple
Make a wish at the wishing trees in Lam Tsuen, in Tai Po. The two 'wishing trees' are popular amongst locals and tourists.
The place was a residential area 700 years ago and villagers would make their wishes and throw joss paper into these two trees during festivals.
Locals believe that the higher the branch the paper lands and stays on, the more likely their wish will come true. Visitors can also toss oranges along with their wishes onto the tree branches.
However, if you must visit, note that it's especially busy during the first 15 days of the Chinese New Year.
Although the real trees have sadly been replaced by artificial ones, it's still a fun and different thing to do especially if you need a break from the city.
Since you're already in the area, you might as well drop by the historic Tin Hau Temple located near the trees to experience more of the Chinese culture.Address
Sheung Lam Tsuen, Tai Po, New Territories
Tai Wo Station
This heritage garden located at Tsing Lung Tau could be Hong Kong's best kept secret.
Hong Kong Dragon Garden is the biggest private park in Hong Kong with over 100 plant species found within. The size of the garden measures to about 8 hectares.
While it is mostly closed to the public, there are monthly openings and private tours.
According to CNN, the spectacular garden near Sham Tseng is a "20-year labour of love from the late Hong Kong business tycoon and philanthropist Lee Iu-cheung".
The gorgeous area was almost sold to Sun Hung Kai Properties - which had plans to use the space to erect an apartment building. Fortunately, a few of Lee's descendents stepped in and prevented the move.
Getting to Dragon Garden could prove to be a challenge as it is not near any MTR station. The closest one would be Tsuen Wan Station on the Tsuen Wan Line.Address
No. 32-42 Castle Peak Road, Tsing Lung Tau