We ended our trip on a high – quite literally, since we spent our last full day atop Tai Mo Shan, the SAR’s highest peak. Located slap-bang in the middle of the New Territories, it commands superb views of the rest of Hong Kong, and on clear days the southern coast of mainland China can be seen on the horizon.
Victoria Peak is a tourist magnet, and pulls in the crowds for good reason: it offers views of the city rivalled only by those from Tsim Sha Tsui (TST) on the opposite side of Victoria Harbour. That said, it’s possible to escape the hordes of selfie-takers should you so wish (and get your 10,000 steps in without breaking much of a sweat).
The Hunch Backs, or Ngau Ngak Shan to give it its local name, may have stellar views, but it isn’t a hike for the ill-equipped, and there’s definitely a reason (or two) why the signs mere steps from the starting line caution against proceeding.
When it comes to green spaces, Singapore has it all – rooftop gardens, sprawling parks and nature reserves – and, what’s more, you don’t have to travel far to reach them. In the 1960s, then-PM Lee Kuan Yew set the wheels in motion for Singapore to become a Garden City. Singapore’s status as a Garden City, or a City in a Garden, owes as much to this man’s vision as it does to the nation’s collective support for his project.
If you regularly tune into this blog, you’ll already know that a trip to the zoo ranks pretty highly on my list of things to do if there’s one in the area. (See Exhibit 1 and Exhibit 2, no pun intended, if you need to be brought up to speed.) We therefore set aside a full day (and evening) to explore everything that the award-winning Singapore Zoo and Night Safari had to offer.
Singapore may be a teeny weeny territory, but what it lacks in surface area, it more than makes up for in its vibrant cultural landscape. Catch the MRT to Kampong Glam, Little India or Chinatown (or all three, if you have time), and while away the day in their bustling hawker centres, picturesque side streets and local markets.
Singapore is a fusion of untamed jungle and slick skyscrapers, a melting pot of cultures, traditions and cuisines. We only spent a few days in Singapore – slap bang in the middle of our trip to Hong Kong – but the little time we had there was enough to cement Singapore’s place on my mental list of favourite places.
There are hikes, and then there are hikes – those that push you beyond your limits; those that demand more from you; those that stay with you long after you’ve washed off the grime from the trail. Sunset Peak and Lantau Peak, when done together as one thru hike, fall decidedly into the latter category. We’d ummed and ahhed over whether or not to conquer the two of them in one fell swoop, and ultimately decided it was the best option for our itinerary, as it freed up a day later in our trip for adventures elsewhere.
Hong Kong has miles upon miles of hiking trails, but perhaps the most popular amongst visitors is Dragon’s Back. Whether you’re a Lonely Planet lover or a DK Top 10 devotee, you’ll almost certainly have stumbled upon a passage or two on this well-loved walk as you flicked through your guidebook (or a bookshop’s – I’m not judging) ahead of your trip. I’ve been there, hiked the trail and would happily do so again tomorrow if it weren’t for the fact I’m now 5,000+ miles away.
Clinging to the verdant hillside above Sha Tin, in the heart of the New Territories, is Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery (also known as Man Fat Tsz), a complex which marvels and mind-boggles in equal measure.