Hong Kong Asia's World City

Natural Heritage

Natural Heritage

Stepping into the wild

Hong Kong is one of the busiest metropolitan cities in the world, with a population of around seven million people. But our numbers seem few compared to the sheer volume of rich wildlife pervading the region: some 3,000 varietals of flowering plants, plus more than 2,000 species of moth, dragonfly and butterfly. Below you’ll find an introduction to Hong Kong’s nature reserves, wetlands and beautiful natural heritage. You can also get outdoors in Yuen Long, exploring the district’s ancient fishing villages, walking trails and organic farms.

If you’re a lover of all things wet and wild, you’ve come to the right destination! Hong Kong may be best known as an urban metropolis but its little-known secret is that about 40 percent of the territory is formed of country parks and nature reserves. Step outside of downtown and you’ll discover steeple-top mountain chains, remote hiking trails, rugged coastlines and wild beaches. Add on to this that Hong Kong has more marine diversity than the Caribbean and boasts one third of the total bird species in China, and it won’t be long before you’re spending all your precious time outdoors.

The most prominent of the region’s protected nature reserves has to be the Hong Kong UNESCO Global Geopark, located in the northeastern New Territories region of Sai Kung. Added to UNESCO’s Global Geoparks Network in 2011, and renamed ‘Hong Kong UNESCO Global Geopark’ in 2015, this collation of eight distinct geographical areas features unique—and incredibly eye-catching—volcanic and sedimentary rock formations. One of the prettiest of these areas is Yan Chau Tong Marine Park: a happy result of violent volcanic eruptions some 180 million years ago. Protected by mountain ranges, erosion through the ages has been kind—the mix of sandstone, siltstone and shale rocks are around 500 meters thick in some parts. It’s worth a visit to explore these rocky headlands and cliffs which are surrounded on all four sides by picturesque bays and turquoise waters.

If you’re interested in what lies beneath Hong Kong’s calm waters, escape to Hoi Ha Wan Marine Park (Hoi Ha literally translates to “under the sea”). Up in the Sai Kung Peninsula, the sheltered bay boasts such pristine water quality that it can host a wide spectrum of marine organisms. But it’s Hoi Ha’s collection of coral that the park is famous for: you might be able to spot more than 60 species of hard coral just from a clear spot on the surface. Dive down further and you could happen upon colorful soft coral and more than 120 species of fish. You’ll find it hard to believe that this much natural beauty lies within an hour of the city’s financial heart.

Looking to learn more about marine life in Hong Kong, but don’t want to get your feet wet? The renowned Hong Kong Wetland Park, in the northern part of Tin Shui Wai in the New Territories, is a world-class attraction perfect for families and nature lovers. Some 60 hectares of wetland reserve offer specially designed habitats for different water-bird species. Wander through the 10,000-square-meter visitor center for regularly rotating themed exhibitions, and for a chance to see the salt water crocodile “Pui Pui,” who made Hong Kong her home in 2006. Venture outside for an easy boardwalk stroll through the reserve and to catch glimpses of some of the rare bird species that reside here.

Touring from Hong Kong Wetland Park to the northeast, you’ll find another renowned wetland area— Mai Po Nature Reserve. As part of the Deep Bay wetland complex, it is among the finest locations in Asia for wetland biodiversity. The complex spans some 2,700 hectares and is home to diverse habitats supporting a wide range of species—most significantly the thousands of birds who descend during migratory season. With this winged migration during autumn and winter, plus vibrating insects and gei wai freshwater shrimp in the spring and summer, the wetlands around the Mai Po marshes offer you biodiversity all year round.

There’s no better way to understand Hong Kong’s harmonious relationship with nature than by experiencing it in person, so what are you waiting for? Dive right in.

Get Going

  • Yan Chau Tong Marine Park
    Yan Chau Tong Marine Park
    This volcanic region boasts semi-eroded rocky headlands, surrounded by pretty bays and turquoise waters.
    Address:
    The north-east part of Plover Cove Country Park, Kat O Chau, New Territories
    Tel:
    +852 2708 8885
    How to Get There:
    MTR Tai Po Market Station, Exit A3. Take minibus 20C to Wu Kau Tang, then walk through Kau Tam Tso and Sam A Tsuen for three hours and reach Yan Chau Tong Marine Park.
  • Hoi Ha Wan Marine Park
    Hoi Ha Wan Marine Park
    One of five marine parks in Hong Kong where watersports and underwater photography are popular activities.
    Address:
    Hoi Ha Wan, Sai Kung, New Territories
    Tel:
    +852 2708 8885
    How to Get There:
    MTR Diamond Hill Station, Exit C2. Take bus 92 or 96R (Sunday and public holidays only) to Sai Kung Town, then change to green minibus 7 to Hoi Ha Tsuen and walk to the Marine Park.
  • Hong Kong Wetland Park
    Hong Kong Wetland Park
    Meet Pui Pui the crocodile at the wetland enclosure and spot rare water-bird species in the surrounding reserve.
    Address:
    Wetland Park Road, Tin Shui Wai, New Territories
    Tel:
    +852 3152 2666 (General enquiry)
    +852 2617 5218 (Ticketing)
    How to Get There:
    • MTR West Rail Tin Shui Wai Station. Change to 705 or 706 Light Rail and alight at Tin Sau Station or Wetland Park Station. From here, follow the signs and walk for another five minutes; or,
    • bus 967 from MTR Admiralty Station Exit B to Wetland Park. Follow the signs and walk for another five minutes; or,
    • bus 276B from MTR Sheung Shui Station Exit C to Wetland Park. Follow the signs and walk for another five minutes.
  • Mai Po Nature Reserve
    Mai Po Nature Reserve
    WWF Hong Kong manages the Mai Po Nature Reserve and protects the diverse marine wildlife here. Book in advance to visit.
    Address:
    Mai Po, Yuen Long, New Territories
    Tel:
    +852 2526 1011
    Website:
    How to Get There:
    MTR Sheung Shui Station, Exit C. Take bus 76K and alight at Mai Po Station in Mai Po Village. Then walk along Tam Kon Chau Road for approximately 20 minutes to the main entrance located at the car park of the World Wide Fund For Nature Hong Kong.

Natural Heritage 'Musts'

  • Kam Shan Country Park
    Enjoy a nature walk
    Kam Shan Country Park
    Kam Shan Country Park, also known as Monkey Hill, is perfect for a beginner's walk, or for families. It is home to four reservoirs and various easy trails, such as the Kam Shan Family Walk, a short scenic route for the whole family. For nature lovers, there is the Kam Shan Tree Walk with its vibrant display of trees and plants. Or if you fancy something harder, try the jogging trails skirting the dams of Kowloon Reception Reservoir and Shek Lei Pui Reservoir.
    Address:
    Kam Shan Road, Sha Tin, New Territories
    Tel:
    +852 2708 8885
    How to Get There:
    MTR Lai Chi Kwok, Exit A. Take bus 72 or 81 and get off at Kowloon Reservoir on Tai Po Road, near Piper's Hill. Walk along Kam Shan Road for about 10 minutes to the park.
  • Wilson Trail Stage 1
    Cross Hong Kong Island on foot
    Wilson Trail Stage 1
    Stages 1 and 2 of the Wilson Trail on Hong Kong Island are great if you’re a newer hiker looking for a challenge. Plus you get fantastic views over the island and bays. Start from Stanley to get the steep steps over: from there it's up and over several peaks to Wong Nai Chung Gap, with a final sprint to Quarry Bay. The total distance of the two stages is about 11.4 km, and takes on average 4.5 hours.
    Address:
    Stanley Gap Road, Stanley, Hong Kong Island
    Website:
    How to Get There:
    MTR Hong Kong Station, Exit F. Take bus 6 or 6A from Exchange Square bus terminus and alight at Stanley Gap Road. It’s about an hour-long journey.
  • Lantau Peak
    Catch sunrise from on high
    Lantau Peak
    For the seasoned hiker, catching the sunrise while standing 935 meters high on Lantau Peak, the highest point on Lantau Island, is a thoroughly rewarding experience and one of Hong Kong's greatest challenges. The route towards the peak is an inspiring chain of mountains that stretches from the higher elevations in the west to the lower ridges in the east, with beautiful scenery and fascinating historical sites along the way.
    Address:
    Lantau Peak, Lantau Island, New Territories
    Tel:
    +852 2708 8885
    How to Get There:
    • MTR Tung Chung Station, Exit B. At Tung Chung Ngong Ping Cable Car terminal take a 25-minute cable car ride to the Ngong Ping terminal. Then follow the signs and walk along the Lantau Trail for approximately 25 minutes.
    • MTR Tung Chung Station Exit B. From the bus terminus next to the MTR station, take bus 23 (the journey takes about 50 minutes). Follow the signs and walk along the Lantau Trail for about 25 minutes.

This guide was produced by HK Magazine Media Group from 2014-2015.

The Hong Kong Tourism Board disclaims any liability as to the quality or fitness for purpose of third party products and services; and makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy, adequacy or reliability of any information contained herein.

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While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information in this guide, the Hong Kong Tourism Board and HK Magazine accept no responsibility for any obsolescence, errors or omissions contained herein.

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