Few destinations pack as much variety and terrain into as compact a place as Hong Kong Island. You can go from pulsating metropolis to lush and leafy peaks to sparkling surf in just a few kilometres. And one district, Southern, lets you experience all three in a day, should you wish.
With the opening of the MTR South Island line in December 2016, getting from Central to the golden sands of Southern District is easier than ever. The first stop, Ocean Park, is a mere six minutes from Admiralty Station. From there it’s a short taxi or bus ride to some of Hong Kong’s finest beaches, stretching from Deepwater Bay in the southwest to Big Wave Bay in the southeast.
Each has its own character and demographic: Repulse Bay, with its prime real estate inhabited by affluent Hong Kong people and expat families; the buffed, tanned and flamboyant at Middle Bay; and boho young things and surfers at Big Wave Bay and Shek O villages.
Don’t fancy sand between your toes? Southern District’s Wong Chuk Hang neighbourhood is a thriving contemporary arts hub, with a slew of top-notch galleries and independent artists’ studios secreted away in the area’s many converted warehouses and office buildings. Keep an eye out for names like De Sarthe, Rossi and Rossi, Pekin Fine Arts, Blindspot and Alisan Fine Arts, the last of which is in Aberdeen, where sampans and fishing boats still moor in the typhoon shelter and the fish market hums with activity.
Rent a surfboard and catch a few waves at Big Wave Bay, Hong Kong Island’s prettiest beach.
Hang out at Ben’s Back Beach Bar in Shek O, or feast on simple Thai fare at Shek O Thai.
Take your pick of dining options, such as Limewood and Sip Song at beachfront The Pulse.
Pack a picnic and get away from the crowds at secluded Chung Hom Kok.
Visit the South Island Cultural District website to check out art happenings in the area.
Visit one of the many excellent galleries in Wong Chuk Hang, Southern District’s contemporary art hub.