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Closer to the border with the Mainland Chinese metropolis of Shenzhen than it is to Hong Kong’s illustrious Victoria Harbour, Yuen Long may not be well-known, but it should be. A beautiful natural landscape, wetlands and wildlife, a rich heritage, indigenous communities and urban bustle make this jewel in the northwest of the New Territories well worth exploring.
Populated by Chinese settlers since the late Yuan dynasty (1271-1368), Yuen Long is a treat for those wanting to get a handle on clan culture, foodies in search of traditional mom-and-pop eateries, and twitchers, conservationists and nature-loving families.
Keen to learn about Hong Kong’s fascinating indigenous history and clan culture? The Ping Shan Heritage Trail takes you past ancestral halls, temples, walled compounds and Hong Kong’s oldest pagoda, still maintained by descendants of the original Tang settlers. Old-school eateries, traditional teahouses, hawker-style dai pai dongs and lively wet markets give you a taste for nostalgia, literally.
Want to escape the urban hustle? Then head to the low-lying wetlands, bisected by waterways brimming with fauna and flora. If you have family in tow, a day at the Hong Kong Wetland Park, with its excellent visitor centre, justifies the trip on its own. Meanwhile, the western point of Ha Pak Nai, flanked by mountains on one side and the shimmering waters of Deep Bay on the other, is arguably Hong Kong’s top spot for sunset views. Smartphone camera ready, set, click.
Learn about historic clan culture along the Ping Shan Heritage Trail.
Chow down on wonton noodles and other local fare on the foodie strip of Yau San Street.
Enjoy 360-degree views of Yuen Long from the top of the Aviary Pagoda.
Observe flocks of the endangered black-faced spoonbill and other birds at Mai Po Nature Reserve .
Head to the mangrove beach of Ha Pak Nai, Hong Kong’s best sunset-snap spot.
Hike the MacLehose Trail.