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Hong Kong's 10 Best Kept Secrets
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Hong Kong's 10 Best Kept Secrets

Picture of Wing Yan Chan
Updated: 9 February 2017
Glowing neon signs, luxurious shopping malls, posh apartment blocks and sprawling food courts all dot Hong Kong. But what is hidden behind this metropolitan veneer?

Nam Sang Wai

Nestled between the Kam Tin River and the Shan Pui River, the combination of picturesque scenery, untouched nature and limitless expanses of grassland combine here to build a veritable paradise for nature enthusiasts. Travelers can take a stroll in the woods covered in waving weeds and grass, hop aboard the Nam Shan Wai ferry – the only river ferry in Hong Kong – and explore the areas rich biodiversity, or just wallow in the out-of-town atmosphere afforded by these wetlands!

Tung Chung Fort
Tung Chung Fort | © Kalatpadai/WikiCommons

Tung Chung Fort

Dating back to the Shun Hei era of the Southern Song Dynasty, this fort was once the base of pirates during the Qing Dynasty and was occupied by Japan during World War II, finally becoming a popular tourist spot today. Since smugglers brought salt from Lantau Island to Canto City and attacked the government, soldiers were sent there to re-fortify the position and today old cannons and bulwarks still belie its former tactical importance.

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Cheung Po Tsai Cave

Located on Lamma Island, Cheung Po Tsai Cave is said to have been the notorious pirate, Cheung Po Tsai’s, stash house during the Qing Dynasty. The prolific warlord owned more than 600 ships and led 50 thousand pirates. He caused great damage to Chinese fleets and threatened the military too. However, instead of receiving sanction, the oriental Robin Hood was given an officer position after his surrender. His legendary story is the theme of many movies. The main character played by Chow Yun-Fat in the Hollywood movie The Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End is inspired by Cheung Po Tsai too!

Cheung Chau Family Walk, Cheung Chau, Hong Kong

Chi Lin Nunnery and Nan Lian Garden
Chi Lin Nunnery and Nan Lian Garden | © russavia/WikiCommons
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Chi Lin Nunnery and Nan Lian Garden

Established in 1934 and renovated to match the Tang Dynasty style in 1990, Chi Lin Nunnery combines Oriental architectural styles and religious elements into one Chinese temple complex. The lotus pond here teams with bushy trees to create a peaceful environment for visitors to relax and meditate in. After experiencing a spot of ancient Chinese ritual, travelers can take a walk in the Nam Lian Garden beside, which is a scenic garden built in the style of the Tang Dynasty and spreading over an area of 3.5 hectares.

Chi Lin Nunnery, 5 Chi Lin Dr, Hong Kong, +852 2354 1888

Tai O

Tai O is home to the endangered species of the Chinese white dolphin; the perfect spot for travelers longing to catch a glimpse of the elegant creature that cannot be found elsewhere in the world. Apart from dolphin spotting, the authentic fishing village is packed with interesting stilt houses (houses built above the water) and is the perfect chance to see the more traditional side of Hong Kong.

Tin Hau Temple
Tin Hau Temple | © Chong Fat/WikiCommons
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Tin Hau Temple in Lam Tsuen

Among hundreds of Tin Hau Temples around Hong Kong, the one located in Lam Tsuen is the most popular, thanks to the two wishing trees within its confines! The temple was built during the Qing Dynasty, 200 years ago, to enshrine Tin Hau, the Goddess of the sea, whose palace is situated between the palace of the God of Literature and the God of War. After praying, visitors can throw joss paper into the trees to make wishes – the higher branch the joss paper lands on, the more likely the wish will come true.

Tin Hau Temple in Lam Tsuen, Hong Kong

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Hong Kong Global Geopark

One of the biggest hidden secrets of Hong Kong is that the tiny archipelago houses the biggest chain of hexagonal volcano rocks in the world. Hundreds of millions of years old and formed by the contraction of lava, rock debris and volcanic ash, these startling features now stand amidst the Hong Kong Global Geopark – a true must-visit that’s off-the-beaten-track!

Hong Kong Geopark, Sai Kung Volcanic Park Region, Hong Kong

Jockey Club Creative Arts Centre
Jockey Club Creative Arts Centre | © SKMCAC/WikiCommons
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Jockey Club Creative Arts Centre

This centre is the creative hub of Hong Kong’s dynamic local art and culture scene. A wide range of exhibitions and workshops take place here. One highlight of the centre is the occasional handicraft market that encourages craftsmanship and local design. Booths are provided for local artists to showcase their works in and sell their products. Check out the schedule and pay a visit to grab unique, handmade souvenirs.

Jockey Club Creative Arts Centre, Hong Kong

Street food at Kwai Chung Plaza

Hong Kong is renowned for mouth-watering street food, but in most cases tourists only know about Mong Kok, and miss out on the hidden snack paradise that is Kwai Chung Plaza. Aside from commonly found street foods, such as curry fish balls, squid tentacles and pig intestines, rare options like giant marshmallows, deep-fried ice cream and strawberry cream crepes are available – Definitely a spot for the budding foodie!

Dragon’s back
Dragon’s back | © Roger Price/WikiCommons

The Dragon’s Back trail

Voted the Best Urban Hiking Trail in Asia by Time, mountaineers can admire the stunning natural scenery of Shek O, Tai Long Wan, Stanley, Tai Tam, and the South China Sea here. During the journey, walkers will come across a mountain gap in the trail, which is a fantastic spot for kite flying and paragliding. The end of the trail is connected to Tai Long Wan, literally meaning “beach with strong waves”, where travellers can finally take a break to enjoy the sun and the sand.