Hidden gems

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 12 December, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 12 December, 2010, 12:00am

Discover traditional Hong Kong - before it's too late. The Urban Discovery Challenge (www.urbandiscovery.asia) is a scavenger hunt that will introduce you to parts of the city you 'won't have seen before'. This ambitious claim is from a group of architects and urban planners living and working in the city who have searched for its 'hidden' treasures.

Founder and director Paul Schuttenbelt says he started the programme in Hanoi, Vietnam, then moved to Hong Kong because he 'fears for Asian cities' identities being lost in the modern frenzy'.

Urban Discovery has created excursions across Hong Kong, from the New Territories to Lamma island. Some are off-the-shelf scavenger hunts starting in areas such as Pok Fu Lam - with a race route that takes in The Lanes of Central (below) before ending in SoHo - Kowloon, Victoria Harbour and Sha Tin. The packages include rarely noticed neighbourhoods, secluded temples and off-the-beaten-track culinary adventures. Also available are custom-made excursions for corporate team-building events, office parties, family days out and birthday parties - catering for groups of 12 to 500 people.

Participants must find hidden checkpoints, solve riddles and compete in mental and physical challenges. Points are awarded for speed as well as skill. The scavenger hunt leads teams from checkpoint to checkpoint, where tasks must be completed before they can move on to the next destination. The 'treasures' uncovered are clues to the next step of the challenge. After about three hours, teams reach their final destination, where food and drink is served and the winning team named.

Urban Discovery Challenge packages start at HK$500 per head.



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