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Explore Hong Kong

Seven of the best: a guide to Hong Kong's top picnic spots

Autumn is picnic season and the city has some fabulous venues for feasting alfresco. Martin Williams visits seven of the best

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 10 October, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 26 January, 2017, 5:18pm

Autumn is the time to make the most of Hong Kong's great outdoors. For an outing to remember, try a picnic. Here's a selection of our favourite places to head for an al fresco experience, together with tips for packing the perfect picnic.

Western Ferry Pier

Difficulty level: easy

Best for: urban picnickers, explorers and sunset watchers.

Why: it's an offbeat waterfront location in the heart of the city where you can watch bustling boat traffic. There is also the chance of a spectacular sunset.

Getting there: From the central government's liaison office on Des Voeux Road West, head under Connaught Road West, turn left and walk on Fung Mat Road alongside Western Wholesale Food Market.

Kowloon Peak

Difficulty level: moderate

Best for: hikers and photographers.

Why: Also known as Fei Ngo Shan, Kowloon Peak is one of the nine dragons, the line of eight hills (plus Emperor Bing) rising north of Kowloon. Hiking routes cross the area, but you can also drive. To the south the Kowloon peninsula is laid out below with the harbour and Hong Kong Island beyond. To the north the landscape is dominated by Tai Mo Shan. Try the trail leading towards the summit of Fei Ngo Shan. Bring long trousers and mosquito spray for walking through long grass.

Getting there: take the number 1 minibus from Choi Hung MTR station to Fei Ngo Shan Road then walk. You can also take a taxi from the station.

Shek O headland

Difficulty level: easy

Best for: coastal scenery fans.

Why: amazing coastline little more than 40 minutes from the centre of the metropolis. Shek O is a quirky village to stroll around and the headland boasts bizarre mansions and a footbridge leading to Tai Tau Chau, an uninhabited islet where you can pick a picnic spot overlooking hills, shore or the South China Sea. Plus, when the wind is right you can enjoy watching the surf pound the rocks.

Getting there: take the number 9 bus from Shau Kei Wan. Walk from the mini roundabout, along the village road to the tip of the headland and down the steps to the coast.

Victoria Peak Garden

Difficulty level: easy

Best for: anyone looking for relative peace near the city. Especially good for families with young children.

Why: very pleasant, fairly secluded park in a valley high on the Peak. There are grassy areas where you can walk and sit, with woodland on either side, and nearby vantage points with expansive views of the city and western waters. Plus, you can loop around the Governor's Walk or head off on a hike, perhaps to the craggy summit of nearby High West.

Getting there: take the Peak Tram or a bus to the upper terminus, then walk for 15-20 minutes up Mount Austin Road.

Tai Mo Shan

Difficulty level: moderate

Best for: high-minded scenery lovers and avid hikers.

Why: it's the highest mountain in Hong Kong, and surely the highest designated picnic site in the city at around 700m above sea level. On a clear day it affords magnificent views, with rolling hills to the west, the upper slopes of Tai Mo Shan to the east and Deep Bay beyond a plain to the north.

Getting there: Take the number 51 bus from Tsuen Wan and walk for 30 minutes up Tai Mo Shan Road to the picnic site, near the barrier that restricts car access. Alternatively take a taxi from Tsuen Wan to the barrier.

Ng Tung Chai waterfalls

Difficulty level: challenging

Best for: keen hikers, cascade clamberers and photographers.

Why: a superb series of waterfalls in a wooded ravine plunging down the north slopes of Tai Mo Shan. You can picnic on rocks along the stream, close to plunge pools beneath columns of spray. A trail leads into the ravine, soon reaching the lower and middle waterfalls, from where steep flights of steps zigzag up to the main falls, which is the highest in Hong Kong.

Getting there: take the 64K bus from Tai Po Market or Kam Sheung Road MTR station, to near Ng Tung Chai, or a taxi from either station. There's a well-signposted trail from here. It's a 30-minute hike to the lower falls and one hour to the main falls.

Nam Sang Wai

Difficulty level: moderate

Best for: strollers, cyclists, birdwatchers, photographers shooting brides and grooms, wannabe models and model helicopter enthusiasts.

Why: a large area of former fish ponds within the Deep Bay wetland, near Mai Po Marshes, attracts lots of birds, especially in the muddy river channel to the north. The landscape of reed beds and lines of eucalyptus makes it a magnet for photographers, and the ramshackle buildings and ferry rowed by a standing man lend a sort of old world charm. As you enjoy your sandwiches, perhaps wonder if this area really should be largely developed for luxury housing.

Getting there: from Yuen Long MTR station walk to Shan Pui Road, turn right and look for simple signs to the ferry across the narrow Shan Pui River.