Martin Williams

Martin Williams

Martin Williams is a Hong Kong-based writer specialising in conservation and the environment, with a PhD in physical chemistry from Cambridge University.

Latest from Martin Williams

Welcome to China’s ‘Valley of the Cats’

Located on the Tibetan plateau, Namsei Township in China’s Yushu Prefecture, Qinghai Province is home to endangered species including snow leopards. 

2 Dec 2019 - 3:05PM

Located on the Tibetan plateau, Namsei Township in China’s Yushu Prefecture, Qinghai Province is home to endangered species including snow leopards. 

Welcome to China’s ‘Valley of the Cats’
Searching for snow leopards in the Valley of the Cats, China’s new national park

In pioneering conservation project, visitors stay with Tibetan families and take a wildlife safari in the mountains of Qinghai.

2 Dec 2019 - 3:30PM

In pioneering conservation project, visitors stay with Tibetan families and take a wildlife safari in the mountains of Qinghai.

Searching for snow leopards in the Valley of the Cats, China’s new national park
Exploring Shanxi’s secrets: temples, natural beauty and Unesco ancient city of Pingyao

We check out the natural delights of Qinyuan county in China’s Shanxi province and peak into China’s financial past at the province’s ancient city of Pingyao, a Unesco World Heritage Site.

2 Oct 2019 - 8:59PM

We check out the natural delights of Qinyuan county in China’s Shanxi province and peak into China’s financial past at the province’s ancient city of Pingyao, a Unesco World Heritage Site.

Exploring Shanxi’s secrets: temples, natural beauty and Unesco ancient city of Pingyao
Beidaihe: Chinese leadership retreat like a genteel English seaside resort with armed sentries

A Gothic McDonald’s, quaint 1920s villas – the seaside town known as the summer retreat of Chinese Communist Party leaders is a curious mix. Combine a visit with a trip to the eastern extremities of the Great Wall.

3 Sep 2019 - 8:04PM

A Gothic McDonald’s, quaint 1920s villas – the seaside town known as the summer retreat of Chinese Communist Party leaders is a curious mix. Combine a visit with a trip to the eastern extremities of the Great Wall.

Beidaihe: Chinese leadership retreat like a genteel English seaside resort with armed sentries
A rainforest adventure to yourself: discover Vietnam’s wild side during rainy season

Cat Tien National Park in South Vietnam supports a rich ecosystem that you can enjoy in almost perfect solitude if you visit during rainy season. Martin Williams and his son pack their raincoats and head out to explore.

26 Aug 2019 - 7:44PM

Cat Tien National Park in South Vietnam supports a rich ecosystem that you can enjoy in almost perfect solitude if you visit during rainy season. Martin Williams and his son pack their raincoats and head out to explore.

A rainforest adventure to yourself: discover Vietnam’s wild side during rainy season
‘China’s best beach’, and a volcanic island that rocks: Weizhou and Beihai – what to do and see

Silver Beach is just one of the attractions in Beihai, a former treaty port in southern China that offers a glimpse of 19th century life for Europeans; Weizhou Island is China’s youngest extinct volcano, and its raw geology is a draw.

2 Jul 2019 - 6:46PM

Silver Beach is just one of the attractions in Beihai, a former treaty port in southern China that offers a glimpse of 19th century life for Europeans; Weizhou Island is China’s youngest extinct volcano, and its raw geology is a draw.

‘China’s best beach’, and a volcanic island that rocks: Weizhou and Beihai – what to do and see
Foshan, 'Guangzhou's little brother', offers rich traditional Chinese culture

The city of Foshan, known as “Guangzhou’s little brother”, sits at the centre of China’s Greater Bay Area and only 3.5 hours by bus from Hong Kong. The city offers visitors a culture-filled getaway which has earned China’s highest official rating for tourism with attractions such as Bruce Lee Paradise, Xiqiao mountain and the nightlife of Lingnan Tiandi.

14 May 2019 - 2:18PM

The city of Foshan, known as “Guangzhou’s little brother”, sits at the centre of China’s Greater Bay Area and only 3.5 hours by bus from Hong Kong. The city offers visitors a culture-filled getaway which has earned China’s highest official rating for tourism with attractions such as Bruce Lee Paradise, Xiqiao mountain and the nightlife of Lingnan Tiandi.

Foshan, 'Guangzhou's little brother', offers rich traditional Chinese culture
Day trips from Hong Kong: Foshan, for Bruce Lee memories, heritage shops, and a spot of nature

Highlights include Lingnan Tiandi, a redeveloped heritage area of boutiques and restaurants, Xiqiao Shan, with its forest park and geological park, and Bruce Lee Paradise, a tribute to the martial arts star.

14 May 2019 - 8:14PM

Highlights include Lingnan Tiandi, a redeveloped heritage area of boutiques and restaurants, Xiqiao Shan, with its forest park and geological park, and Bruce Lee Paradise, a tribute to the martial arts star.

Day trips from Hong Kong: Foshan, for Bruce Lee memories, heritage shops, and a spot of nature
The insect apocalypse is coming: Hong Kong moth study shows the threats and complexities

The consequences of insect die-off could be catastrophic for all life on Earth, and scientists in the city are certain that habitat destruction, pollution, invasive species and global warming threaten Hong Kong’s insect populations.

2 Apr 2019 - 11:53AM

The consequences of insect die-off could be catastrophic for all life on Earth, and scientists in the city are certain that habitat destruction, pollution, invasive species and global warming threaten Hong Kong’s insect populations.

The insect apocalypse is coming: Hong Kong moth study shows the threats and complexities
Waterfalls, surfing beaches and rock sculptures make for a scenic trip to the Indonesian island of Java

Bali might be the go-to destination to holiday in Indonesia, but if you fancy a detour from the mainstream tourist route, a trip around the island of Java will stun you with its natural beauty and glorious landscapes.

13 Feb 2019 - 12:02PM

Bali might be the go-to destination to holiday in Indonesia, but if you fancy a detour from the mainstream tourist route, a trip around the island of Java will stun you with its natural beauty and glorious landscapes.

Waterfalls, surfing beaches and rock sculptures make for a scenic trip to the Indonesian island of Java
Indonesia road trip: explore Java’s active volcanoes, idyllic waterfalls and endless beaches

There’s far more to Indonesia than the resorts of Bali, particularly if you are willing to venture off the beaten track. Even a short road trip from Jakarta allows you to explore a variety of glorious landscapes on the island of Java.

12 Feb 2019 - 9:19PM

There’s far more to Indonesia than the resorts of Bali, particularly if you are willing to venture off the beaten track. Even a short road trip from Jakarta allows you to explore a variety of glorious landscapes on the island of Java.

Indonesia road trip: explore Java’s active volcanoes, idyllic waterfalls and endless beaches
Take an easy hike around Sha Lo Tung, rural Hong Kong gem that was saved from developers

Sha Lo Tung is a delightful area of streams fringed by woodland, a reservoir, abandoned villages and old paddies. A 40-year battle between developers and conservationists has recently finished and the site’s future seems assured.

23 Jan 2019 - 6:16PM

Sha Lo Tung is a delightful area of streams fringed by woodland, a reservoir, abandoned villages and old paddies. A 40-year battle between developers and conservationists has recently finished and the site’s future seems assured.

Take an easy hike around Sha Lo Tung, rural Hong Kong gem that was saved from developers
Shalotung: Hong Kong’s haunting natural haven in the hills

Set in an upland basin and largely surrounded by a country park, the tranquil abandoned village of Shalotung is one of Hong Kong’s most beautiful rural areas. Easily accessible from Tai Po Market station on the MTR East Rail Line, the village buildings being reclaimed by nature make for a relaxing destination and quiet break from the bustling city.

23 Jan 2019 - 5:47PM

Set in an upland basin and largely surrounded by a country park, the tranquil abandoned village of Shalotung is one of Hong Kong’s most beautiful rural areas. Easily accessible from Tai Po Market station on the MTR East Rail Line, the village buildings being reclaimed by nature make for a relaxing destination and quiet break from the bustling city.

Shalotung: Hong Kong’s haunting natural haven in the hills
Waste incinerator threatens Hong Kong’s finless porpoises, the smiley faced mammals who aren’t so happy now

Construction of a huge incinerator on Shek Kwu Chau island is disturbing waters inhabited by the Indo-Pacific finless porpoise, with researchers worried they will soon go the way of the fast-declining Chinese white dolphin.

11 Jan 2019 - 10:42AM

Construction of a huge incinerator on Shek Kwu Chau island is disturbing waters inhabited by the Indo-Pacific finless porpoise, with researchers worried they will soon go the way of the fast-declining Chinese white dolphin.

Waste incinerator threatens Hong Kong’s finless porpoises, the smiley faced mammals who aren’t so happy now
How climate change could transform tourism – and the best ways to stop it ruining your holiday

2018 has seen forest fires, flash floods, and big typhoons; as extreme climate incidents become more frequent, it may change the way we plan our trips. Here’s what to expect, plus tips from weather experts.

28 Dec 2018 - 6:42PM

2018 has seen forest fires, flash floods, and big typhoons; as extreme climate incidents become more frequent, it may change the way we plan our trips. Here’s what to expect, plus tips from weather experts.

How climate change could transform tourism – and the best ways to stop it ruining your holiday
China weekend break: Huizhou Lake District’s rich history and idyllic walks make for a relaxing trip

A convenient stop on Hong Kong’s Express Rail Link, Huizhou has a mix of urban areas, culture and scenery, with ancient pagodas and pavilions. Its top tourist attraction is the West Lake, which is perfect for lakeside wanders.

1 Dec 2018 - 7:39PM

A convenient stop on Hong Kong’s Express Rail Link, Huizhou has a mix of urban areas, culture and scenery, with ancient pagodas and pavilions. Its top tourist attraction is the West Lake, which is perfect for lakeside wanders.

China weekend break: Huizhou Lake District’s rich history and idyllic walks make for a relaxing trip
Israel for the adventurous: great outdoors a treat for nature enthusiasts

More commonly associated with violent division, the Middle Eastern country nevertheless has plenty to offer the nature-loving visitor.

12 Oct 2018 - 4:28PM

More commonly associated with violent division, the Middle Eastern country nevertheless has plenty to offer the nature-loving visitor.

Israel for the adventurous: great outdoors a treat for nature enthusiasts
Opinion | What Kansai airport flooding can teach Hong Kong about the perils of reclamation amid climate change

The disaster wrought by Typhoon Jebi in Japan should sound a warning to those planning reclamation in East Lantau, who do not account for the rise in sea levels or the increased intensity of typhoons that climate change could bring.

7 Sep 2018 - 5:52PM

The disaster wrought by Typhoon Jebi in Japan should sound a warning to those planning reclamation in East Lantau, who do not account for the rise in sea levels or the increased intensity of typhoons that climate change could bring.

What Kansai airport flooding can teach Hong Kong about the perils of reclamation amid climate change
The Chinese island that is so close to Hong Kong, yet very different: Wailingding – how to get there and what to see

About 12km south of Lantau Island, the Chinese island of Wailingding is reached by ferry from Zhuhai. Once a haunt of pirates and smugglers, it is enjoying a tourist boom, with its cafes, bars, seafood restaurants and a thriving seafood market.

21 Aug 2018 - 4:32PM

About 12km south of Lantau Island, the Chinese island of Wailingding is reached by ferry from Zhuhai. Once a haunt of pirates and smugglers, it is enjoying a tourist boom, with its cafes, bars, seafood restaurants and a thriving seafood market.

The Chinese island that is so close to Hong Kong, yet very different: Wailingding – how to get there and what to see
An escape to Zhuhai’s outlying island of Wailingding

Located 12km south of Hong Kong’s Cheung Chau, Wailingding is a unique place for a short trip. The outlying island of Zhuhai offers visitors an entertaining and out of Hong kong experience.

21 Aug 2018 - 9:23AM

Located 12km south of Hong Kong’s Cheung Chau, Wailingding is a unique place for a short trip. The outlying island of Zhuhai offers visitors an entertaining and out of Hong kong experience.

An escape to Zhuhai’s outlying island of Wailingding
Hiking in Hong Kong: beautiful Hoi Ha and Pak Sha O, a historic Hakka village

Hoi Ha is best known for its marine park, tranquil beaches, and natural coral, but combine your trip with a visit to nearby Pak Sha O, and you’ll arrive in one of Hong Kong’s remaining traditional Hakka villages.

23 Jul 2018 - 7:36PM

Hoi Ha is best known for its marine park, tranquil beaches, and natural coral, but combine your trip with a visit to nearby Pak Sha O, and you’ll arrive in one of Hong Kong’s remaining traditional Hakka villages.

Hiking in Hong Kong: beautiful Hoi Ha and Pak Sha O, a historic Hakka village
How to hike wild side of Hong Kong’s Lamma Island: idyllic walk takes in beautiful hillsides and a cosy beach

Sok Kwu Wan is a good starting point to explore the island’s wild and little visited southern side. The circuit takes under three hours to complete, with shady sections to rest at, a fine beach and places to buy drinks.

8 Jul 2018 - 7:46PM

Sok Kwu Wan is a good starting point to explore the island’s wild and little visited southern side. The circuit takes under three hours to complete, with shady sections to rest at, a fine beach and places to buy drinks.

How to hike wild side of Hong Kong’s Lamma Island: idyllic walk takes in beautiful hillsides and a cosy beach
Taiwan’s Taroko National Park – stunning cliffs, beautiful trails and untamed nature

We visit the breathtaking coastal scenery of Qingshui Cliffs, walk one of the magnificent hiking trails in Taroko Gorge, and take in Hehuan Mountain’s panoramic views of forested peaks as they rise skywards.

30 Jun 2018 - 6:13PM

We visit the breathtaking coastal scenery of Qingshui Cliffs, walk one of the magnificent hiking trails in Taroko Gorge, and take in Hehuan Mountain’s panoramic views of forested peaks as they rise skywards.

Taiwan’s Taroko National Park – stunning cliffs, beautiful trails and untamed nature
Sustainable Hong Kong tourism: visit the Unesco Global Geopark on a DIY trip through beautiful Double Haven to Lai Chi Wo

Take a ferry through the sheltered waters of Double Haven, past Plover Cove Reservoir and Port Island, taking in the city’s Unesco Global Geopark, to a Hakka walled village and its revived rice paddies.

27 Jun 2018 - 4:25PM

Take a ferry through the sheltered waters of Double Haven, past Plover Cove Reservoir and Port Island, taking in the city’s Unesco Global Geopark, to a Hakka walled village and its revived rice paddies.

Sustainable Hong Kong tourism: visit the  Unesco Global Geopark on a DIY trip through beautiful Double Haven to Lai Chi Wo
Hong Kong mini drought lifts veil on some of its oldest reservoirs, turn-of-the-century waterworks and heritage buildings

Tai Tam reservoirs in the south of Hong Kong Island were built from the 1880s onwards and are a reminder of water shortages the city once faced. The walk around the reservoirs is easy and highlights the skill of the Victorian engineers.

4 Jun 2018 - 6:33PM

Tai Tam reservoirs in the south of Hong Kong Island were built from the 1880s onwards and are a reminder of water shortages the city once faced. The walk around the reservoirs is easy and highlights the skill of the Victorian engineers.

Hong Kong mini drought lifts veil on some of its oldest reservoirs, turn-of-the-century waterworks and heritage buildings
One in 10 Hong Kong bird species at risk of extinction: can they be saved?

Avian conservation body’s alarming report prompts Hong Kong birdwatcher to search out the species in greatest danger, including the yellow-breasted bunting and spoon-billed sandpiper

5 Jul 2018 - 6:00PM

Avian conservation body’s alarming report prompts Hong Kong birdwatcher to search out the species in greatest danger, including the yellow-breasted bunting and spoon-billed sandpiper

One in 10 Hong Kong bird species at risk of extinction: can they be saved?
China’s Leizhou Peninsula: undiscovered gem rich in history, natural beauty and rural ways

Once you get beyond the modern port city of Zhanjiang, the peninsula in eastern Guangdong is a natural delight, boasting a gentle landscape, traditional rural lifestyle, wetlands that attract waterfowl, and a culture all its own

20 Apr 2018 - 12:49PM

Once you get beyond the modern port city of Zhanjiang, the peninsula in eastern Guangdong is a natural delight, boasting a gentle landscape, traditional rural lifestyle, wetlands that attract waterfowl, and a culture all its own

China’s Leizhou Peninsula: undiscovered gem rich in history, natural beauty and rural ways
Wild boar, civet cats, barking deer: Hong Kong wild animals and where to find them

No need for camouflage gear or creeping through forests at night, some of the most elusive mammals can still be found in the city limits

3 Apr 2018 - 6:41PM

No need for camouflage gear or creeping through forests at night, some of the most elusive mammals can still be found in the city limits

Wild boar, civet cats, barking deer: Hong Kong wild animals and where to find them
Birdwatching in Hong Kong – everything you need to know, starting with where to go

The city is a treasure trove for twitchers, with everything from tiny songbirds to towering herons on permanent or seasonal display. Here’s our guide on how to turn a hobby into a passion

22 Feb 2018 - 9:37PM

The city is a treasure trove for twitchers, with everything from tiny songbirds to towering herons on permanent or seasonal display. Here’s our guide on how to turn a hobby into a passion

Birdwatching in Hong Kong – everything you need to know, starting with where to go
Hong Kong’s only working salt pans and a Robinson Crusoe moment just a boat ride away from Sai Kung

Go in winter and the beach at Half Moon Bay on Sharp Island is so deserted you can leave your footprints in the sand; for an experience of Hong Kong history, harvest some sea salt from the pans on tiny Yim Tin Tsai, and admire its chapel

26 Jan 2018 - 10:58AM

Go in winter and the beach at Half Moon Bay on Sharp Island is so deserted you can leave your footprints in the sand; for an experience of Hong Kong history, harvest some sea salt from the pans on tiny Yim Tin Tsai, and admire its chapel

Hong Kong’s only working salt pans and a Robinson Crusoe moment just a boat ride away from Sai Kung