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

Hike Hong Kong’s Kowloon hills for stunning views north and south, and options for getting back to civilisation

Kowloon Peak affords majestic views north, south, east, and west, and other nearby peaks to scale. Save your legs by taking a taxi up, then opt for an easy stroll or a hike back down to the urban sprawl.

12 Oct 2020 - 5:30PM

Kowloon Peak affords majestic views north, south, east, and west, and other nearby peaks to scale. Save your legs by taking a taxi up, then opt for an easy stroll or a hike back down to the urban sprawl.

Hike Hong Kong’s Kowloon hills for stunning views north and south, and options for getting back to civilisation
Some of the best waterfalls in Hong Kong are easy to reach, and after recent rain, now is a good time to visit them

The best waterfalls in Hong Kong and how to reach them - along smooth concrete trails or up on steep steps that zigzag up a hidden ravine

8 Sep 2020 - 2:42PM

The best waterfalls in Hong Kong and how to reach them - along smooth concrete trails or up on steep steps that zigzag up a hidden ravine

Some of the best waterfalls in Hong Kong are easy to reach, and after recent rain, now is a good time to visit them
Discover Hong Kong woodland walks: five places to enjoy nature as you hike or stroll far from the concrete jungle

It’s time to get out and discover some of Hong Kong’s best woodland walks. Here are five places worth exploring around the city to help you get back to nature – and maybe even hug a tree.

24 Aug 2020 - 5:47PM

It’s time to get out and discover some of Hong Kong’s best woodland walks. Here are five places worth exploring around the city to help you get back to nature – and maybe even hug a tree.

Discover Hong Kong woodland walks: five places to enjoy nature as you hike or stroll far from the concrete jungle
Opinion | Living with coronavirus: We can forget about a quick return to normal

We might need to live with mask wearing and social distancing for several years. For Hong Kong, the authorities could greatly expand outdoor dining, stagger office hours, have more work-from-home periods and fewer air-conditioned interiors.

23 Jul 2020 - 9:42AM

We might need to live with mask wearing and social distancing for several years. For Hong Kong, the authorities could greatly expand outdoor dining, stagger office hours, have more work-from-home periods and fewer air-conditioned interiors.

Living with coronavirus: We can forget about a quick return to normal
How to take better photographs, and make the most of Hong Kong’s natural beauty while you’ve nowhere else to go

Just because Covid-19 means you are stuck in Hong Kong doesn’t mean you can’t take beautiful photographs. Here’s where to go for some great shots, and how to take photos at different times of the day and in different weathers.

6 Jul 2020 - 5:53PM

Just because Covid-19 means you are stuck in Hong Kong doesn’t mean you can’t take beautiful photographs. Here’s where to go for some great shots, and how to take photos at different times of the day and in different weathers.

How to take better photographs, and make the most of Hong Kong’s natural beauty while you’ve nowhere else to go
Hong Kong butterfly bonanza, from intersex ones with wings wider than a dollar bill to Mormons and peacocks, and where to spot them

Giant wingspans, gorgeous colours, amazing variety – Hong Kong has 245 butterfly species. Find out how to identify the most eye-catching ones, and where to look for them.

25 May 2020 - 11:58AM

Giant wingspans, gorgeous colours, amazing variety – Hong Kong has 245 butterfly species. Find out how to identify the most eye-catching ones, and where to look for them.

Hong Kong butterfly bonanza, from intersex ones with wings wider than a dollar bill to Mormons and peacocks, and where to spot them
Discover Hong Kong parks on foot – where to go in Kowloon: five pockets of greenery amid the urban jungle

From Kowloon Park, with its lake and remnants of a military battery, to the perfection of Chi Lin Nunnery, and Kowloon Walled City Park, laid out in classical Chinese style, learn what there is to discover and enjoy in five of Kowloon’s best parks.

4 May 2020 - 5:38PM

From Kowloon Park, with its lake and remnants of a military battery, to the perfection of Chi Lin Nunnery, and Kowloon Walled City Park, laid out in classical Chinese style, learn what there is to discover and enjoy in five of Kowloon’s best parks.

Discover Hong Kong parks on foot – where to go in Kowloon: five pockets of  greenery amid the urban jungle
Why Hong Kong in April is a birdwatcher’s paradise as migratory birds mix with native species – where to see some of them

April is the best time to see and hear birds in Hong Kong, as permanent residents are joined by migratory birds heading north for the summer.

16 Apr 2020 - 3:10PM

April is the best time to see and hear birds in Hong Kong, as permanent residents are joined by migratory birds heading north for the summer.

Why Hong Kong in April is a birdwatcher’s paradise as migratory birds mix with native species – where to see some of them
Hiking Hong Kong’s Lantau Island: an adventure to Sunset Peak for stunning views from city’s third highest mountain

Get away from the coronavirus news and social distancing woes by taking a hike up Sunset Peak on Lantau – a tough trek that could take up to six hours, but rewards you with stunning views from the third highest mountain in Hong Kong.

7 Apr 2020 - 12:41PM

Get away from the coronavirus news and social distancing woes by taking a hike up Sunset Peak on Lantau – a tough trek that could take up to six hours, but rewards you with stunning views from the third highest mountain in Hong Kong.

Hiking Hong Kong’s Lantau Island: an adventure to Sunset Peak for stunning views from city’s third highest mountain
Cycling in Hong Kong during coronavirus: discover stunning sights and rural villages in the New Territories on bike route to Tai Mei Tuk

The coronavirus pandemic has left many wanting to get out of cities – and there’s no better way to do it in Hong Kong than by taking a relaxing bike ride through the New Territories, from Tai Po Waterfront Park to Tai Mei Tuk.

17 Mar 2020 - 12:30PM

The coronavirus pandemic has left many wanting to get out of cities – and there’s no better way to do it in Hong Kong than by taking a relaxing bike ride through the New Territories, from Tai Po Waterfront Park to Tai Mei Tuk.

Cycling in Hong Kong during coronavirus: discover stunning sights and rural villages in the New Territories on bike route to Tai Mei Tuk
Things to see from a Hong Kong tram – 33-cent journey into history for visitors, and residents eager to escape cabin fever amid coronavirus outbreak

The best park in Hong Kong, a lane full of street art, the Noonday Gun and ‘Instagram Pier’ – see them all as you hop on and off trams along the northern shore of Hong Kong Island. Journeys are super cheap.

7 Mar 2020 - 6:59PM

The best park in Hong Kong, a lane full of street art, the Noonday Gun and ‘Instagram Pier’ – see them all as you hop on and off trams along the northern shore of Hong Kong Island. Journeys are super cheap.

Things to see from a Hong Kong tram – 33-cent journey into history for visitors, and residents eager to escape cabin fever amid coronavirus outbreak
Opinion | If many of us are going to catch Covid-19 anyway, we must find ways to live with it

Covid-19 could be a once-in-a-century pandemic disease like Spanish flu. Indeed, social-distancing measures being adopted now are not unlike those taken a century ago. But shouldn’t we find new ways to get on with life?

4 Mar 2020 - 9:30AM

Covid-19 could be a once-in-a-century pandemic disease like Spanish flu. Indeed, social-distancing measures being adopted now are not unlike those taken a century ago. But shouldn’t we find new ways to get on with life?

If many of us are going to catch Covid-19 anyway, we must find ways to live with it
A tranquil haven in a world gone mad: Hong Kong villages on Lantau Island’s western tip, Yi O and Tai O, worth a visit now more than ever

The rice paddies of Yi O on Lantau Island, offer a tranquil, bucolic retreat; they’re easily reached from charming Tai O, fishing village of stilt homes. With tourism low and coronavirus fears high, this is a great time to visit both.

10 Feb 2020 - 9:26PM

The rice paddies of Yi O on Lantau Island, offer a tranquil, bucolic retreat; they’re easily reached from charming Tai O, fishing village of stilt homes. With tourism low and coronavirus fears high, this is a great time to visit both.

A tranquil haven in a world gone mad: Hong Kong villages on Lantau Island’s western tip, Yi O and Tai O, worth a visit now more than ever
Opinion | China coronavirus: Beijing should close down live-animal food markets to stop similar diseases emerging in future

Science shows fears of imminent doom are groundless. In evolutionary terms, a disease that relies on human-to-human transmission tends to be mild, because infected people have to be well enough to spread it.

25 Jan 2020 - 4:14AM

Science shows fears of imminent doom are groundless. In evolutionary terms, a disease that relies on human-to-human transmission tends to be mild, because infected people have to be well enough to spread it.

China coronavirus: Beijing should close down live-animal food markets to stop similar diseases emerging in future
It’s a great time to explore Hong Kong with protests keeping tourists away, so put your hiking shoes on and get up The Peak

The protests may be deterring tourists from coming to Hong Kong, but that makes it the perfect time to explore the attractions of Hong Kong Island. Head up The Peak for stunning views, birdsong, and historic sites such as World War II bunkers.

12 Feb 2020 - 12:32PM

The protests may be deterring tourists from coming to Hong Kong, but that makes it the perfect time to explore the attractions of Hong Kong Island. Head up The Peak for stunning views, birdsong, and historic sites such as World War II bunkers.

It’s a great time to explore Hong Kong with protests keeping tourists away, so put your hiking shoes on and get up The Peak
Why recycling isn’t working in Hong Kong: battery recovery plant is idle most of the time – are apathy or smugglers to blame?

Actress Sharon Kwok, her steel tycoon husband Stanley Pong Kit and friends opened Hong Kong’s first battery recycling centre after eight years of research and red tape. Things are not going well – the plant is mostly idle.

21 Jan 2020 - 8:03AM

Actress Sharon Kwok, her steel tycoon husband Stanley Pong Kit and friends opened Hong Kong’s first battery recycling centre after eight years of research and red tape. Things are not going well – the plant is mostly idle.

Why recycling isn’t working in Hong Kong: battery recovery plant is idle most of the time – are apathy or smugglers to blame?
Opinion | Health officials must come clean about harmful effects of tear gas so Hong Kong can breathe easy again

The official downplaying of tear gas effects is worrying, given the body of science warning of serious, even fatal, health risks. The switch from US tear gas to Chinese-made canisters also makes it more urgent to find out what exactly the city is being exposed to.

21 Dec 2019 - 10:06AM

The official downplaying of tear gas effects is worrying, given the body of science warning of serious, even fatal, health risks. The switch from US tear gas to Chinese-made canisters also makes it more urgent to find out what exactly the city is being exposed to.

Health officials must come clean about harmful effects of tear gas so Hong Kong can breathe easy again
Adventure, sea views, temples and a meal of seafood – Cheung Chau island’s southwest is ripe for exploring

Just 10km from Hong Kong Island, peaceful Cheung Chau is a world away from the rest of the city. Ramble or scramble your way around its southwest corner and work up an appetite for a seafood lunch or dinner.

16 Dec 2019 - 6:10PM

Just 10km from Hong Kong Island, peaceful Cheung Chau is a world away from the rest of the city. Ramble or scramble your way around its southwest corner and work up an appetite for a seafood lunch or dinner.

Adventure, sea views, temples and a meal of seafood – Cheung Chau island’s southwest is ripe for exploring
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.

9 Jan 2020 - 10:35PM

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.

9 Jan 2020 - 6:24PM

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.

9 Jan 2020 - 6:31PM

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