Stealth health for Hong Kong kids: 10 activities to get them off the couch and out of the flat
To burn off the calories of the Christmas season, there are many indoor and outdoor activities on offer in Hong Kong. From climbing to in-line skating to trampolining, all of these fun activities will give the kids a welcome workout
Hong Kong’s mild, clear December weather makes it the perfect time of year to get out and about in the fresh air before the chilled, smoggy humidity of spring sweeps in. Festive food gorges might weigh you down, so it’s worth rallying the troops and heading out to take part in fun and games to get family members of all ages moving. No need to mention they are good for everyone’s physical and mental fitness. These activities are so engaging they probably won’t even realise it is exercise in disguise.
Let’s go fly a kite
There’s nothing more idyllic (or Instagram-worthy) than a soaring kite set against a bright blue winter sky. Kite-flying is a popular pastime on Hong Kong’s waterfronts, especially in the New Territories, where the open skies and green, mountainous backdrops evoke a sense of serenity. Online shop KiteHK has a good range for both hobbyists and the more serious – including the classic diamond-shaped design, as well as stunt kites, vampire bats, aeroplanes and rainbows. Prices start from just HK$30. For those who’d prefer to browse and buy in-store, visit CS Kites in Mong Kok which has a similar range.
On your bike
Only the brave, or arguably insane, would cycle on the city’s busy streets. While the infrastructural provisions for cyclists in built-up areas are woeful, the government has, at least, made allowances for the two-wheeled in quieter parts of the city. One of Hong Kong’s most well-known cycling routes is the mostly flat journey from Sha Tin to Tai Mei Tuk. The 22-kilometre ride (one way) requires minimal exertion, allowing for full absorption of the panoramic Tolo Harbour. There are bike rental shops in Tai Wai, Sha Tin Park, Tai Po Waterfront Park and Tai Mei Tuk. Most of these shops will let you return the bike at your destination, which is great for those with small children who might get tired unexpectedly.
Seven of the best places to go rock climbing in Hong Kong, plus preparation tips and why it’s good for your health and fitness
Encouraging little ones to clamber up a rock face might seem like asking for trouble, but there are several locations in Hong Kong where kids can get their first taste of belaying, harness and carabiner safety, and the thrill of scrambling up a wall. Verm City in Quarry Bay holds “Fun Day Climbing” sessions on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, where little ones can learn the basics for HK$250 for non members, HK$100 for gym members. Otherwise, there’s Attic V Climbing Gym in Wong Chuk Hang, which offers a “Fun kids climbing course” (HK$180 trial lesson).
On the bounce
Few activities beat the thrill of a trampoline, especially when there’s an enormous warehouse full of them. One of the most energy intensive activities out there, trampolining promises to wear the family out while testing everyone’s stunt abilities and balance. Ryze Hong Kong in Quarry Bay is the city’s prime location for indoor trampolining: it costs HK$95 per hour for children aged six and under, while and HK$150 per hour for everyone else.
Bowl them over
Strike up some friendly rivalry and introduce kids to a classic family pastime by heading out to one of Hong Kong’s bowling lanes. The 4,600 square metre, 22-lane Magic Fun Bowling World in Tsuen Wan is the largest centre in the city, and includes dart games, pool tables and a soft play area just for children. Daytime prices per person per game are HK$34, while evenings are HK$48, and teens with a student card play for HK$24.
Take a hike
It might sound obvious in Hong Kong, but hiking is an often overlooked way to get everyone out of the flat for a few hours. Avoid the famed Dragon’s Back at this time of year unless you want to be caught in a slow, shuffling procession of selfie sticks. Instead, take a wander over to the 3.5 kilometre Pok Fu Lam family hike, tackle the 3km family trail on Lamma Island, or – for a full day’s adventure – go and investigate Hong Kong’s Unesco Global Geopark, which covers more than 150 square kilometres of the eastern and northeastern New Territories.
Create the wintry magic of gliding across a solid frozen lake by taking everyone ice skating over the holidays. You’ll find most Hong Kong rinks in the middle of malls – from the Sky Rink at the Dragon Centre, Ice Palace in Cityplaza, The Rink at Elements, Mega Ice at MegaBox and Glacier at Festival Walk. Some, like The Rink, charge by the minute (HK$1 or 50 cents depending on when you go), while others, such as Mega Ice, charge a reasonable flat rate, starting from HK$50 per session.
Immersive watersports might be a bit too cold for the young during the winter, but they can certainly have a go at sailing in the cooler months when they’re less likely to suffer heatstroke or sunburn (although sunscreen lotion is still essential out on the water). Hebe Haven Yacht Club near Sai Kung offers weekend youth training sessions over four weekends for children aged seven and older. Four sessions cost HK$1,500 for club members and HK$2,250 for non-members
You don’t often see rollerbladers in Hong Kong, where strict rules in parks, and on waterfronts and pavements forbid skates. Instead, try Checker Inline Skating School in Taikoo Shing – beginners classes run on Mondays, Saturdays and Sundays – from HK$200 for one lesson, and YMCA King’s Park Centenary Centre in Yau Ma Tei – HK$420/hour for one person, HK$540/hour for two or three people.
Centres of attention
If you have energetic children who take extra exercise to tire, or if no one can decide on the plan for the day, one of Hong Kong’s all-in-one activity centres is a great idea. Super Park, which just opened in Tai Kok Tsui, includes a skate park, basketball courts, a game arena, a pedal car track, a gym and a tube slide. Entry costs a flat rate of HK$180 (HK$240 during weekends and public and school holidays), and children younger than three go free.
Alternatively, for larger group bookings, there’s “neon event space” Crossfire Arena in Quarry Bay, which has dodgeball, bubble soccer, archery tag and neon sabre skills (small group drop-in – 4 people minimum – costs HK$90 per 30 minutes.
Epic Land in Discovery Bay offers mini golf, sports courts, indoor playgrounds, laser tag, interactive rooms, rock climbing, trampolines and slides. On weekdays, children between one and 12 pay HK$148, or up to HK$188 on weekends and public and school holidays. One accompanying adult (classed as anyone over 13) goes free with each under-12, while normal adult passes are HK$168 on weekdays and HK$200 on weekends.