What are your plans this weekend? Pick up the dry cleaning; do the supermarket run; and then get ready for a drinking binge at 5pm? Well, the weather’s nice, and we figure you are probably (still) recovering from all the craziness at the Sevens, so maybe a change of weekend itineraries would do you some good. We have different trips for everyone—we tried not to include any bar detours in here, but we can’t stop you if you want to bring your own flask, can we? Yuen Longing Yuen Long was once a backwater town, difficult to get to and with nothing worth seeing. But with the construction of new roads and the MTR West Rail Line, this northwestern district has never been easier to reach. Start and end your trip at Yuen Long MTR station—convenient! 1. Nam Sun Wai is a picturesque wetland and the starting point to one of the city’s easiest and most pleasant hikes. Take green minibus 611 from the MTR station and get off at The Parcville. Follow the signs and go down a small road opposite the public toilet, and there you’ll find a tiny pier where you can catch a boat across the river. You won’t need a map after getting off the sampan. Just keep walking and enter a long, pleasant lakeside path lined with eucalyptus trees on both sides. You will then see a small bridge over the water, a popular spot for wedding photography. The path eventually brings you to Shan Pui River , where mangroves and birds can be found. Wetland Park volunteers are there on weekends to provide information and binoculars to visitors. Follow the same route back to downtown Yuen Long. 2 . After going back downtown, it’s time for food. Go to Fung Nin Road just off Yuen Long Main Road. There, you’ll find Bo Shing Building, the location of a famous cart noodles restaurant called Wing Nin Stall , which has an unbelievably long queue all year long. The delicious and inexpensive cart noodles (choose from a huge selection of local specialties such as fish balls, chicken wings, pig’s intestines and pig’s blood jelly) are so popular that they have their own Facebook group with more than 3,000 members. For desserts, head to Sweet Heart Garden (138 On Ning Rd., 6309-2296, open 3:30pm to 1:30am). Here you’ll find a very popular iced mango dessert, made with an old-fashioned ice-crushing contraption. 3 . If you’ve still got time to kill, head back out to Yuen Long Main Road and take bus K65 to Lau Fau Shan . This pleasant fishing village is situated on the shore of Deep Bay, and you can see views of China from there. Buy a bottle of Hong Kong’s last fresh, handmade oyster sauce at Yu Kee (4-6 Hoi Bim St., 2472-1001). Also meet the fishermen by the waters, who’ll be happy to crack open some fresh oysters for you. Walk back out to the bus stop and follow the signs to Ha Pak Nai , arguably the best spot to watch the sunset in Hong Kong. It’s highly recommended to head down there now because the government is currently planning to develop the area. 4. Alternatively, take the Light Rail or MTR to Tin Shui Wai to take the Ping Shan Heritage Trail . The very first heritage trail in Hong Kong, Ping Shan has one of the longest recorded histories among all the districts of Hong Kong. It was once the home of the Tang clan, one of the five great clans of the New Territories whose history can be traced back to the 12th century. Start at the Tsui Sing Lau Pagoda just off the MTR station (Hong Kong’s only existing ancient pagoda). The trail is about a kilometer long, meandering through a few villages, linking up a number of traditional Chinese structures along the way. End at the Ping Shan Tang Clan Gallery which is renovated from the historic Ping Shan police station. 5. Also in Tin Shui Wai is the surprisingly decent Hong Kong Wetland Park (Wetland Park Rd., Tin Shui Wai, 2708-8885, $30 for adults, $15 concession). The 61-hectare park has a habitat for a wide range of wild animals that you never knew lived here. The huge visitor’s center complements the reserve and is an educational and thought-provoking way to learn more about ecology and conservation. On Your Bike The best way to do a whole day trip on a bike is to start in Tai Wai. There are several bike rental shops near the Tai Wai MTR Station. 1 . First stop is the historic Tai Wai Village , which is only a short pedal from the MTR. It’s the biggest and the most historic village in the Sha Tin district. Interesting features include the traditional entrance, a 100-year-old ancestral home and a temple in the village center. 2 . Then go to Che Kung Temple , which was built at the end of the Ming Dynasty. Today, the public has access to a modern temple that was built in 1993. The original temple, which is more than 400 years old, is a Grade II historical building. This is where the Heung Yee Kuk asks for the fortune of Hong Kong during every Chinese New Year—fortune stick telling is very popular in this temple. 3 . Ride along the biking trail and once you pass the racecourse, you can go west toward Tai Po. The cycle path will take you toward the Science Park and nearby is the new Hyatt Regency (18 Chak Cheung St., 3723-1234), which opened just last year. Get a filling dim sum lunch at their Chinese restaurant, Sha Tin 18 . It has four show kitchens, each one specializing in a different regional Chinese cuisine. 4 . Continue to ride along the Tolo Harbor to get to Tai Po town center, where you can find local beef brisket shop Kwan Kee Beef Brisket (26 Tai Ming Lane, 2638-3071). It’s the one place in Hong Kong where you can order cow penis, because we know you’ve been searching for it! 5 . Follow the signs and ride to Tai Po Waterfront Park . This 22-hectare park is one of the best parks in the city with lots of green leisure areas for people to ride bikes, fly a kite or even picnic on the grass. Its lovely promenade features some quirky Soviet constructivist architecture, and it is also a great place for a quiet stroll by the sea. 6 . If you still have the energy, keep cycling until you reach Tai Mei Tuk. From there you can get onto the dam and admire the stunning views over Plover Cove Reservoir . Take in the scenery, enjoy a boat ride or replenish lost calories with a barbecue or Thai meal. 7 . Alternatively, return your bike at the park and catch a green minibus 20C or 20K at Tai Po Market MTR station, getting off at Fung Yuen Village. There, you’ll find Fung Yuen Butterfly Reserve (50 Fung Yuen Village, Ting Kok Rd.), a 42-hectare “Special Site of Scientific Interest” that is home to more than 180 butterfly species, including 50 rare breeds. The best time to visit is before 10am or around 4pm. The Real HK Sham Shui Po and the neighboring Shek Kip Mei is the quintessential old Hong Kong—the former is an old neighborhood and the latter is where Hong Kong’s first public housing estate was built. Spend a day wandering around and getting a feel for the area. 1. The Jockey Club Creative Arts Centre (30 Pak Tin St.) in Shek Kip Mei was renovated from an old-style industrial building into a center for contemporary art and creative industries. Today, up and coming artists open studios there; even G.O.D has a space. Be prepared for a serious art attack. Mei Ho House , a vacant public housing building just opposite, was Hong Kong’s first public housing estate in the 1950s. It is currently closed to the public; when it reopens it will feature a housing museum that shows how our grandparents’ generation lived 60 years ago. 2 . Not far away from Mei Ho House, at the beginning of Castle Peak Road, is a distinctive red and white building, the headquarters of local bakery The Garden Company (58 Castle Peak Rd., 2720-1055). If you’re nostalgic and have something of a sweet tooth, you should definitely pay Garden a visit. 3 . No trip to Sham Shui Po is complete without a visit to Ap Liu Street —geek heaven for cheap electronic parts and barely-legal spy gear. If that’s not your thing, simply take a walk down and browse the secondhand goods for sale. 4 . More commonly known as Beads Street, Yu Chau Street is where everyone from fashion designers to teenage girls go in search of cheap beads to make accessories. The most popular shops are Tin Fu Button Factory (No. 223) and L & A (No. 259). 5 . Leung Choi Shun (38D Kweilin St.) is a famous 102-year-old bonesetting establishment. Today, the decor remains just the same as days of yore and it’s still as popular as ever. 6 . For a slap-up meal, go to Yong Kee (118 Fuk Wah St., 2387-1051). A long-time local favorite, the restaurant belongs to Yik Wai-hong, who served as chef to the Philippine’s former president Ferdinand Marcos for over a decade. Order the roasted ribs and any of Yik’s many excellent stir-fry dishes. Climb Those Rocks The government announced last year that eight areas in Hong Kong—covering 50 square kilometers—will be designated as a Geopark. These fascinating natural landscapes have provided us with a whole new dimension for weekend trips out of the city—no more hiking up the Peak or visiting Cheung Chau for the 56th time! Try these remote places instead. (Photo courtesy: Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department) Hong Kong’s coastline has a wide range of fantastically shaped rock structures produced by erosion and weathering. Some of the oldest rocks date back 400 million years. You can visit all the sties in a single trip by hiring a boat for the entire day, but you can also do them separately in more manageable doses of course. Here are four of the most awesome areas that make up our Geopark, plus how to get there (you can also find more details at www.geopark.gov.hk ). Tung Ping Chau Located in Mirs Bay, Tung Ping Chau is the easternmost outlying island of Hong Kong. Popular among visitors, it contains the region’s youngest sedimentary rock. The Tung Ping Chau shale is rated as Hong Kong’s number one rock for a range of distinct features, from its clearly defined bedding to its striking colors. How to get there : There are ferries to Tung Ping Chau from Ma Lui Shui on Saturdays and Sundays. Catch it at Ma Liu Shui Pier, which is 15 minutes from University MTR station. Details: 2527-2513. Double Haven Located on the northeastern shore of Plover Cove Country Park, Double Haven, with its indented shoreline, has been designated a marine park. Many of its notable features were formed when it was flooded due to a rise in sea level 6,000 to 8,000 years ago. You can incorporate your trip to Double Haven with that to other islands near Sai Kung. How to get there : Hire a boat or go by road via the hiking route that runs from Wu Kau Tang to Luk Keng via Lai Chi Wo. To get to Wu Kau Tang, take green minibus 20C in Nam Shing St., Tai Po (departing from Tai Po Market MTR station on public holidays), or green minibus 56K that runs between Fanling MTR station and Luk Keng. North and South Coasts of the Tolo Channel Ma Shi Chau, along the north coast of the Tolo Channel, features some 280-million-year-old sedimentary rock. The region was designated a “special area” in 1999. Meanwhile, Lai Chi Chong, on the other side, boasts igneous and sedimentary rocks formed 140 million years ago. How to get to Ma Shi Chau : Take bus 74K or minibus 20K at the Tai Po MTR station for Sam Mun Tsai. After getting off, walk across the hillock in Yim Tin Tsai to reach Ma Shi Chau via the tombolo. The hike is about two km in distance. How to get to Lai Chi Chong : A ferry goes to Lai Chi Chong from Ma Liu Shui (near University MTR station). To go by road, take green minibus 7 in Sai Kung market and get off at Pak Sha O. Get on the hill path and walk for 3.5 km. Ninepin Group The Ninepin Group consists of 29 islands in the easternmost waters of Hong Kong. They were so named because they reminded the first British seamen who saw them of a bowling match. Most worth visiting among them is South Ninepin Island, where you’ll find the famous “Tiger Mouth Cave.” Featuring fairly formidable terrain, the island is only accessible during the summer. How to get there : You can rent a boat from Sai Kung pier. The journey takes about an hour. It’s advisable to join a tour, as there have been terrible accidents on the islands involving unsupervised hikers. HK Traveler organizes trips to the Ninepin Islands. They also organize personalized tours. Call 2836-5878 for details. High Island Located in the southeast of Sai Kung Peninsula, High Island’s hexagonal rock column is perhaps the most visually impressive land formation in Hong Kong—particularly the twisted column at High Island Reservoir East Dam, which is well worth getting close up to. Tai Long Wan coast nearby also features some eye-catching volcanic rocks, and has come first among the official “Top Ten Hong Kong Natural Attractions” many times. How to get there : Take bus 94 at Sai Kung market or 96R at Diamond Hill MTR station. Get off after Pak Tam Chung and walk along Tai Mong Tsai Road to the junction ahead. Turn into Man Yee Road and walk on for about 9km to the High Island Reservoir East Dam. Whole Lotta Isles One of the best things about Hong Kong is the 263 islands we have in the territory—some are scenic, some have crazy rocks, and some simply have an awesome history. Here is our itinerary for hiring a boat to visit four of the most eclectic islands in the city within a day. 1. Wong Chuk Kok Tsui and Port Island On the northern shore of the Tolo Channel, Wong Chuk Kok Tsui boasts Hong Kong’s oldest stratum of rock, a fossil-rich Devonian sedimentary rock deposited about 400 million years ago. Meanwhile, Port Island, at the mouth of Tolo Harbor, contains red conglomerate, sandstone and siltstone. Move onto Kat O afterward. 2. Kat O One of the last paradise retreats in noisy Hong Kong, Kat O now has only 50 residents, but holidays see it packed with tourists sightseeing, diving and hiking. Up the hill of the island is The Eagle’s Head, which allows you to enjoy the surrounding sea views. Next, visit the Tin Hau Temple and the Lover’s Tree next to it. The tree is crooked and grows horizontally. According to legend, the deity Tin Hau forbade the tree from growing taller than the temple, so now it has the appearance of two lovers holding hands. If you are starving by now, head to Hakka restaurant Yik Man Seafood Restaurant (2679-9337), which we think makes the best cuttlefish balls in the world. 3. Ap Chau Next to Kat O is Ap Chau, the island with the fewest residents in Hong Kong—just eight. Ap Chau is a great place for soul searching and meditation—to the extent that it is a Christian village built by the True Jesus Church from Taiwan. American preachers set up the village to shelter fishermen and their families who converted to Christianity in the 60s—about 700 inhabitants at the time. How to get there : Hire a boat at Sai Kung pier to travel to Port Island first. Next sail up to the north for Wong Chuk Kok Tsui. Beyond here, you can sail to Double Haven, Ap Chau and Kat O. Call Ming (9174-3914) for a speedboat from Sai Kung.