Palm trees in park

New Territories

Fringing the edge of Kowloon and radiating northwards into mainland China, the New Territories are a place for long bike rides through country parks, kayaking along craggy coastlines, and visiting clan villages dating back to the Qing and Ming dynasties.

When the New Territories were ceded to the British in 1898, they joined a colony that was already nearly 60 years old, expanding it to many times its size. Encompassing lush hills, mountains, walled villages and wetlands, they offer a totally different experience from Kowloon or Hong Kong Island — and yet few visitors even know this peaceful side of Hong Kong exists.

Hop on your bike (or stick to two feet) and you can wind your way past pretty reservoirs, stopping at water fountains, going for boat rides, visiting butterfly research centres and popping into sprawling temples on rugged hillsides cloaked in forest. Sleepy towns provide refueling options in the form of dim sum and hand-brewed coffee against a background of colourful murals, while old, walled villages provide an insight into the Five Great Clans who settled the region centuries ago.

Along the coastline you can kayak through mangrove forests and into coastal caves, stopping to picnic on deserted beaches. At the beautiful Wetland Park you can wander boardwalks on the lookout for exotic wildlife such as pheasant-tailed jacanas and eastern lilysquatters. The New Territories are a place to step outside of the craziness of the city and see a different side of Hong Kong.