Want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city for a day? Feel like the little ones (and you) could do with some lungfuls of fresh air? Need some exercise but can’t face the gym? Then a day out in Clearwater Bay is just the ticket.
A rugged peninsula in the Southeastern New Territories, Clearwater Bay is one of the jewels in Hong Kong’s alfresco crown. Fringed by a country park on its east coast, Sai Kung’s outlying islands to the north and with an abundance of hills and beaches and rocky inlets to explore, this is the antithesis of central Hong Kong.
Try one of these local hotspots to get you going:
Clearwater Bay Equestrian and Education Centre
“Horses and children, I often think, have a lot of the good sense there is in the world.” – Josephine Dermott Robinson
Open all week, The British Horse Society-approved CEEC technically requires a membership to ride here regularly but non-members can book lessons during the week and in off-peak times. Beginner to advanced levels are catered for in several languages and all staff hold top level qualifications. The centre also offers coffee morning packages which can include short rides but why not go the whole hog and host a birthday party here? With pony rides (look out for the Shetland ponies), tours of the stables, grooming lessons, horseshoe games and even a horse simulator called Poss – this is a surefire-hit with the kinder.
Tai Hang Tun
Let’s go fly a kite!
Located at the very end of Clearwater Bay Road, Tai Hang Tun hosts the typical scene of picnic benches and barbeque pits found round Hong Kong’s greener arenas so bring some provisions and spark up a barbie. But what will be really popular with the munchkins is the kite-flying site here. On a weekend this is full of families pulling strings above them and it’s fun to come and watch the assortment of flying wonders in the air – but more so to bring your own and have a go. Often, you’ll spot real kites (the birds of prey) flying nearby too.
Circling Tai Hang Tun is the Clearwater Bay Tree Walk. This paved route hugs the peninsula for about a mile with stunning views out to sea. It’s lined with 15 stops with signposted information about the various different plants you can find here – see if your budding botanists can spot them amongst the foliage. Look out too for the big spider webs, huge colourful butterflies and darting dragonflies buzzing round about.
Clearwater Bay First and Second Beaches
“I honestly think the beach is the only place children actually entertain themselves.” – Donna McLavy
Because of their stunning location in the shadow of High Junk Peak, the lifeguards and public facilities, these beaches are very popular and can often get crowded in the summer but now that the weather is getting cooler, you might be lucky and have them more or less to yourself. Beach 1 is the smaller of the two but there is a path which joins them up and Beach 2 (above), which has a public carpark, is the perfect place for a ‘Beach Olympics’ birthday party. Look out too for the occasional public sand sculpture competitions held here.
Po Toi O
Seafood and Eat It
This laidback fishing village at the end of Tai O Mun Road is the place to come when hunger pangs start. A ramshackle collection of houses and stalls selling dried seafood and used golf balls (Clearwater Bay Golf and Country Club is just next door), a pretty temple and two seafood restaurants perched on the sea edge is pretty much all you’ll find here. And despite the spit and sawdust service of the restaurants, their fresh fish and very affordable prices ensure that this place is renowned for some of the best seafood in Hong Kong. (Two pieces of dinner trivia for the kiddies: – Nearly everyone who lives in Po Toi O has the surname ‘Po’ and parts of the film ‘Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life’ were shot here.)
On the way there or back along Tai O Mun Road, get the little ones to look out for the place where people come to fly their remote controlled aeroplanes. Or stop and watch awhile – you may be offered a go!
T.C. Deli Shop
Stop off on your way home to stock up your freezer with all things meat from this top quality butcher selling cuts of sirloin, kippers, tuna steaks, and lamb chops mostly from Australia and the US as well as homemade sausages, cheeses, charcuterie and patisseries. The owner reputedly supplies most of the five star haunts in town – taste it and see!
T.C. Deli Shop, 10-12B G/F Hang Hau Village, 2358 2332
The Clearwater Bay Chase 2012
Enrollment is now open for this annual scenic 10km race from the Golf and Country Club to Second Beach and back. You can sign up as a parent/child team for a fun 1km dash (categories from 3-5 or 6-8 years) with trophies for the winners, T-shirts for adults and medals for all children runners. Even better, all registration fees go to charity.