The summer holidays are in full swing, and believe it or not, Hong Kong actually has a lot to offer in the nature and wildlife department! Time to head out into some undiscovered New Territories (get it!?) with the family and bond with some animals in the summer sun. Whether it’s gazing into the sky, peeking through leaves or swimming in the ocean, we’ve rounded up the best spots to check out. So grab those binoculars, channel your inner Dr. Doolittle and get the whole family up close and personal to some furry, fishy or flying friends… right here in the ‘Kong!
Sourced from russavia via Wikimedia Commons
Edward Youde Bird Aviary
Hong Kong Park’s aviary has a collection of 800 birds, representing 100 species indigenous to Southeast Asia, Indonesia and New Guinea. Apart from sky-dwellers, there are also ground dwelling birds like pigeons and pheasants. Featuring an elevated walkway inside and under the tree canopy, you’ll be able to view the habitat and birds from different angles and elevations. You’ll probably be able to hear the pheasants when they let loose with their territorial calls! There’s a bird-watching programme every Wednesday morning for amateur ornithologists.
Address: 19, Cotton Tree Drive, Central, Hong Kong. Tel: +(852) 2521 5041
Hong Kong Wetland Park
Check out Hong Kong’s very own world-class ecotourism park with its impressive cast of birds, butterflies, reptiles, mammals and fish! The outdoor reserve recreates the wetland habitat, with a butterfly garden, a boardwalk and three bird hides to discover. There’s also a Wetland Interactive World, with themed exhibition galleries, a theatre, resource centre and a ‘Swamp Adventure’ indoor learning and play area for some escape from the sun.
Address: Wetland Park Road, Tin Shui Wai, New Territories, Hong Kong. Tel: +(852) 2617 5218
Mai Po Nature Reserve
Popular among bird-watchers and photographers, Mai Po is home to colourful butterflies and dragonflies in the summer, as well as shrimp raised in the traditional gei wai ponds. During autumn and winter the marshes play host to thousands of migratory birds. You can explore wetlands and marshes solo, or join WWF’s year-round or seasonal Mai Po guided tours (and maybe catch some fireflies on their Night Safari!)
Address: Yuen Long, New Territories, Hong Kong. Tel: +(852) 2526 1011
Yuen Po Street Bird Garden
A Chinese style themed garden, Yuen Po Street Bird Garden is divided into different courtyards filled with trees and stalls, selling exotic birds, beautiful bamboo birdcages and porcelain water dishes. Bird traders and fanciers often meet and share their experience and passion in this public space, and it is a fun and traditional Hong Kong sight for adults and kids alike. Head here if you’re planning on adding a feathered friend to your family!
Address: Yuen Po Street, Prince Edward, Kowloon, Hong Kong.
Discovery Bay Horse-drawn carriage rides
Lantau-ers can head to Discovery Bay’s North Plaza every weekend and public holiday for a short and sweet horse-drawn carriage ride. Available between 3pm-7.30pm, each 10-minute long ride can accommodate up to four people per carriage (meaning there’s always someone to wield the camera!) and you’ll be transported by a fine pair of Percheron mares, or Belgian geldings. These fun rides keep them in shape for their day job – transporting blushing brides to the wedding chapel at the new Auberge Hotel.
Address: Discovery Bay North Plaza, Discovery Bay, Lantau, Hong Kong.
Hong Kong Zoological & Botanical Gardens
Probably the closest thing Hong Kong has to a traditional zoo, HKZBG is home to all sorts of mammals, birds and reptiles. Catch a glimpse of sloths, lemurs, monkeys and turtles, among many others. You can also check out the education and exhibition centre to learn about endangered species, either with a guided tour, or on your own.
Address: Albany Road, Central, Hong Kong. Tel: +(852) 2530 0154
Kadoorie Farm & Botanic Garden
Kadoorie Farm & Botanic Garden is home to traditional farm animals like pigs, but also badgers, cockatoos and owls. Apart from spotting wildlife, you can also enjoy amazing scenery along the Orchard Trail or the Rainbow Trail – just a couple of the lovely walks here. Get hands-on with art and environmental workshops, guided tours or organic farming courses. The list of activities goes on all year round, and for more details you can check out Katie’s review here!
Address: Lam Kam Road, Tai Po, New Territories, Hong Kong. Tel: +(852) 2483 7200
Monkey Hill, or Kam Shan, is famous amongst locals for its kingdom of macaques. They comprise the largest group of mammals in the park, and alongside the monkeys, you’re likely to also find squirrels and plenty of bird species. There are four reservoirs within the park, and the short and scenic Kam Shan Family Walk is suitable for the whole family, strollers included. Kam Shan is also home to some WWII bunker ruins, making for a fun setting for hide-and-seek!
There are many different ways to access the country park – for more on how to explore, click here.
Hong Kong Dolphin Watch
If you want to meet Flipper nose-to-fin, join a Hong Kong Dolphin Watch cruise. HKDW’s conservation experts will guide you around the scenic western shoreline of the New Territories, and Hong Kong’s marine parks, where the rich fisheries make yummy pickings for our endangered pink dolphins. If you don’t manage to spot a dolphin on your tour, you can simply join another tour again… for free! Check out our review here.
Address: 1528A Star House, Tsim Sha Tsui. Tel: +(852) 2984 1414
Hong Kong’s homegrown aquatic theme park has an amazing underwater display that will boggle and delight in equal measures. Manta rays, hammerhead sharks and beautiful rainbow-coloured wrasse take pride of place in the Grand Aquarium, alongside a backlit jellyfish display reminiscent of a lava lamp. Ocean Park also hosts a huge variety of seriously quirky non-aquatic specimens! From the world’s smallest monkey, via cute capybaras (the world’s largest rodent!), to penguins, arctic foxes, snowy owls and pandas you’ll get your fill of furry and fishy friends here. And if you get bored of fabulous creatures, there’s always thrilling rollercoasters, fun children’s rides… not to mention a hotdog or two! Avoid the craziest crowds and go midweek if you can.
Address: Ocean Park, Aberdeen, Hong Kong. Tel: +(852) 3923 232