There is so much to do and see in Hong Kong you can easily run out of time just staying in the city. But sometimes its nice to explore a little further afield and one of the best things about Hong Kong is how easy it is to get away from the hustle and bustle and find yourself somewhere quite different quite quickly. I think I’ve done at least one day trip on every visit and these would be my favourite day trips from Hong Kong to date.
Cheung Chau Island
Just 10 kilometers southwest of Hong Kong Island is Cheung Chau Island. With a population of over 20,000 people the residents live mainly in the middle part of the island where the land is low. Because this little island is shaped like a dumbbell it is often called ‘Dumbbell Island’.
Cheung Chau Island has been a fishing village since the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). All day long the ports are busy with the comings and goings of the fishing boats. There is a McDonald’s and a Starbucks and it can get quite busy especially on weekends and during festivals, although there are pockets of calm and tranquility as well as some lovely beaches. Tung Wan Beach is the surfside bathing area and features lovely cabarets and wonderful tourist residences. Kwan-yin Wan Beach is known for its aquatic sports recreation areas.
Perhaps the best scenic viewing spot here is the Beitiao Pavilion. This pavilion is uniquely designed and allows visitors a complete island view. On the southwest tip of the island is Cheung Po Tsai Cave. Ancient legends say that it used to be the place where Cheung Po Tsai, a pirate with an ill reputation, hid the money he robbed.
To get to Cheung Chau catch a ferry from Central Pier 5 (get out from MTR Hong Kong Station Exit E1 and walk through IFC mall). The trip takes about 40 minutes.
Home to a number of landmarks including the Big Buddha, Disneyland, the cable car and the airport ! Visitors flying into Hong Kong will easily see the cable car that takes you up ( or down) to the Big Buddha but the island has even more to offer and is definitely one of the best day tips from Hong Kong.
There is a chain of mountains that stretches from the higher elevations in the west to the lower ridges in the east including the second highest peak in all of Hong Kong. The most popular attraction for tourists visiting Lantau Island is climbing Phoenix Mountain to view and admire the sunrise. Tourists often climb up at night, and reach the top before the daybreak. It’s steep in places so be prepared.
There are 47 villages on the island. Three of them, Mui Wo, Tai O, and Tung Chung are being developed as new towns. In addition, more than 78.4 square kilometers of its territory has been designated as Wild Countryside Park. Tai O, also known as “The Venice of the Orient”, is the largest settlement on Lantau Island where you can see homes built on stilts over the water.
You can participate in many outdoor activities in the Wild Countryside Park such as hiking, camping, swimming, and fishing. You can have even have a barbecue in the mountains !
When we last visited we caught a ferry from Central over to Tai O and a taxi up to the Big Buddha ( although you could walk up there if you are feeling very energetic!) We then caught the cable car down the other side, which drops you at a factory outlet mall and then we caught a train back into Kowloon. This turned out to be the perfect way to do Lantau as we got to see Tai O and miss the heaving queues at the end of the cable car where everyone usually tries to get up the mountain.
If you love to shop then Shenzhen is the place for you ! Its crazy, confronting and often challenging but you come home with some incredible shopping bargains. The first time I went to Shenzhen I took the whole family and the constant hawking and overload of choices soon wore thin and we couldn’t wait to leave. However many trips later – with girlfriends – and I have the whole routine down pat as well as a handful of friendly vendors who look after me. In fact last time I went I spent most of the time eating Peking Duck in a restaurant while the shopkeepers bought me their goods that I had provided on a wish list. Easy peasy !
I’ve also been back to Shenzhen to a trade show and seen a bit more of the city outside the Lo Wu area where most day trippers go. It’s very busy in parts but an interesting city, however Hong Kong has a lot more going for it.
Shenzhen is located in the southern portion of the Guangdong Province, on the eastern shore of the Pearl River Delta. Neighboring the Pearl River Delta and Hong Kong. Its location gives it a geographical advantage for economic development and it became the first Special Economic Zone of China.
Thanks to its developed economy, it is easy to get to Shenzhen quickly and comfortably by air, train or ship. It’s the only city in China that provides three modes of transport for comings and goings. Taxis are cheap and plentiful but if you are doing a day trip just for the shopping you wont need one.
The process for getting across the border and then where and how to shop can be a little tricky. To read all about how to do it just CLICK HERE
Known as the Vegas of the Orient there is a lot more to Macau than casinos and fancy hotels. Most of them are on reclaimed land some way from the Old City so a day trip ( or longer) to Macau is really worthwhile to get a feel for this melting pot of Portugal meets China.
Macau, also spelled Macao, is a tiny Chinese territory that is about 30 square kilometers in size. It is a fusion of East and West in lifestyles, architecture, and food. Known for its huge casinos and being the world’s top gambling city, it boasts some popular attractions for tourists to visit.
Macau is another Special Administrative Region (SAR) of the People’s Republic of China. Located on the southeast coast of China. It borders Guangdong Province of mainland China to the north and is about 60 kilometers (37 miles) to the southwest of Hong Kong. It takes about one hour to get there by ferry from Hong Kong which again can be caught from Central on the Island.
Macau consists of the Macau Peninsula itself and the islands of Taipa and Coloane, which are now connected by landfill forming the Cotai strip.
Macau is a place where you can feel the rich Portuguese heritage fused with Chinese culture in street signs, architecture, food, and more. There is so much to do including;
- visiting the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of A-Ma Temple and the Ruins of St. Paul’s
- sampling the unique cuisine which is a perfect blend of Cantonese and Portuguese food. The beef jerky and egg tarts found for sale everywhere in the old town are amazing !
- explore the city’s famous casinos, such as The Venetian Macau. The Sands and the old iconic Liboa which boldy standout in the old town.
- Walk around Old Taipa Village, one of only two traditional ‘villages’ that still exist in Macau.