Hong Kong countryside spot for families

There are not many countryside spots good for family activities in Hong Kong. So it was a pleasant surprise when I found this place: Kam Tin Country Club in Yuen Long.

This place is huge, occupying an expanse of open space, with grasslands, ponds, a ground for children electronic cars, a place for BBQ, farmlands, a children playground, etc.

kam tin country clubThe electronic cars are children’s favorite activity. You can also rent a bike for HK$15 one hour, or buy a kite (for HK$30) to fly on the grassland.

There are rabbits, squirrels, and goats raised on the land. The club’s website says there are over 100 rabbits. But it was disappointing to see only a few there when I made the visit last week.

There are some organic farms there. You can buy organic vegetables directly from an old couple farmers.

Beware that some local tours visit the club during the weekend. They usually arrive during the lunch time. So it is advisable that you arrive well before them to avoid the crowd.

No admission fee for entering the club.

How to get there:

Get off at MTR West Rail Line’s Kam Shueng Road station, take a taxi from the taxi stand outside the station. It costs only HK$17 and takes five minutes to get to the club.

When you leave the club, ask for a taxi call number from the staff, so that you can book a taxi to take you back to the MTR station, or wherever you want.

Website:  http://yl.com.hk/ktcc/index.htm (only in Chinese, but the pictures on the website give you an overall view of the environment there)

Pavilion of Harmony

new asia pavilionUnion of man and nature (天人合一) is a traditional Chinese philosophy concept about the harmony between man and nature. To experience what it is like, you can go visit the New Asia College in The Chinese University of Hong Kong in New Territories. It has a “Pavilion of Harmony”, which is a beautiful embodiment of the concept.

The College is situated atop a mountain, and so is the Pavilion. Visitors can see the Tolo Harbour from the pavilion and the pond in front shows the reflection of the sky and sea in the same colour. The whole set up makes you feel like being an integral part of the nature. “The Theory of the Union of Man and Nature” by Dr. Ch’ien Mu, the founder of the College, also a prominent philosopher of contemporary China, is inscribed on the wall.

Among all the colleges in Chinese University, a reputed university in Hong Kong, New Asia College is famous for its education in Chinese philosophy and Chinese culture. The existence of such a pavilion to represent the spirit of the college is not a coincidence. Because the effect created is so harmonious and special, the Pavilion has gained fame in the local community and is becoming a tourist attraction. It has been drawing visitors, particularly during the weekend.

Anyway, Chinese University, surrounded by Tolo Harbour, has the most beautiful university campus in Hong Kong. It is worth a visit.

How to get there:

Take the MTR East Rail line, and get off at University Station.

Outside the station, you will see queues for shuttle buses bringing you uphill.  Or you can visit the Chung Ki College, which is at the bottom of the mountain, before boarding the shuttle bus. All the restaurants on campus are open to visitors. If you are brave enough, just walk up. It would be a 15-20 minute uphill walk before you can reach the Central Campus, and another 1o minute walk before you reach New Asia College.

Here’s the schedule for shuttle bus:

http://www.cuhk.edu.hk/transport_unit/

Here’s the map of the University:

http://mmlab.itsc.cuhk.edu.hk/CMT/CM.aspx?lang=e

Aslo read:

Touring Chinese University

Sham Shui Po for a dose of reality

If you want to know a bit more about Hong Kong, other than visiting the sightseeing spots, go to Sham Shui Po. This area, according the latest government census, is the poorest area in Hong Kong. 

The result should not come as a surprise. Sham Shui Po has, as always, gathered many low-income households, including those of immigrants from mainland China and old people. Its household median income is HK$13,800 per month. The richest area in HK – Wanchai – is HK$30,000.

Hong Kong started its compulsory pension fund scheme only a few years ago. For the elderly, they don’t have pension funds to rely on and it is a common scene in Hong Kong that the elderly collect free newspapers/paper cardboards and bring to the recycle shops for a few dollars a day, just to make a living. In Sham Shui Po, you can easily see a scene of this, as elsewhere in Hong Kong.

And if you tour around Sham Shui Po and look carefully, you do feel that the area smacks a bit of poverty. There are shops and stalls that boasts cheap price everywhere. I went into a snack shop for breakfast. For a cup of soybean milk and four rice-dough sticks, I paid only little more than US$1. But I looked at the bottle of black sauce on the table. There was something moving on the surface of the liquid sauce. I could hardly finish my breakfast and I left. 

apliu market, sham shui poTip:

Besides seeing bits of reality of Hong Kong, you can visit Sham Shui Po for another reason – to visit its famous flee market Apliu Street Market, which sells all sorts of electronic stuff, from radios, clocks, to hifi and batteries, at low price.

How to get there:

MTR Sham Shui Po station. 

For going to Apliu Street Market, Exit D2 of Sham Shui Po station.

City flower of Hong Kong

Do you know that Hong Kong has its own city flower? It is bauhinia. It became Hong Kong’s city flower in 1965, and the flag representing Hong Kong as the Special Administrative Region of China has bauhinia flower on it.

There is reason for the flower to be the city flower of Hong Kong. It was here in Hong Kong the flower was first planted by a French missionary, which was later spread to all over the world.

The flower blooms from November/December to April each year in Hong Kong. So it is now time to see its beauty.

Here are some good spots to see the city flower:

Kowloon Tsai Park: The park is in the kowloon walled city area. It has a bauhinia garden where a a very big lawn is accompanied by trees of bauhinia. The park was recently permitted to hold civil wedding ceremony.

How to get there: Take bus (Kowloon Bus) No.1 from the star ferry pier in Tsim Sha Tsui and get off at DUMBARTON ROAD station. It takes 35 minutes and costs about HK$5.

Kowloon Walled City Park: this park is near Kowloon Tsai Park. It has a path flanked by beautiful bauhinia trees.

How to get there: Just take bus No.1. as mentioned above, and get off one stop later, at Walled City Park. Or you take minibus No.39 from Lok Fu MTR station. It is just a 15-minute bus ride and costs HK$2.8.

These two parks are in the so called Kowloon walled city area, where the old Hong Kong airport Kai Tak was located. It is an area crowded with restaurants, particularly thai restaurants. So aftering touring the parks, you can have some delicious thai food in one of the restaurants.

Hidden gem parks in Hong Kong

You may not know that tucked in some corners of the city, Hong Kong has some nice parks for visit. Nope. They are not the widely publicized Hong Kong Park or Victoria Park on Hong Kong Island. I mean parks like Lai Chi Kok Park in kowloon.

Lai Chi Kok Park, compared to other parks in Hong Kong, is surprisingly huge. Dotted with pavilions, pools, bonsais, trees and flowers, rock formations and bridges in the style of classical Chinese garden, the park is charming. There are also children facilities and health facilities, such as paths of pointed pebbles where you are asked to take off your shoes to walk on for stimulating your blood circulation.

When I was there a week ago, the spring flowers were in their full bloom. The park was a joy to walk around.

hong kong park

lai chi kok park in hong kong

cherry blossoms in lai chi kok park

How to get there:

Mei Foo MTR Station of the Tsuen Wan Line (Red Line), exit D.