Singapore recently announced plans for an air travel bubble between Hong Kong and the city-state, much to the excitement of many travel-hungry residents who have not had the chance to go abroad for close to a year.
Naturally, demand for tickets to both Asian hubs skyrocketed, and according to Bloomberg, the price of air tickets between Singapore and Hong Kong jumped within 24 hours of the announcement on 15 October.
The agreement to establish a travel bubble means travellers do not need to quarantine upon arrival or be subjected to a strict itinerary. It’s a move that’s roundly welcomed by those in the travel industry, who have had to suffer catastrophic consequences ever since the Covid-19 pandemic brought air travel to a perpetual halt.
If you managed to book a ticket to Hong Kong for a year-end trip with the family, here are some outdoor activities you can do to soak in the city’s glorious nature, history and culture.
1. Take a tram to The Peak
The Peak, also known as Victoria Peak, offers breathtaking views of Hong Kong’s glittering skyline as well as its natural wonders. The best way to get there is the tram, which has the honour of being one of the world’s oldest and most famous funicular railways. Young children will love the excitement of the ride, as it rises to 396 metres above sea level and at a steep gradient. At the summit, there are plenty of restaurants, shops and entertainment options at The Peak Tower, including a 360-degree viewing platform, Sky Terrace 428 (so named because it stands at 428 metres above sea level).
2. Go on a Star Ferry harbour tour
Usually plying across the scenic Victoria Harbour, the historical Star Ferry is one of the oldest forms of transportation in Hong Kong. A typical trip takes you from Central to Kowloon or Wan Chai in a matter of minutes, but to make it really entertaining for the kiddos, go on an hour-long tour that involves a ride on a recreated 1920s ferry. The journey culminates in a front-row seat of the “Symphony of Lights” performance – a nightly visual spectacle involving lasers, searchlights and music working in harmony from iconic buildings at both sides of the harbor.
3. Day trip to Lamma Island
The third-largest island in Hong Kong has thousands of years of fishing history but is now better known for its laidback vibe thanks to a no-car policy. It has also evolved into a trendy location for the creative set. Craft shops, bookstores and cafes line its narrow main street, and there are also many open-air restaurants hawking fresh seafood dishes. Let the children play at the attractive Hung Shing Yeh Beach before you embark on the relatively easy Lamma Island Family Trail – a 5km trek that spans across two piers and offers splendid views of the surrounding sights.
4. Visit the Hong Kong Unesco Global Geopark
Spanning over 150 km² and comprising the Sai Kung Volcanic Rock Region and the Northeast New Territories Sedimentary Rock Region, this is where your family can witness glorious natural landscapes and wild coastlines created by the earth’s movements and volcanic activity. The Geopark consists of several scenic islands and peninsulas, with unique volcanic rock formations, steep cliffs, sea arches and rugged hexagonal rock columns, as well as a 400-year-old village. Some areas are quite far and difficult to get to, so your best bet is to join a guided tour that will take you on an educational journey, such as this one on Hong Kong’s Geopark North East Wonder and another that allows you to explore the Sai Kung Volcanic Region by boat.
5. Tread lightly at the Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden (KFBG)
At this conservation and education centre located in Tai Po district, kids can get acquainted with all manner of cute creatures, such as pigs, palm civets, leopard cats, parrots and owls. There is also plenty of greenery to admire, with several walking trails as well as an orchid greenhouse, cactus greenhouse and an eco-garden. Children can engage in nature-related art and handicraft activities at its Art House, such as woodblock printing and natural tree ring printing, or go on a treasure hunt.
6. Sign up for a guided walking tour
The vibrant and eclectic city has plenty to offer, whether it is its rich culture, delicious food scene, fascinating history or beautiful nature. A walking tour with a guide allows you to truly get to know the city and discover hidden gems that only locals know about. Try the Kowloon History and Michelin Food Tour offered by Hello Hong Kong. It begins with an informative exploration of Kowloon that takes you to the famous Sik Sik Yuen Wong Tai Sin Temple and the notorious Kowloon Walled City Park before ending with stops along Michelin-rated eats, including a local bakery and a cheong fun (rice noodle roll) eatery. Walk Hong Kong also offers urban walking tours, such as a heritage walk that takes you through significant locations such as Statue Square, The French Mission Building and St John’s Anglican Cathedral.
Please check the establishments’ respective websites for guidelines before visiting, and remember to adhere to safe-distancing measures while out and about.