Seven fun off the beaten track things that you may not have seen and experienced, as recommended by Amy Overy of Hong Kong Greeters Tours
Canal Road Villain hitters
This macabre activity under the darkened shadow of the Canal Road flyover is compelling. You have probably seen the ladies sitting there under the noisy bridge with a mixture of statues, prayer papers, candles and incense. Their offer is to dispel negativity from you and onto anyone who has caused you harm; around HK$50 to spite your enemies. The process includes invoking the spirits by hitting a small piece of paper with an old shoe, probably the worst insult you could have thrust upon your antagonists. However, these ladies will listen (they are all over 70 and have heard a lot), so if you are looking for a pragmatic way to get something or someone out of your thoughts and feel better, this is a very cathartic way to do it.
Old Tai Po police station
Some are still in commission, some have been converted into hotels (like the former Tai O police station), but the former-colonial police station in Tai Po offers a number of reasons to visit. Guests can enjoy the museum of police history in the New Territories, a zero waste shop with local produce and tasty vegetarian restaurant EatWell Canteen – all ingredients are sourced from their own gardens and Kadoorie Farm. Youngsters can enjoy the garden area and even help to water the plants. The whole site aims to limit its impact on the environment by reducing its carbon footprint. The police station is a short walk from Tai Po Market MTR station.
Who knew that sludge could be fun? This state of the art facility in Tuen Mun converts the sludge from the harbour into electric energy for Hong Kong. They regularly run tours of the facility and guests can also enjoy time in the spa pool overlooking Deep Bay, which is also heated via the energy conversion process.
Other highlights are the T-café with sustainable vegetarian cuisine and re-purposed furniture and the T-Sky viewing platform and outdoor habitat which looks across to Shenzhen. Visits must be booked online, and there are shuttle bus services from Tuen Mun V city mall (Tuen Mun MTR exit D). And if you are in this area it is also worth a visit to….
Lau Fau Shan
Try a visit to this wonderful fishing village as a contrast to Sai Kung or Lamma. It also affords you a beautiful sunset due to its location on the north west coast of the New Territories overlooking Shekou and Shenzhen Bay. There are a multitude of fish restaurants serving the freshest seafood. You may have seen the oyster rafts in Deep Bay if you have crossed the Shenzhen Bay bridge into China, but not known what they were. Lau Fau Shan had a booming oyster farming industry but due to pollution and cheaper imports, there are very few now remaining. If you see dried oysters for sale in Hong Kong, very often they have come from Lau Fau Shan. Definitely worth a trip before the industry declines fully.
Sai Yuen Farm, Cheung Chau
At Sai Yuen Farm little ones can enjoy the model boating pond, feeding the goats or spending an hour of tree climbing practice with Climbing Monkeys (four years and above). For older children aged eight and above, there is a 10-meter-high tree-top canopy walk with the thrill of a zip-line to finish, or the option to join a team for barrier archery combat (ages 5+). Teenagers are not forgotten with the Segway course through Devil’s Forest (13 years and above), where the skill is more how to control the vehicle rather than winning races.
In order to get to Cheung Chau go down to Pier Number 5 on Hong Kong Island, next to the Star Ferry. There are slow ferry and fast ferry services leaving every 30 minutes. If you have the time I would recommend the deluxe upgrade on the slow ferry so you can enjoy the scenery open-air at the back of the boat.
Noon Day Gun
Think loud… even though you know the exact time this 3 lb gun goes bang, it doesn’t stop you jumping out of your skin! The Noon Day Gun has been fired by an employee of Jardine Mathesons since the 1860’s (with a brief gap during the second world war). This salute should have been reserved for senior naval officers when entering the harbour, however, the Jardine Matheson private militia would salute their own Taipans when they arrived from sea. As a penalty they were given the task of firing the noon day gun in perpetuity. The gun used to be louder in fact, the 6 lb version was replaced in 1967 and sits outside the former Marine Headquarters, Hullet House in Tsim Sha Tsui.
Monkey Mountain, Kam Shan Country Park
At weekends you will find many visitors to the car park along Tai Po Road. This is a known hang-out for the monkeys of Hong Kong (a hybrid of the long-tailed and golden Macaque). They were first introduced in the 1950’s as a natural way of controlling the spread of poisonous vines in the New Territories that could affect the fresh water in the Shing Mun reservoir. However their population has boomed and there are now over 1,800. They are super smart – you may spot them tearing the rubber lining from cars who have been brave enough to park there with food inside. At weekends you will also find volunteers making sure the monkeys are not fed unhealthy snacks and treats by well-wishers.
We’ve got more inspiration of cool things to do in Hong Kong in this post and fantastic family days out in this post!
Amy Overy is a certified private tour guide in Hong Kong and founder of Hong Kong Greeters Tours. They have been helping people fall in love with Hong Kong since 2012… leaving them with special memories, seeing and doing things they would never have expected, and of course having lots of fun! Hong Kong Greeters are top rated on TripAdvisor and can offer tours in English, Spanish, Portuguese, Mandarin, Russian and Cantonese.