Japan and South Korea may be the top destinations on a traveller’s list to view autumn leaves, but if you only have time for a day trip, there are quite a few places in the 852 where you can capture the season’s red-and-gold palette for your IG feed. Hong Kong is home to sweet gum, bald cypress, sabino, and a variety of other trees that change colour between November and January when the weather gets cold. So, put on your best woollies, pack a picnic basket, and head to our pick of the best spots in the SAR to enjoy fall foliage.
1. Tai Tong Sweet Gum Woods — Yuen Long
This is the No. 1 spot in Hong Kong to catch the changing colours of autumn, and is popular among photography enthusiasts because the contrast between the red leaves of the sweet gum trees and green foliage of the evergreen trees makes for striking images. Since it gets pretty crowded during December, which is usually peak red-leaf time, we suggest going at the beginning or end of the season.
Tai Tong Shan Road, Tai Tong, Yuen Long, Hong Kong
2. Tsing Yi Park — Tsing Yi
If you want an autumn-in-Europe sort of vibe, then make a trip to Tsing Yi Park, which has elements of Continental architecture in its pavilions, amphitheatre, and statues. But the standout feature is the lake with its sabino tree-lined shore, which will add a pop of colour to your fall photo portfolio.
60 Tsing King Road, Tsing Yi, Hong Kong
3. Hong Kong Zoological And Botanical Gardens — Central
Don’t want to head out of town to get your fill of fall? You can find the colours of autumn Island-side in the Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens, which are especially scenic during this season. When the leaves of the half-century-old trees on the Avenue of Sweet Gum fall on the path they flank, they create a bright red carpet of foliage that’s worth every camera click.
Albany Road, Central, Hong Kong
4. Chinese University Of Hong Kong — Sha Tin
Planning a trip to the northeastern part of the New Territories? Then make a pit stop at the Chinese University of Hong Kong — specifically at Lake Ad Excellentiam. The lake is lined with sweet gum and sabino trees, and the contrast between the leaves — the sweet gum’s are star-shaped, the sabino’s more feathery — make for beautiful photographs.
Chung Chi College, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Sha Tin, Hong Kong
5. Pineapple Dam Nature Trail — Tsuen Wan
Visitors flock to Shing Mun Reservoir — which is where the Pineapple Dam Nature Trail takes you — for its stunning paperbark trees. But the one-kilometre-long nature trail, which runs along the shores of the reservoir, is particularly picturesque during the fall because the leaves of the trees turn a vibrant red.
Shing Mun Reservoir, Tsuen Wan, Hong Kong
6. Tai Po Kau — Tai Po
Originally called the Tai Po Kau Plantation, this 440-hectare nature reserve has a wide variety of flora. While the dominant tree is Chinese pine, there are sweet gum trees that typically change colour in autumn. The reserve is also home to wildlife such as birds, fish, frogs, and toads.
Tai Po Kau Nature Reserve, Tai Po, Hong Kong
7. Kau Tam Tso — Sheun Wan Tai Po
Hikers on their way to Tiu Tang Lung during red-leaf season should stop at the old Hakka village of Kau Tam Tso. Here, you’ll get pictures of sweet gum trees at their glorious fall best away from the crowds of other popular autumn-tree spots in the city.
Kau Tam Tso, Shuen Wan Tai Po, Hong Kong
8. Lau Shui Heung Reservoir — Pat Sin Leng
This is a great alternative to Tai Tong as it’s less crowded and can be combined with a relatively easy hike to Hau Tok Reservoir. The water in the reservoir is quite calm, which means you can get stunning images of the cypress trees along the shore reflected on the mirror-like surface of the water.
Pat Sin Leng Country Park, Pat Sin Leng, Hong Kong
9. Kowloon Walled City Park — Kowloon City
This park has a storied past as it is built on the site of the infamous Kowloon Walled City. It is now one of many green spaces in the city just north of Boundary Street, complete with walking and bike paths, a pavilion, as well as artifacts and plaques dedicated to the site’s historical significance. There is also a Red Leaf Path where you can experience the changing colours of the season, courtesy its queen crepe myrtle, mountain tallow, and copper leaf trees.
Kowloon City, Hong Kong
10. Hong Kong Wetland Park — Tin Shui Wai
The main attractions of this park are the wetland habitats specially designed for waterbirds. And while the Wetland Park does have sweet gum trees, the bald cypress trees along Succession Walk are what make it worth visiting during red-leaf season as they lend the surroundings a distinctly melancholic beauty.
Wetland Park Road, Tin Shui Wai, Hong Kong
Header image credits: Ivan Lau via Flickr