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

Tai Tong Shan Road and Tai Tong Nature Trail are lined with sweet gum trees and evergreen trees.
The Tai Tong Sweet Gum Woods and Tai Tong Nature Trail are the most popular places in Hong Kong to view autumn leaves (© nekotaro via Flickr)

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.

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Tai Tong Shan Road, Tai Tong, Yuen Long, Hong Kong

2. Tsing Yi Park — Tsing Yi

Sabino trees line the shore of the lake of Tsing Yi Park.
The lake and sabino trees of Tsing Yi Park make for picture-perfect fall photographs (© Pc1878 via Wiki Commons)

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

Autumn leaves on trees between the fountain at the Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens and the city skyline.
The autumn leaves at the Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens against the backdrop of the city’s skyline (© Jack via Flickr)

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

The campus of the Chinese University of Hong Kong has a pavilion, and a lake lined with sweet gum and sabino trees.
Catch the colours of autumn at Lake Ad Excellentiam at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (© Thomas Chan via Flickr)

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

Red leaves on a tree on the Pineapple Dam Nature Trail.
The leaves on some trees on the Pineapple Dam Nature Trail turn a vibrant red during autumn (© Kennethwan via Flickr)

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.

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Shing Mun Reservoir, Tsuen Wan, Hong Kong

6. Tai Po Kau — Tai Po

A low-angle view of a sweet gum tree in Tai Po Kau Nature Reserve.
Tai Po Kau Nature Reserve has sweet gum trees, as well as a variety of other flora and fauna (© K.C. Lam via Flickr)

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

A sweet gum tree leaf on a tree in the village of Kau Tam Tso that’s changing colour.
The old Hakka village of Kau Tam Tso has sweet gum trees that turn red between November and January (© him9876 via Flickr)

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

People walking by the cypress trees at Lau Shui Heung Reservoir. The trees are reflected in the water.
The cypress trees reflected in the water of the Lau Shui Heung Reservoir make for stunning pictures (© John KU via Flickr)

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

Walkers in the Kowloon Walled City Park looking at the autumn leaves.
Visitors who come to Kowloon Walled City Park during red-leaf season can experience the changing colours of the leaves (© Jamie Lloyd via Flickr)

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.

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Kowloon City, Hong Kong

10. Hong Kong Wetland Park — Tin Shui Wai

The bald cypress trees in the Hong Kong Wetland Park.
Bald cypress trees in the Hong Kong Wetland Park look their best in autumn (© Hong Kong Wetland Park via Facebook)

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

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From the Middle East to the Far East and a couple of places in between, Anjali has lived in no fewer than seven cities in Asia, and has travelled extensively in the region. She worked as a lifestyle journalist in India before coming to Hong Kong, where her favourite thing to do is island-hopping with her daughter. You can check out her musings on motherhood, courtesy her Instagram profile.

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