There’s a hidden side to every city, and Hong Kong is no exception. Behind its iconic skyline and low, sweeping mountains is a trove of culture and class unlike any other place on the planet.
Combined, Hong Kong’s rich past and modern metropolis make it the perfect destination for history buffs, adventurous tourists and art and style lovers. The temples and peaks are breathtaking, sure, but there’s more for visitors than Victoria Peak and Big Buddha.
The sleekest and easiest way to get to the city is with Cathay Pacific, which specializes in offering comfortable flights to Hong Kong. Its aircraft’s Premium Economy Cabins are spacious and contemporary, so you can relax and prepare for your trip as you sail over the Pacific Ocean.
But before you touch down, have a list of lesser-known to-dos at the ready. The city will surprise you with its charm and diversity.
1. Hike the MacLehose Trail in Sai Kung
Put on your hiking shoes and trek to tranquil beaches on the MacLehose Trail for show-stopping sights most tourists never get to see. The entire trail is 100 kilometres long, but it is split into ten smaller sections of 5-10 kilometres each. Keep in mind that the entire path hugs the Chinese coastline, so you’re guaranteed a view. Don’t forget to bring your camera and a water bottle!
2. Spend the Night in an Aecosphere
Admiring the stars is one of the nicest aspects of camping, and you don’t have to stop when you tuck in for the night. Aecospheres are transparent (or semi-transparent, for those seeking some privacy) bubble-shaped tents offered by Mingle Farm. They pride themselves on creating a state-of-the-art glamping experience, so if you want to get away from the city and sleep in futuristic style, their campground is the place to make overnight memories.
3. Dine on World-Class Seafood on Cheung Chau Island
A tiny island a short ferry ride away from downtown, Cheung Chau is known for its seafood and has been a fishing village since the Ming dynasty. Visit New Baccarat Seafood Restaurant for a satisfying stop five minutes away from the main terminal ferry or sit down at So Bor Kee, which has been deemed the best seafood restaurant in Cheng Chau. The prawns are recommended, but everything else is sure to be fresh and delicious as well.
While you’re there, be sure to check out the “Mini Great Wall,” a shoreline trail respected as a mesmerizing viewpoint of the ocean and city.
4. Gain Perspective at the Hong Kong Museum of History
Spend a day learning about the fascinating and, at times, tumultuous history of Hong Kong. The Museum of History houses more than 4,000 exhibits which narrate the story of Hong Kong from 400 million years ago until the reunification of Hong Kong with China in 1997. The whole experience takes between two and four hours, but if you exhaust the exhibits at the Museum of History and are still curious, walk next door to the equally fascinating Science Museum.
5. Feel Humbled by the Ten Thousand Buddhas
Over ten thousand Buddhas stretch up a hillside in Shatin, and although the climb is difficult, you’ll never forget this monastery. Admission is free, and the entire trip should take you only a few hours. Allow yourself to feel humbled by the countless, golden buddhas placed along the path for reflection and reverence. Do some research into the temple before you get there to fully absorb its beauty.
6. Get in Touch with Nature at Kadoorie Farm & Botanic Garden
Stretched over 148 hectares of land on the slopes of Hong Kong’s highest mountain, the Kadoorie Farm & Botanic Garden is truly in the heart of Chinese nature. Countless gardens, terraces, walking trails, roads and conservation and educational facilities are found there. Meet the native and foreign animals that take sanctuary there, from pigs and parrots to reptiles, butterflies and mules. Pick up some food from one of the many local markets in the city and picnic at the Kwun Yum Shan Summit. You’re sure to leave feeling relaxed.
7. Bike or Stroll the Ma On Shan Promenade
One of the best spots in Hong Kong to spot a rainbow or a shooting star, the Ma On Shan Promenade offers visitors a panoramic view of the city and sea. It’s quiet and rarely frequented by tourists, making it a great place to catch up with a friend, meet new people, or simply enjoy a moment of peace. Rent a bicycle if you want to explore the entire promenade for a nice afternoon outdoors.
Cathay Pacific’s philosophy is to live a life well travelled, and they want to help you get there. Start and end your trip to Hong Kong on a comfortable note in a Premium Economy Cabin. And when it comes to taking in the city, don’t be afraid to venture off the beaten path.