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How to explore Hong Kong’s untapped outdoors scene

This is the third episode of our series, “Connections: See Both Sides,” where we’ll visit six international cities to explore two sides of the same city to find inspiration.

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Hong Kong is a densely populated metropolis famous for its towering skyline. On the Kowloon side, Hong Kong is home to the highest hotel in the world; the Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong sits 118 floors and 1,588 feet above ground level. But many visitors don’t realize that Hong Kong also offers a vibrant, breathtaking outdoors scene that’s easily accessible from the city. While hiking is a popular outdoors activity among locals, Hong Kong’s 260 surrounding islands offer much more in the vein of adventure, with both stunning views from mountainous peaks and access to the sea.

In this episode of Connections: See Both Sides, professional climber and climbing coach Alex Johnson explores Hong Kong’s outdoors from two sides: high and low. From investigating Japanese invasion tunnels hidden in the peaks of Lamma Island to wakesurfing in Sai Kung, Johnson takes on some of the most exciting adventures Hong Kong has to offer with the help of local experts. Here’s a peek at where Johnson’s adventures took her. The best part of these detours? They’re all conveniently less than an hour away from the city, either by car or ferry.

Central Crag

Central Crag is a large crag located right above Hong Kong’s Central district. Central Crag encompasses nine crags and a total of 103 routes. Johnson climbed the Peel Street route in Soho Crag, which offers unbeatable views of the city. It’s only a 20-minute walk from Old Peak Road in Mid-level, but do your due diligence and research directions and trail markers before you go.

Sai Kung

Sai Kung is a peninsula in the New Territories and the second largest district in Hong Kong in terms of area. Sai Kung Town is known for its fishing villages and waterfront restaurants, and the rest of Sai Kung offers access to tons of beautiful hikes and exciting water sports, from kayaking to wakesurfing. Alex and local surfer Cathy Ho tried wakesurfing for the first time together in Sai Kung. There are lots of water sports centers and rentals here, so do some research beforehand and find the right sport for your location and budget.

Ling Kok Shan

Ling Kok Shan is a hiking trail on Lamma Island, which you can access by taking a ferry from Central Pier 4 to Sok Kwu Wan. From Sok Kwu Wan ferry pier, head left past views of the East Lamma Channel. You can do the hike on your own and take in the stunning views, but it’s recommended to go with an expert if you want to explore the hidden Japanese invasion tunnels dotting the hills. Johnson met up with Robert Lockyer, a historian and Lamma Island resident, for a tour.

Power Station Beach

Power Station Beach is the home practice beach of the Lamma Dragons, Lamma Island’s co-ed dragon boat racing team. Anyone can stop by to watch a practice (the beach is public), but the team’s biggest event is the annual Lamma 500 race. More than 80 Hong Kong dragon boat racing teams compete in the race every April for top prizes and bragging rights.

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