Header image courtesy of @wankman19 (via Instagram)
Stretching out over waterways, gorges, and obstacle-ridden terrain, bridges have served as vital transportation links since the earliest stages of civilisation, providing easy and straight-forward passage across otherwise troublesome obstacles. But beyond functionality, it is often in these spanning structures that you’ll find a city’s most defining landmarks, as well as some of the finest repositories of architectural excellence.
As bridges are intrinsically and inextricably tied to their landscape, each manifestation is uniquely designed to fit its particular surroundings, with endless room for aesthetic creativity. From historic stone arches to majestic, cable-stayed wonders, here are the most beautiful bridges in Hong Kong that are worth going out of your way to cross!
Crossing the majestic Tsing Ma Bridge is a rite of passage for every Hongkonger and visitor to the city. Connecting the two islands that it’s named after—Tsing Yi and Ma Wan—this 1,377-metre behemoth was built in 1997 as a key section of the Lantau Link, a colossal roadway system linking urban Kowloon to Lantau Island.
Ranked as the fourteenth-largest suspension bridge in the world, Tsing Ma Bridge has become an iconic landmark in the city. It even boasts its own observation deck on the fringe of Tsing Yi that provides elevated vantage points from which to take in the spanning architecture in its full glory. While there’s no bad time to visit, the view is especially striking at night when the bridge lights up in an epic display of colours.
Opened in 1998, Ting Kau Bridge tails closely behind Tsing Ma Bridge in its history and length, spanning 1,777 metres from Tsing Yi to Tuen Mun Road. Holding the mantle as the world’s first major four-span cable-stayed bridge, the splendid edifice is discerned by its fan-like cables that stretch down from the towers, resembling giant masts on a sailboat. In addition to the designated Lantau Link Viewing Platform, a hidden gem of a spot to marvel at this glorious structure is Ting Kau Beach. From there, you can witness works of man and nature mingling as the beachside greenery and sandy shores juxtapose beautifully against the bridge’s steely frame.
Hovering over the busy waters of the Rambler Channel, Stonecutters Bridge is as much a prominent passageway between Tsing Yi and Stonecutters Island as it is a photographer’s dream, abounding with shutter-happy opportunities. Opened in 2009, the winding cable-stayed structure is recognised by multiple international engineering awards due to its state-of-the-art aerodynamic features, which enable it to withstand strong typhoon winds.
The bridge’s engineering excellence is matched by its aesthetic beauty. You can’t miss the giant 300-metre steel towers serving as a beautiful foreground to the city’s skyline; but if you look at the bridge from underneath, you’ll also notice a striking bottom view of the blue sky framed perfectly by a series of geometric boxes!
If there’s one way to experience the idyllic scenery of Shing Mun River, it’s by dawdling on the Lek Yuen Bridge and admiring how the vaulted arches of the structure reflect on the glossy surface of the mirror-like water.
Well-loved by joggers and strollers alike, the scenic concrete footbridge has been perched above the watery spine of Sha Tin since 1988; and though it may not be as big as its neighbours along the same river, there is no rivalling it when it comes to architectural splendour. Embellished with ornamental stone fencing and an accompanying red-roofed Chinese pavilion, it’s easy to let your stresses melt away while you’re here. At night, the rotating coloured lights that emit from the bridge cast a magical glow over the water, creating the perfect setting for a romantic stroll.
Lek Yuen Bridge, Shing Mun River, Sha Tin
Nestled in the southern corner of Repulse Beach amidst a colourful cluster of mosaic deities, shrines, and a temple, this little Chinese-style footbridge comes with an intriguing legend. Allegedly, it has the power to add three days to the life of anyone who crosses it—no wonder the site has attracted not only local worshippers of goddesses Tin Hau and Guanyin, but also droves of tourists and visitors exploring Repulse Bay!
Auspicious symbol aside, the popularity of Longevity Bridge can also be attributed to its visual appeal. Awash in crimson red and festooned with ornate figurines of dragons and deities from Chinese mythology, the beautiful arch is reminiscent of something out of an imperial court in ancient China.
Longevity Bridge, Tin Hau Temple, South Bay Road, Repulse Bay
Relatively new to the infrastructure scene, the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge sets the record as the longest sea-crossing structure in the world, clocking in at a whopping 55 kilometres of bridges and underwater tunnels. Connecting the three eponymous cities on the Pearl River Delta, the inauguration of the mega-bridge-tunnel system in 2018 cut down what had been an hour-long ferry commute to a mere 40-minute car ride.
The Hong Kong section of the bridge starts off as a short, at-grade road along the east coast of Chek Lap Kok, and briefing vanishes into a road tunnel before popping out again on a 9.4-kilometre viaduct, which extends just off the island into the Zhujiang River Estuary. From Sha Lo Wan on northwestern Lantau Island, you can see the stupefying structure stretching far out into the sea and meeting at the horizon in mystical union.
Framed by the verdant hills of Tai Tam Country Park, this century-old masonry bridge evokes a charming pastoral scene from a bygone era. Part of the Tai Tam Tuk Reservoir, this bridge dates back to 1907 and was listed as a declared monument in 2009, thanks to its historical significance and beautiful design.
The low-slung span sports a rather simple and unadorned style, but claims its distinction by way of three pretty arches, which are constructed in granite and boast a rusticated, rock-faced façade. To catch the arches at their most pronounced, visit later in the afternoon when the water level is low!
Tai Tam Tuk Reservoir Masonry Bridge, Tai Tam Reservoir Road, Tai Tam