Header image courtesy of West Kowloon Cultural District (via Facebook)
Living in our hyper-paced, productivity-obsessed city, many Hongkongers fall into the trap of overcommitting and stretching themselves too thin, to a point of nearly snapping into two. So it’s all the more important for us to regularly carve out time to unwind and re-centre ourselves—and contrary to popular beliefs, that doesn’t always have to come at the steep cost of luxury spas or vacations!
Hidden in the concrete jungle of Hong Kong are some slices of serenity for you to kick back, read a book, or practise the art of doing nothing! If you’re needing to take the edge off your stress, spare an afternoon to chill out in one of these calm-inducing places around Hong Kong.
This up-and-coming cultural hub has all the right makings for a relaxing place to chill: well-manicured green lawns, enviable sea views, and a slew of waterfront restaurant and bars from where you can sip on a drink and watch the world go by.
Picnickers, joggers, and skate-heads alike flock here on the weekends to enjoy the fresh air and beautiful palm tree-flanked promenade. Stick around until dusk and you‘ll be treated to one insanely epic sunset spectacle!
For a little air-conditioning comfort, dip into Rest Coffee Gin and try out all sorts of speciality coffees and craft cocktails or head on over to the pet-friendly cafe Hooman By The Sea, where both humans and their furry companions are welcome to hang out and grab a bite! Click here for our full guide to things to do in the WCKD.
West Kowloon Cultural District, 18 Museum Drive, Tsim Sha Tsui
If you don’t want to jostle for a spot on a packed park, venture a little further afield to this sprawling oasis of greenery in the western end of Hong Kong Island and you’re guaranteed patches aplenty to frolic on with children and pets or plop down for a picturesque coastal picnic!
Cyberport Waterfront Park may not be the most easily accessible parks in the city, but it is definitely one of the quieter and more spacious ones. Sitting flush against Telegraph Bay and Waterfall Bay, the open-air lawns give way to a wide and idyllic stretch of promenade that simply begs to be strolled on. The site is also dog-friendly, so get ready to make some four-legged friends!
Cyberport Waterfront Park, 100 Cyberport Road, Telegraph Bay
Before you write off the idea of a public library—a place one might associate with stressful cramming and studying—as a relaxing sanctuary, hear us out. This 6,100-square-metre book house in Tin Shui Wai is not just your average ol’ public library—it’s the only one in the city with outdoor reading areas!
Tucked away on the third floor is a charming courtyard done up in a minimalistic style of light wood and clean woods, serving as a cosy, quiet (and free!) spot to relax and dive into your next page-turner. If you head up another three floors, you’ll also find a spacious rooftop terrace garden where you can take in unobstructed views of Tin Shui Wai District!
Ping Shan Tin Shui Wai Public Library, High Block, Ping Shan Tin Shui Wai Leisure and Cultural Building, 1 Tsui Sing Road, Tin Shui Wai | (+852) 2126 7520
If you’re feeling swamped in the day-to-day city hustle, there is no better antidote than a blast from the distant past! A former stone cottage village built right after the Second World War, the quaint Stone Houses Family Garden is now a revitalised historical building that operates as a community-focused social enterprise.
Oozing historical charm through and through, the site is home to a retro-themed café peddling coffee and nostalgic bites, a mini-museum exhibiting the history of Kowloon City and the Stone Houses, and a labyrinth-patterned garden conducive to meditation and reflection.
Stone Houses Family Garden, 33 Junction Road, Beacon Hill | (+852) 2325 0111
Part library, part coffee shop, part training centre for aspiring baristas, and full-on dream for the modern hipster, this cosy little nook is chock-full of visual and gustatory treats, from the yellow-painted exterior walls and wall-mounted bookshelf made entirely from old wooden wine crates to the freshly brewed coffees and homemade cakes.
Feel free to pick up an old tome from the shelf and read the hours away or simply soak up some relaxing vibes with a cup of joe in hand. They adopt a name-your-own-price policy, so you get to decide what the food and drinks are worth in the end and pay however much you see fit.
Coffee Lab by Count.Down, Kam Tin Glocal Youth Hub, 119A Kam Tin Road, Yuen Long | (+852) 6180 7604
A refurbished cargo-container-turned-café drenched in a jungle of greenery, Mr Cardigan’s plant house is every green thumb’s utopia. Even if you’re not botanically inclined, the laid-back vibes and tasty bites make this hidden gem in Tai Po the perfect place to while the afternoon away.
Pull up a chair on the sun-dappled wooden patio and tuck into an assortment of homemade cakes ($45), coffee, and teas, all served with a slice of countryside tranquillity. Just note that the café opens exclusively on weekends and only accept walk-ins, so plan your visit accordingly!
Mr Cardigan, on the corner of Shan Liu Road and Ting Kok Road, Tai Mei Tuk, Tai Po
Yearning for a holiday getaway on the snowy slopes of Nagano, Japan? A visit to Lounge Hakuba will instantly revive long-dormant memories of your last ski trip! Complete with plush sofas, wood-lined interiors, and high ceilings, this Japanese fusion café-bar-lounge is designed to resemble a modern mountain ski lodge on the inside.
If you nip out to the outdoor terrace, the neon-lit-décor, colourful hammocks, and grass-carpeted floor meld to create a vivacious yet laid-back space evocative of a glamping site—one with superb Japanese cocktails and shisha service!
Lounge Hakuba, Unit 302, Tower 535, 535 Jaffe Road, Causeway Bay | (+852) 2111 1707