Header image courtesy of Patrick Hendry (via Unsplash)
Hong Kong has not been known to be the most dog-friendly place in the world. But as times change, many places in the city are becoming more open to having furry friends in and around the area as much as humans—just look at these pet-friendly cafés that welcome all sorts of four-legged friends! Apart from a good few dog-friendly hotels in Hong Kong, there are not many places where you can vacation with your pup. But what if you’re the type who prefers outdoor adventure, like camping? Camping in Hong Kong with your dog can be a fun, memorable experience if you make sure to do it properly. Here are our top tips and things you should know before pitching your tent and settling in with your pup.
If you are planning on taking your dog on camping trips with you in Hong Kong, you need to be aware of the fact that dogs are not allowed on public transport, unless they are service dogs. Thus, you will not be able to just hop on a bus or train and head off with your pup. Although some bus companies are beginning to change this policy, it can be complicated to know the details, especially if you don’t speak the language.
One great option to look out for is 99Bus. This pet-friendly bus service offers a number of stops across town and might be a suitable choice to get to and from your campsite with your furry friend in tow. If you’d rather not take the bus, you’ll most likely have to grab a taxi to get where you’re going. This is going to be more pricey, especially if your campsite is far away from home or remotely located.
Hong Kong may not be the most dog-friendly place, but in general strangers on the street (or at the campsite) won’t react badly to your dog. Obviously, you don’t want to let your dog run rampant, even if they are well trained. Respect those around you and remember that not everybody is a dog person! The last thing you want is for your pup to get spooked and bite someone. It’s best to keep them on a leash and close to you, and if someone wants to pet them, it’s up to you. If your pooch happens to be all black, you may find you get some strange reactions on the street! Superstition is still rife in the area, and you may send some people scurrying out of your way with a cry of “Haak gau!”—which translates to “black dog.”
If you come from a Western country, your idea of worship probably involves a large, elaborate church building, crowds, and singing. In Hong Kong, though, worship is slightly different, and you may not even realise you’re coming across it when it’s happening. Whether you’re in the city or out in the countryside with your dog, take notice. If you spot a large metal pot on the ground with incense sticks burning in it, you have most likely stumbled upon a place of worship or a traditional worshipping ritual. Be respectful and do not let your dog do his business nearby or get excited and greet the people. It may seem like just random countryside to you, but it’s sacred ground to others!
Camping puts you right in the thick of the countryside, and like all places, Hong Kong has its fair share of creepy crawlies. In particular, the chances of you coming across a snake or two is not completely uncommon. For example, did you know that Hong Kong is home to 50 different species of snakes? While they are not often spotted and certainly do not like interacting with humans, they could still pose a danger to you and your pup when you are camping with dogs. Snakes are frequently seen around Tai Mo Shan and Lantau Peak—both are popular camping spots.
More commonly, you may come across an array of smaller venomous snakes, which may be present near your campsite. They will not usually go out of their way to interact with either humans or dogs but if your pup is frolicking through the woods, as one does while camping, they may inadvertently encounter one. It’s a good idea to check with your vet before you go. They may be able to give advice and provide you with some kind of medication. Otherwise, be cautious and make sure you know where the nearest veterinarian is and how to get there.
Wherever you go with your pet, stock up on first aid supplies! Make a little kit to keep with you when camping. Some possible items to include are:
If your dog is on a prescription diet, be sure to take their designated food along—chances are, you may not be able to buy substitutes nearby and pet shops will be inaccessible during your camping trip. Ration out how much they will need over the course of your camping trip and take that amount, with some treats. You can feed them some human food if you miscalculate their food amount, but make sure it’s bland, healthy food.