Header images courtesy of @alvischui_ (Instagram)
Hong Kong is well-known and loved for its iconic skyline full of skyscrapers that light up the night sky, replacing stars with neon lights and billboards. With World Astronomy Day coming up, we thought we might introduce some serene places in Hong Kong where you can get away from the hustle and bustle, and it won’t just be Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds!
Sai Yuen Farm is an 11-acre farm and campsite located on the idyllic Cheung Chau, the island more commonly known as the home of the Bun Festival. It’s a load of fun to visit during the day, as they have a small goat petting farm, Hong Kong’s only treetop canopy walk, and loads of activities for all ages.
At night, however, it transforms into a great place to observe the constellations. Sai Yuen Farm offers a variety of glamping options, such as teepees and Mongolian yurts, but the best option for stargazing? The aptly-named Star-Gazing Geodesic Domes are tucked away in a private elevated section of the Farm, allowing you to lay down on a comfy bed with a transparent view of the night sky.
Cape D’Aguilar sits on the southernmost end of Hong Kong Island, boasting absolute peacefulness and breathtaking views of the ocean. Not only is it Hong Kong’s only marine reserve, but it’s also an astronomy hotspot for star photography enthusiasts for its relative lack of pollution and interruptions. You’ll get three amazing views for the price of one if you stay overnight: sunset, stars, and then a well-deserved sunrise.
The Astropark is hidden within Sai Kung Country Park East, just a stone’s throw away from the Chong Hing Water Sports Centre and High Island Reservoir. It’s open 24 hours a day and equipped with both ancient and modern Chinese and Western astronomical instruments. If you’re an amateur astronomer with a telescope, you must apply in advance for a power supply to keep your adventures going through the night. You can also borrow camping equipment at the water sports centre if you book in advance. Not too fussed? There’s a section of the Astropark fitted with reclining benches so you can just kick back and admire the stars, and sometimes even nebulae.
If you can’t venture out into the wilderness, Victoria Peak Garden overlooks our busy metropolis and is the easiest place to get to on this list. The old Hong Kong Governor’s Summer Residence has been demolished, but the well-maintained grounds are a hot spot for picnics, dates, and watching the heavens. It’s only 10 minutes away from the Peak Galleria, and has heaps of benches and greenery to keep you comfortable.
Plover Cove Reservoir is another hidden paradise in Hong Kong, located in Tai Mei Tuk in Tai Po, a popular cycling hotspot. You’ll have modern comforts close at hand with the many barbecue pits, restaurants, and public toilets, but the bridge along the Main Dam of Plover Cove Reservoir allows you to paint your palette blue and grey under the starry, starry night. Just imagine cycling down a long stretch of quiet with our galaxy shining down on you, and you’ll be putting this spot on the schedule for the next weekend.
Hong Kong’s longest stretch of clear blue waves and fine smooth sand in south Lantau Island, Cheung Sha, is perfect for stargazing as you’ll have no distractions but the gentle lull of the waves on the shore. You may even make new friends with the wild cattle that roam the beach and town. Set up camp for the night and make sure you’ve got sufficient supplies to keep you warm through a long night of counting stars and watching the world turn.
Tai Hang Tun is a coastal area in the gorgeous Clear Water Bay Country Park that’s popular for kite flyers, family picnics, barbecues, and taking breathtaking snaps of the so-called “Silver River” (銀河, the Cantonese term for the Milky Way and more). You can spend the day hiking around Lobster Bay and learning about the local fauna along the Tree Walk and watch the sun settle beneath the shore and wait for the night sky to fall. You’ll be able to stock up on snacks and water for the night if you set up camp, as there is a tuckshop and visitor’s centre nearby. Many aspiring astronomers make a nighttime visit to Tai Hang Tun with their little ones too.
High Island Reservoir is another accessible stargazing hotspot, just a short taxi ride away from Sai Kung Town Centre. The sweeping views of the night sky are accompanied by the unique hexagonal volcanic formations that make up the Sai Kung Geopark, and you’re far far away from any light pollution. If you’re not staying for the night (though it may be a bit hard to set up camp here), make sure you call for a cab back to town ahead of time or you’ll be stranded, and definitely negotiate a fair price as we’ve heard of price gouging by the taxi drivers.