Header image courtesy of @wing1990hk (Wikimedia Commons)
“You live so far away!” Yes, and it’s great. Tseung Kwan O is a quiet, family-friendly new town in East Kowloon (though technically it’s a part of Eastern New Territories). Stretching out over four MTR stations and surrounded by nature, the residential hub is often deemed boring. We’re here to prove the naysayers wrong with our in-depth neighbourhood guide.
The Little Hawaii Trail carries over a hundred years of Tseung Kwan O history and is one of the easiest hikes you will find in Hong Kong. The trail originated in 1906 when Alfred Herbert Rennie, a Canadian businessman, set up Rennie’s Mill in Tseung Kwan O Village at the edge of what is now Po Lam. He built a small reservoir and a 100-foot dam to generate electricity, and after his tragic death, it was turned into a private swimming pool for the surrounding villages. Now hikers can find a small but scenic oasis that can be reached via Tseung Kwan O Village, featuring a waterfall on the ruins of the reservoir. This hike is great for people of all exercise levels as it clocks in at less than two hours, and is mostly shaded and gently sloped.
Mau Wu Shan is home to an extremely well-preserved observation post. The bunker is said to have been built during the late 1800s and was used for observing maritime movements in Fat Tong Chau during the Qing Dynasty. The British also used the bunker for coastal defence during World War II. It’s a short hike from Haven of Hope Hospital and only takes one and a half hours to finish off at Lam Tin. However, we recommend furthering the hike to the old Gough Battery on Devil’s Peak in Yau Tong to make for a truly unique relics’ experience.
Offering breathtaking views away from the crowds, High Junk Peak is the second-sharpest peak in Hong Kong. The steep hike rewards you with clear sights of both Port Shelter and Clear Water Bay, much loved by aerial photographers. For thrillseekers, the trail is open on weekdays to mountain bikers. Compared to the other hikes mentioned in this guide, High Junk Trail is definitely on the more difficult side, so go prepared!
Take minibus 103 or 103M from Hang Hau to Ng Fai Tin, where the hike begins. The trail finishes at Po Toi O, an idyllic fishing village that is home to great seafood and two pieces of history: Hong Kong’s oldest and biggest Tin Hau temple, and the oldest rock inscription found in Hong Kong.
In a city full of skyscrapers, green space is a rare sight. Hong Kong Velodrome Park is a sprawling five-hectare park covered in lush lawns and artificial lakes, perfect for a summertime picnic. The park is home to the Hong Kong Velodrome, a sports centre with an international standard 250-metre wooden cycling track, as well as a concrete skate park, climbing wall, and jogging track. The park is well-loved by TKO locals and you’ll find plenty of families lounging underneath the cherry blossom trees on a late spring day.
Stretching one and a half hectares and connecting Tiu Keng Leng to Lohas Park is Tseung Kwan O Waterfront Park, where on a good day you’ll find joggers and dog walkers basking in the sunset glow. The park offers panoramic views of Eastern Hong Kong Island and its surroundings are ever-changing as new high rise residential developments line the harbourfront. Don’t want to walk? Head to Beverly Cycle in Po Lam to rent a bike and ride along the cycling path that covers the entire Tseung Kwan O area.
On the south side of the park is Wan Po Road Pet Garden, Hong Kong’s largest pet park where your furry friends can play off-leash. The Garden is split into three areas: one for large pets, one for small pets, and one for everyone to mingle. Who let the dogs out?
We’re not exaggerating when we say that Tseung Kwan O Swimming Pool is the best in Hong Kong. It can rival any waterpark with not one, but eight pools including water slides of different lengths and giant water pistols and levers to keep both kids and adults alike entertained. Just imagine how epic water fights can be here!
It’s not all fun and games though: Swimmers hoping to work on their technique can do so at the training and diving pools year-round. The pool opens from 6.30 am to 10 pm from Tuesday to Sunday and is just two blocks away from Po Lam Station so you can enjoy a cool-off at almost any time.
RISE was born out of a passion for French artisanal baking and their restaurant in Tseung Kwan O serves up delicious bread, pastries, and European all-day dining. On a busy night, you’ll have to wait in line for a table at this cosy café, but the delicious and affordable food makes it all worth it. Their most popular dishes include a loaded and luxurious All-Day Breakfast ($149), as well as a substantial French Foie Gras & Australian Chicken Ten-Grain Rice ($139). Can’t get enough? Their in-house bakery also hosts workshops for baking enthusiasts and cooking classes.
RISE Kitchen, Shop 4, G/F, Alto Residences, 29 Tong Yin Street, Tseung Kwan O | (+852) 2703 9388
Amare is relatively new to the Tseung Kwan O waterfront dining scene but has quickly captured the hearts of locals with their fresh and affordable Italian inspired menu. Go for their handcrafted pizzas like the Calabrese ($148) or the Parma Ham ($148), or a light pasta or risotto dish like the Black Truffle Carbonara ($168) and the Squid Ink Seafood Risotto ($178). On a sunny weekend afternoon, you’ll often find the Amare’s alfresco patio packed with families and pet, too.
Amare Bistro & Wine, Shop G02, G/F, Monterey Place, 23 Tong Chun Street, Tseung Kwan O | (+852) 2576 2398
Madira is a modern Indian and European fusion bistro with friendly service and excellent food to boot. As with most restaurants in the area, prices at Madira are reasonable and the alfresco dining vibes are a welcome change from the malls that dominate the area. Here you’ll find everything from a perfectly spiced chicken tikka masala to pizzas and baby back ribs. The real standout here is their cocktail menu, which pairs well with their Shisha offerings, with flavours like Masala Chai and Orange Seville Coffee.
Madira, Shop G21, G/F, Papillons Square, 21 Tong Chun Street, Tseung Kwan O | (+852) 2869 9933
Well On Shopping Arcade is one of the rare pockets within the area that haven’t been taken over by corporate restaurant chains. Where in Hong Kong can you get 10 made-to-order dumplings for less than $30? Why, at Leung Kee (良記小食), of course! There’s always a queue for their signature leek and yam dumplings and we can’t decide if we prefer them steamed or fried.
Need to sit down? The Excellence (日年華美食) is one of the only tuckshops in the arcade that have seating space. Students and workers in the area flock to The Excellence for lunch, and we don’t blame ‘em: $26 for a bowl of rice or noodles with two toppings of your choice is an absolute deal. Last but not least, Cho Ying (楚塋小食) has an abundance of snack options, which will satisfy even the pickiest foodie. We love that they’ve made an effort to offer healthier options like a $5 bowl of stir-fried Chinese kale.
Beverly Garden is another local enclave popular with students for its cheap eats. Get in with the TKO natives by grabbing an al-fresco seat and chowing down on food made with love. You’ll want to check out lively burger joint Vortex American Snack Bar, run by young owner and chef Ken. All burgers are handcrafted and topped with bagels instead of burger buns, and paired with hearty servings of tortilla chips and guacamole.
Vortex American Snack Bar, Shop 46, G/F, Beverly Garden, 1 Tong Ming Sreet, Tseung Kwan O | (+852) 2388 7133
Tucked away in a Hang Hau alley is Chao Siang, a family-style Chiu Chow restaurant specialising in braised goose and tofu. Order with caution if your eyes are bigger than your stomach as the portions here are made for sharing.
Chao Siang, Shop 25, G/F, On Ning Garden, 10 Sheung Ning Road, Hang Hau | (+852) 2363 1138
Prefer to graze? Food Lane in TKO Gateway is home to stalls of international delights. We especially love Lemon Leaf House for their affordable Thai fry-ups. Another unexpected gem amongst the food stalls is What The Food, a Spanish tapas stall run by two youngsters.
Food Lane, G/F, TKO Gateway, 2 Sheung Ning Road, Tseung Kwan O
If you’re happy to venture out just a bit more, Hang Hau Village has three tried-and-true eateries that locals would prefer to keep a secret, but we reckon they’re too good not to be shared. Lardos Steak House may be small, but their portions are big and service is always amiable. They’ve been at it for two decades now! Make sure you visit with an empty stomach, as they’re famous for their Tomahawk Prime, a succulently grilled platter of steak perfect for sharing.
If you can’t get a table at Lardos, why not skip across the street for some Thai delights at Grand Restaurant & Pub? Grand Restaurant has both indoor and outdoor seating and is very accomodating for large groups. They serve up Thai favourites like Tom Yum and Curry Crab, all at a reasonable price. Service can get a little dicey when they get busy, but the great food and atmosphere make up for it.
Not into Thai food? Yin at Home is a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it Japanese restaurant serving up fresh seafood and mouthwatering skewers.