Header image courtesy of Ngai Yeung and @wing1990hk (Wikimedia Commons)
Did you know that in addition to being a most picturesque island, Tsing Yi is geographically smack in the middle of Hong Kong? Once a small fishing village, the island has since expanded dramatically through reclamation along its shore, developing into the serene residential area it is today.
And whereas the island was previously only accessible by boat or a single bridge, public transportation has greatly developed over the years. You might be surprised to learn that Tsing Yi is now only 20 minutes away from Central, Mong Kok, Tsuen Wan, Tuen Mun, and the Gold Coast, so there’s really no excuse not to visit!
A balanced blend of urban convenience and natural beauty, here’s your guide to all that there is to do, eat, and experience in Tsing Yi—talk about a perfect city getaway!
This peaceful, stunning promenade is Tsing Yi’s pride and joy. During the daytime, stroll along the evenly paved road, sandwiched between the breezy sea on one side and lush vegetation on the other; when night falls, soak in the scintillating skyline on the opposite shore. Although the Tsing Yi Sports Ground is right next door, it’s obvious why many prefer to jog along the promenade instead.
Meander along the two-kilometre stretch of tranquillity, dotted with leisure stops of parks and pavilions doubling as PokéStops (remember when that was a thing?).
Want to explore more than just the Tsing Yi coast? Head up the adjacent mall Maritime Square to access the Tsing Yi North Bridge for a 15-minute walk to Tsuen Wan.
With Tsing Yi being an island and all, it should not be surprising that their lone MTR mall boasts a maritime theme. Maritime Square used to house a live aquarium, but has since expanded with a Phase II building and opted to rebrand itself as a sleek, modern shopping centre rather than an oceanic entertainment venue.
Take your pick from cuisines from all over the world for your dining needs, shop at global brands such as Marks & Spencer, Zara, and Uniqlo, or discover smaller outlets that sell fruits from Japan, snacks from Thailand, and much more. The sprawling three-storey mall has every kind of shop to offer, and when you want to take a break, chill out at the rooftop garden of their Phase II building or visit the nearby Tsing Yi Park.
Maritime Square, 33 Tsing King Road, Tsing Yi | (+852) 2186 7284
Still, Tsing Yi’s not all about natural scenery. In an urban twist, head over to the Cheung Fat Plaza right behind Maritime Square for an indoor street food bonanza!
The path up to the mall’s main entrance is littered with street food stalls on both sides, but the real party starts when, at the end of the path, you take a right instead of entering through the main entrance. There, you’ll be greeted by a throng of indecisive shoppers flitting back and forth between the many food stalls. Soon, you’ll become one with the crowd as you, too, struggle to decide between freshly steamed rice noodle rolls, dim sum, imitation shark fin soup, Hainanese chicken, fusion burgers, and more. When you’ve had your fill, check out the newly renovated wet market next door for more food to bring back home!
Cheung Fat Plaza, 6 Tam Kon Shan Road, Tsing Yi | (+852) 3977 4790
Between Tsing Yi Park’s ornamental lake and waterfalls, the European pavilions, and gorgeous autumn foliage, the place is so charming it doesn’t feel like Hong Kong. A mere two minutes’ walk from Tsing Yi Station and the adjacent mall, the park is perfectly accessible and a wonderfully pleasant picnic spot. Don’t be surprised to spot couples in full wedding regalia either, as the park’s natural beauty makes it a popular spot for bridal snaps.
Tsing Yi Park, 60 Tsing King Road, Tsing Yi | (+852) 2435 0533
At the end of the Tsing Yi Promenade is the relatively new, spacious, and secluded Tsing Yi Northeast Park. Rent a bike from the shop here; though you can’t cycle on the promenade, you can bike around the cycling tracks in the park.
There’s also a skateboarding arena, basketball and gateball courts, as well as a football pitch, so grab your merrymaking equipment and settle in for a quiet but fun day out. If you stay long enough, you can even catch a satisfying sunset over the Ting Kau Bridge in the distance.
Tsing Yi Northeast Park, 10 Tam Kon Shan Road, Tsing Yi | (+852) 2436 3422
Who knew that one of the finest public pools in Hong Kong would be on this island, of all places? Tsing Yi Swimming Pool ($19 on weekends for adults, $9 for concessionary) has a bit of everything for the whole family, from an infant play area and a training pool to a brightly-coloured triple attack of waterslides for all ages.
Is that your stomach rumbling post-workout? Don’t worry, as there’s a restaurant attached to the pool, and the place is only a short walk from the dining delights of Maritime Square.
Note: The main pool and teaching pool of this pool have reopened on 21 May 2020, but the leisure pool and the water slides are temporarily closed until further notice. To avoid people gathering and to foster social distancing, the maximum capacity of this swimming pool has been reduced to 373 persons.
Tsing Yi Swimming Pool, 51 Tsing King Road, Tsing Yi | (+852) 2435 6407
This trail is a family-friendly, well-signposted hike that offers one of the best views in the district despite its relative ease. The path is only three kilometres long and takes an hour to hike, but be sure to take your time to appreciate the various types of flowers along the way. More advanced hikers may want to check out the Sam Chi Heung hike to reach Tsing Yi Peak.
Tucked away in the far corner of Tsing Yi is the little-known Lantau Link Visitors Centre & Viewing Platform. Enjoy a solitary picnic accompanied by the stunning views of both the Tsing Ma Bridge and the Ting Kau Bridge, and stay for the ravishing sunset. The spot is a bit tough to reach by public transport, however, so it’s best if one drives there or takes a taxi from Tsing Yi Station.
Lantau Link Visitors Centre & Viewing Platform, N W Tsing Yi Interchange, Tsing Yi | (+852) 2495 5825
Every year around April or May, a makeshift bamboo theatre appears in Tsing Yi Town, marking the beginning of a week of celebrations for the Sea Goddess Tin Hau’s birthday. As Tsing Yi was once a fishing village, it’s only proper for residents to do so, and the tradition has not died down one bit.
Be prepared to hear fireworks, smell temple incense, sample varied street food, see lion dance performances and float parades, and hear Cantonese opera performed in the bamboo theatre well into the night.
Note: This is an annual event that happens during the first to fourth day of the third lunar month of the year.
You can tell this tempura speciality restaurant is that good because of the long queue outside at all hours. A renowned tempura chain from Japan, Tendon Tenya is known for its quality, crisp tempura at a bargain price. Their branch at Maritime Square marks their initial foray into Hong Kong, and an impressive one at that.
Pair their classic tempura shrimp, crabstick, and assorted veggies with rice, soba, or udon for just $78 for a set. If you’re feeling adventurous, try their recommended Superstar Don ($78) featuring tempura scallop and eel on rice.
Tendon Tenya, Shop G02, G/F, Maritime Square, 33 Tsing King Road, Tsing Yi | (+852) 3905 4698
The Door Northern Chinese Dining is often mistaken for yet another chain because of its classy décor, but is in fact a well-liked Shanghai and Northern Chinese cuisine restaurant exclusive to the island. Once you’re seated, you will be asked what kind of tea you’d like: Request their house special Eight Treasures Tea, a soothing blend that consists of chrysanthemum, dates, jasmine and more.
Mains to order include the Air Dried Yunnan Ham with Honey Sauce ($188), where you can play mix and match with slices of Jinhua ham, peaches, steamed bun, and deep-fried beancurd to your own taste and desired texture. Wrap the meal up with some Deep Fried Soufflé Balls with Mango Custard ($72 for six pieces), a heavenly experience that feels as if you’re chewing through a fluffy cloud bursting with flavour.
The Door Northern Chinese Dining, Shop 322B, 3/F, Maritime Square, 33 Tsing King Road, Tsing Yi | (+852) 2186 7733
There are barely any burger spots on the island, but Mustache Chef’s amazing fusion burgers more than makes up for the dearth. Mustache Chef is one of the most popular stalls in Cheung Fat Plaza’s street food alley because of its enthusiastic young chefs, the generous amount of ingredients, a creative menu, and a shockingly affordable price on top of all that. With burgers such as the crunchy Avocado and Soft Shelled Crab Burger ($44), the cheesy Korean Style Kimchi Beef Burger ($39), and the fiery Spicy Mexican Fried Chicken Burger ($36), amuse your taste-buds with a mini-trip around the world.
Mustache Chef, Shop 2, G/F, Maritime Market, Cheung Fat Plaza, 6 Tam Kon Shan Road, Tsing Yi | (+852) 6763 2308
Every year leading up to the Mid-Autumn Festival, Dai Foon Hay Bakery brings dai foon hay—meaning “great joy” in Chinese—to many through their traditional Chinese mooncakes, which the bakery bakes from scratch. Filling flavours range from the conventional lotus paste and traditional salted egg yolk to the more antiquated duck liver. As such, locals and outsiders alike flock to the hillside village for a taste of the past—often early in the morning—and line up for the bakery’s limited daily batches. But don’t worry if you’re visiting at another time—the shop also sells freshly-baked classics such as the wife cake and the pineapple bun.
Dai Foon Hay Bakery, G/F, 44 Chung Mei Lo Uk Tsuen, Tsing Yi | (+852) 2495 5262
If you’ve ever visited a friend for dinner in Tsing Yi, chances are that you’re already acquainted with this community favourite dessert spot. You can’t tell by looking at their modest setting, but locals all know that Dessert Garden is helmed by a chef who once cooked for Hong Kong’s five-star hotels. His signature dish is the Flaming Iceberg ($46), a flamboyant variant of the baked Alaska. The dessert is doused in a creamy mixture of whisky and syrup, before all the lights are turned off and the chef flambés the whole thing with a blowtorch as everyone in the room gapes in awe.
Don’t like to be in the spotlight? Try their homely Chocolate Lava Cake with Ice Cream ($48), or the tangy Cold Lemon Soufflé ($40). And while the menu is entirely in Chinese, it has plenty of pictures so just point at anything you fancy—honestly, you can’t go wrong with this place.
Dessert Garden, Shop 32, G/F, Greenfield Garden Shopping Arcade, 1 Fung Shue Wo Road, Tsing Yi | (+852) 2436 1087