Header image courtesy of @hikesxsunsets (via Instagram)
Hong Kong is of many personalities, but few neighbourhoods seamlessly encapsulate the breadth of the city’s natural, urban, and cultural charms quite like Tuen Mun. Flanked by the hilly landscape of Castle Peak and Kau Keng Shan on one end and looking out to the South China Sea on the other, this westernmost district in the New Territories is a veritable haven for those seeking an idyllic respite in nature—but that’s just the tip of the iceberg!
As one of the earliest settlements in Hong Kong, Tuen Mun is steeped in rich history and culture, with plenty of well-preserved historical monuments and ancient temples dotted across town. At the same time, since undergoing drastic gentrification in the 1960s, part of the once-sleepy coastal town has transformed itself into a buzzing residential hub, complete with all manners of recreational activities and culinary delights. Here’s your friendly guide to exploring and eating your way through this gorgeous coastal neighbourhood.
Dubbed as the miniature Grand Canyon of Hong Kong, Pineapple Mountain is arguably the most Instagrammable hiking spot in Hong Kong and a requisite visit for every outdoor enthusiast. Although the rocky gorge featured on the hike is not quite as big or imposing as its American counterpart, it is nonetheless breathtaking to behold, particularly during golden hour when the jagged walls take on the sun’s red-orange hues and glisten in its rays.
Running from Leung King to Ha Pak Nai, the whole trail is approximately six kilometres and will take three hours to complete; but if you’re strapped for time, you could easily cut the trip short and return back after reaching the ravine and getting your camera filled. Click here to read our full guide on how to hike Pineapple Mountain.
Nothing like what you would expect from a sludge treatment facility, T-Park is a thing of beauty and one of the city’s most unique recreational and educational attractions. Drawing on the scenic environment of Deep Bay, the facility is constructed in an eco-friendly, wave-like design, complemented by landscaped gardens, picturesque fountains, and a water bird sanctuary. Spend an afternoon at this serene locale sighting wildlife, perusing exhibitions, enjoying light café bites, and even taking a relaxing dip in one of their indoor spa pools, which is, in fact, no ordinary spa, but one powered by the heat energy generated from the sludge incineration process!
T-Park, 25 Nim Wan Road, Tuen Mun | (+852) 2910 9700
Note: Due to Covid-19, some facilities at the T-Park are currently suspended. Please check their website for the latest updates.
They say you cannot understand what a person has been through until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes. Crossroads Foundation is a non-profit charity well-recognised for its efforts in redistributing donated goods to the needy. But did you know that the organisation also offers a multitude of unique experiential simulations that allow participants to step into the shoes of those battling with war, poverty, HIV and AIDS, and hunger?
Get a taste of life in spaces of dire poverty and violence by immersing yourself in a simulated refugee camp, where you may face sudden threats and attacks, or plunging into total darkness and attempting to navigate an African village without sight. Before you leave the site, don’t forget to check out the global handicrafts shop to get your hands on fair trade artisanal products or nip into the adjoining café for fair trade coffee and tea.
Crossroads Foundation, 2 Castle Peak Road, Gold Coast, Tuen Mun | (+852) 2984 9309
Nestled in the secluded slopes of Castle Peak, looking out over the town centre of Tuen Mun, Tsing Shan Monastery breathes tranquillity and historical charm. It is said that this ancient spiritual site is the birthplace of Buddhism in Hong Kong, having once served as the humble abode of a travelling Indian monk in the Southern Song dynasty named Pui To.
While the stunning complex you now see was reconstructed in the early twentieth century, the structures have nonetheless earned their status as Grade I and Grade II historic buildings, beckoning visitors with their colourful facades and elegant Chinese-style architecture. As you stroll through the sprawling premise of the monastery, make note of the Heung Hoi Ming Shan Memorial Archway, a tall, stone gateway engraved with gilded Chinese characters; the Daxiong Baodian, a stunning temple decked out in ceramic statues and vivid shades of red and yellow; and the Pui To Rock, a grotto where the legendary monk allegedly practised his meditation.
Tsing Shan Monastery, Castle Peak Temple Path, Tuen Mun | (+852) 2441 6666
Hip meets heritage at this local arts and culture hub. Founded in 2016 on the site of a former village kindergarten run by Ching Leung Nunnery, Casphalt is committed to incubating the local creative community and encouraging cultural bonding through hosting regular exhibitions, market fairs, and workshops. Depending on the day, an afternoon spent here could see you browsing through artisanal crafts and admiring artworks or trying your hand at Zentangle and Chinese calligraphy. Regardless of whatever event is on, the picturesque, botanically-rich courtyard and hipster vegetarian café are worthy of a visit on their own!
Casphalt, Ching Leung Nunnery, Tuen Fu Road, Tuen Mun | (+852) 2461 6288
Everyone and their mothers are flocking to Golden Beach, the largest public beach in Tuen Mun fronting Gold Coast Resort; if you want to beat the crowds and savour ravishing sunset views in peace, why not wander a little west and hit up Butterfly Beach? This prettily named beach may not have much to do with actual butterflies, but it checks all the boxes when it comes to the perfect relaxing outing: a gorgeous stretch of sandy coastline flanked by palm trees, plenty of barbecue pits, a large, verdant park well-equipped with sports courts, and even a five-mile promenade running from Butterfly Beach to Tuen Mun Ferry Pier!
Butterfly Beach, Area 45, Lung Mun Road, Tuen Mun | (+852) 2404 8656
Cycling fanatics were over the moon when the full 60-kilometre cycle track from Tuen Mun to Ma On Shan was opened in September last year, allowing zealous peddlers to traverse the entire New Territories east to west in a scenic, six-hour biking journey. The glorious path takes you through the seaside stretches of Tuen Mun, the lush wetlands of Nam Sang Wai, numerous cultural and historical monuments in Sheung Shui, and more.
Now, if you’ve got the endurance, then by all means go for the full route, but for those who just want a leisurely ride, the section from Tuen Mun to Yuen Long will get you your fix of scenery and exercise in about three hours!
With three decades of experience under their belt, Tuen Mun Curry House is the place to gorge yourself on rich Indian curries and freshly-baked naan—and we say that not only as a praise for the food quality but also because the prices truly enable you to do so without worrying about your wallet. A lunch set including your choice of curry, soup, side veggies, French fries, naan, rice, and a soft drink will only set you back $45!
The chicken and lamb curries are popular among the crowd; they pack a punch with flavour but are mild enough on the heat scale to be enjoyed by everyone. If you’re feeling particularly ravenous, tack on $15 for a mango lassi and you are guaranteed a food coma by the time you leave!
Tuen Mun Curry House, Shop 25, G/F, Rainbow Garden, Tuen Mun | (+852) 2404 1444
Evocative of a whimsical art garden, Joy Food Lounge invites guests to dine in a luxuriant jungle of botanical wonders, colourful mosaics, and quirky knick-knacks, an experience made even more sumptuous with its wide-ranging menu of Western dishes. Covering all the grounds of café-style brunches, meaty steaks, hearty pasta, and crafty cocktails, this charming restaurant has it all.
Their standout beef Wellington ($288) is always a hit, wrapped in buttery, flaky pastry and served with a luscious honey and whole grain mustard sauce. If you’re after something light (and befitting the botanical theme), opt for the bright and refreshing Joy Food special salad ($138), comprising a bountiful medley of fresh veggies, strawberry yoghurt, balsamic vinegar, and fresh berries.
Joy Food Lounge, Shop 1, G/F, Hong King Garden, 28 Tsing Sin Street, Tuen Mun | (+852) 2362 6968
Caffeine lovers are in good company at Hidden Coffee & Roasters, a hole-in-the-wall coffee shop whipping up all sorts of espressos, lattes, and seasonal speciality drinks (past offerings include red velvet latte, ice sparkling pineapple coffee, and ice cucumber latte, to name a few) in a cosy-cool setting. There’s a whole shelf of coffee beans and brewing equipment that you can purchase to DIY at home—or leave it to the pro and have them serve you the perfect handcrafted cup of Joe from their monthly drinks menu!
As for food, decisions are made easy with their short yet sweet selection of light bites, which includes the like of scones with jam ($28), brownie ($28), and lemon cake ($28).
Hidden Coffee & Roaster, Shop 6, G/F, Lucky Building, 106 Castle Peak Road, Tuen Mun | (+852) 6490 1236
Having been around for over 80 years, this Michelin-recommended eatery has quite the storied history: First opened as a luxury resort destination with an outdoor teahouse and garden, Dragon Inn served as a popular film shooting location in the 1950s and 60s, before transforming into a full-fledged Chinese seafood restaurant in 1993 and becoming a stalwart fixture in the local dining scene since.
What makes this place unique is that guests can actually bring in their own fresh seafood from outside and have the chefs here cook them up for you! Alternatively, try the signature baked whole lobster with cheese or steamed sticky rice with crab, spareribs & minced garlic ($420) from their standard menu.
Dragon Inn Seafood Restaurant, Miles 19, Castle Peak Road, Tuen Mun | (+852) 2450 6366
If you have got a taste for the sweeter things in life, then a visit to Tan’s Dessert Café is needed. Their menu boasts a fair smattering of Taiwanese soup desserts and Western favourites like crème brûlée ($43), bread pudding ($45), and chocolate lava cake ($46), but the waffles are what sugar-addicts come near and far for.
Texture-wise, they nail the platonic ideal of a waffle: crispy, tender exterior and soft, fluffy interior, but when it comes to flavour pairings, they deviate far from tradition. You’ll find combinations like salted toffee and Oreos ($59) and hojicha & black sugar pearls ($61), served with a scoop of ice cream of your choosing.
Tan's Dessert Café, Shop No. 4, G/F, Kam Men Mansion, 15 Tseng Choi Street, Tuen Mun | (+852) 3619 7598