Header image courtesy of @hongkonghikenfly (via Instagram)
In many parts of the world, summer is a time for outdoorsy activities. With our abundance of beautiful trails—covering historic monuments, beaches, and towering peaks—one might assume that to be the case in Hong Kong, too. People who have summered here, however, will know that the tropical heat and humidity do not bode well for hikers (not to mention the typhoons). But there is no need to resign yourself to months of being cooped up inside your home, racking up your air-con bill, though—Hong Kong offers plenty of outdoorsy activities within easy reach from urban areas which allow you to stay (relatively) cool—there is biking, fishing, and even paragliding, to name a few! Read on to discover some of our favourite outdoor activities to do in Hong Kong that are not hiking.
Hong Kong’s rugged, hilly landscape is ripe with prime zip-lining spots—but trekking to the cliffs and waterfalls best suited to the sport can be a deterrent in the summer heat. (Not to mention the organisation and planning needed to make sure everything is safe.) Get your adrenaline going with a zip-line at the Chinese YMCA’s adventure park, YM-Adventure, which also contains a rock-climbing wall and over 20 obstacle routes. Experienced coaches are on hand to make sure everything goes smoothly, and the small park—which was recently opened to the public—is only a few minutes away from Kwai Hing MTR station.
YM-Adventure, Chinese YMCA of Hong Kong New Territories Centre, 32–40 Kwai Shing Circuit, Kwai Chung
Many people, us included, tend to view Hong Kong’s past as a fishing village as a contrast to the modern city it has evolved into—but fishing is still a popular pastime to this day. You just have to look around the piers and promenades throughout the city to see that there are plenty of hobbyist anglers doing their thing.
However, you’re better off going to purpose-built fish farms or taking fishing trips if you plan on catching your own supper. Besides the indoor fishing facilities in Kwun Tong, you can also head to the New Territories to try your hand at fishing from outdoor ponds, go clam-digging on local beaches, or go “squidding” with a local fishing tour.
As a form of transport and recreation, cycling is a blessedly convenient physical activity. Unlike hiking, it’s not necessary to plan an elaborate journey to the starting point—though some rides are nicer than others, of course—and regardless of the overall humidity, cycling is much breezier than embarking on a sweltering summer hike with litres upon litres of water in tow. Most of the city’s cycling trails can be found in the New Territories. From beginner-friendly paved trails to rugged mountains and hills, here are the best cycling trails in Hong Kong.
When it comes to staying cool in the summer, watersports are a slam-dunk—from stand-up paddleboarding to surfing, windsurfing, and wakesurfing, there are plenty of options. And because Hong Kong has so many beaches, there’s no need to travel for hours out of the city to try any of the aforementioned sports.
Wakesurfing is available in Tai Tam, Ap Lei Chau, Tai Po, and Sai Kung, while Big Wave Bay is a popular surf spot. Flyboarding, which utilises a jet board to propel you out of the water, is far more beginner-friendly than it initially looks—and you can try it on Hong Kong Island, too. Click here for our guide to board sports, here for our guide to wakesurfing, and here to learn more about alternative water sports (like flyboarding!) in Hong Kong.
For an activity that does not require too much forethought, planning, or gear, there’s nothing cooler than skating—either skateboarding or roller skating. Make good on that ancient pair of Vans in your wardrobe and learn a few basics in any of Hong Kong’s skate parks, or strap on a pair of rollerblades to see why everyone’s taking this seemingly retro sport up nowadays. Click here to check out our list of Hong Kong’s skate parks, and here to kit yourself out with the coolest local skate brands.
Short of highlining or booking a helicopter transfer to The Peninsula, paragliding may be one of the most thrilling, high-flying things you can do in Hong Kong—and compared to the other two options, it’s much more beginner- and wallet-friendly. Tandem paragliding—where you operate a glider while strapped to an experienced instructor—is suitable for newbies and is offered by three different centres in Hong Kong. Once you’ve developed a taste for the sport, you can also take pilot lessons and training courses to become qualified for solo flights. Click here to learn more about paragliding and other alternative sports in Hong Kong.
If some of the more thrill-seeking options above are not to your liking, there is always the dependable old pedalo. A classic summertime activity, pedal-boating is great for families with younger kids, given that it is not particularly strenuous and often involves feeding animals of some sort.
Luk Tin Yuen (綠田園) in Yuen Long is one such example of a venue that’s seemingly built for the enjoyment of little ones, with attractions like baby goat enclosures, carnival games, toboggans, picnic areas, and plenty of fish to feed in the lake. Pedal boats are also available at Hong Kong Disneyland’s Inspiration Lake, where you can take in the sights of Lantau’s lush greenery while gliding peacefully across the calm waters of the man-made lake. If you are heading out to Tai Mei Tuk for its coastal charms, you can also rent pedal boats to putter around.
For a laid-back pastime, there are few things as serene as finding a pastoral patch of open space, setting down your picnic basket, and unfurling a kite to let it drift lazily in the winds. Perfect for introducing the little ones to a more analogue way of having fun, kite-flying makes for an exciting new adventure, and there are plenty of ideal spots around Hong Kong to indulge in this activity. Check out our round-up of the best places for kite-flying!