Header image courtesy of @par_lor (via Instagram)
Why pay thousands of dollars for nice scenery when you can view them for just a few dollars—and in the comfort of air-conditioning as well—here in Hong Kong? It’s time to stop looking at pictures of Hong Kong films online. See the city’s stunning urban and natural landscape with your own eyes on some of our favourite scenic bus rides.
Have you ever wondered how it’d be like to ride the MTR from one end of Hong Kong to another? Instead of staring at underground tunnels, take the more exciting option and board bus 290A from Tseung Kwan O in the east to Tsuen Wan in the west. The ride is shorter than you think: Thanks to the hillside roads of Lung Cheung Road and the rest of Route 7, you’d be zooming from Kwun Tong straight to Tsuen Wan with no stops in between. Be sure to sit on the left side of the top deck if you’re boarding on the Tseung Kwan O side—and vice versa for the opposite direction—to admire the sprawling expanse of the Kowloon peninsula; don’t fall asleep or else you’d miss it!
Everyone takes the Peak Tram to The Peak, when in fact you could get as much if not more out of the cheaper, more exhilarating bus ride. Shortly after you hop on bus 15 at the Exchange Square Bus Terminus in Central, keep an eye out for the many historical buildings in the area, such as the old Legislative Council building and the Cenotaph near Statue Square. The precarious climb up the mountain doesn’t begin until after Wan Chai, where the narrow, sharp, and winding roads would have you feeling like you’re on a roller-coaster. Catch glimpses of the skyscrapers below before finally alighting at the terminus for more gorgeous views. We recommend boarding an hour or so before sunset for the best vibes (and pics!).
Hong Kongers and tourists alike are familiar with Nathan Road, Kowloon’s busiest thoroughfare lined with shops of all kinds. Perhaps you’ve strolled along its length before, but the ground-level view really can’t compare to the one from the top deck of bus 6. In an evenly-paced trip with stops every few hundred metres, bus 6 takes you through the entire stretch of Nathan Road and the adjacent Cheung Sha Wan Road. The best time to ride this route is at night, when the streets are the most packed and the city’s signature LED billboards and neon signs illuminate the night. Stare down at the milling crowds from your high perch and admire the dazzling Hong Kong nightscape as it appears in the movies.
With over 70 stops along the way, you won’t find many commuters on the quintessential sightseeing route that is bus 53. You’d see a mix of newer housing estates and traditional villages, but also beaches such as Cafeteria Beach and Gold Coast’s Golden Beach. We recommend riding the bus during the daytime for the mid-ride seaside views along the Tuen Mun Road. Speed through blue skies and seas on the expressway, where you can feast your eyes on Hong Kong’s landmark Tsing Ma Bridge and the Ting Kau Bridge. If you squint, you may even spot Noah’s Ark on the island of Ma Wan!
Sai Kung is well known for its beaches, hikes, and other natural scenery, but it’s also known to be very far and hard to reach. That’s amended by bus 92, whose terminus is right outside the Diamond Hill MTR station. Watch the city slowly fade away as your bus climbs up the lush mountains before arriving at Sai Kung Town Centre. Refuel with some fresh local seafood and shop around their charming small shops, before deciding if you’re done for the day. Want to continue? Wise choice; board bus 94 at the Sai Kung Bus Terminus to make your way inside Sai Kung Country Park. Enjoy the best of Sai Kung’s untouched natural scenery—bays, islands and all—in just an hour or so when your friends had to hike for days.
If you yearn after the thrill of speeding along a highway, soaking in the stunning views from up high, you’d love bus 969 from Causeway Bay to Tin Shui Wai. Before the tunnels and highways opened up, the trip would’ve probably taken more than two hours. Now, after you leave the Island side and emerge from the Western Harbour Tunnel, you’ll shoot through one highway after another without stopping in an hour-long trip.
Take a peep of the Victoria Harbour from the Kowloon side on the left, before turning your attention to the historical tong lau of Tai Kok Tsui on the right. Then it’s back to the left again for the multicolour parade that is the Kwai Chung Container Terminal. Before you know it, you’ve entered yet another tunnel. On the other side is the laid-back, bucolic vibes of the Tin Shui Wai area, where the fields and hills replace the dense city buildings from just minutes ago.