Annie Wong explores Hong Kong’s wetlands by bicycle.
It’s a sunny day – make the most of it by going cycling. From Tseung Kwan O Seafront to the paths around Tolo Harbour, cycle tracks are surprisingly plentiful in the New Territories. One of our favourite routes, however, is the Yuen Long to Nam Sang Wai circuit.
What is it?
In the heart of the New Territories, Yuen Long is a flat area with expansive tracks through the wetlands that are perfect for riding a bike. Away from the town centre lies a rural area that feels worlds away from the city, which attracts explorers alike. The 20km circuit is easy going, offering plenty of scope for taking in the villages and mangroves of the Nam Sang Wai wetlands.
End the day with a drink and maybe a bite to eat at a stilted cafe on the bank of the Kam Tin River in Yuen Long before taking a boat trip across the river back to your starting point.
Where is it?
Begin your trip in Yuen Long, where those who don’t have their own bicycles can
rent one for the day from one of the many shops outside the Yuen Long MTR station. (Tandems are also available, but tend to sell out quickly.) Follow signs to the cycle tracks, then head north along the river to the Nam Sang Wai wetlands. The route passes through scenes of old Hong Kong, including the ancestral halls, temples and stalls of old villages such as historic Kam Tin, with its ancient walls.
When to go?
August and September herald a drop in humidity while the sun is still out. There is no better time to get outdoors. On blue-sky weekends you are unlikely to be alone, of course, and with motorists, cyclists and keen adventurers all sharing the road, things can get hairy. Much of the route is designated cycle track, but in some stretches cyclists rejoin the main road.
There’s something for the whole family. The 20km trail is long enough for bike junkies, but there are plenty of shortcuts for less enthusiastic cyclists, and families can take a break while the kids run free in open grassy areas. Pack a picnic and plenty of water for a great day out.
Bicycle rental: bicycles are $45 a day (10am- 7pm) on weekends, $30 Mon-Fri. Tin Fung Bicycle Company, Shop B, G/F, Lee Kwan Building, 37 On Lok Road, Yuen Long, 2442 3808, www.yl.hk/ad/3808. MTR: Yuen Long Station, Exit B.
What’s near by?
Make a longer day of it, by visiting the Hong Kong Wetland Park in Tin Shui Wai. The 61-hectare park hosts regular learning workshops and guided activities which are open to the public. Check website for upcoming programmes. Tickets $30, children $15. Open Wed- Mon 10am-5pm; closed Tuesdays. Wetland Park Road, Tin Shui Wai, 3152 2666, www.wetlandpark.gov.hk.
Other cycle tracks in the New Territories
Black Diamond Trail
For more experienced cyclists. The mountain bike trail stretches across 3.8km in Tai Lam Country Park and passes Fire Lookout and links up to the MacLehose Trail. The course was designed by International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA).
Tseung Kwan O Seafront
A 1.5km cycle route connects Tseung Kwan O town centre with the seafront, with green areas along the route to enjoy the harbour views. Tiu Keng Leng MTR station Exit A2, or Tseung Kwan O MTR station Exit A2.
Tai Po, Hong Kong Science and Technology Park
The family-friendly route covers the Science Park through Tai Po to Plover Cove with sea and mountain views and a tuck shop for refuelling. Take no. 27 minibus from MTR Sha Tin station on Pai Tau Street. Parking available.