Urban Explorer Series: Hong Kong Shifts' Travel Itinerary
“When you step outside of your comfort zone, you realise that there is so much to see and so much to learn. By having that open mindedness to roam around the city, you really get acquainted with the people in each neighbourhood.”
Hong Kong Shifts’ Travel Itinerary
As true urban explorers themselves, Cynthia Cheng and Maxime Vanhollebeke, Founders of Hong Kong Shifts, really know the ins and outs of the city like the back of their hand. When they are not interviewing shift workers in Hong Kong for their photographic project that aims to promote social inclusion and diversity, you can find them exploring the peaks and many islands of Hong Kong. Find out which places they believe best encapsulate the heart of Hong Kong. Follow their recommended top spots now:
Sham Shui Po
It is such a historic area in Hong Kong. There is such rich local culture and food that can be found here. In recent years, this neighbourhood has become very vibrant, trendy and hipster as well. You can sift through the Apliu Street Flea Market for some great finds and electronic gadgets, or try some of the local eateries serving delicious noodles and roast meats.
Yau Ma Tei
This area has so many unique gems! One of our favourite places to visit is the Broadway Cinematheque theatre next to the eclectic Kubrik café, located in Prosperous Garden, a public housing estate. This cool cinema screens a wide spectrum of independent and art films that are not shown in many other cinemas in the city so it is definitely worth the visit. There is also a variety of delectable street foods here to try as well!
Ham Tin Wan
From Sai Kung Pavilion, you can hike to this beautiful beach with probably the best water in Hong Kong. Right on the beach is a café outlooking the beautiful water, so you can enjoy delicious and affordable local dishes complemented by a stunning view.
To Kwa Wan
An area of the eastern shore of Kowloon peninsula, To Kwa Wan is quite a contrasting area surrounded by new developments against a little hub of powerhouses and garages. This neighbourhood may seem a little sleepy but if you take a deeper dive into this neighbourhood, you will discover many interesting gems like the Cattle Depot Artist Village, a compound that houses 20 art groups, featuring various exhibitions and talks throughout the year.
Filled with so much history and charm, this district spans old neighbourhoods, lush suburban enclaves, and many historic sites that is worth exploring. Cynthia and Maxime particularly love to visit this area for their delicious Thai eateries!
Ma On Shan
One of Cynthia’s favourite hikes in Hong Kong is Ma On Shan’s Pyramid Hill, boasting spectacular views of the city. Here, you can get a 360-degree picture-perfect view of the city against the mountains, water and paragliders.
Lam Tsuen Country Park
Located in Tai Po district, the hiking trails here are absolutely incredible with unparalleled views of Hong Kong but the hike up may be quite strenuous so be prepared to get soar legs the next day! Atop the hills, you can enjoy broad views of Yuen Long Plain and Lam Tsuen Valley.
Hoi Ha Wan
Also known as Jone’s Cove, Hoi Ha Wan is a bay at the north of Sai Kung Peninsula and it is part of Hoi Ha Wan Marine Park. You can enjoy a day trip there and go diving into its stunning waters with many eye-catching corals and fishes. It is really beautiful, calm and serene.
As part of the Hong Kong UNESCO Global Geopark and officially classified as a Site of Special Scientific Interest, this paradise houses an ecosystem of aquatic life and coral reefs. Just a 30-minute speed boat ride from Sai Kung, this relaxing little spot is the ideal place if you enjoy exploring unknown terrain. As there are no tuck shops or bathroom facilities, be sure to pack a day’s worth of water and appropriate hiking gear.