Hong Kong’s winter months bring with it the perfect mix of sun and breeze, here are five ways to enjoy the beautiful weather outdoors
Despite occasional cold fronts, weather in Hong Kong’s winter is generally mild and pleasant, with plenty of sunshine and comfortable temperatures, especially from December to early January. You have a better chance of seeing the clear blue sky and feeling a fresh cool breeze. It’s the best season in the city for outdoor activities. With more stable weather, you can also plan your weekend getaway well ahead without worrying about rainstorms or even typhoons. Here we have selected five activities that allow you to enjoy our great outdoors in winter.
You can go hiking in Hong Kong year-round, but the cooler temperatures in winter allow you to tackle some of the more challenging routes,, which are too arduous to walk under hot and humid weather. For example, you can conquer some of the city’s highest peaks for the panorama view from the hilltop, such as Lantau Peak (934m), Sunset Peak (869m), Ma On Shan (702m) and Fei Ngo Shan (602m), or striking peaks such as Sharp Peak (468m) and High Junk Peak (344m) in Sai Kung. Weather in winter also permits you to hike safely on mountain ridges and exposed terrains such as the picturesque Pat Sin Leng in Tai Po or take on a challenging but rewarding hike, such as the 14km route from Wu Kau Tang to see the Devil’s Fist at Wong Chuk Kok Tsui.
The pleasant weather of winter also allows you to explore some of the more tranquil and less touristy outlying islands, and your journey and ferry ride are less likely to be affected by an approaching typhoon. Part of the Hong Kong UNESCO Global Geopark, the crescent-shaped Tung Ping Chau island comprises sedimentary rocks formed between 65 and 50 million years ago. More geologic wonders can be found on Po Toi Island, such as the Buddha’s Palm Cliff and Ap Chau with its unique sea arch known as “duck eye”. To experience the life of traditional fishing villages and fresh seafood, catch a ferry to Ko Lau Wan, Tung Lung Chau or Grass Island.
Cycling is one of the most popular activities for Hong Kong people in winter, with less rain and cooler temperatures. The opening of the 60km Tuen Mun to Ma On Shan cycle track network in 2020 means now you can paddle all the way across the New Territories from west to east. If you don’t have enough time or energy for the whole journey, try out the popular Yuen Long to Sheung Shui section to visit historical attractions such as Ping Shan Heritage Trail and Tai Fu Tai Mansion. Closer to the city, the section between Shatin and Taipo is the best place to enjoy the stunning view of Tolo Harbour and Pat Sin Leng mountain range.
Like hiking, trail running is more enjoyable in winter because of the dry and cooler weather. The city’s large area of country parks (covering some 40 per cent of total land area) offers a diversity of trails and terrains for you to explore. There are also four long-distance hiking trails – MacLehose Trail (100km), Wilson Trail (78km), Hong Kong Trail (50km) and Lantau Trail (70km) – which are easily accessible by public transport. You can pick any sections to run based on your time and fitness levels. Getting started is easy. All you need is a pair of trail running shoes and a small backpack to carry water and your stuff, and you are ready to hit the road.
Picture yourself flying in the blue sky of winter with the beautiful landscapes passing by under your feet. Tandem paragliding allows you to do just that safely with an instructor sitting at your back. Winter is an excellent time to try out this adventure sport,, and it’s less likely that your excursion will be cancelled because of bad weather. Your hike up to the mountain for the flight will also be more enjoyable with cooler temperatures. In Hong Kong, most tandem paragliding excursions take place on Sunset Peak on Lantau, Ma On Shan near Sai Kung, or Dragon’s Back on Hong Kong Island; and your flying location and timing will depend on weather and winds. A flying section with 10-20 minutes’ flight time may cost around HK$2,500; it’s essential to make sure the operator has a proper license.