Top Secret Spots in Hong Kong You Never Knew Existed
You might think you’ve hit all the best “secret” spots in town – but honestly, the speakeasy that’s been open for a few years doesn’t really count. In the city of Hong Kong, there are surprisingly more than a few sites off the beaten path that perhaps even locals don’t know about. Embrace these true hidden gems across Hong Kong, from an Instagram-friendly swimming shed to a hidden dim sum joint in the mountains.
Shek Kwu Chau
You’ve probably stepped foot on Lamma or Cheung Chau – but did you know there’s an outlying island off the coast of Lantau called Shek Kwu Chau? The isle actually houses a rehab clinic, but that’s not what’s special about it. It’s home to extensive classical-inspired structures and even a Roman-style bath, built by patients at the clinic over decades. Shek Kwu Chau is entirely off limits to the public, but there’s one day a year in November when it’s open.
Directions: From Central Pier 5, take a ferry to Cheung Chau. From there, take a 20-minute ferry to reach Shek Kwu Chau.
Wong Nai Chung Reservoir
Pedal boating? Check. Plenty of fish and ducks to feed? Check. The Wong Nai Chung Reservoir has everything you need to make for a slightly unusual relaxing day out. Located next to the Parkview estate in Tai Tam, the reservoir is in fact an artificial lake. Set against the hills of the Southside, it feels very much like an oasis in the middle of Hong Kong Island. Remember to BYOB (bring your own bread) to feed the fish with, as well as snacks and water for the day. There’s a tiny kiosk here, but items are often sold at an inflated price.
Directions: Take the no.6 or 66 bus from Central; or no.5 or 76 from Causeway Bay. Get off at the Wong Nai Chung Reservoir Park stop. Walk 10 minutes.
Tai Tong Organic Ecopark
Most people aren’t aware there are farms in Hong Kong, but Tai Tong Organic Ecopark is one such location. Nestled in Yuen Long, the 30-acre farm offers strawberry- and lychee-picking, as well as horse-riding, fishing and BBQ, as well as agricultural workshops.
11 Tai Tong Shan Road, Yuen Long, (852) 2470 2201
Directions: Get out at Long Ping MTR station, get the no. K66 bus to Tai Tong, get off at Tai Tong Shan Road, and follow the signs to the Ecopark.
Sai Wan Swimming Shed
Any Instagram addicts, or swimming aficionados in the house? Try Sai Wan Swimming Shed. Just off Victoria Road in Kennedy Town, the swimming shed is the only one of its kind that remains in the city. The picturesque spot has become popular with amateur photographers. Oh, and it’s not a bad place for a dip either.
Directions: Located on Victoria Road, Kennedy Town, off Mount Davis.
Victoria Peak Garden
The Peak is obviously no secret to anyone. The Victoria Peak Garden, however, is located on a lesser-travelled section. It comes complete with streams and plenty of shade – perfect for a picnic. There are gorgeous pergolas and pavilions dotted around the place, too (cue the #nofilter hashtag!). The garden once used to be part of the Governor of Hong Kong’s residence but is now open to all, including our furry friends – a rarity in Hong Kong.
Directions: On the Peak, go up Victoria Gap Road until you reach the top.
A gorgeous structure that stands on the hills of Pok Fu Lam, the Bethanie is a grade II-listed neo-gothic church and academic complex. There’s plenty of history behind the building – it was originally built in 1875 by the Paris Foreign Missions Society. Believe it or not, the housing estates across the road used to be where Dairy Farm stood, and in 2003 the Bethanie and the cowshed structures that still exist today were allocated to the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts. There are guided tours available, and the Bethanie also has awesome views of the East Lamma Channel.
139 Pok Fu Lam Road, Pok Fu Lam
Directions: Take the no.37 bus or no.22 minibus from Exchange Square, Central. Get off at Pokfulam Village.
Duen Kee Tea House
Did you know that the tallest mountain in Hong Kong, Tai Mo Shan, has a secret dim sum place? That’s right – Duen Kee Tea House is a family-run, self-serve restaurant based out of a spot right in the middle of the mountains. Here you’ll find all the usual suspects like har gow, siu mai, spring rolls and cheung fun.
57-58 Chuen Lung Estate, Route Twisk, Tsuen Wan
Directions: There isn’t really an easy way – grab a cab from Tsuen Wan.
Andrea Lo is a freelance journalist and translator based in Hong Kong. After cutting her teeth in the industry as a staff writer at a lifestyle magazine, she embraced the freelance life in 2015 and hasn’t looked back. She spends her time exploring the best of Hong Kong’s dining and nightlife scene, trialling new fitness trends, and travelling to exotic locales – all in the name of “research”.