Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Exploring the New Territories

It is often the case that folk tend to undervalue the tourism value of where they live or were brought up in. My Husband and I decided that we wanted to explore the New Territories of Hong Kong having covered the more popular tourist spots on Hong Kong Island and Kowloon on previous visits.

Modern technology has made being a tourist so easy. Here's few great tips on how to use your smart phone to help find your way about:

  1. If you are going to be in a place for a week it is worth buying a sim card. We bought CSL prepaid sim cards for our smart phones. This gives us 7 days of data for HK$100 (US$12) allowing us to access google maps as well as all the other online goodies we are used to.
  2. Sign up for Kindle Unlimited ($10 per month). Even if you don't have a kindle you can use the kindle app on your phone. Using Kindle Unlimited, you have access to all the Lonely Planet guides - a fabulous resource especially if, like us, you are covering more than one country/region on your travels. Then there's all the reading you'll have access to without adding to your luggage weight. When you return home you can simply cancel your subscription if you feel you are no longer using Kindle Unlimited to its full extent.
  3. When you use the Kindle Reader app on your smart phone you can click on links and get information directly from the web. There are also links to google maps. This is great for sussing out where things are.
So using the Hong Kong Lonely Planet guide through Kindle unlimited on my phone, we were able to identify and locate a couple of places that sounded like they'd be worth a visit.

The first was right up our street - The Kong Kong Wetlands Park.

Using google maps public transport feature, (just click the wee train instead of the car icon) we were able to figure out which trains would take us to the park. There is actually a Wetlands Park stop. Goggle tells you to get of at the stop before it - ignore that and get off at the Wetlands Park stop - the park is clearly signposted from here. Either stop is fine and the park entrance is equidistant from both stops.

The sign said the park was closed on Tuesdays.

It was Tuesday but...

It was open on public holidays - so we were okay.

The nice thing about the park is that it is a haven of natural quietude in the midst of a huge busy city. The juxtaposition of the scenic ponds and vegetation with the skyscrapers peeking over the tree tops brought home how well this area has been maintained despite the construction all around.

The park itself has well appointed amenities and serves to introduce a wilderness area to city dwellers very effectively.

We got there early - about 10.30am (that's early in Hong Kong - in California... not so much!)



We had the place to ourselves and really enjoyed the change of pace. By lunchtime it had turned chaotic. All the families had arrived and it seemed like the majority of patrons were under the age of 4!

We got the heck outta there! But decided that it was well worth visiting. Good call, Lonely Planet.

The next stop was just a little bit to the east along the West Rail line. According to Lonely Planet, Shui Tau Tsuen is a 17th-century village, "famous for its prow-shaped roofs decorated with dragons and lucky fish."

We thought we'd have a look.

It had a really rural feel to it and was eerily deserted, but you couldn't shake the feeling that you were being watched.

We wandered through deserted streets and thought some of the buildings were picturesque, we both agreed that perhaps Lonely Planet had over-sold this one!

The most interesting thing to see in the village wasn't even mentioned in the Lonely Planet. This huge tree that looked like something from Game of Thrones.


It was still a nice walk and a pleasant way to send an afternoon away from the crowds and claustrophobic high rises.

Byddi Lee



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