Livin’ in the Kong! The (Mostly) Great Outdoors of Hong KongPosted: August 16, 2014
Verdant Hong Kong
The most wonderful surprise for me has been the impressive natural elements found throughout HK – providing a beautiful contrast to HK’s more urban and iconic modern developments. Everyone knows HK is packed with glitzy skyscrapers and shopping malls, but even amidst all of that, you stumble across gigantic trees with sprawling roots that snake down city walls.
Parks are full of greenery, the surrounding islands are lush with foliage. Refreshing to view, perhaps all that plant life even helps make up for the occasional smog by pumping some oxygen into this fair city.
Even construction sites appear a tad more charming and ‘green’ with elaborate and precarious-looking bamboo scaffolding, instead of the traditional steel versions.
Hong Kong translates literally as ‘fragrant harbour’. While the phrase perhaps does not conjure the most positive images, I assure you it is not reminiscent of the infamous odors that billow up from, say, Venice in the summertime. HK’s piece of the South China Sea does create a beautiful backdrop for the city and serves as the foundation for bustling commuter, tourist, and fishing activity. The aquatic surroundings feed numerous beaches, many within minutes from city central. And the mountains are a lovely bonus.
The big picture
When the skies are clear (unfortunately not often the case during wintertime) – HK’s vistas are glorious to behold! Classically beautiful views can be yours from multiple vantage points around the islands, whether up on Victoria Peak, at the top of one of HK’s grand skyscrapers, or on Dragon’s Back or on one of the other countless hiking trails.
Into the heat
There is a bit of a downside to all of this beauty. In the summertime, heading out to explore it means stepping into the heat. And ‘hot’ doesn’t aptly describe Hong Kong in the summer. Those who live here or have visited during this time of the year know that the humidity is often crushing (80% or higher can be the norm). It feels like it melts you on contact.
Add to that the pungent scents of the traditional Chinese medicine and dried seafood shops in Sheung Wan or Sai Ying Pun, which seem to be exaggerated by the blistering heat – and prepare yourself for a bit of a headspin!
But the temporary pain is, in my opinion, well worth it – at least in short bursts!
All images © 2014 deb fong photography
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