Hong Kong

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Escaping the city’s relentless buzz is delightfully simple, thanks to the fact that Hong Kong Island makes up only around 7% of the region’s total landmass. The rest is verdant, spacious, and easily accessible.

Day Trips from Hong Kong

Cheung Chau

Home to the famous weeklong Bun Festival in May, this tiny outlying island is packed with temples – including Pak Tai, one of the oldest in Hong Kong – as well as a sandy beachfront, trinket stores, and charming narrow lanes worth exploring. Ferries to Cheung Chau leave from Hong Kong Island’s Central Pier 5 (www.nwff.com.hk). Take a fast ferry (30 minutes) or luxuriate on the outside deck of a triple-decker (50 minutes) for the best views.

6.2 miles southwest of Hong Kong Island (50 minutes by slow ferry, 30 minutes by fast ferry), www.cheungchau.org
Tags: beach | family | culture | history | day trip

Hong Kong Disneyland

Mickey makes it to Southeast Asia! A smaller version of its U.S.- and European-based counterparts, this theme park on Lantau’s Penny Bay boasts familiar attractions like Tomorrowland, Fantasyland, and Main Street U.S.A. Take the MTR to Sunny Bay and board the special Disney train that heads directly to Mickey and Minnie’s kingdom. Journey time from Central to Disneyland is about 30-40 minutes.

Penny Bay, 15 miles west of Hong Kong Island (30-40 minutes by train), 011-852-1830-830, park.hongkongdisneyland.com
Tags: family | day trip | road trips

Lantau Island

Just a ferry ride away, the city’s biggest outlying island is twice the size of Hong Kong Island, with less than half the population. Head here for quiet beaches, hilly hikes, and views of Tian Tan, the world’s largest outdoor seated bronze Buddha. Grab a ferry from Central Pier 5 on Hong Kong Island (www.nwff.com.hk).

15 miles west of Hong Kong Island (50 minutes by slow ferry, 30 minutes by fast ferry), Ferries depart from Central Pier 5, 011-852-3666-0606, www.np360.com.hk
Tags: beach | family | hiking | outdoors | culture | day trip


China’s other SAR, this former Portuguese colony maintains much of its original style and architecture. It’s also fast becoming the Las Vegas of Asia, with its own Venetian and MGM Grand casinos. The juxtaposition of the historical and hi-tech is worth the trip. Aside from helicopters (www.skyshuttlehk.com), the main way to Macau is by ferry. On Hong Kong Island, TurboJet ferries depart roughly four times an hour from Shun Tak Centre near Sheung Wan MTR, and in Kowloon from the China Ferry Terminal (www.turbojet.com.hk). The CotaiJet, which runs every 30 minutes from both Hong Kong starting points (as well as from the Hong Kong airport), sails directly to Macau’s Cotai Strip. All ferry journeys take approximately one hour. Ferries run from Hong Kong to Macau from 7am to 1am; they run from Macau to Hong Kong from 7:30am to 5am (cotaijet.com.mo).

37 miles southwest of Hong Kong Island (1-hour by ferry, 16 minutes by helicopter), www.macau.com
Tags: editor pick | culture | history | day trip


Across the border into China proper, this shopper’s paradise promises a veritable mecca of designer purses, watches, shoes, and clothing at deeply discounted prices (both knock-offs and the real thing). The massive Luo Hu Commercial City mall is the most popular stop. Just be sure to get a visa to China before going!

18 miles north of Hong Kong Island (40 minutes by train on the KCR Kowloon-Canton Railway), www.visitshenzhen.com
Tags: day trip

The New Territories

From Tai Mo Shan, Hong Kong’s tallest mountain, to Mai Po Marsh, a protected wetland home to hundreds of birds, to the famous racecourse in Sha Tin, the greenness of the New Territories is highly refreshing. If it’s your first time to the territories, you’ll get the most out of your day with a guided tour. Alternatively, venture out on your own with the MTR system, which covers many of the major points in the New Territories (it runs as far west as Tsuen Wan, and north up to Sheung Shui, the last stop before the boundary with China). From Central, the journey to both destinations takes around 60 minutes. The following website provides a helpful guide to the territory's highlights: www.discoverhongkong.com/eng/mustknow/maps/index.jhtml

Starts 7 miles north of Hong Kong Island, 60 minutes to both Sheung Shui and Tsuen Wan from Central Hong Kong,
Tags: outdoors | history | day trip

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