Most people think all of Hong Kong’s territory is urbanized already, and has no place to call a lush countryside. Visit New Territories and think again. In New Territories, preserved historic villages and natural parks will help you learn about the historic stories of rural Hong Kong. It is by far the largest area making up 86 per cent of Hong Kong’s territory with a land area of 952 square kilometers, stretching from north of Kowloon all the way up to the Chinese border. This big space once leased to the United Kingdom in 1898 under the Second Convention of Peking now serves as a home to more than 3 million people representing almost 50 per cent of Hong Kong’s total population. This makes the New Territories a place where you can learn about the living environment of Hong Kong’s ordinary people.
As opposed to the urban energy of Hong Kong Island and Kowloon Peninsula, the New Territories is a vast area of peaceful century-old villages, ancient temples, monasteries, untouched fields, country parks, and animal farms. Amidst efforts by the government to develop the area through remarkable public-housing projects, the place still attracts those that appreciate a more peaceful and simpler way of living.
Its main attractions include the following:
1. Sha Tin - the largest and one of Hong Kong’s two horse-racing tracks.
2. Chuk Lam Sim yeun - an impressive Buddhist sanctuary housing the 3 largest indoor Buddha statues in Hong Kong.
3. Tai Mo Shan Lookout - Hong Kong’s highest peak offering a stunning panorama over the green valley and the serene countryside of the New Territories.
4. Shui Tau Village - the birthplace of clan-based village culture.
5. Kadoorie farm - a tranquil lush garden with exotic flora and fauna and farm animals.
More than just stunning visual sights, the New Territories also offers you the opportunity to enjoy outdoor sports such as hiking, cycling, jogging, and bird-watching. The Tai Po Waterfront Park is a must-visit. When it comes to eating out, in contrast to restaurants in Hong Kong Island or Kowloon, the New Territories offers a wide variety of local dishes, but at a more reasonable price because their customers are more of the local people. Sai Kung, the most engaging settlement here, has a number of restaurants and bars which appeal to visitors because of their range of local and western cuisine, with seafood restaurants as the most famed.
You can reach the New Territories in a number of ways. By train, the East Rail line and West Rail line have stops at its different districts. The Ma On Shan rail line branches out at Tai Wai and is convenient for heading out east towards Sai Kung. In addition, there are several interchange stations from West Rail to the Light Rail (or vice versa) that would allow you to reach the other destinations of Yuen Long, Tin Shui Wai and Tuen Mun. By bus, the Kowloon Motor Bus operates a large number of bus routes across the New Territories. Because of the much easier and safer traffic conditions in the New Territories, traveling by bike is also an option. Bike rental is available from many locations with fees approximately HK$30-60 per day.