A staycation summer doesn't necessarily mean checking into a plush hotel, says Gayatri Bhaumik. Our fair city is blessed with some incredible countryside and there's no better way to experience it than by spending a day in nature before falling asleep under the stars.
Celebrate the great outdoors with a night under canvas.
Tucked along the New Territories coastline, Mingle Farm offers some of the most unique ‘glamping’ experiences in Hong Kong. Guests can choose to stay in transparent or opaque bubbles to sleep under the stars without the risk of being eaten by mozzies; these pods are also fitted with cozy beds and air con (perfect for summer!) but you’ll have to share the public bathrooms. If that’s not quite your thing, you can also book the camper vans which offer private kitchenette and bathroom facilities.
There’s plenty to keep you entertained here, too. Listen to eco-themed talks or indulge in fun activities like archery and zorbing. You’ll also find inflatable games, kites, barbecue pits and much more to keep you busy.
Getting here: Take the MTR to Yuen Long, then catch bus 33, 34A or K65 and hop off at Lau Fau Shan. From there, you can grab a cab for the short drive to the farm.
Sai Yuen Camping & Adventure Park
Another fun retreat in the Hong Kong countryside, Sai Yuen Farm is sprawled across 11 acres on Cheung Chau island, so the kids will have plenty of space to run wild. There are five camping areas and over 40 tents here, including African Safari Tents, Native American Teepees, and Mongolian Gers – all available in different sizes and bedding configurations – but you’ll want to book the rather more romantic Star Gazing Geodesic Domes which come with private showers and toilets and outdoor picnic areas.
While you’re here, try your hand at disc golf, let the kids live out their F1 dreams in mini electric cars, get up and close with the wildlife in at the goat pen, or perhaps make a classic Hong Kong snack at a bubble waffle workshop. For the adventurous, abseiling and canopy walks are also on offer.
Getting here: Catch the ferry from Central to Cheung Chau, then take the 20-minute walk to the site.
Fancy a beachside glamping experience? Then you’ll want to head over to Pui O beach and the Treasure Island campsite. Perfect for families, the site offers tents for four to six people; there’s even a Family Staycation Package that includes two tents, barbecue equipment, two hours of free water sports equipment rental, a three-hour adventure session, and a special dinner setup. If you’re feeling flash, you can also book a cabana room (available in three sizes) which essentially like having a hotel room.
You can rent everything you need for your camping adventures, from coolers and sleeping bags, and you can even buy a s’mores pack for your barbecue dessert. If you don’t feel like cooking, you can get your grub from the onsite restaurant. While you’re here you can try your hand at surfing and let the kids indulge in the multitude of activities the camp puts on.
Getting here: Hop on the ferry to Mui Wo then catch bus 1 or 4 to Pui O.
Tai Long Wan
It doesn't get any better - Hong Kong's Ham Tin beach, Sai Kung East Country Park.
This destination in Sai Kung Country Park features four beaches that could almost fool you into thinking you were in the Mediterranean - think their glorious strips of soft sand and azure waters. If you’re looking for a relaxing sleeping-under-the-stars experience, this is as good as it gets in Hong Kong.
It’s a bit of a back-to-basics experience, so prepare accordingly if you know you’ll want a few creature comforts. There are some basic facilities like barbecue pits and toilets, and a few local shops and restaurants dotted about. Bring your own gear, or rent a tent when you arrive.
Getting here: Take bus 11 from Tung Chung or bus 1 from Mui Wo towards Tai O. Get out at the Shek Pik Reservoir West sop, then hike back up Stage 8 of the Lantau Trail for about 30 minutes. Another option is to take bus 29R or a taxi to Sai Wan Pavilion and hike for 90 minutes. You could also take a speedboat the whole way from Sai Kung.
This grassy spot in Lantau Country Park is a lush natural paradise that’s ideal for setting up camp. Idyllically located between a valley and woodland and boasting beautiful panoramas over Mui Wo and Pui O Bay, this expansive site can accommodate up to 100 campers. For a government campsite, it’s also pretty well equipped, featuring pavilions, barbecue pits, benches and tables, bathrooms, and even playgrounds for the kids. Hike the verdant surroundings by day, then stargaze and make s’mores over an open campfire by night.
Getting there: Take the MTR to Tung Chung, then get the 3M bus to Nam Shan. You can also get on any bus from Mui Wo – they all go past Nam Shan.
Formally known as Tap Mun, Grass Island is perched above the the Sai Kung peninsula and boasts sweeping sea views and vistas of green rolling hills. There’s no official campsite, but campers are welcome to pitch a tent in the grassy areas atop the southern headlands. While you’re here, hike through the wild coastline, head over to Balance Rock – often called Hong Kong’s Tower of Pisa – and fuel up on fresh seafood at the local restaurants.
Getting here: Catch the ferry from Ma Liu Shui or Wong Shek Pier, then walk up the path that heads north from the village.
Located along Cheung Sha, this beachfront campsite is an ideal choice for caravan fans. These fully kitted out mobile homes feature everything you need for a cosy stay, and they can comfortably hold up to five people. The best part though? You can spend the day enjoying the beach and water – you can get free rentals from the nearby water sports store – and then hit the nearby restaurants for dinner at night. The site even has barbecue facilities, and you can pre-book food packages that you can just throw on the grill.
Getting here: Take bus 1, 2, or 4 from Mui Wo, or bus 11, 11A, 23, or A35 from Tung Chung, and get off at Cheung Sha Butterfly Crest. The site is a short walk from there – just follow the Welcome Beach signs.
Tung Lung Chau
Perfect for both nature lovers and history buffs, this untamed island in the New Territories packs a lot of punch into 2.42 square kilometres. There’s the campsite with barbecue pits and a few stores in the locality, but you’re here for so much more than that. There’s the Qing Dynasty fort that was built in the 16th century prehistoric stone carvings; plenty of scenic walking trails over Nam Tong Shan; and some of the best outdoor rock climbing you’ll find in Hong Kong.
Getting here: Take the ferry to Sai Wan Ho, then catch a ferry from the pier.