Article sponsored by Hong Kong Tourism Board and Cathay Pacific

Much more than a stopover on a trip to other destinations in Asia, Hong Kong has so much to offer that it lends itself readily to long stays. Beyond the urban jungle, the archipelago is favorable, and we know it less, to astonishing discoveries: a booming artistic and cultural scene, a dynamic gastronomy between street food and starred restaurants and countless outdoor activities accessible from the city center. The change of scenery begins on the outward flight.

Traveling with Cathay Pacific, the Hong Kong airline, allows you to discover an undeniable sense of hospitality and 5-star* service, at 10,000 meters above sea level! No formality is required: the destination has reopened with the total lifting of travel restrictions linked to Covid-19** and welcomes international visitors with open arms, visa-free for Europeans. After landing, the surprise is total. The 262 islands and 24 protected natural parks of the territory are as many possibilities for nature lovers and sportsmen of all levels. Here are 5 activities you never imagined you could do on your way to Hong Kong.

Swimming and snorkeling in turquoise waters

Hong Kong conceals unexpected treasures: beaches of golden sand on which it is good to bask and swim. If those on Hong Kong Island are very busy, it is possible to enjoy a quieter setting, for example on the beach of Pui O, which stretches out at the foot of the hills of Lantau Island and is easily accessible by bus, from the MTR Tung Chung subway exit or after a ferry crossing from Central Pier No. 6. Some beaches are also suitable for snorkeling. After a short ferry ride from Sai Kung, mask, snorkel and flippers are all you need to explore the underwater life that thrives in the coral reef of the sumptuous Sharp Island (otherwise known as Kiu Tsui Chau). Between the main island and the islet of Kiu Tau, a tombolo allows you to cross on foot at low tide. One of the best diving areas is a little further south. Clownfish, yellowtail damselfish, crabs, sea urchins, and butterfly rays frolic among the colorful corals and sandy waters of these idyllic beaches.

Sharp Island and its beaches

Water sports in exceptional conditions

The discovery of marine life can continue on a stand up paddle, at the peaceful pace of the paddles. In the northeast of the territory, the Sai Kung peninsula offers, from the villages of Yung Shue O or Sham Chung, an 8 km route along its coast, ideal for well-trained explorers. Similarly, at the foot of Ma On Shan mountain, near Kei Ling Ha, the ecosystem is abundant: fish, sponges, starfish, corals and more than 300 species associated with the reef. Here again, it is possible to paddle for several kilometres, before turning around to take in the pretty Tolo Bay or the impressive volcanic rock formations of Lai Chi Chong.

The most athletic can also indulge in water sports: surfing or windsurfing on Big Wave Bay beach in Hong Kong Island or on Cheung Sha beach on Lantau Island, where you can also practice sea ​​kayaking, between white sand and crystal clear waters. Travelers tempted by kite surfing will rejoice when they discover the lagoon Shui Hau Wan Beach, in Lantau, ideal for getting started on a calm sea.

Stand-up paddleboarding at Cheung Sha Beach

Hiking, climbing and even trail running!

The Hong Kong archipelago can also be explored on foot. Beaches, rocky coasts, dense forests and rolling mountains… Several hundred kilometers of marked routes cross beautifully preserved natural areas. A few minutes by public transport from the Central district, the effervescent district of Hong Kong Island, which concentrates business buildings, shopping centers and luxury hotels in the heart of Hong Kong, and accessible by public transport, there are countless paths for walking, jogging, hiking or even trail running, all very well maintained. The most legendary starts as soon as you exit the Peak Tram, this mythical funicular built in 1888 and recently renovated, which provides access to Victoria Peak and enjoys one of the most beautiful views of the archipelago.

Several climbing sites for seasoned practitioners and able to handle the equipment exist on the small mountainous island of Tung Lung Chau. Three rock walls are particularly popular: the Technical Wall, the Sea Gully, which overlooks a narrow inlet, and the Big Wall. Between refreshing sea breeze and roaring waves, adrenaline is at the rendezvous. At the top, a reward, always the same: a panorama of exceptional beauty.

View from the side of High Junk Peak over Clear Water Bay

Observation of birds, and the singular fauna of the places

In the compact and diverse territory that is Hong Kong, nature is never far away. You can observe, on various occasions, an abundant fauna: pink white dolphin from China and finless porpoise from the Indo-Pacific in the oceanic waters, rare butterflies, monkeys and snakes in the hills and migratory birds – there are thousands each year to stop at Mai Po. The luckiest visitors may spot a black-spotted leopard cat at a bend in a path, or a flock of yellow-crested cockatoos in the heart of Central District.

Discover the pleasures of the palate even before taking off

Because all these activities whet the appetite, lovers of Asian flavors can continue their discovery through the local cuisine and reach the heights of taste… even on the plane! Indeed, Cathay Pacific has partnered with Michelin-starred restaurant Duddell’s to bring the flavors of Hong Kong to First Class and Business Class travellers. Revisited typical dishes – abalone, fried lobster, shredded chicken and jellyfish salad or curdled milk with ginger – are to be savored during the flight, while watching a good programme. Cathay Pacific is, since 2022, the first airline in the Asia-Pacific region to introduce HBO Max Originals in its in-flight entertainment offer and to offer more than 200 hours of programs, including the greatest hits from the HBO catalogue. .

Cathay Pacific

Hong Kong is just under 10,000 kilometers from France. The good news is that it is also one of the easiest destinations to get to. Seven direct flights a week are operated by Cathay Pacific, one of the best airlines in the world.

*according to Skytrax classification

** Travel restrictions have been lifted: quarantine, vaccination, wearing a mask inside and outside and the antigen or PCR test before leaving France are no longer mandatory for foreign visitors wishing to travel in Hong Kong.

As a reminder, with a European passport valid for more than a month after returning from Hong Kong, visitors do not need a visa to stay up to 90 days on site as tourists.