Summer in urban Hong Kong is beautiful but humid, so for a breath of fresh air, head to the island’s scenic trails and beaches – and turn your trip into an experience

Hong Kong’s best-kept secret is that the island is flush with pathways cutting up and through its lush green hills. One of the most popular escapes is to The Peak, whose Peak Circle Walk offers some of the most memorable views of the city below. Since it can become jammed with visitors and dog walkers from mid-morning onwards, it’s best to head out early before the hiking path becomes too crowded.

Wan Chai Gap Park

Wan Chai Gap Park

The Wan Chai Green Trail is also perfect for an hour’s urban getaway. From Central Hong Kong, head to the easily accessible Wan Chai Market on Queen’s Road East. From here, the steep start at the corner of Wan Chai Gap Road makes way to stairs and then to surroundings so quiet that you will wonder if you are still in bustling Hong Kong. You will end this hike at Wan Chai Gap Park, where the number 15 bus provides a scenic ride back to Central.

For a bigger challenge, consider the Dragon’s Back. Depending who you ask, this popular hike can be challenging, fun or both during the hot summer months. Lasting anywhere from two to three hours (depending if you stop to watch the paragliders launch off the hillsides), you will see Hong Kong’s natural side, alternating between open air and cool, shaded sections. For those who brave the trail, the reward is at the end, spilling out into Big Wave Bay in the South China Sea (so bring your swimsuit and sunblock).

Big Wave Bay

Big Wave Bay

Big Wave Bay, a beautiful and expansive stretch of beach, gives local surfers a day of good rides – watch them catch wave after wave. And if you want a quick bite or a light lunch of local dishes, there are several great places nearby. The Shek O Chinese and Thai restaurant is a local favourite. Down the road and past the pristine golf course is the centre of Shek O, with a choice of more robust restaurants.

Start out early, before the hottest rays have you seeking the shade

The view near Tung Wan beach

The view near Tung Wan beach

If you want to skip the hike altogether, just take a 50-minute ferry ride from Central and try catching your own waves, windsurfing across the sea surrounding the island of Cheung Chau. The neighbouring beaches of Tung Wan and Kwun Yam offer clear waters and watersports equipment respectively. You can rent a board, canoe, or try your hand at windsurfing. But do start out early, before the hottest rays have you seeking the shade.

Alternatively, ask your concierge for tips on a more leisurely itinerary of island hopping. Lantau, Cheung Chau and Lamma islands are all a short ferry ride away from Mandarin Oriental’s central locations, with plenty to explore.

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