Hong Kong Wetland Park.
I thought Hong Kong was a small place until I went to the Hong Kong Wetland Park. It’s in north Tin Shui Wai but, my, it seems a long way away. The journey only adds to that holiday feeling, however, and it’s worth the effort of getting there.
The park opened in 2006 as an educational facility, conservation platform and ecotourism destination on 60 hectares of wetland near the Chinese border.
It’s an area of fishponds and freshwater marsh crisscrossed with trails and boardwalks, and dotted with bird hides and viewing platforms where you can get up close to the area’s diverse wildlife from mudskippers to rare black-faced spoonbills.
In migration season – March-April and October-November – the bird life is impressive with thousands of waterbirds descending on this important migration stopover. For non-twitchers, there’s plenty to enjoy in the tranquil environment, including a riot of dragonflies and butterflies, and there’s not a car to be heard.
Enter the park via the 10,000 sqm visitor centre, a futuristic building with glass walls and a grass roof. On one side is a maze of trimmed hedges like something out of Alice in Wonderland that kids can get lost in, and on the other is a series of water fountains. Inside are a series of galleries with interactive exhibits, including one on tropical swamps, a film theatre, cafe and viewing gallery. Visitors pass through the galleries, getting a crash course on wetlands and environmental awareness.
Like all Hong Kong’s attractions, it can get busy so get there early (the park opens at 10am). Drawing the crowds this month is the Bird Watching Festival (ends March 31), with guided tours, talks, photo competitions and orienteering for children, plus 180 species of migratory birds to spy on. There are fixed binoculars in the hides and viewing galleries for a closer look,
but you may have to queue so take your own binoculars if you have them. Also take sunglasses, a hat, water and plenty of snacks – the only food on site is a Cafe de Coral. Sadly, picnicking is not permitted in the wetlands themselves.
Hong Kong Wetland Park, Wetland Park Road, Tin Shui Wai
Tickets $30 (children $15)
Open Wed-Mon, 10am-5pm; closed Tue
2708 8885 | Wetland Park