Hong Kong is such a dense urban hub that it can be easy to forget that the city is also home to plenty of parks and natural reserves. Some of these play host to local wildlife species, while others showcase animals from other habitats around the world. Why not take an afternoon to trade the concrete jungle for a literal one, and learn more about Hong Kong’s unique biodiversity?
Founded in 1956 to provide agricultural aid to Hong Kong’s farmers, Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden has grown into a sanctuary for rescued wildlife that spans almost 150 hectares. Join one of the guided eco-tours or follow one of the sanctuary’s many walking trails. Check out educational animal exhibits for the chance to see some of Hong Kong’s local fauna, from leopard cats and monkeys to wild boar and fruit bats.
Lam Kam Road, Tai Po, 2483-7200.
The Chinese white dolphin — better known as the pink dolphin for its color — was first observed to be native to Hong Kong’s waters in the 17th century, but has been categorized as a threatened species in recent years due to pollution threatening its habitat. Hong Kong Dolphinwatch was founded in 1995 in order to raise awareness about the dolphins’ plight. The eco-tour operator runs three half-day trips per week. Book a trip to try and see one of these rare creatures for yourself.
Trips depart from Tung Chung New Development Pier, Lantau Island, 2984 -1414.
Ocean Park is known as much for its aquarium and animal exhibits as much as it is for its rollercoasters and fair attractions. The amusement park is home to plenty of furry friends, from arctic foxes to giant pandas. Catch a dolphin show at the Ocean Theatre, watch the animals get fed, or — if you’d rather get up close and personal — take part in one of the park’s animal encounter experiences.
Every winter, thousands of birds — and over 400 species — stop at the Mai Po Nature Reserve during their migration routes. Entering the reserve requires joining one of the park’s guided tours that run in both English and Cantonese. Follow one of the reserve’s specialists as they take you through the wetlands, traditional shrimp ponds, mangroves, and bird hides. The reserve has been managed by the World Wildlife Fund Hong Kong since 1983.
San Tin, Yuen Long, 2482-5237.
Spanning 61 hectares, Hong Kong Wetland Park combines environmental conservation and education with eco-tourism. Visitors can explore the wetlands and mudflats to try and catch sight of the resident waterfowl and fiddler crabs, visit the exhibition centers to learn more about the importance of conserving Hong Kong’s biodiversity, or even visit the crocodile Pui Pui, who made headlines when she was first spotted in Shan Pui River in Yuen Long in 2004, in her enclosure.
Wetland Park Road, Tin Shui Wai, 3152-2666.
If you can’t make the trek out to the New Territories, the Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens are located smack in the middle of Central. Over 300 animal and bird species reside in the three-hectare garden, from lemurs and orangutans to flamingos and ibises. The best bit? Entry is free.
Albany Road, Central, 2530-0154.
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