After a great night at Wine Central it was time to meet our guide for the morning to go on a bike tour of Hong Kong’s New Territories. This would be my first time visiting the New Territories so was looking forward to it, as well as getting on a bike. The tour was organised by a couple, Jane and Kevin who were also on the cruise, can’t thank them enough for including me.
The New Territories is the area that was ceded to Britain in the late 19th Century by the Chinese Qing Dynasty in the late 1800’s to provide Hong Kong with more space to grow and is about 86% of Hong Kong’s land mass and a bit over 50% of its population. It is where you need to go to visit the Sha Tin Racetrack and the Hong Kong Science Park.
This was my first real visit to the New Territories, which was a bit of a surprise considering how many times I have visited Hong Kong in the past. Previously I have been out to the area around the airport and to do some walks through the country side, which is worth the effort.
The Bike Tour
Our guide Ashley met us in the shopping mall next to the cruise ship terminal. Ashley is from Running Panda HK, who, after this tour, I strongly recommend. We caught the MRT to Tai Wai where we picked up our bikes.
Down the end of this alleyway is the first shrine that we visited. A small local shrine.
Che Kung Temple
From this Shrine we rode on for a couple of kilometers and arrived at Che Kung Temple. This temple was built to honor “Che Kung” or “General Che”, a great general of Song Dynasty(宋朝).
Legend has it that Che Kung had a knack for vanquishing uprisings and warding off epidemics, so the people of Sha Tin decided to build him a temple during an epidemic that broke out in the area in late Ming Dynasty. Lo and behold, the epidemic vanished into thin air on the very day the temple was completed. Talk about the power of good feng shui!Ashley Mak – 28 Apr 2024
From this Shrine we rode on, following the Shing Mun River passed the Hong Kong Heritage Museum.
Sha Tin Racecourse
Sha Tin Racecourse is a place I have wanted to visit for years, definitely a reason to return to Hong Kong.
Ashley told us that going to the horse races in Hong Kong is considered to be a charitable event. Well, sort of. The Hong Kong Jockey Club is the biggest donor to charities in Hong Kong, so betting contributes to their ability to donate to charities.
Hong Kong Science Park
Shortly after passing the racecourse we crossed the Sha Tin Twin Bridge, arriving at the Hong Kong Science Park, where we had a water break whilst wandering around campus. Looks like a nice place to work.
One thing I notice as we continued on our ride was the size of the apartments. They had large balconies, water views and looked pretty spacious, especially by Hong Kong standards. If I lived in Hong Kong, I think that the New Territories would be high on my list as a place to live. Pretty sure I can handle the 30min train ride each way.
Tai Po Center
The end of our 16.6km ride was Tai Po, where we dropped off our bikes before a short walk to the Tai Po Center. Tai Po Center is a wet market and hawker center in one complex and the perfect place for a semi-well earned lunch. Ashley asked us what we liked to eat, and seafood was the unanimous choice. She knew just what get us, prawns, squid and fish.
This was something I had not seen for a while, being able select your own food and then have a hawker stall cook it. Tai Po Centre is the largest indoor market in Hong Kong. The seafood and meat market is on level 1, fruit and veg level 2, with the hawkers on level 3.
They even had Aussie Crayfish on sale.
Tai Po Police Station
After an enjoyable lunch we headed to the original Tai Po Police Station for a bit of history.
From the old Police Station we headed to the MRT Station to return to Kowloon. I really liked the less chaotic feel of the New Territories. Will have to return and do some more exploring, by bike of course.
Running Panda HK
If you like a more active tourist experience I would definitely recommend Ashley and Running Panda HK. Ashley experience as food and culture journalist means you get to the benefit of her experience along with a very enjoyable active tour. Our ride was at a steady pace that accommodated the needs of our group. I hope to be back in Hong Kong in the near future and to have the time to go on a bike tour with Ashley and Running Panda HK.
Hong Kong Departure
Our sailing time was 8pm which is the same time as the nightly Hong Kong Light Show. Glad I have a cabin that overlooks the bow, not obstructions. I hope that these videos give you an idea of the light show. To be honest I remember it being more impressive pre-covid.
Hong Kong has always been one of my favourite cities. The discovery of the New Territories has made it even more so.
Next time I will head out to Sha Tin again, and maybe even Tai Po Centre. Not sure I will be on a bike though. More likely on a sure thing in the third race, just not on the 4 horse. The 4 horse! No body bets the 4 horse.
Next up is another day at sea on the way to Da Nang, Vietnam.