The City’s Green Side
We can all agree that Hong Kong is a relatively small and easy city to navigate. It’s also safe to say most of us are confident enough to claim that we know the city like the back of our hands. But what if we were to tell you that 70% (828 sq km) of Hong Kong is natural landscape? This prominent feature of the city should be difficult to miss, and yet we manage to overlook it, what with the average Hong Konger spending at least 50 hours a week staring into the abysmal virtual reality of our desktop screens. It is about time we turn to where the green spaces are and draw inspiration and respite from Hong Kong’s natural gifts.
Land Area and Use
It’s interesting to note that although Hong Kong’s countryside accounts for about 443 sq km, 385 sq km of that land mass is neither country park nor currently developed, leaving 35% of the land unused or unaccounted for in public discourse.
The Benefit of Green Spaces
Green parks are great for a city like ours to help resolve problems that result from living in a high density environment. They alleviate environmental pollution and improve the quality of the community and public health. Hong Kong’s extreme density ranks amongst the highest in the world, with over 50,000 people per sq km. The key urban sites of Hong Kong have one of the lowest ratios of urban parkland per person. The city also suffers from increasing environmental pollution and will definitely benefit from new developments of country parks. Having a tree cover alone at a park in the West Kowloon area removes around 2 tons of harmful particulates and approximately 1 ton of nitrogen and sulfur dioxide combined. Improving the air quality can lower the incidence of respiratory problems such as asthma while reducing health risks for children. Parks can help enhance the health of senior citizens and their well-being, and can also facilitate civic activities to help foster community spirit.
Rally your forces
To support this cause, rally your family and friends for a visit to your nearest country park to get a breath of fresh air and strengthen the significance of country parks.
Hong Kong Park
The first park on your list should be the famous Hong Kong Park, an ideal option for a family outing. You’ll find a six-story outdoor play zone for kids with luscious vegetation everywhere. The park also has a walk-through fountain, a pond with turtles and koi, as well as spacious paths to run along. There is the Museum of Teaware, where 19th century Victoria Barracks used to stand. The most fascinating attraction, however, is the 3000 sq ft walk-through aviary, housing up to 600 birds from 80 different species. Couples looking to have a romantic date can also find Hong Kong Park appealing.
The second park on our list is Kowloon Park, located in the heart of bustling Tsim Sha Tsui. For those wanting to learn about the city’s history and have a bit of fun at the same time, this is the place to be. There are countless things to explore with your kids, from a large play zone called Discovery Playground to a fascinating aviary filled with flamingos, parrots and macaws. A large aquatic center with some indoor and outdoor pools can be found in Kowloon Park as well as Kowloon Park Sports Center, which houses multiple sports halls and courts.
Tai Po Waterfront Park
The third park is one of the largest parks in Hong Kong, the Tai Po Waterfront Park, which has a land mass of 22 hectares. There are playgrounds, jogging trails, a lookout tower, an Insect House, cycling trails and green lawns where families can picnic and fly their kites. In short, the park provides a variety of unusual things to see and do with your family.
Victoria Peak Garden
Last but not least, we have the famous Victora Peak, home to a secret garden with spacious green lawns for family picnics. The Governor’s Walk will lead you to some of the best views of Hong Kong’s southside.