Beyond the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong

Though Hong Kong is famed for intense and exciting urban environments, its outdoor attractions rival the magnificence of the city.

Whether you leave the main island for peace, adventure or a taste of Chinese culture, you can count on an unforgettable experience. And Hong Kong's awe-inspiring transport system puts everything easily within arm's reach.

The Tai O locals have lived on the water for generations, with long stilts holding their homes over the sea.

Pure tradition

While the city is all about fusion and energy, step away from the urban madness and you'll notice that Hong Kong's ancient culture has a little more room to breathe.

Situated on the same island as Hong Kong's airport, the Big Buddha (Tian Tan) is one of Hong Kong's biggest cultural attractions - it's 34 metres high! Hidden behind lush mountains, the seated bronze statue draws pilgrims from across Asia as effectively as it draws tourists. The Ngong Ping 360 cable car ride to the statue flies you between mountain ranges and over teal waters.

For a humbler cultural experience, explore one of Hong Kong's fishing villages. A 15-minute bus from the grandeur of the Big Buddha is Tai O, a town built in the air. The locals have lived on the water for generations, with long stilts holding their homes over the sea. For fresh fish prepared the way the locals like it, stop by the seafood market.

The peak of Hong Kong

There are hundreds of viewing points in Hong Kong, but 'The Peak' is widely recognised as the most astonishing. As with so many of the region's attractions, getting there is half the experience.

A feat of engineering, the Peak Tram has been defying physics for 125 years. It will clank you up to Hong Kong's highest summit reliably, from where you'll see Hong Kong's natural beauty meet its concrete brilliance. You won't regret a dusk trip here, as you watch the dying sunlight transition to a dazzling neon glow. You could even stay for the 8pm Symphony of Lights show.

The Peak acts as a hub for further activity too. There's a raft of relaxing walks around the area, with views that make every step worth it. Take the Peak Circle Walk, which winds around the peak, letting you see the island from every angle. For something more adventurous, the 50km Hong Kong trail also starts nearby. Even knocking off one or two of its eight stages will give you a real appreciation for Hong Kong's wilder side.

Beaches you never knew about

Hong Kong isn't known for its beaches, but it probably should be. White powdery sand, pleasantly rolling waves and scarce footprints make a trip to the seaside worthwhile.

For a laid-back evening with sand between your toes, head over to Hung Shing Ye beach on Lamma Island. This local favourite is home to beautiful clear waters and a humming barbecue area. For a resort feel, cruise over to Repulse Bay. Located on the southern part of Hong Kong Island, you can lay back and soak up the relaxed beach vibe against a skyscraper backdrop.

To catch a wave and discover oriental surf culture, head to Big Wave Beach at the eastern end of Hong Kong Island. Be sure to check out the prehistoric rock carvings on the shore. These were carved by the first settlers and prove the longstanding importance of the ocean to Hong Kong's culture.

Keep exploring Hong Kong