Hong Kong is a forward-looking metropolis full of life and progress. People often associate this city with trade, commerce and technologically advanced lifestyle. But there is much more to this fast-paced city than just technology and modernity. Tourists are pleasantly surprised when they experience a culturally rich side of Hong Kong that believes in heritage preservation and eco-friendly living. The Hong Kong UNESCO Global Geopark is one of the best examples of Hong Kong’s affinity with nature and their approach to conservation.
About UNESCO Global Geopark in Hong Kong
Nature lovers always come to this magnificent national park for plenty of entertainment. Due to its immense geological importance, the Hong Kong UNESCO Global Geopark was established and opened to the public in 2009. Also in 2011, UNESCO recognized the area as a part of its Global Geoparks Network.
The park is a single land unit spread over an area of more than 150 square kilometers and is of utmost importance because of its geo-heritage. You will be shocked to see the tall and hard hexagonal rock formations found here in the Sai Kung volcanic field. These volcanic rocks, formed millions of years ago, are the result of continuous eruptions, pressure and tectonic activity. You can’t help but be amazed at the size and shape of these rocks! Then you have the vast sedimentary rocks that bear witness to the different geological periods of the area.
What makes this geopark so special is that it is nature’s laboratory. It is before your eyes how our Earth was twisted, turned and tossed around and became the shape we see now. Visiting such a site of immense scientific importance allows us to instantly connect with nature.
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Things to do in Hong Kong UNESCO Global Geopark
1. Rare Volcanic Basalt Pillar
If you’re a fan of rocks, you won’t miss the chance to get up close to a series of rare volcanic honeycomb-shaped basalt columns in the Hong Kong UNESCO Global Geopark. The park includes the Sai Kung Volcanic Rock Field and the Northeastern New Territories Sedimentary Rock Field which showcase these beautiful giants and timeless formations, which were formed approximately 140 million years ago.
2. MacLehose Trail
go hiking! Leave the shuttle bus and head to the East Dam, which falls along the starting section of the 100-kilometre-long MacLehose Trail. This is one of the best walks in Hong Kong that cannot be missed. Covering the Eastern Dam to one of the region’s most beautiful beaches, Long Cay, this route offers visitors a memorable rural experience.
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3. Visit Lai Chi Wu Village
Lai Chi Vo Village is a 400-year-old village that can be visited in addition to the Geopark Tour. One of the oldest surviving lands in Hong Kong features rice and vegetables growing in former fallow fields, as well as a new mini-museum. People fond of food can go to the open restaurant at the village crossroads. Those who are interested in learning the delicious dish can also attend Hakka Dumpling making workshops which are held every Sunday. Religious people can visit the temple of the God of War.
How to reach Hong Kong UNESCO Global Geopark
The easiest way to admire the amazing and tall basalt columns is to visit High Island. In addition to hosting beautiful hexagonal volcanic columns, the East Dam of High Island Reservoir is an extremely wonderful sight. Exploring the place is totally worth your time! You can book your tour from the Volcano Discovery Center in Hong Kong’s popular holiday hotspot, Sai Kung City. From there the East Dam can be reached in about 40 minutes. This is the single best place to see the unique rock formations that make the landscape even more beautiful and attractive.
Getting to the Volcano Discovery Center is quite easy. You can reach there via MTR Diamond Hill station. Once passengers reach MTR Diamond Hill station, exit C2, and board bus 92 to Sai Kung Bus Terminal, and then walk towards the centre.
Minibuses for the East Dam tour depart from the Volcano Discovery Center and run daily on weekends and public holidays. It is advisable to call them in advance to confirm timings and frequency as these sometimes vary.
Now guided boat tours have also been developed that take curious visitors around the islands included in the park. These guided boat tours and ferries are playing an important role in enhancing the recreational and educational values of the geo-heritage. Being the most accessible, Sharp Island can be reached in just 15 minutes from Sai Kung town by regular small boats and minibuses running between Sai Kung and Hong Kong’s city centre.
With more than 40% of its land covered in green, Hong Kong is an ecologically rich destination. Also, make sure you dedicate some time to soak up Earth’s history on your next trip to Hong Kong.
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