UNESCO Global Geopark
UNESCO Global Geopark in Hong Kong is a beautiful countryside which is home to world-class rock formations similar to the Giant Causeway in Northern Ireland. Hong Kong is mostly known as the financial hub of Asia or bustling metropolis but interestingly, it has 40% of its land designated as a protected green area. Also, most of these wonderful sites are near to the main city and are easily accessible, so you can enjoy main day trips across these wonderful landscapes.
UNESCO Global Geo park was established and opened for public in 2009 and was recognized by UNESCO as part of its Global Geopark Networks in 2011. The park has a vast area of 150 square kms and has a high significance because of its geo heritage. The main attraction is the hexagonal rock formation that is found in the Sai Kung Volcanic region. These magnificent rocks are a result of continuous eruptions, pressure, and tectonic activities of earth over millions of years. You will be stunned by the beauty of these twisted and twirled rocks which have immense scientific importance.
Besides the rocks, the Geopark is gifted with several scenic islands, peninsulas, ancient caldera, sea arches, hiking tracks and steep cliffs. UNESCO Global Geopark pursues the objectives of education, ecotourism and sustainable environment including local engagement and improvement of rural livelihoods. The Geopark is vast and some of the sites are accessible by foot while other require a ferry ride. The hiking trails of the park are very well maintained with signposts and maps which are in both English and Chinese.
How to Reach UNESCO Global Geopark in Hong Kong
You can reach the Volcano Discovery Center by taking exit C2 from the MTR Diamond Hill Station. You will take bus no 92 from the exit which will drop you at Sai Kung Bus terminus. From Sai Kung Bus terminus, you can walk to the Volcano Discovery Center.
There are several access points in the park as the geo diversity is spread across a large area. The area has some islands, peninsulas, and a dam. The best way to enjoy the whole area is to a book a half day tour of East Dam from the discovery center. The scenery from the dam side is considered as the best in this park.
The tour will take you to the East Dam by a minibus that runs through a picturesque route for about 30 minutes. The minibus departs every day and if you decide for the East Dam tour then it is better to book in advance to avoid any inconvenience. The tour normally lasts for 3 to 4 hours where you can explore the dam, experience the beautiful rock formations from the best vantage points.
If you decide to venture alone then make sure to take enough food and water with you because many areas of the park are inhabitant and there will be no shop or cafe. If you access an area which is only accessible by ferry, then make sure you never miss the ferry on your return or otherwise you might get stuck on an island without any accommodation.
7 Stunning Attractions of The UNESCO Global Geopark
High Island and The Maclehose Trail
High Island is a popular and the easiest spot to get in to the Geopark. You can directly reach to the start of High Island trail by a taxi. This lovely Maclehose hiking trail is 100 kilometers long and pass through the High Island Reservoir East Dam. There is a new wooden boardwalk that has been built for the visitors so that they can easily explore the unique hexagonal rock formations and an astonishing sea cave. If you love hiking, you will be happy to know that the Maclehose hiking trail is one of the best hiking trails of Hong Kong that covers a very large area including East Dam, Long Ke and most of the beautiful beaches of the park.
Sharp Island of the UNESCO Global Geopark
Sharp Island is famous for day trips and has many wonderful attractions within the island. This island is close to the Sai Kung Town and takes a short ferry ride from the Town’s Pier. Sharp Island has a famous natural bridge which appears at low tide. This bridge is called Tombolo and it connected Sharp Island with Kiu Tau Island. Sharp Island is also famous for kayak tours and hiking.
Basalt Island and Bluff Island
Ung Kong Group is a cluster of islands which has many steep volcanic cliffs and amazing rock formations. Out of the cluster, Bluff Island is famous because of its beaches and Basalt Island is famous for the Wang Chau Arch. A lot of visitors come for swimming at the beaches and kayaking in the surrounding of these islands to enjoy Wang Cha Arch.
Tung Ping Chau of UNESCO Global Geopark
Tung Ping Chau is located in the northeast new territories sedimentary rock region of the UNESCO Geo Park. This is the farthest northern island of Hong Kong and it takes 1.5 hours ferry ride to reach Tung Ping Chau. The island has beautiful hiking trails and rock pools surrounded by enchanted scenery. Visitors are advised to take food and water with them on their visit to this island as most of the area is inhabitant. It is also advised to keep track of the ferry timings so that you do not get stuck here without accommodation and food.
Double Haven is a beautiful island which is part of a protected marine park and can only be accessed on Sundays by ferries. The island has amazing red sedimentary rocks, glorious bays, and a small inhabited village. If you decide to go alone, make sure you take enough food and water and take a guide map from the discovery center.
Rare Volcanic Basalt Columns
These rare volcanic Basalt Columns cannot be missed if you are visiting the UNESCO Global Geopark. These are one of the main highlights of your tour and you will get the chance to get up close to them. These timeless formations were formed around 140 million years ago.
Lai Chi Wo Village in UNESCO Global Geopark
Lai Chi Wo Village is around 400 years old and is one of the oldest surviving villages in Hong Kong. There is a mini museum in the village which displays the history and important information about the area. The area used to be barren but now it is flourishing with rice and vegetable farms. The village arranges Hakka dumpling-making workshops on every Sunday which are loved by foodies. The village has a temple which is dedicated to the God of War.
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