Look beyond the bustle of the metropolis and the skyline of skyscrapers and you’ll see a very different side of Hong Kong in the New Territories. The largest of the main regions, the New Territories is home to emerald green hills, white sandy beaches, ancient temples, nature reserves and historic villages. This vast area between Mainland China and Kowloon is predominantly rural land. However, to cope with the growing population of Hong Kong, the region has recently become the birthplace for several new towns.
These densely populated built-up areas are confined to a few areas within the New Territories, namely Tai Po, Sai Kung Tuen Mun, Sha Tin, Kwai Tsing District, Tsuen Wan and Yuen Long. With a population of more than three million, this region is now home to around half the population of Hong Kong. Thanks to the modern hhways linking these towns to the big city, improving public transport services, and the opening of several international schools, these towns have become popular with expats. While it may feel like a trek away from the central hub for some, others are drawn to its larger homes, cheaper rents, natural beauty and relaxed vibe.
Despite its pockets of urbanisation, the New Territories still offers the most traditional experience of Hong Kong life. Wander through ancient walled villages such as the 400-year-old well-preserved Hakka village of Lai Chi Wo; explore the nature trails in the 60-hectare Hong Kong Wetland Park, which is teeming with birds and aquatic life; admire the breath-taking rock formations from 400 million years ago in the Hong Kong Global Geopark; and soak up the atmosphere of its many attractive beaches. Other attractions include the Ping Shang Heritage Trail, the Mai Po Nature Reserve and the Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery.
The New Territories also comprises more than 200 outlying islands. While most of these are completely uninhabited, the largest and most developed is Lantau Island. As well as being popular for Hong Kong’s Disneyland resort and the famous Ngong Ping 360 Centre, it has become home to a small community of expats. There are a handful of kindergartens and international schools on this picturesque island.