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The Chinese expression for landscape is shan shui or mountains water. Few other cities have peaks and bays blended in such dramatic grandeur as Hong Kong. Fewer still have wild country so close to a dynamic, crowed metropolis.
Hong Kong, one of the world greatest cities, is renowned for its street life and gleaming towers. But the HKSAR also has extensive countryside, rivalling most other places for its scenic beauty and ecological interest. Much of green Hong Kong lies close to tourist hotels and visitors can easily reach the more distant countryside by excellent public transport.
What country escapes please you most? Energetic hikes up steep slopes, with leg-ache banished by stunning panoramas ... Reflective strolls through wooded valleys, with only nearby streams for company ... Long explorations around the coast, past hidden coves and jagged promontories ... Or journeys into the past, to centuries-old agricultural villages ... Hong Kong has all this and more!
Hong Kong covers 1104 square kilometres. Its Country Parks extend over 400 square kilometres. There are 24 parks in all. The smallest covers less than two square kilometres. All the Country Parks have toilets, path-side maps and the larger ones also have visitor centres and exhibition gallery.
The Country Parks
Few countries have ten per cent of their land protected in parks and tourists often find them hard to reach. Yet in tiny Hong Kong, forty per cent of the land lies in its Country Parks and visitors can reach them easily.
In the mid-1970s the government took a bold and visionary step. It decided that, to give essential outlets for frustrated urban youth, Hong Kong needed to keep its green lungs.
These sanctuaries were protected by legislation and, in part, by their rugged terrain. The same challenging country that delights hikers and tourists today.