Getting out in the early hours of the morning to see the sun rising above the horizon for the very first time of the year can be a truly rewarding experience. Here are five of the best places in Hong Kong to see the sunrise on New Year’s Day:
Shek O Beach
There are many places around Shek O from where you can have an uninterrupted view of the sun rising. You can get a nice pic of the sunrise from the main beach by the car park, although for the best view, head to the Shek O headland, which is a short walk away through the village.
After walking down a few steps you will reach a rocky outcrop on the coast. From here, you will be able to see the sun rising over the South China Sea as waves crash onto the rocks.
High Island Reservoir East Dam
This is one of the most remote places within Sai Kung East Country Park, and is another popular place to see the first sunrise of the new year. The dam provides a high vantage point and an interesting backdrop. There is also plenty of space here so you shouldn’t have to worry about other people blocking your view.
You have two options to get to the dam – you can take a taxi from Pak Tam Chung – taxi-drivers are known to overcharge customers who are going to the country park – or take a nice, three-hour stroll along Section One of the MacLehose Trail.
You probably won’t be able to see the sun rising above the horizon from The Peak, but if the weather is not too hazy, you can witness what photographers call the “golden hour”, a period just after sunrise or sunset when the natural light is much redder and warmer in colour than compared to mid-day. This means you’ll get to see the sun’s rays shine on the skyscrapers around Hong Kong Island and Kowloon.
Fei Ngo Shan
The view from Fei Ngo Shan, also known as Kowloon Peak, spans across most of Kowloon and Hong Kong Island, and is a great place to watch the sky change colour above the city as the sun rises.
There is a small road open to cars that leads up to the top, where you can enjoy a panoramic view of the city.
But for the best view of the sunrise, follow the short flight of steps behind the pavilion. You should find a clearing with an easterly view of Sai Kung and the waters of Port Shelter. You’ll be able to see the sun rising over the many islands in the harbour.The combination of being high up and having an unobstructed view makes Fei Ngo Shan the ideal spot for taking the best panoramic and wide-angle landscape shots of the sunrise.
At 934 metres, Lantau Peak is the second highest peak in Hong Kong and is one of the city’s most difficult hikes. You’ll need to be well prepared if you’re planning to walk up the trail in the dark. But once you get to the top, you will be rewarded with a stunning view of natural scenery and rolling hills. From the summit, you will be able to the see the sun rising over Lantau Island and other outlying islands in the harbour, provided the weather is clear enough.
The hike up to the summit is part of Section Three of the Lantau Trail, and is rated three out of three stars for difficulty, with a “ladder” of knee-high steps. Some sunrise chasers choose to stay the night in a hostel nearby in Ngong Ping, and hike up early in the morning.
How to prepare:
On New Year’s Day, the sun is due to rise at 7.03am in Hong Kong. But it’s always a good idea to check the exact time the day before.
The popular vantage points might be a little crowded, so get there as early as possible to secure the best spot.
Note that there might not be any public transport to these places early in the morning, so you might have to consider taking private transport or camping out for the night. You might also need to walk to these places while it is still dark, so appropriate footwear and a flashlight is a must!