Many people fly in and out of Hong Kong without even realizing that the SAR comprises anything more than the city itself. However, the New Territories, a 30km-deep swath between Kowloon and the Guangdong border, comes complete with country parks, beautiful coastlines, farming communities and craggy mountains – as well as booming New Towns, satellite settlements built from scratch in the last forty years to absorb the overflow from Hong Kong’s burgeoning population. A whole series of designated country parks includes the unspoilt Sai Kung Peninsula to the east, offering excellent walking trails and secluded beaches. Less dedicated souls after birdlife should head northwest to the Hong Kong Wetland Park; elsewhere there’s some architectural and cultural heritage to soak up around otherwise modern towns such as Sha Tin. For serious extended hikes, the MacLehose Trail runs for 100km across the New Territories; contact the Country and Marine Parks (w http://www.afcd.gov.hk) for information on trails and conditions.
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