The typhoons have blown themselves out. Winter’s chill has yet to set in. Cue balminess. It’s when Hongkongers head for the hills/high seas/hinterland.
Roughly 40 per cent of the territory’s 1,100 square kilometres is given over to country parks. Pick any street corner in the city, and you are rarely more than 30 minutes by road or rail from rolling hills and woodland crisscrossed by hiking trails. The MacLehose Trail runs 100 kilometres east-west from Sai Kung to Tuen Mun, while the Lantau Trail makes a 70-kilometre girdle round Hong Kong’s largest island, taking in broad, sandy beaches which are often deserted for most of the week. No need to schlep the whole way, as the signposted trails are divided into workable, walkable sections. On Hong Kong Island, try the route between Quarry Bay and Tai Tam past Mount Parker for an exhilarating four-hour trek with city and country views.
To get out to the SAR’s furthest corners, jump aboard a ferry. The top deck of a slow triple-decker to Cheung Chau doubles as a bargain harbour cruise. Smaller vessels shuttle between Cheung Chau and Peng Chau, calling at Mui Wo and Chi Ma Wan along the way – perfect for a mini tour of the western islands. Po Toi, in the south, and Grass Island, up north, are well off the beaten track, while in the east of the New Territories the bizarre rock formations in the Unesco Global Geopark are Hong Kong’s take on Northern Ireland’s Giant’s Causeway.
High rollers may prefer to board a 30-minute flight to the Geopark aboard Heliservices’ twin-engine, six-seater chopper. (It also flies shorter trips around Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and the New Territories.)
October is also ideal for junk trips. Chartered boats cast off from Central or Sai Kung Pier, taking revellers out on the South China Sea for day or evening trips, complete with floats, food and lots of optional extras (jet skiing or banana boating anyone?).
Also outdoors but very much in the city, the Marco Polo German Bierfest runs for 23 nights from 19 October, combining lederhosen, a sing-along, chicken-dance oompah band, pork knuckle, Jägermeister and beer after beer after beer…
Oct 6-14: Hong Kong Tennis Open, Hong Kong
Nov-Dec: Bua Tong Festival, Doi Mae U-Kor, Thailand
Enjoy mountain breezes in Mae Hong Son province’s Doi Mae U-Kor, an hour by car from Chiang Mai, when bua tong, a type of marigold, cover the hills in yellow. tourismthailand.org
Nov 2-11: Hong Kong International Literary Festival
Nov 8-15: MLB Japan All-Star Series, Japan (Tokyo, Hiroshima, Nagoya)
The US’s Major League Baseball sends an all-star team to tour Japan, with six games scheduled against a team representing Nippon Professional Baseball. mlb.com
Nov 9-25: Macau Food Festival, Macau, China
Head to Sai Van Lake Square’s outdoor stalls selling global cuisine. Game booths, live performances and competitions add to the lively atmosphere. macaotourism.gov.mo
17 Nov 2018-10 Mar 2019: Taipei Biennial, Taipei, China
This year’s Taipei Biennial uses experimental installations to explore how a museum can represent an ecosystem that’s constantly morphing in order to survive. tfam.museum