The northern plains of HK that host these wetlands are quite vast, running from Lo Wu in the east, to Deep bay in the west. Sitting immediately to the north, the ever-intensifying skyline of Shenzhen provides an astonishing visual and environmental contrast to what lies on the HK side of the border. The most extensive areas worth visiting lie within the heart of this zone, with Yuen Long City serving as the main gateway. Easily reached via the MTR West Rail, once you’re approaching Yuen Long you have a couple of enjoyable options for day activities.
The Mai Po Nature reserve is a protected zone, comprised of mudflats, ponds and mangroves. Offering an extensive habitat for resident and migratory birds, it is a must see for any aspiring ornithologist. Home to approximately 72% of the territories birdlife, the avian biodiversity here is impressive. However it is not all just flocks and feathers, the Mai Po area provides sightseeing for many other animal species. Not to forget the simple tranquility of the place; you don’t have to be big on wildlife to appreciate the calmness and visual beauty of the tranquil backwaters and sounds of long grasses blowing in the breeze.
The only snag with Mai Po is that entry to the area is controlled and you will have to join a tour or obtain a permit to go in. Unless you’re a serious enthusiast with affiliations to the WWF and other such organizations, my tip is to join a guided tour. Tours here are fun and affordable with a range of offerings, from a 3-hour $120 exploration to a 6-hour $360 works package. For further information on tours, visit http://www.wwf.org.hk/en/your_support/gomaipo/yeartours/
Overall, this is an adventure location for all. A safe and pleasant excursion catering to the needs of families, yet one that is engaging enough to keep the most intrepid of wildlife gurus and outdoor adventurers engrossed. These approaching weeks are ideal to spot the last of the migratory birds before they embark on their epic journeys northwards over the summer months. Additionally, as it now warms up and there is more rain, yet also more sunshine; there is no better time to get out and explore the incredible wetlands we have here in Hong Kong.