Snapshot: City Breaks

HONG KONG

Location: Dragon’s Back

Activity: Hiking

The Dragon’s Back is a popular hike that takes you along the undulating backbone of the D’Aguilar Peninsula, traversing windy, exposed ridges and cool, shady paths before ending at the beach at Shek O or Big Wave Bay where you can grab a board and surf or enjoy a bbq. From the platform of Shek O peak (284m) the views stretch to Shek O, Tai Long Wan, Stanley, Tai Tam, and the South China Sea – you may also see paragliders launch from here. The 8.5km-long hike (4 hours) is easily accessible by bus from bustling Central.

KATHMANDU, NEPAL

Location: Kathmandu Valley

Activity: Mountain Biking

Mountain biking down the Kathmandu Valley offers a great experience on quiet roads, and through mountain villages, temples and national parks. A popular ride is the Scar Road (57km, 5-6 hours), which rewards you with fantastic mountain views and 9kms of singletrack riding in dense jungle. Starting with a long road climb, the return portion is technical singletrack and an almost-vertical drop down into the valley. The views, as it goes without saying, are wonderful.

 

KUCHING, MALAYSIA

Location: Sarawak Kiri River

Activity: Kayaking

The Sarawak Kiri River flows from the Borneo highlands and into Kuching, with the tributary located an hour’s drive from the city. Picturesque limestone hills and caves dot the area, where the river cuts through large boulders, creating rapids – of Grade I-II – and waterfalls along the way. The village of Kampong Bengoh is the starting point for the kayak trip, taking you through 10kms (2-3 hours) of wild nature, where you can spot wildlife like kingfishers, monitor lizards, and even monkeys (during the fruiting season) amongst the towering riverine forest. Along the way, you can stop by the Bidayuh village of Kampung Danu.

BALI, INDONESIA

Location: North Bali

Activity: Canyoning

Canyoning has recently become popular in northern Bali. Gigit, home to the Kerenkali Canyon, is a popular spot for its easy tours segregated into 3 parts (you can do one or all three), all set within a landscape of moss-covered volcanic rock and natural warm spring basins. Kerenkali is catered to beginners, with (optional) jumps of up to 10m, 26m-high rappels, and metres of naturally-carved water slides. Along Gorges in Sambangan is more technical, featuring plenty of waterfalls, and descents into volcanic gorges with bats; it’s got lots of jumps, rappels (up to 40m), and natural pools.

TOKYO, JAPAN

Location: Mt. Takao

Activity: Hiking

Mt. Takao is one of the closest natural recreation areas to Tokyo – only a 50-minute train ride from Shinjuku. There are 7 hiking trails that lead to the top of Mt. Takao (600m), including the paved No.1, which leads hikers past the sacred Yakuoin temple (established in 744) to the summit in 90 minutes. A more rugged hike is No. 6, which takes you through the forest past moss-covered statues of deities, and the Biwa Falls where you may see monks practising takigyō under the falls. You can descend via route No. 4, the only route with a suspension bridge.

TAIPEI, TAIWAN

Location: Taipei City

Activity: Cycling

Taipei has over 100kms of dedicated cycle paths, dotted with parks and other attractions, following the three rivers that flow through the city. The trails lead you through various neighbourhoods like Danshui, Keelung, Xindian, and Beitou, with highlights including Guandu bikeway with its scenic mangrove, and Shezidao with its picturesque rice paddies. Bike rentals are located along the bike paths. Those preferring more hardcore MTB action can head to nearby Yangmingshan National Park for some singletrack action.

PERTH, AUSTRALIA

Location: Marmion Marine Park

Activity: Diving

You can swim with a vast array of aquatic wildlife through old, offshore shipwrecks not far from Perth. Just a 30-minute drive north of the city, Marmion National Park offers a playground of limestone reefs, ledges, caves, and crystal clear lagoons ideal for snorkelling or diving. You may also spot Humpback whales, as the park is a top spot for whale watching.

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