Sitting unassumingly in the New Territories and carrying on as if the rest of Hong Kong was just some place to the south, Yuen Long has leapt onto the radar at lightning speed in recent years. Earmarked for major residential development — Cheung Kong’s Yuccie Square, New World’s Grand YOHO, Sun Hung Kai Properties’ Park Vista as just a few projects in various stages of construction — Yuen Long has nonetheless retained much of its singular heritage. With its western side almost bisected by Castle Peak Road and its dinging light rail cars or the canal cradling the Shan Pui River, the area teems with schools, kindergartens, leisure amenities and all manner of business designed to help families live — no muss, no fuss.
Yuen Long Park
An oasis within and oasis, the hilltop Yuen Long Park, with its seven-storey aviary pagoda, waterfall, pond, multiple gardens, soccer pitches and butterfly park is a great place to get away from it all for a few shaded minutes — or hours. Best of all: you can flake out on the grass without fear of being chased off by security.
Town Park Road North
Tai Tong Nature Trail
Tai Lam Country Park, the SAR’s second largest, spans the southern end of Yuen Long, and within it are relaxing and welcoming barbeque pits, dog-friendly facilities, campsites, biking trails and much more. The more includes great views across to Tin Shui Wai and (on a good day) Shenzhen from the picturesque Tai Tong Nature Trail, one of 12 in the park and a must for hikers of all skill levels.
Tai Tong Shan Road
Yuen Long Theatre
Every neighbourhood needs its cultural centre and the Yuen Long Theatre fits the bill for that. The venerable arena hosts all manner of cultural events, but it could be overwhelmed very soon by the forthcoming and ultra-modern library and indoor recreation centre next door.
9 Yuen Long Tai Yuk Road
Hong Kong Wetland Park
A short MTR ride away from the heart of Yuen Long is the Wetland Park, originally an answer to the wetlands destroyed by the construction of Tin Shui Wai but now an eco-attraction unto itself. With a focus on conservation and education as well as tourism, the 61-hectare park highlights Hong Kong’s often overlooked biodiversity.
Wetland Park Road, Tin Shui Wai
Ping Shan Heritage Trail
One of the great heritage walks in Hong Kong, Ping Shan wends its way through traditional Tang clan villages in Yuen Long, past Hang Mei Tsuen, Sheung Cheung Wai and more. Some sites date back as far as the 14th and 16th centuries (ancestral halls and pagodas) and provide an eye-opening glimpse into Hong Kong’s past. Among the highlights are the 19th century police station (now serving as a museum) and the stunning modern library at the end of the trail.
Looming large over Yuen Long’s independent grocers, fruit vendors, pharmacies, pet shops, hairdressers and bakers is YOHO Mall, the newest million square foot behemoth the to grace the cityscape. Anyone currently living in, or considering, burgeoning Yuen Long is going to hit YOHO at some point for its positively Central-ish mix of dining, fashion and lifestyle shops, complemented by green space.
8-9 Long Yat Road, 9 Yuen Long St.
2476 9920 / 2651 1861
Good Stuff in Your Kitchen
Residents need not worry about a trek to Causeway Bay if fussy guests are on the way over. Good Stuff’s stock of fine wines, craft beers and gourmet foods is limited but carefully thought out for maximum impact. Browsing takes no time, but you’re bound to walk out with something.
G/F Siu Fung Building, 68 Kau Yuk Road
Achacha Café & Bistro
Across the intersection from Good Stuff is this corner café doing its part to bring the all day breakfast to Yuen Long. On the menu: highly respectable black pudding, white pudding, roasted portobellos, sausage, ham, scones and, naturally, eggs. Grab that or opt for the full English or Scottish breakfasts too and get change from $150. As Achacha says: Nom-nom-nom.
Shop K&L Shun Fat House, 54-56 Kau Yuk Road
Situated on the wide pedestrian path off the river canal, this reasonably priced itty-bitty coffee house has simple snacks to go with its range of coffees from traditional black coffee to fancy, frothy concoctions. The friendly staff doesn’t rush you out if you’re not eating dinner and the dog watching through the giant windows provides good, free entertainment.
Yee Fung Garden, 38 Ma Tin Road
Si Lam Taiwanese Noodle
Arguably one of Hong Kong’s best beef brisket noodles, Taiwanese style, Si Lam is usually packed at meal times, but the brusque servers (are there any other kind) and efficient kitchen staff make the wait bearable. Perfectly cooked noodles are just the right kind of chewiness, and the beef can be cut with the back of a spoon it’s so tender. The menu also offers delicious vegetables and two soup stocks. Have the beef brisket.
G/F Fu Sing Building, 9 Sai Ching Street
Hong Kong is almost overrun with Japanese eateries, but the unfussily named Sushi Man is truly a hidden gem. Offering omakase (which is not cheap) for lunch and dinner as well as à la carte dining, this is as close as it may get to actually being in Tokyo. Complementing the fresh fish, the tiny spot also serves a stellar variety of carefully chosen sakes as a finishing touch.
G/F Lee Fat House, 5 Yan Lok Square
Joyful Praise Vegetarian
Vegetarians know that if you can find a decent vegetarian restaurant it needs to be bookmarked and savoured. Joyful Praise is perfect for Guangdong style vegetarian nosh that understands what that means for a reasonable price. It’s also vegan-friendly, making Joyful even more of a find.
1/F B Chuk Bun Building, 1 Tat Fai Path