Hong Kong: Wetland Park & Ha Pak Nai

As typhoon season came to an end, we had quite a bit of rotten weather at the end of last week, but it cleared over the weekend in time for my next trip. After visiting Lion Rock, I’d been on top of Hong Kong in one sense, now it was time to be on top in another sense, by travelling to the New Territories to Ha Pak Nai, a rural area to the North of Hong Kong, just before it meets the Chinese city of Shenzhen. This wetland area is famed for its incredible sunsets and it didn’t disappoint.

Whilst I was in the area, I also decided to visit the Hong Kong Wetland Park (MTR West Rail Tin Shui Wai Station. Change to 705 or 706 Light Rail and alight at Tin Sau Station or Wetland Park Station). It’s supposedly home to many species of wildlife and lets you walk through the green wetland to see what you can find. At only $15 entry with a student card, I figured it was worth a look. Whilst it wasn’t overwhelmingly brilliant (and short of stopping and staring at every tree for half an hour, the wildlife wasn’t very forthcoming), it was worth the £1 entrance fee and killed some time whilst I was in the area.

Hong Kong Wetland Park
Hong Kong Wetland Park

Going on a Sunday wasn’t my best idea though as it was full of out-of-control kids. They obviously figured the best way to get the animals to show themselves was to run around screaming or stamping their feet. Going on a weekday would probably have been better, though it was still quite nice. And I saw the biggest fish I’ve ever seen. It was like something out of Pokemon.

A Sunset to Remember

But the real reason I was here was to see the perfect sunset I’d heard about. Seeing it involved a complicated journey but, as is always the case, it was completely worth it. Alighting the MTR at Yuen Long, I walked over to Tai Fung Street for my first ever minibus experience. In Hong Kong, the green minibuses don’t tend to have set stops (except at the beginning and end) so when on the bus you just have to shout stop when you’re near where you want to be. Which is fine – if you know where you want to be.

All I knew was that I wanted to see a sunset and that minibus 33 would take me near there (for around $10), though heading towards the sunset isn’t much good at 3 in the afternoon. Luckily, the Ha Pak Nai sunset is well known amongst locals and I wasn’t the only one heading there. After a while, I looked to my right and saw the Hong Kong-Shenzhen bridge, along with the wetland I recognised from the photos. Another group of people got off here (near to a restaurant or resort type place) so I followed them and hopped off. I later found out the area is called Ap Tsai Hang and this is the place to get off. It shows up on Google Maps too. A quick walk through a field brought me out onto the muddy wetland, with clear views over the water of the city of Shenzhen.

Ha Pak Nai Wetland with Hong Kong - Shenzhen Western Corridor in the background
Ha Pak Nai Wetland with Hong Kong – Shenzhen Western Corridor in the background
It was a mixture of sand and mud so flip flops weren’t the best option as parts were slippery. In the end, I just took them off and walked barefoot, which was quite a nice feeling. I could stand in the water to wash my feet which was lovely as it was really warm. I walked along until the mud turned into a beach, close to a temple, and parked myself here for a couple of hours with my headphones in. By the time I walked back later on, just as the sun started to go down, the wetland was packed. There were hordes of photographers and couples who had come down here to watch the dazzling sunset. The tide had also come in a great deal. Those rocks in the picture above could no longer be seen. Later, when I got the bus back, the mud/beach had been submerged completely.

Sunset at Ha Pak Nai
Sunset at Ha Pak Nai
The sunset was completely worth seeing though. I’ve never seen the sun so red. It looked incredible, particularly reflecting off the water. I’ve never seen a sunset like it and it was another awe-inspiring experience to add to my list since I’ve been here. After taking far more pictures than I’ll ever need, followed by a looooooong wait for the minibus back due to all the people, I headed home. We definitely don’t get sunsets like that in England…
Next stop – Beijing!
To reach Hong Kong Wetland Park, take the purple West Rail Line to Tin Shui Wai MTR Station. Change to 705 or 706 Light Rail and alight at Tin Sau Station or Wetland Park Station. 

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