Hong Kong Sights to See
Mai Po Marsh
It will surprise many first time visitors, and martial arts movie fans,
that Hong Kong is not just buildings and streets. Not
far from the center of this bustling metropolis is one of the preeminent nature preserves on the planet.
Now protected wetlands, the Mai Po
Marsh is one of the world's greatest sites for wild birds, fish, and insect populations.
Fortunately for those who hesitate to visit Hong Kong at all because they are sensitive to heat and humidity, summer isn't the
only good time to visit. From October to May the annual migration floods the marsh with hundreds of interesting species.
Part of the Ramsar site, Mai Po is an important section of the East
Asian Flyway for migratory birds. Within these 1,500 hectares (3,675 acres)
managed by the World Wildlife Fund can be found nearly 500 distinct
species of bird. During the winter months the wetlands are home to over 50,000 migratory birds.
There are Purple Herons and Arctic Warblers,
Brown Flycatchers and Great Egrets, Marsh Sandpipers
also abound and there are still some of the world's only remaining Black-faced
Spoonbills and Spoon-billed
Sandpipers. One of the hardest to spot is the Ruff, but Asian
Dowitchers are plentiful.
The wetlands also attract some of the many interesting indigenous
insect species, such as the colorful dragonflies and butterflies native
to Hong Kong. There are also other wildlife, such as otters and leopard
The area itself is of some interest as well, comprising mudflats,
mangroves, shrimp ponds and reed beds.
Visitors should be prepared for the conditions. That can mean
unexpected rain. But it can also mean man-made changes that occur
without notice. Attempts to control the number and location of species
result in frequent changes. Areas are often alternately drained and
flooded by the local authorities managing the wetlands.
As a result, guidebooks or blogs or other sources that report a good
location for spotting certain species may or may not be accurate at the
time of your visit. But don't despair, there will be many others just
A permit to visit the park is mandatory and currently costs around $100
US) for a one-day visitor pass. Visitors must be five years old or
older. For more information visit http://www.wwf.org.hk/eng/maipo/
It's wise to plan in advance as permits can often take several weeks to
obtain. Booking three months in advance is best. It's unwise to attempt
to visit Mai Po without a permit. Authorities are very strict and don't
accept excuses from those caught in the area without one.
The WWF organizes regular three-hour tours on Saturdays, Sundays, and
public holidays. Those arriving for the first time are well advised to
take advantage of their expertise. A swampland is no good place to get
lost. Maps are provided for those who want to go it on their own. The
tour currently costs around $70 HK ($9 US) and for a few dollars more
you can rent binoculars.
Finding the Mai Po Marsh is easy. It's located on the northwest coast
of the New Territories,
neighboring the Deep Bay.
Visitors can take the
MTR subway to Nam Chong,
change to the West Rail to Kam
Tin, then take
a taxi to Mai Po.
Sights to see in Hong Kong
Lei Cheng Uk Han Tomb
Museum of History
Po Lin Monastery
Star Ferry and Victoria Harbor
Cities of the World
How to Start a Home Based Travel Business at Mai Po Marsh in Hong Kong or Anywhere