Escape Hong Kong’s busy city life with a laid-back afternoon at the Nam Sang Wai wetlands

“Bridal Bridge” at Nam Sang Wai. Photo: Peace Chiu
“Bridal Bridge” at Nam Sang Wai. Photo: Peace Chiu

On a day off with good weather, there’s nothing we at Coconuts love to do more than escaping from the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong’s city life.

For the public holiday that recently passed, we decided to head north to Nam Sang Wai, which is located near Yuen Long.

Long popular among locals for a day out with family or friends, or birdwatching with fellow hobbyists, the wetland area has, in the past decade, been subject to repeated fires deemed suspicious by authorities. Some have alleged the fires were set off by arsonists attempting to reduce the environmental value of the area to reduce opposition to its development.

Fortunately, the spot still retains much of its greenery despite those incidents.

To get there, my friend and I first met at Yuen Long MTR station. Exiting from G1, it took us only about 40 minutes to get to Shan Pui Village, where we took a ferry ride to cross the Shan Pui River to get to Nam Sang Wai.

You can get across Shan Pui River to Nam Sang Wai with a ferry ride. Photo: Peace Chiu

It might sound a little pricey at HK$7 (around US$1) for a ride that is less than five minutes, but the ferry is paddled by a boatman (not that common these days and really laborious work) and it is the last river-crossing ferry route that is still operating in Hong Kong. Remember to bring cash to pay for the ride. 

The ferry is paddled by a boatman. Photo: Peace Chiu

Upon reaching Nam Sang Wai, we were greeted by rustic and picturesque views like these, perfect for taking some Instagrammable shots. 

Greenery at Nam Sang Wai. Photo: Peace Chiu
There is a lot of nature to take in at Nam Sang Wai. Photo: Peace Chiu
Nam Sang Wai is perfect for taking in nature. Photo: Peace Chiu

We didn’t have a specific itinerary in mind as we just wanted to wind down and take in nature. So we just walked around without a map and rested on our picnic mat whenever we felt tired. 

As we strolled around, we chanced upon this bridge built by Nam Sang Wai residents. It is known as the “Bridal Bridge” as it is popular among couples taking wedding photos. 

On a good day that is not too windy, you can see and photograph a beautiful reflection in the water like we did. 

“Bridal Bridge” at Nam Sang Wai. Photo: Peace Chiu

Another site not to be missed is the line of river red gum (eucalyptus) trees, which are said to be planted in Nam Sang Wai as early as in the 1950s. The tall and neatly lined trees are a beauty to behold and it’s no surprise that the site is popular for television and film shoots. 

River red gum (eucalyptus) trees at Nam Sang Wai. Photo: Peace Chiu

After our afternoon of resting and relaxing, we made our way back to Yuen Long for dinner. We tried to see if there is a shorter route back to Yuen Long, and ended up on the road between Shan Pui River and the grass lawn in Nam Sang Wai. This slight detour enabled us to catch this beautiful sunset. 

Viewing the sunset from Shan Pui River. Photo: Peace Chiu

Overall, it may seem like there are not a lot of things to do in Nam Sang Wai (though that could be down to our decision to do nothing much that day), but if you’re looking for an accessible place to wind down and escape from the urban crowds, Nam Sang Wai is perfect for that.

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