Shenzhen Family Day Out

Did we go to the Great Wall in Beijing yesterday? No, we visited Splendid China theme park in Shenzhen. It makes a super fun day out for all the family.

Shenzhen is just across the border that separates the Special Administrative Region that is Hong Kong from Mainland China.  At 15 million, its population if pretty much double that of vibrant Hong Kong.

Things to do in Shenzhen

Visit Splendid China

With miniature models of China’s greatest architecture this presents lots of great photo opportunities.  For further details and up to date pricing, click here.

Shop until you Drop

Buy a knock off Gucci bag or order affordable spectacle lenses.  Have a tailor made suit or dress run up.  Or if you’re living in Hong Kong, you can customise furniture and soft furnishings and have them delivered to you in Hong Kong.  If you head on to Da Fen village, artists there can copy artwork for you from a photograph. The options are mind boggling.  We found this handy article which breaks down some of the shopping options for you.

There are plenty more things to do and see in Shenzhen, but if it’s just a flying visit, these are our two top highlights.

How to get to Shenzhen

The MTR East Rail Line goes all the way there.  Take a train to Lo Wu.

If you’re only going to Shenzhen, you can get a visa at the border.  You should be prepared to queue.  Note a visa on the day allowing you to enter Shenzhen will not suffice for travelling on wards and further into China, you would need to apply in advance for a visa to Mainland China.


Similar to Hong Kong, neighbouring Macau is also a Special Administrative Region of China.  With an interesting mix of Chinese and Portuguese architechture and culture and a phenomenal gambling scene, it’s also worth a visit.  Find out more about our tours to Macau here.


Hong Kong Bird Watching at its Best

Despite being a built up city, there are plenty of opportunities for Hong Kong bird watching in and around our metropolis.

Hong Kong’s best Bird Watching Spots

Mai Po Nature Reserve

This is a bird rich wetlands area.  This is the place to go to see migratory waders and water birds.  In contrast to the peaceful wetland, you will see the skyscrapers of Shenzhen, mainland China in the distance.

Tai Po Kau Nature Reserve

This forest area in the Tai Po area in the North of Hong Kong’s New Territories offers 46o hectares of protected park.  There are 5 different trails you can follow and in addition to bird life there are many species of trees and pretty butterflies that you might spot.  There are also snakes, but they tend to stay hidden, so don’t worry too much.

Hong Kong Wetland Park

Close to Mai Po is the Family Friendly Wetland Park.  Here you will find a visitor centre, raised wooden walkways and bird hides. The Wetland Park combines conservation, education and tourism.


Kowloon Park

Although the aviary is very small, the resident birds are unusual and you can get a really good look at them.  In addition to the aviary there is a flamingo pond within the park.  There is also a small museum called the Hong Kong Heritage Discovery Centre.  The Discovery Centre is small, but interesting and it’s a great place to escape from the heat and humidity for a short while. Also, the loos are nicer than elsewhere in the park.

Hong Kong ParkHong Kong Park

This 3000 square foot aviary has recently reopened after being refurbished late 2018/early 2019.  Entrance is free.  You can walk on raised wooden walkways up in the tree canopy.  Free walking tours are available, click here for up to date information.  The aviary is inside Hong Kong park which also boasts a pretty koi filled lake, the Museum of Tea Ware and a viewing tower you can climb and a nice play area for kids.

The Bird Market

The Bird Garden, also known as the Bird market in Mongkok is where birds are bought and sold as domestic pets.  Find out more about the market and all of Mongkok’s other interesting markets here.  You can get a really close look at the birds and indeed some of the creepy crawlies that they like to eat. Children are pretty fascinated by the bird garden and it’s a regular stop on our family friendly walking tours of the Mongkok area.

Look Up

Throughout Hong Kong large brown kites (we’re talking birds, not the manmade items) can be spotted both over the ocean and circling above high rises.  It’s impressive watching them swoop down to the water to try and catch a fish.

Hong Kong Bird Watching Resources

Hong Kong Bird Guide

If you’re a bird watching enthusiast, the most comprehensive Hong Kong birding book we’ve found in English is A Naturalist’s Guide to the Birds of Hong Kong by Ray Tipper.  Available in select bookstores in Hong Kong or on Amazon.

*Please note, this link to this book is an affiliate link. Should you click through and make a purchase, we may make a small commission at no additional cost to you.

Hong Kong Bird Watching Society

Established in 1957, the Hong Kong Bird Watching Society produces bulletins, runs tours and holds meetings.  Their aim is to appreciate and conserve Hong Kong birds and natural environment.  To find out more or become a member, visit their website.

In addition to Hong Kong birding, our city offers an enormous range of things to see and do for all the family.  Contact us at Hong Kong Greeters to find out more about our various tours, which can include Lantau Island, Hong Kong’s or for example Jewish Heritage.  We also provide group tours, our most popular is our new Vegertarian Food and Cultural Tour.  We look forward to hearing from you if you need some help planning your time in Hong Kong.  Alternatively, you can follow us on Facebook to keep up with all the latest and greatest happenings in town.

Expat Parent features Hong Kong Greeters in the Press

It’s always lovely to be featured in the press.  In February 2017, Expat Parent Magazine interviewed Amy Overy.  Amy is the owner of Hong Kong Greeters and a fully licensed tour guide in Hong Kong.  She is also an expat parent herself, originally hailing from the UK, but now calling Hong Kong home.

The article focuses on how Hong Kong Greeters was born.  As with many passion projects and small businesses, the idea sprang from Amy’s own experiences.  Firstly she was getting to know and growing to love Hong Kong with all its quirks.  As time went by she started putting together outings for family and friends visiting from the UK.  Realising there was a gap in the market her business grew from there.  You’ll also find a few handy tips if you’re planning a visit to Hong Kong in the near future.You can read the full Expat Parent magazine article here.

Expat parent magazine featuring tour guide Amy Overy of Hong Kong Greeters.Hong Kong Greeters in the press, Expat Living Magazine features Amy Overy.


Hong Kong Greeters in 2019

Some years down the line Hong Kong Greeters is an established and thriving business.  In May 2019 we were again awarded the Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence, cementing our place in the Trip Advisor Hall of Fame.  This surely is testament to the wonderful experiences our team are providing to guests on a regular basis.

What’s New in Hong Kong?

Hong Kong is a fast paced city with ever new and changing things to see and do.  Naturally, since the Expat Parent feature in 2017, the Hong Kong Greeters team has continued to explore the city.  For starter we’ve recently added what is proving to be a very popular Vegetarian Food and Cultural Tour to our arsenal of group tours.  Some of our most recent discoveries include:



See Ten Thousand Buddhas in One Day

Believe it or not, there are actually more than ten thousand Buddhas at the Ten Thousand Buddhas monastery near Shatin.  Moreover, each and every one is unique.  This has to be one of the relatively least visited and interesting places to photograph in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong Ten Thousand Buddhas Tours Shatin

Why you shouldn’t overlook Ten Thousand Buddhas

Hong Kong has many beautiful temples, monasteries and at least one famous nunnery worth visiting.  Everybody knows about the Big Buddha on Lantau island and the colourful Wong Tai Sin temple in Kowloon is usually thronging with people.  Incense swathed Man Mo in Central is small but has a constant stream of worshipers and tourists.  Peaceful Chi Lin nunnery in Diamond Hill and the impressive Guan Yin statue in Tai Po are less well known, but both are easily accessible.

However, as the Ten Thousand Buddhas monastery is not only out of the way, but poorly signposted and up a steep hill.  Therefore, it doesn’t receive its rightful share of footfall. That’s a good thing.  If you are prepared to make the effort, you can escape the crowds and be rewarded. Get some cardio, enjoy a birds-eye view over Shatin and take in the peace and quiet of this photogenic spot.

The path upwards is flanked by gold painted Buddha statues, each one entirely unique.Two thirds of the way through your climb you’ll reach a flat area with a picture postcard red pagoda and the hall of the ten thousand Buddhas.  Please note that no photographs may be taken inside the hall.  If you still have the energy, you can head further up the hill for even better views.

girl enjoying private hong kong walking tour to ten thousand Buddhas monastery family friendly.

Where is Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery?

Up in Hong Kong’s Northern Territories, above Shatin the location is a little off the usual tourist track.  Additionally, the trail is not well signposted and is notoriously hard to find.  So much so that some visitors can’t find it or make an accidental detour to the neighbouring cemetery.


How to Get There:

Take the East Rail Line on the MTR to Shatin (also written as Sha Tin).  Use exit B and head to the right and down a ramp.  You’ll past a rustic village square on your left and straight ahead will see Homesquare (with a big Ikea logo) and to its left a Shatin government building.  Go between the two to the very end of the road where you’ll find a chain link fence.  From there you should pick up signposts and then it’s very easy.  As soon as you get to the foot of the track you’ll see Buddha statues either side and you walk up.

Additional Information:

  • The monastery is also known as Man Fat Sze.
  • The path up is steep, so if there’s heavy rain, it could be wise to give it a miss.  Also, rain and accompanying low cloud with compromise the view from the top.
  • The steep climb is neither pushchair or wheelchair friendly.  So, unfortunately, we don’t recommend this if you have mobility issues.
  • There are solemn Buddhas, scary Buddhas, happy Buddhas, sad Buddhas, Buddhas with impossibly long arms or legs.

Family tour at Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery, Shatin.

Other Things to Do in Shatin

In addition to the Ten Thousand Buddhas monastery, Shatin is home to Hong Kong’s Heritage Museum, the tiny Snoopy’s World theme park and a great place to watch dragon boat races every June.  It’s also a great place to start or finish a cycling tour of the New Territories with us with the harbour side bike track or visit Wing Wo Bee Farm.

Book us for a private tour of this amazingly visual, and steep monastery overlooking the town of Shatin.



Our guest in the photograph, Shrivanny, used to live in Hong Kong but never managed to find her way out to the Ten Thousand Buddha’s Monastery.

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Fireworks Cruise Hong Kong: It’s a Blast

Take a fireworks cruise in Hong Kong’s Victoria harbour.  It’s a must-do experience.  Three times a year there are magnificent fireworks displays.  The first is to celebrate Chinese New Year, the date varies each year according to the lunar calendar. Secondly, fireworks cruises run on Chinese National Day which falls on October 1st.  The third and final fireworks cruises launch on December 31st to welcome in the new calendar year.

Thank you to all who joined us for another great year of celebrations on Victoria Harbour, this year we had 4 sell-out boats for New Years Eve and Chinese New Year for these wonderful events.

Why Book your Fireworks Cruise with Hong Kong Greeters?

As always, the Hong Kong fireworks above Victoria Harbour were stunning, but what makes a harbour cruise with us such an enjoyable experience?

  • by being on a boat, you get the closest view of the fireworks possible away from the crowds
  • rather than standing up, you will be able to relax in the extremely comfortable surroundings of our luxury cruisers
  • the five-star hospitality on board with freshly cooked food, specially selected wines and bubbles and craft ales to be consumed
  • and of course you will have our happy and entertaining Hong Kong Greeters hosts tending to your every need!

If you are planning to be here for the celebrations or want to organise your own excursion on the water, please just email us for more information on all the boat trips we can offer.

Explore Hong Kong on a Private Tour

In the event that you’re staying in town for a few days, why not also consider one of our private walking tours or car tours of Hong Kong.