De-stressing: The Best Places in Hong Kong to Drain the Strain
Over the last few weeks, I’ve noticed a smooth, standard transition when I ask people how they are. Around Chinese New Year, I’d get happy and bubbly responses about life being great, but if I ask anyone today how they’re doing, their answers are all the same: “I have so much work, I’m so stressed!”. Jump shifting between mid-term exam woes, internship and job hunts, an endless stream of assignments, final year projects, book reports and reviews, society and hall obligations…(the list is inexhaustible, so I won’t bother going on) etc. people are up to their eyes with too much work, and not enough time to complete all of it. On top of this tough life, we owe it to ourselves to devote time to other very important commitments, like Friday night rituals, maintaining a respectable score on Flappy Bird (my high score is 2, I’ve basically mastered the game), belated Skype sessions, and general procrastination duties.
I’m honestly taken aback sometimes with the capacity of human brains. How do we not explode? More importantly though, if we’re on the verge of breaking, how do we make sure we don’t completely fall to pieces? Many people binge, or work out, or turn to liquid courage to keep them going. Personally, I find that always having something new around me to keep me curious or surprised is a great stress buster. Taking that forward, Hong Kong is an insanely diverse place when it comes to trying new activities, and I think we definitely owe it to ourselves to take out a few hours in a week to go somewhere different and interesting – especially during this crazy stressful period.
So here’s a list of unorthodox activities (in no particular order) that you may not think of when someone first asks you where you’d go to relieve stress and tension – if you try them out and tell us what you think.
1. CLIFF JUMPING IN SAI KUNG
Okay, this could go either way…I understand it sounds a bit odd if someone tells you to jump off a cliff when you’re not feeling too great. But that said, Sai Kung’s cliff jumping pool is safe, and will give you a delightful high like no other. Travel to Sai Wan, enjoy the beach, try Mr. Wong’s, trek for a while – go with a few friends and make a real day of this, I promise it’ll take some of the edge off. You’ll get a stunning view completely different from Hong Kong’s urban environment, and with every jump, you can let go of the irritating deadline or exam woe sitting in your head
Take a moment: just imagine the thrilling adrenaline rush after that first jump. This is honestly the perfect way to liberate yourself of all your worries, all that stress…just completely let go.
2. PLAY WITH A PUP!
Initially, while thinking of places for this list, I recalled talking to a few friend of mine studying in the USA – before her finals in December, her university held this adorable “puppy stress relief” morning or something, where puppies and dogs were brought into the university for students to play with, adore, and swoon over. I remember how jealous I was – I love the idea of showering your affection onto adorable puppies, so I tried to find an equivalent.
The Hong Kong Dog Rescue (HKDR) organization has several centers around Hong Kong, with their main one based in Tai Po. With almost 400 dogs from all the centers, the HKDR always welcomes volunteers to walk and play with their dogs. Spend some time with them, and let their playfulness take your mind off your next mid-term. Plus, on their website, they have 40 pages of adorable dogs (with pictures and personality descriptions!) waiting to be played with – so take your pick and give some love to these adorable animals
PS: The dog in the picture is named Gideon, and he’s 3 years old. Golden retrievers are a MASSIVE weakness of mine. Just look at those gorgeous brown eyes!
3. ROOM ESCAPE!
For those of you who don’t know what a Room Escape adventure is, basically you spend 45-60 minutes in some sort of maze, trying to get to the end of the maze. Every room has a story, a particular mystery to it, and you have to solve the mystery by looking for clues around the room to get to the next room. It gets exciting, and is a great way for you to exercise your mind on something that isn’t academia.
Out of the three room escape places in Hong Kong – FreeingHK, The Escape, and LostHK – , I’ve been to LostHK and it was a blast. They have a variety of rooms, each with extremely unique stories. The staff was very friendly, and it’s 45 minutes of focusing on using your observation skills and problem solving techniques, and it is a lot of fun.
This idea is a little premature, because it only actually opens this summer, but honestly it’s too awesome (and appropriate) to not make it on the list. Get ready to flip, jump, and fly around on Ryze’s Ultimate Trampoline Park. Located in North Point, it’s 18,000 square feet (50 trampoline all connected to each other, insaneeee!) of perfect stress relief.
Seriously, just imagine the amount of tension you’ll let go of after bouncing around on a room of trampolines. Not only will it be enough fun to make you forget about the large pile of assignments left on your to-do list, but it’ll also exhaust you enough to leave no room for you to care either. It’s also definitely safer than cliff diving (mentioned above), and if you have a fear of heights, this is probably a better alternative.
5. CYCLING IN TAI PO
Cycling in Tai Po – more specifically in Tai Mei Tuk – is the perfect stress buster; it’s both relaxing, and invigorating. You can rent cycles or rickshaws and ride them along a straight road that leads to a mountain trek.
The best part about this activity is the stunning view that comes with it. The cycling track is basically a very long stretch of road, enveloped by a beautiful picture of water and mountains, which is a perfect contrast from HKU’s bustling and excited environment. Use the contrast to relax, while still actively doing something. And if you’re really in the mood to ‘chur’ (teehee), bring a book along with you, sit near the water and study (although I would really advise against this!).
Having tried this recently myself, I can definitely vouch for this great activity. The only con about this place is its distance from campus, but overall, it’s definitely worth it.
6. ARCADE ADVENTURES
Going to game arcades was something most of us probably did much more a few years ago, and for many of us, it’s been a while. Treat yourself to a little throwback, and take an hour or two out of your day to visit a game arcade. I’ve heard the best ones are in Causeway Bay – Times, Gamemax, and Game Cyber are a few suggestions!
Video game arcades are a great (and inexpensive) way to distract yourself temporarily from the gloomy hardships of mid-term pressures. Try racing with your friends on the line of car games, or competing in basketball hoop games. My personal favorite? Air Hockey.
7. ART JAMMING
Finally, let some of those creative juices flow. While left side of your brain is fried with academic difficulties, let the right side have a bit of fun and play around with a paintbrush and get really artistic.
The best part about this activity is that its also DIY – if you don’t want to go to a place to art jam, host your own! Purchase some paint and a canvas, grab a few friends and find a place on/near campus, and have a bit of fun.
So that’s it! And if you really don’t have time to go around now, then make sure you release all this tension sometime afterwards when things calm down (think of it as a reward or something). Lastly, give some of these places a shot and let us know what they’re like. Good luck with the coming weeks – don’t stress out too much!!
What do you guys do to de-stress? Tell us in the comments below!