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“Worth the preparation! Amazing Spoonbills!”

Mai Po Nature Reserve
Ranked #241 of 823 things to do in Hong Kong
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: The 380-heactare Mai Po Nature Reserve is managed by World Wild Fund - Hong Kong. As a haven for thousands of migratory waterbirds every year, Mai Po Nature Reserve and the surrounding Inner Deep Bay wetlands sets a prime example of conservation success for regional wetlands. The six main habitats in Mai Po Nature Reserve – gei wais, freshwater ponds, inter-tidal mudflats, mangroves, reedbeds and fishponds – are home to a host of wildlife. Take a tour organized by WWF, is the best and simplest way to experience the beauty of this truly unique and ecologically diverse wetland location.
Useful Information: Activities for young children, Activities for older children
Baltimore, Maryland
Level 6 Contributor
129 reviews
51 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 66 helpful votes
“Worth the preparation! Amazing Spoonbills!”
Reviewed 3 February 2013

I'm sorry to see DukeBirds review--about difficulty of getting in--but due to its location (straddling the border between HK and China) it is necessary to apply to enter in advance and on the application it clearly requests either your passport number or your HK ID number...There are a number of restrictions put on the organization by the govt, and one of these requires 2 permits for each visitor!

Anyway! This is a place worth visiting! I kept thinking, is this really Hong Kong?
We had 4 hours and that was not enough! We had an excellent tour guide. His passion was contagious!
We saw a nice group of endangered Spoonbills(used to only be 200 and now only 2000...and they nest on the DMZ between North and South Korea!)....We saw king fishers and lovely lillies...and learned how difficult it was for the reserve to cut through the red tape to get buffaloes onto the property (there are 4 now)...We also learned about the fish farming that is going on next door--the farmers particularly dislike the birds and play bird distress calls....
There is a great mangrove forest and some good blinds to sit in to watch the birds...
Do take the time to apply online to visit--it does take time!
The cab ride from the MTR cost $60hk...You should bring water, tissue (ladies toilets often did not have paper), and bug spray.

Visited February 2013
3 Thank Babzkk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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31 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • English first
  • Japanese first
  • Any
English first
Marshall, Missouri
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Excellent birds, but beware”
Reviewed 22 January 2013

We are ornithologists and traveled a long way from the US. Being safe, my partner left the hotel with her passport secure there. Upon arrival at Mai Po Nature Reserve she was denied entry for not having a passport. This restriction is not found on there website! The reception workers we quite cold and impolite. They knew absolutely nothing about birds. What a horrible experience with people there.

So, instead of gaining entry alone, we walked the outskirts of the reserve and had great birding. Mai Po's birds deserve a 5 rating. White-breasted Waterhen's everywhere with other waterbirds... White-eyes... King-fishers, numerous wintering passerines, and more.

There is a tiny eatery on the road leading into the reserve. They speak no English, but if you can translate or are lucky to have a customer there that can, you'll have a good meal at a good price.

Go! But be prepared.

Visited January 2013
3 Thank DukeBirds
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Manchester, United Kingdom
Level 5 Contributor
45 reviews
26 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
“Big Contrast! Diverse and fascinating reserve”
Reviewed 12 December 2012

Mai po was such a worthwhile trip, Not for just the abundance of wildlife but also the contrast of marsh,country and city all in one landscape. I was surprised to find such massive development so far away from central hong kong but unfortunately this exists even surrounding such extensive land with important ecological and wildlife diversity. The marsh was misty and silent and created a relaxing yet spooky atmosphere, many birds are on display and have such funny behaviour, Also there is a wide array of marsh flora/fauna which have grown into interesting shapes and also many small inlet islands in which most birds are seen. The park is big and i would recommend planning a whole day if attempting to trek the entire distance, Binoculars and gear are available to hire upon reception. The park is also a resemblance to the film jurassic park because of the gates which seperate and protect the reserve from outside interference. We didn't visit all areas but we managed to walk the full distance and it was a very long 2 hour walk which was seemingly neverending once we reached the half way point so make sure you read the map properly and plan accordingly! Overall definitely worth a visit and wwf are doing a great job in protecting the natural land in such changing surroundings, also visiting will support the future efforts of the park so its all for a good cause. The local area is also very interesting and if you have any time try and wonder through the local villages to discover some local farm culture and lifestyle.

Visited December 2012
1 Thank brighteststar1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Covington, Louisiana
Level 6 Contributor
156 reviews
58 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 59 helpful votes
“Abundant bird life in the New Territories”
Reviewed 24 April 2012

Went to Mai Po in late October and took the guided walk. The tour itself was in Cantonese, but we were able to ask questions and get some bird id's from the guide. The walk around the reserve was at a reasonable pace, and the diversity of the birdlife was quite good. We saw lots of water fowl including herons, egrets, and spoonbills. I understand it is even better in the winter. Do book ahead on their website to do the guided walk, and make sure you bring binoculars, water, a snack, and a good bird guide.

Visited October 2011
Thank Joe P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 6 Contributor
155 reviews
91 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 81 helpful votes
“Quiet, Remote and Wonderful in Winter”
Reviewed 22 February 2012

Access price is pretty steep (but since it all goes to the WWF, it's ok). Takes some determination to get to (the map on the web is very clear). Best opportunity to come up close with migratory birds in winter in Hong Kong

Thank SNottIN
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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