Sweet Gum Woods – sounds like something out of a fairy tale. It is. Because come winter, these woods in Tai Tong, Hong Kong transform themselves into truly magical, and breathtaking. The leaves on the sweet gum trees change colour to different shades of green, orange, and red. And as the trees that surround them continue to stay green, this changing of colours is truly beautiful sight to behold!
How To Get To The Sweet Gum Woods
So, how do you get to Tai Tong to see the red leaves?
Public Transport – Bus K66
- Take the West Rail Line to Long Ping Station.
- Take Exit B2, and then take MTR Bus K66
- Alight at Tai Tong Shan Road (second last stop), and then walk up hill for about 2.64 kms, or 40 minutes to reach the Sweet Gum Woods.
During the season when the leaves turn red, the K66 bus plies directly between Long Ping MTR and Tai Tong Shan Road (no stops in between) on Sundays and public holidays. It also drops you at the roundabout, which saves you 500 m of walking.
To catch the direct bus, follow the signs once you take Exit B2 at the Long Ping MTR. it operates between 10:30 and 16:00 for the Tai Tong bound service, and from 13:00 to 19:00 for the Long Ping Station bound service with a frequency of 15 minutes.
Public Transport – Red Minibus
You can also get there by Red Minibus. Catch the bus at Hung Min Court in Yuen Long, and get off at Tai Tong Shan Road. Walk along Tai Tong Shan Road uphill for about 60 minutes to reach Sweet Gum Woods.
It’s probably best to take a green taxi from Yuen Long MTR to the country park. The fare should be around HK$ 60.
If you’re driving to the Sweet Gum Woods, you should know that parking is limited and runs out fast.
About The Sweet Gum Woods, Tai Lam Country Park
Hong Kong has a subtropical climate, and most trees in the city are evergreens. Deciduous trees (trees that shed their leaves annually) are rare, but the sweet gum tree is one of the few that are in the city. The leaves of these trees look a lot like maple tree leaves. And come winter, they too turn a beautiful shade of red before they shed.
Best Area To See The Red Leaves, Tai Tong
The best location to see the sweet gum trees in Hong Kong is at the Sweet Gum Woods on Tai Tong Shan Road, in Tai Lam Country Park. Although the trees are spread out, there is a stretch of road where they are most concentrated (see map above).
Make sure you visit the Sweet Gum Stand. It’s an outdoor seating area with a high concentration of the red leaves.
Check out the video
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Best Time To See The Leaves Change Colour?
The leaves change colour on the sweet gum trees is between November and January. But mid to end December is probably the best time as the leaves turn a bold red colour during this period.
Why Do The Leaves Turn Red?
Leaves contain several types of pigments. Chlorophyll, which gives leaves the green colour, carotenoids that provide the yellowish colour, and anthocyanin that lend the red colour. As the weather changes and becomes dry and cool, the chlorophyll decomposes, leaving the yellow and red pigments behind to be seen.
I know that leaves changing colour may not be such a big deal for those who live in northern Europe, or North America. But for those living in Hong Kong, it really is a beautiful sight to behold. It’s just a pity that the red leaves only come once a year.
I personally did not know that this place even existed in Hong Kong till recently. And when I went there, I still couldn’t believe it!
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