Cover Start the new year by trying these activities in Hong Kong

Mark the new year by trying new activities in Hong Kong, such as parkour, indoor skiing or gong meditation

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Shake, Rattle and Roll

If pandemic statistics have taught us anything, it’s that those in the best physical shape tend to fare the best when stricken by the virus. The Hong Kong Parkour Association runs training sessions designed to push the body to the limits of its capabilities.

You’ve seen it in the movies: now it’s time to learn to balance, vault, flip and leap, and unlock your potential.

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Dig In

Food security is going to be one of the greatest challenges mankind faces over the coming decades. We’re not saying you need to be self-sufficient just yet, but it’s always useful to have a basic knowledge of how to build a kitchen garden and which fruit and vegetables are in season at any given time.

Plus, it feels great to grow things. Urban farming academy Rooftop Republic offers courses and workshops to those aspiring to green fingers.

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See also: Time To Thrive: Garden Themed Travel Ideas For The Plant Obsessed

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Ice, Ice, Maybe

Here’s one for anyone who laughed in the face of the ice bucket challenge. You might have seen the bizarre videos pop up in your YouTube recommendations: dunking yourself into icy water is a hot topic. Wim Hof is the jolly, bearded Dutchman known for his ability to tolerate severe cold and wants others to give it a try, claiming it gives more energy, boosts the immune system and metabolism, improves sports performance, promotes better sleep and reduces inflammation.

Thousands are already converted, and events by Brian Lai (pictured above), a Hong Kong Wim Hof practitioner, sell out fast.

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See also: To Ice Or Not To Ice: 5 Reasons To Try The Wim Hof Method

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Turn Off for Ten

Ten whole days ... 240 hours without contact with the outside world or anything that doesn’t involve focused breathing.

A non-profit silent Vipassana meditation retreat on Lantau Island invites participants to reset and calm their inner cacophony. It’s certainly not a walk in the park: The Armoury co-founder Mark Cho lasted just four days. Can you hack the silence?

PS: Phones are banned.

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Do Some Good

It has taken a pandemic to remind us how interconnected yet vulnerable society is. While the extent of last year’s inconvenience for some was working at home, others lost family members or livelihoods and will struggle to get their lives back on track.

From beach cleans and fostering abandoned dogs to distributing food to the poor and visiting the elderly, there are many ways to get involved in Hong Kong. If you’re not sure where your skills would be best deployed, a great place to start is HandsOn Hong Kong, an organisation that matches volunteers with NGOs based on the skills they have to offer.

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See also: Peter Cheung's Hot List: 10 Hong Kong Charities You Should Be Supporting

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Laugh in The Face of Doom

If you’ve ever captured the attention of a bar with a hilarious anecdote and felt sad more people weren’t there to share the mirth, it may be time to try your hand at stand-up comedy.

The scene in Hong Kong is small, yet there are plenty of opportunities for newcomers to try out a few jokes at an open-mic. Delivering a routine offers a surefire adrenaline rush and could be an opportunity to vent about things that irk you. Knock, knock... a newgroup of friends beckons.

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The Snow Must Go On

While your Moncler ski jacket sits in storage for the season, keep your slalom and snowplough skills sharp at the revolutionary Slope Infinity, an indoor skiing centre in Hong Kong. Described as a “reverse treadmill”, a revolving silicone carpet mimics the sensation of a mountain slope rushing by—with no need to take a chairlift back up again. Once you’re back on the mountains, it’ll look like you never missed a single season. 

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See also: Is China The Next Big Ski Destination? The Ski Project's Sandy Ip Lets Us In On Her Experience

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Zip It Up

“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face,” said Eleanor Roosevelt. Time to put that to the test: the adventure sports offered by Sai Yuen are designed to build resilience and strength of mind in participants, who are encouraged to overcome their fear of heights and challenge themselves mentally and physically with activities like treetop canopy walks and abseiling.

Sai Yuen is also a campsite, with a selection of ger, dome, teepee and safari tents to stay in.

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See also: The Best Glamping Sites In Hong Kong

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Going, Going, Gong

Sure, meditation in a quiet room is nice, but add in the soul-stirring reverberations of a brass gong and that coveted nirvana inches a little closer.

The psychology behind sound healing is steeped in mystery, but there’s something spine-tingling about lying in a wash of vibrations as different instruments are activated all around you. After the last year, calming the mind is an ability worth honing.

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Open Your Mind

Why are swimming pools always just a little bit grim? Swap the slippery tiles, hairballs and floating Band-Aids of your regular pool for the sand, waves and thrill of swimming outdoors, a pursuit proven to lower blood pressure and promote good moods.

Visit Kembali for wild swimming in Hong Kong’s secret rock pools (women only), or join the city’s largest open water swimming group at Repulse Bay across several sessions per week.

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Turn Up the Volume

Learning to play music shouldn’t just be for children or teenagers looking to beef up their university application; anyone at any age can pick up an instrument and indulge their curiosity and creativity.

There is a wealth of music schools in Hong Kong, teaching everything from western instruments like classical guitar, viola and bassoon to Asian ones, such as the guzheng, dizi and even the sitar.

Haw Par Music is a prestigious school in Tai Hang that offers both Asian and western curricula for children and adults. The centre is housed in a grade I-listed mansion set in more than three hectares of private gardens and steeped in history. How’s that for motivation to practise?

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See also: 2021 New Year’s Resolutions From The Tatler Community