A guide to Hong Kong's best pools
Jillian Xin and Natalie Wong check out the best spots to splash around
Best for laps: Kennedy Town
These two 50 metre pools tucked away at the end of the tram line are the place to go for an hour of uninterrupted lane swimming. A play pool means the children are covered, keeping the lanes family-free, and the weekdays are relatively quiet, so you can lap it up in relative solitude. There’s also an impeccably positioned McFlurry outlet a few doors down for you to indulge in a guilt-free, post-swim ice cream. 12N Smithfield Rd, Kennedy Town, 2817 7973; closed Wed.*
Best for diving: Victoria Park
This is a serious pool – the kind where everyone wears swimming caps. It is, however, perfect for diving, as the deep end is an impressive five metres deep and there’s also a separate 4.6m deep diving pool. Although you need to be part of a diving class to use their 3m, 5m and 10m boards, anyone is welcome to hop on the 1m springboard
(FYI: star jumps and pool bombs are really still not cool). Victoria Park, Hing Fat St, Tin Hau, 2570 8347; closed Mon.*
Best eye candy: Morrison Hill
It’s crowded, the facilities are minimal, and the outdoor pool is no bigger than a puddle but we have to hand it to them – their lifeguards are hot. Toned, bronzed and the stuff of Abercrombie and Fitch ads, watch them give afternoon swimming lessons to the toddlers. David Hasselhoff, eat your heart out. 7 Oi Kwan Rd, Wan Chai, 2575 3028; closed Thu.*
Best play pool: Chai Wan
The two large play pools perched on a rooftop come complete with squirting castles, mini-slides and a fountain feature to entertain the young and young-at-heart. Most of the patrons are under 16 though, and like a geriatric in a nightclub, you might feel out of place if you come minus children. Go at dusk when the pools, being on the roof, mean you can catch the sunset illuminating the nearby sea and green hills yonder. 345 San Ha St, Chai Wan, 2558 3538; closed Tue.*
Best music: Royal Plaza Hotel
We’re not talking jukebox, this luxurious yet understated pool atop the Mong Kok East Station provides an underwater music experience in a 40 metre Roman-style pool. Dip your head in, and listen to the classical music finely tuned to be heard only underwater. Don’t rush, just linger and enjoy your own synchronised swim. Cost includes access to Jacuzzi, steam bath, and sauna. Royal Plaza Hotel, 193 Prince Edward Rd West, Mong Kok. 2622 6282;
www.royalplaza.com.hk. Daily 6.30am-9pm, $250.
Best slides: Tai Po
While it’s a little far from town, this pool is seriously worth the effort. Within a ten minute walk from Tai Wo Station, Tai Po pool boasts six brightly coloured, long, twisting, three storey high slides – if you’re old enough to remember Water World, they’re reminiscent of the rainbow slides. Apparently the longest slides in Hong Kong, there’s the speedy straight ones, or slides with a series of winding loops. Although it only takes a minute to get to the bottom, don’t be surprised to see a long queue. 11 Ting Tai Rd, Tai Po, 2661 2244; closed Mon.*
Best fountain: Hong Kong Park
Alright, it’s not really meant for bathing, but at the top of the Pacific Place escalator to Hong Kong Park sits this ingenious piece of waterworks. The round fountain, with a curtain of water tumbling down all sides, is not just for show – make a splash and cool off by taking the steps across, or find yourself a wet seat inside. 19 Cotton Tree Dr, Central, 2521 5041. Daily 10am-7pm.
Best for families: Jordan Valley
Surrounded by the residential towers of Ngau Tau Kok, this spacious water park is perfect for families. It’s huge, and has all the play essentials: fancy slides, water sprays, water cannons, plus a mini aquatic ‘zoo’, with seven giant animal buoys. Parental units can have a relaxing soak in the Jacuzzi, while the kids splash about among the beasts. Choi Ha Rd, Ngau Tau Kok, Kowloon, 2305 5919; closed Tue.*
*All public pools are open 6.30am-noon, 1pm-6.30pm & 7.30pm-10pm; entry costs $19.