You may not have imagined Hong Kong as an outdoorsy destination when you are surrounded by towering skyscrapers and neon lights in a city that never sleeps. But just on the fringes of this bustling metropolis, is a whole new façade for the hiker in you. Check out these top picks by the Hong Kong Tourism Board for some of best hiking trails in the country.
1. Sunset Peak
Distance: Approximately 9km
Average hiking time: About 4 hours
The Sunset Peak in Islands District is a gorgeous sunset and seascape destination. Situated at 869 metres high, the Sunset Peak is the third highest summit in Hong Kong. With seas of silvergrass, rustic stone huts and expansive seascapes, this is a much sought-after destination by hikers and photographers.
First stop – Lantau Trail
This is the only uphill climb in the trail. Just over 450 metres, it’s a tough climb that is well worth the effort. Most of the ascent is shaded. As you go higher, the trees are gradually replaced by shrubs and tall grass, offering you open views in all directions.
Second stop – Sunset Peak & Yi Tung Shan
As you saunter on the ridge between Sunset Peak and its sister peak Yi Tung Shan, the interplay of sunlight, clouds and rustling silvergrass is mesmerising. In the winter months, the silvergrass turn golden, lighting up the surrounding slopes. Check out the stone huts at Lantau Mountain Camp that was built almost a century ago by the early British missionaries. If you plan to watch the sunset here, it is advisable to check the Hong Kong Observatory website for the exact sunset time, and do bring along torches or headlamps.
Third stop/ Exit Point – Nam Shan
Continue on Lantau Trail Stage 2 to descend to Nam Shan, and walk carefully on the flight of stone steps. If you choose to end the hike here, you can take bus 1, 2, 3M or 4 to Mui Wo, or 3M to MTR Tung Chung Station, at the bus stop on the South Lantau Road.
Fourth stop – Luk Tei Tong Watch Tower & Mui Wo
If you decide to continue this trail, turn into the village path between Nam Shan and Mui Wo. Walk for 20 minutes, and a sturdy granite watch tower comes into sight. Keep walking on the village path and you will reach the town of Mui Wo in 15 minutes. There are many cafes, restaurants and local eateries here.
End point – Silver Mine Bay
Once you͛ve fueled up, continue on the seaside path for a swim at the beautiful beach.
2. Tai Mo Shan
Distance: Approximately 5km (one-way)
Average hiking time: About 2 hours (one-way)
Standing at 957 metres and often shrouded in stratus clouds, Tai Mo Shan in the Tsuen Wan district is the highest peak in Hong Kong. It’s visible from many parts of the city. Despite its height, Tai Mo Shan is easily accessible on foot, and you’ll be thrilled by the stunning views of green landscapes that promises picturesque photos.
Starting point – Tai Mo Shan Country Park Visitor Centre
Soon after you set off from the crossing of Tai Mo Shan Road and Route Twisk, you will reach the Visitor Centre on your left. Learn about Tai Mo Shan Country Park and climate change from local and global perspectives through the interactive panels. You can get food and drinks at the kiosks in Tai Mo Shan Country Park Car Park before starting your trail.
First Stop –Tai Mo Shan Lookout
Continue uphill on Tai Mo Shan Road, and you will be treated to sweeping views of the hillside and the city. Savour the breathtaking scenery of the plains of Kam Tin and Yuen Long from the lookout point before the traffic control post. Just be sure to be alert of the vehicles on the nearby roads.
Second Stop – Tai Mo Shan Road
This winding section of Tai Mo Shan Road, which is also part of MacLehose Trail Stage 8, will bring you towards the top of the mountain. At this height, you͛ have an impressive view of the landscape both far and near, and may come across feral cows too.
End Point – Weather Radar Station
Unobstructed in all directions by local terrain, this Hong Kong Observatory weather station on the peak of Tai Mo Shan collects data to form combined radar images and calculates winds at different heights above Hong Kong.
3. Plover Cove Country Park
Distance: Approximately 7.5 km
Average hiking time: About 3 hours
Seeing is believing at the Plover Cove Country Park. Surrounded with centuries-old Hakka villages with exotic names, colourful folk legends, hauntingly beautiful stream and waterfall network known as the Bride’s Pool, bamboo groves and more, this lush destination is within easy reach of the city.
Starting point – Bride’s Pool
Begin your journey at Bride’s Pool Nature Trail. Follow the paved path that meanders by the stream until you come to the waterfall. According to the legend, a bride was passing through the area in a sedan chair to meet her groom when one of her carriers slipped. The bride fell into the river, and drowned in her heavy, extravagant wedding clothing. The pool was hence named in memory of her tragic fate.
Second stop – Wu Kau Tang Village
Continue on the serene path surrounded by bamboo groves, patterned cobwebs and a creel. ‘Wu Kau Tang’ means soaring black dragon in Chinese, a euphemism for the tortoises abundant in the area when Hakka villagers settled here during the Qing Dynasty (1644 –1911).
Third stop – Lai Sam Ancient Trail
Enjoy the gorgeous view s over Sam A Wan, an inlet of Double Haven, as you reach Lai Tau Shek.
Fourth stop – Sam A Village
‘Sam A’ means trident in Cantonese, referring to the trident-shaped headland in the inlet. This sleepy village sits against the backdrop of dark green hills that overlooks a picturesque glassy lake in front. The tea house in the village is owned by an old couple who serves Hakka dishes on weekends and public holidays. Noodles, snacks and drinks are available on regular days.
End point – Lai Chi Wo
Follow the signs and hike for around 45 minutes to Lai Chi Wo, which literally means lychee cove. Climb the stairs at the village entrance to enjoy the scenery. Lai Chi Wo is home to an exquisite Hakka village established 400 years ago, and a designated Site of Special Science Interest (SSSI). The feng shui woodland at the rear of the village is an ecological treasure box. Along Lai Chi Wo Nature Trail, you will encounter interesting coastal plants and small animals.