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Hiking Hong Kong Spring Edition

As the Covid-19 pandemic has all but shut down overseas vacations and leisure travel, Hong Kong residents have taken to enjoying our own great outdoors – hiking the myriad trails criss-crossing the city's country parks and outlying islands. And why not? Hong Kong's reputation for hiking splendour is pretty much an open secret, except perhaps with the most sedentary, and the variety of hiking experiences available is simply astonishing.
Thanks to Hong Kong's amazingly diverse geography, which at 70 percent green offers hikers a great variety of terrains suitable for hiking. The Hong Kong Government has wisely set aside most of Hong Kong's natural habitat in the form of country parks, protecting it from development. Moreover, it has invested extensively in hiking trails – over 500 kilometres of which crisscross the territory, all of them well marked, well-maintained and safe to hike on.
The diverse geography also gives rise to great vistas that hikers can enjoy along the way – panoramic views of mountains and seas, islands, unique rock formations and waterfalls, with the natural scenery often juxtaposed with ultramodern cityscapes, making hiking a sensory as well as a physical workout. There are trails to suit hikers of all ages and fitness levels. From tranquil walks to challenging hilly climbs, from lesser-known trails to world-famous treks, you will not be disappointed.
So why wait? Lace up your sneakers or hiking boots and let’s go as CityLife presents its Hiking Hong Kong – Spring Edition.
Easy and Relaxing: Lamma Island- Yung Shue Wan to Sok Kwu Wan
Duration: around 1.5 hours;
Conveniently Accessible; View: excellent-island, beaches and sea; Other attractions: idyllic villages, great seafood restaurants.
Lamma Island, just south of Hong Kong Island, known for its quaint villages, dai-pai-dong style seafood restaurants, beaches and scenic hikes, is a favourite weekend destination for locals and visitors alike. Start your hike at Yung Shue Wan. After strolling along the village streets and its souvenir shops, follow the path to Sok Kwun Wan. You'll pass Hung Sing Ye Beach before ascending a small hill with panoramic views along the way of the sea and the island. The descent to Sok Kwun Wan passing through the local village is equally enchanting. Reward yourself with a delicious seafood dinner before going back to the city.
How to get there: Central Ferry Pier No. 4 to Yung Shue Wan; take ferry from Sok Kwun Wan back to Central.


Moderate and picturesque scenery: Tai Lam Chung Reservoir (Thousand Island Lake) Hike
Duration: around 3 hours; Conveniently Accessible; View: Spectacular view of Hong Kong’s most scenic reservoir dotted with islands – a perfect Instagram spot.
Located in the Tai Lam Country Park, Hong Kong's second largest, the reservoir was constructed after World War II after damming four sides of the valley. The result, a reservoir dotted with emerald islets that were remnants of the hilltops once there. The hike which starts from the village of So Kwun Wat Tsuen near Tuen Mun is a relatively easy, involving a steady and gradual uphill walk from the village. The paved path eventually merges with the MacLehose Trail Section 10. Your destination is the “Reservoir Islands Viewpoint” which affords a panoramic view of the reservoirs and the little islands below. There are signs abound so it's hard to get lost. Go back the way you come, or you If you are in the mood for a long hike, go down the trail and check out the Tai Lam Chung Reservoir Loop, a 21-kilometrelevel path that loops around the reservoir.
How to get there: Take Minibus 43 from Tuen Mun San Hui near the San Hui Market and alight at So Kwun Wat Tsuen.
Moderate Difficulty and Spectacular View: Dragon Back
Duration: Around 2.5 to 3 hours,; Conveniently Accessible: Convenient; View: Spectacular- beaches, mountains and the South China Seas; Other attractions: beaches
Arguably Hong Kong's most famous trail as lauded by various international media outlets, Dragon Back richly deserves its accolades. This hike is essentially Section 8 of the Hong Kong Trail, one of four long hiking trail systems in Hong Kong, which goes from To Tei Wan near Shek O Road to Tai Long Wan (Big Wave Bay). After a quick and relatively steep ascent you'll reach the ridge of Dragon Back from which you can enjoy truly spectacular scenery of the mountains accross, the Shek O beach and picturesque golf course below, and the South China Sea beyond. Look for hang gliders hovering above the ridge trying to catch the up-draft. Follow the trail which eventually meanders down to Tai Long Wan, a haven for surfers.
How to get there: Bus 9 from Shau Kei Wan Bus Terminal. Get off at Shek O Road’s To Tei Wan bus stop.
Coming back: Mini-bus back to Shau Kei wan from Tai Long Wan; or walk 15 minutes along Shek O Road to catch Bus number 9.
Difficult but Stunning: Sai Kung: High Island Reservoir East Dam to Big Wave Bay Beaches Hike
Duration: 3 to 4 hours;
Moderately accessible;
View: stunningly beautiful- beaches, headlands, mountains;
Other attractions: the hike is its own reward
Not the type of hike you would ever think you could experience in Hong Kong- pristine environment, unspoiled beaches, hamlet villages and beautiful scenery. This hike follows most of Section 1 and 2 of the Maclehose Trail- which at 100 kilometres is Hong Kong's longest and most famous trail. Start from High Island Reservoir's East Dam. Enjoy the great vista of the reservoir before following the trail up the hill and then descending to Long Ke beach, a pristine, white-sand beach. A long, steady ascent up to Sai Wan Shan follows, leading eventually down to the beautiful beaches of Ham Tin and Big Wave Bay- unquestionably Hong Kong's most beautiful. After the beaches you'll need to go back up the hill and follow the Section 2 trail which will end at Pak Tam Au.
How to get there: Bus 94 from Sai Kung Town Centre to Pak Tam Chung, then taxi to East Dam. Coming back: Bus 94 from Pak Tam Au bus stop back to Sai Kung.
Moderately difficult but rewarding gorgeous views: Ma On Shan Country Park to Sai Kung via Ngong Ping and Pyramid Hill

Duration: 3 hours; moderately accessible;

View: gorgeous views all around;

Other attractions: Ma On Shan waterfront promenade, Sai Kung Town

Framed by its scenic waterfront promenade and the lush buy hilly Ma On Shan Country Park, the new town of Ma On Shan is increasingly becoming a popular destination for visitors. In particular,  Ma On Shan Country Park offers a wide range of hiking experiences, from the arduous climb to Ma On Shan peak to more moderate trails traversing the park. One popular hike that offers gorgeous view of both Ma On Shan and Sai Kung to the east is the hike from Ma On Shan Country Park entrance to sai Kung, passing through the Ngong Ping and Pyramid Hill before hiking back down to Sai Kung. 

Start at the Country Park BBQ area then follow the ma On Shan Country Trail pointing towards Ngong Ping, a narrow grassy flat plateau that offers excellent views of both Ma On Shan and sai Kung. Proceed to the summit of Pyramid Hill before descending towards Sai Kung, exiting the trail at Chuk Yeung Road the Sa Sha Road back to Sai Kung. On a clear day, you can see seemingly forever 

How to get there: Take village bus NR84 at On Luk Street at ma On Shan and get off at the BBQ area, or catch a taxi as the bus runs sparingly. In Sai Kung, catch KMB Bus 99 to Sai Kung Town.

Difficult and Rewarding: Twin Peaks- Parkview to Stanley Gap Road
Duration: 2.5 to 3 hours; Convenient Access; View: varied and spectacular, other attractions: Beaches, markets
If you want a good workout and take in some spectacular scenery at the same time, this would be the perfect hike. Start from Parkview, a luxury residential complex above Wong Nei Chung Gap Road in Hong Kong Island. A strenuous hike up the top of Violet Hill gives you a good view of both the city and southside of the island. A long descent to the bottom of the hill offers a gorgeous view of Repulse Bay. At the bottom, you'll start the infamous “Thousand Steps”- those seemingly endless steps leading to one peak and then the other, after which you are rewarded with a panoramic view of Stanley and nearby islands. The trail ends at Stanley Gap Road where you can take a bus to Stanley Market or the other way back to the city. Be sure you are in good shape before you attempt this hike- and it's definitively worth the effort!
How to get there: Take Bus No. 6 from Central to Wong Nei Chung Gap Road Petrol Station Bus stop; walk 10 minutes up on Tai Tam Reservoir Road to the starting point of the hike which is Wilson Trail Section 1.
Coming back: Bus no. 6 to Central or Bus No. 6 to Stanley the other way.


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