The city is well known for its shopping district than a walk in nature. At least for a typical tourist – a non resident or expat. But away from the glamour and glitz, the starting and end point are all within distance of the latter and it won’t take long for you to be in a world’s apart.
The geology of territory is made up of mostly volcanic and granite rock. At 957 metres (3,140 ft) the highest peak in Hong Kong – Tai Mo Shan (大帽山, Big Hat Mountain) is an inactive volcano. Together it made up the list of over 130 of list of mountains, peaks and hills. That will explained why the island that is over three times the size of Singapore, with an average apartment that is three times smaller, at an average property price of three more expensive, built to the height of at least threes times of floor level. There was simply less flat land to accommodate the density. The bless is, there are plenty of space of mother nature to escape to, all within walking reach from the congestion.
HIKING TRAILS TO EXPLORE
There are literally hundreds of named hiking trails available. Though many are interconnected and overlapping. Unless you are a completionist, one need not be guided by the signboard but chart your own path along the way. It is more exploratory that way but do check the trail difficulty level before your proceed, if you are challenged for that day and just need a leisure hike.
Be-warned, some part on and off the trail can be dangerous. Do a search on the news and you will not be short of stories of trapped hikers, missing for days and fatal incidents to not just the hikers but the rescuers. At the end of my hike surrounding Tai Mo Shan during a typhoon season (I’ve checked the weather, it wasn’t approaching), I was lectured by local friends that it’s people like me that caused trouble for the rescuers. So please do some home work first…
Here are the four main and longest hiking trails in Hong Kong.
- Hong Kong Trail : across Hong Kong Island (50km/31mi)
- Lantau Trail: on Lantau Island (70km/43mi)
- Wilson Trail: from Stanley, Hong Kong Island to Nam Chung, New Territories (78kn/48mi)
- MacLehose Trail: from Sai Kung to Tuen Mun (100km/62mi)
The trails are divided into sections and hence one need not complete and can start or end the hike at any of the section. The trails are also overlapping and cross path with many other shorter trails. So follow your instinct, explore or shorten your hike as you please. It is suppose to be a fun day, not a day for submission.
HONG KONG TRAIL
As the name suggest – this trail is a 50km route than passes through five country park on Hong Kong Island. Opened in 1985. Most easily accessible from the heart of Hong Kong Island. The most popular section would be the Section 8 of the trail, which is also the Dragon’s Back Trail.
Google Map Link : Hong Kong Trail
|1||The Peak – Pok Fu Lam Rservoir||6km/3.7mi||1hr 30min||◾◾️️◽️|
|2||Pok Fu Lam Reservoir – Peel Rise||4km/2.5mi||1hr||◾◾️️◽️|
|3||Peel Rise – Wan Chai Gap||6km/3.7mi||1hr 15min||◾◾️️◽️|
|4||Wan Chai Gap – Wong Nai Chung Road||8km/5mi||2hr||◾◾️️◾️️|
|5||Wong Nai Chung Road – Mount Parker Road||3km/2mi||1hr||◾◾️️◾️️|
|6||Mount Parker Road – Tai Tam Road||4km/2.5mi||1hr||◾◽️◽️|
|7||Tai Tam Road – To Tei Wan||7km/4.3mi||1hr 30min||◾◽️◽️|
|8||To Tei Wan – Tai Long Wan||7km/4.3mi||1hr 30min||◾◾️️◾️️|
This 70km trail loop the largest island in Hong Kong. Starting and end in Mui Wo Pier, accessible by ferry from Central, Hong Kong Island.
Google Map Link : Lantau Trail
|1||Mui Wo – Nam Shan||2km/1.2mi||30min||◾◽️◽️|
|2||Nam Shan – Pak Kung Au||6km/3.7mi||2hr 30min||◾◾️️◾️️|
|3||Pak Kung Au – Ngong Ping 360||7km/4.3mi||2hr||◾◾️️◾️️|
|4||Ngong Ping 360 – Sham Wat Road||3km/2mi||1hr||◾◾️️◽️|
|5||Sham Wat Road – Man Cheung Po||7.5km/4.6mi||2hr||◾◾️️◽️|
|6||Man Cheung Po – Tai O||2.5km/1.5mi||1hr||◾◾️️◽️|
|7||Tai O – Kau Ling Chung||10km/6.2mi||2hr||◾◾️️◾️️|
|8||Kau Ling Chung – Shek Pik||5km/3.1mi||1hr||◾◾️️◽️|
|9||Shek Pik – Shui Hau||6km/3.7mi||1hr 30min||◾️️◽️◽️|
|10||Shui Hau – Tung Chung Road||6km/3.7mi||1hr 45min||◾️️◽️◽️|
|11||Tung Chung Road – Pui O||4km/2.5mi||1hr 15min||◾️️◽️◽️|
|12||Pui O – Mui Wo||8km/49mi||2hr||◾◾️️◽️|
Named after the Governor of Hong Kong from 1987 to 1992 – David Wilson, Baron Wilson of Tillyorn. This trail is 78km.48mi long which runs mostly through the Hong Kong country parks. Section 1 and 2 are to be separated by the Kowloon Bay, connected only by two MTR station from Tai Koo Station and Lam Tin Station (with 2 more single stop station interchange in between).
Google Map Link : Wilson Trail
|1||Stanley – Wong Nai Chung Gap||6km/3.7mi||1hr 30min||◾◾️️◾️️|
|2||Wong Nai Chung Gap – Yau Tong||7km/4.3mi||2hr||◾◾️️◽️|
|3||Yau Tong – Tseng Lan Shue||9km/5.5mi||2hr 30min||◾◾️️◽️|
|4||Tseng Lan Shue – Shatin Pass||8km/4.9mi||2hr||◾◾️️◾️️|
|5||Shatin Pass – Tai Po Road||8km/4.9mi||2hr||◾️️◽️◽️|
|6||Tai Po Road – Shing Mun Reservoir||5km/3.1mi||1hr 30min||◾◾️️◽️|
|7||Shing Mun Reservoir – Yuen Tun Ha||10km/6.2mi||2hr 30min||◾️️◽️◽️|
|8||Yuen Tun Ha – Cloudy Hill||9km/5.6mi||2hr 15min||◾◾️️◾️️|
|9||Cloudy Hill – Pat Sin Leng||9km/5.6mi||2hr 30min||◾◾️️◾️️|
|10||Pay Sin Leng – Nam Chung||7km/4.3mi||1hr 30min||◾◾️️◽️|
Another trail named after an ex-Governor of Hong Kong. Sir Murray MacLehose, the longest-serving governor of Hong Kong. Rightfully so as he is who established the Country Parks and was himself an enthusiastic hiker. This trail is a 100km hiking trail opened in 1979 by Governor MacLehose himself.
Google Map Link : MacLehose Trail
|1||Pak Tam Chung – Long Ke||10km/6.2mi||2hr 15min||◾️️◽️◽️|
|2||Long Ke – Pak Tam Au||14km/8mi||3hr 45min||◾◾️️◽️|
|3||Pak Tam Au – Kei Ling Ha||9km/5.4mi||2hr 30min||◾◾️️◾️️|
|4||Kei Ling Ha – Tai Lo Shan||13km/8mi||3hr 30min||◾◾️️◾️️|
|5||Tai Lo Shan – Tai Po Road||11km/6.8mi||2hr 45min||◾◾️️◽️|
|6||Tai Po Road – Shing Mun||4km/2.5mi||1hr||◾️️◽️◽️|
|7||Shing Mun – Lead Mine Pass||7km/4.3mi||2hr||◾◾️️◽️|
|8||Lead Mine Pass – Route Twisk||10km/6.2mi||2hr 30min||◾◾️️◽️|
|9||Route Twisk – Tin Fu Tsai||6km/3.7mi||1hr 30min||◾️️◽️◽️|
|10||Tin Fu Tsai – Tuen Mun||16km/10mi||3hr 30min||◾️️◽️◽️|
Hong Kong is a very expensive place to stay. Unless you have a day or two spare from your office overseas assignment. The high hotel rates does not make it a go-to place just for hiking. Staying with friends? er… ? And if you have a chance to do a hike, well here’s a suggestion and others…
- ACCOMMODATION – You don’t need to stay in a fancy upmarket hotel chain on your hiking days. At the end of the hike, you are so drenched and mud filthy (depending on the route), you’ll outcast yourself from the main lobby to the corridor to your room. I’ve been avoided by other guest and followed by security at the end of a rainy hike. Confined in a lift with other shopping tourist was an awkward forgettable moment that stays. Not that I care, but taking into consideration for others. I picked a budget stay at my next hike. The only amenities I need is a shower and a good rest. Without any disturbance and obligatory conversation (if you stay with a friend). Pick a place to stay near your specific starting point, if you want to start early to catch the sunrise, as some places are far from the central. Otherwise, you can always find a trail near you.
There are other maps you can use to compliment the popular Google Maps. I use it for hikes and road trip…
- MAPS & APPS – While Google Map is the de facto app to use. It has it’s limitation. I coupled it with Maps.me as it has unnamed route and track you can follow, if you like to wander off to explore like me. There are also other ‘Hong Kong Hiking’ apps you can use. Just search it from your app store. Like the latter, most are based on the user contributed ‘OpenStreetMap‘.
The lurking danger! Be physically prepared and more importantly – your mental readiness. Did you carry enough water? packed lunch or snacks? check the weather? rain gear? right equipment and wear? And plan your hike…
- BLACK SPOTS – The Hong Kong government provided a list of 16 ‘high risk locations’, which included several hiking spots with frequent fatalities. Read the news and you will find these incidents are a frequent occurrence. Have fun but be mindfully safe, and don’t push the limit you have no control over yet – like the GRAVITY!
The List of ‘high risk locations’
- Lion Rock Peak
- Sharp Peak (Nam She Tsim), Sai Kung East
- Quadruplex Pool, Sai Kung East
- Yin Tsz Ngam, Sai Kung East
- Bride’s Pool Waterfall, Plover Cove Country Park
- Kau Nga Ling, Lantau South
- Shui Lo Cho, Lantau South
- Wong Lung Stream, Lantau North
- Sucide Cliff (at Kowloon Peak), Ma On Shan
Other area within the country park but on smaller or unnamed trail:
- Tai Shing Stream, Shing Mun
- Nei San Stream (near Nei Lak Shan Country Trail), Lantau North
- Hsien Ku Fung, Pat Sin Leng
- Ping Nam Stream, Pat Sin Leng
- Tai Shek Stream, Tai Mo Shan
- Tiu Shau Ngam area, Ma On Shan
- Nei San Stream (aka Mo Tin Ngai), Lantau North (Extension)
DO AND DONE LIST
- Tai Mo Shan – part of MacLehose Trail Section 8 ✅(write up next…)
- Dragon’s Back Trail – part of Hong Kong Trail Section 8 ✅ (write up next…)
My bucket list…
- Po Toi Country Trail
- Plover Clove Reservoir Country Trail
- Luk Wu Country Trail / MacLehose Trail Section 2
- Yin Tsz Ngam / MacLehose Trail Section 1
- Sunset Peak / Lantau Trail Section 2
- Lion Rock / MacLehose Trail Section 5