A month ago I posted the first part of a post detailing my top hikes in the trekking oasis that is Hong Kong. Here I continue my countdown, in no particular order, of my favourite places to escape from it all in this sprawling metropolis…
Maclehose Trail Section 6 || Duration: 2 hours || Difficulty: Fairly Easy
By the time it gets to Section 6, the Maclehose Trail has snaked its way from Eastern Hong Kong to the heart of the Kowloon District. I love this section for a number of reasons. Firstly, it is very accessible. I live in Prince Edward and it is just a short bus ride to a place that feels a world away from Hong Kong. Others have criticised Section 6 for not being as scenic as some of the other parts of the trail and, perhaps if you stuck religiously to the trail, that would be true. But the real joy of this hike is taking all the side roads and discovering hidden paths, reservoirs, monkeys and secluded spots. Kam Shan Country Park is a crossroads for all kinds of trails so it’s just a fantastic place to go exploring. My inner-child comes out whenever I go here.
Getting there: Bus 81 heads from Prince Edward MTR station (red Tsuen Wan line), Exit E. Alight at Shek Lei Pui Reservoir. It ends about 1km away from Kwai Hing MTR (red Tsuen Wan line) so you can either walk there or jump on the bus.
Tai O Heritage Trail || Duration: 4-5 hours || Difficulty: Medium
Lantau is an unexplored frontier for me as far as hiking is concerned. There are loads of fantastic hiking opportunities on Hong Kong’s biggest island and some of Hong Kong’s most arduous treks can be found here. The Tai O Heritage Trail is one of the less strenuous but longer choices available on the island. It runs for 16km from Lantau’s main town of Tung Chung all the way to the fishing village of Tai O in the south, snaking through mini villages, temples, sweeping hills and the eerily gigantic Hong Kong – Macau bridge that is being constructed. It’s long but makes for a fantastic Sunday walk.
Getting there: Take the MTR to Tung Chung (orange Tung Chung line), Exit B and head down Yu Tung Road. You should see signs for the trail and Hau Wong Temple which signals the beginning of your hike. At Tai O, you can hop on bus 11 back to Tung Chung. Be aware that the queue will be loooooooong on weekends, especially Sunday.
Pokfulam to the Peak || Duration: 1 hour || Difficulty: Easy
Victoria Peak is the quintessential Hong Kong experience but, rather than taking the tram or the bus up, there are a number of hiking options instead. I’ve tried a few of them and to be honest there’s not much difference between them (most of them meet in the middle anyway) but I chose the Pokfulam route for this countdown simply because I did it in the evening and so it was particularly enjoyable. After a busy day at work, hiking as the sun went down was a welcome change as I rarely do evening hikes. Then, of course, the staggering view of Hong Kong at night was breathtaking. The perfect contrast of urban and nature.
Getting there: There are a number of buses which head down Pokfulam Road and stop outside the Pokfulam Country Park. These include the 970 and 970X (if you’re coming from Kowloon) or the 7, 4X, 91, 71 etc. (if you’re coming from Central/the Island). Hop off at Pokfulam Road Reservoir Road, walk up said road to the country park and then follow the signs to the Peak. There are plenty of buses to get you back down from the Peak at the bus station.
Lung Ha Wan Trail || Duration: 2 hours || Difficulty: Fairly Difficult
Clear by name, clear by nature, Clearwater Bay certainly lives up to its reputation. This is one for a blue sky day as the views probably wouldn’t pack that punch otherwise. After a gruelling and relentless slog up to the top, you are rewarded with breathtaking views over the bay. And if that’s not enough consolation for your dying knees, it’s a much easier descent followed by the enticing prospect of a nearby beach.
Getting there: Take bus 91 from Diamond Hill MTR (green Kwun Tong line) and alight at Tai Au Mun. From there, follow Lung Ha Wan Road all the way down. There’s a nice little tree walk you can do before tackling the biggun. You can take bus 91 back to Diamond Hill at the end.
Eagle’s Nest Trail || Duration: 1.5 hours || Difficulty: Easy
This is another hike whose main draw is its accessibility. Again, just a short bus ride from Kowloon, the Eagle’s Nest Trail provides you with a leisurely forest stroll which eventually opens up to sweeping views of Hong Kong’s cityscape. I went on a pretty smoggy day but on a clear day, I can imagine it would be quite something. There are also monkeys galore if you like that sort of thing. As it happens, I hate the buggers so it’s a testament to how nice this hike that it made it onto this list despite their presence. Ugh, monkeys.
Getting there: It’s our old friend bus 81 again from Prince Edward, Exit E, again alighting at Shek Lei Pui Reservoir, though this time you want to cross the road on the overpass. The trail comes full circle so you can just hop on bus 81 at the same place.
Man Cheung Po Infinity Pool || Duration: 45 minutes || Difficulty: Fairly Difficult
Hong Kong’s natural infinity pool is both alluring and frustrating in equal measure. Alluring because of its stunning beauty and incredible location nestled amongst the hills of Lantau. Frustrating because it’s not actual an infinity pool and there’s the prospect of being forbidden from swimming in it after the leg-numbing 45 minute scramble up to it. It is illegal to swim in the oh-so inviting water but the extent to which this is enforced varies. I’ve been up there twice: once I was able to swim, once there were guards making sure people didn’t go into the water. It’s kind of pot luck which is annoying. It’s a stunning viewpoint regardless and if you can get in then even better (not that this blog condones illegal activity *ahem*)
Getting there: The infinity pool is close to Tai O so take bus 11 from Tung Chung then just follow the pink promenade all the way out and follow that trail. You’ll come to a signpost for Man Cheung Po. Ignore it and then follow the next set of stairs on your left. They both go to the same place but the first one takes a more convoluted route. The second set of stairs will be less kind to your legs but will get you to the pool much faster.
Devil’s Peak || Duration: 1 hour || Difficulty: Fairly Easy
I’m shocked at how long it took me to discover Devil’s Peak since it gives a somewhat unique and stunning panorama of Hong Kong’s most photogenic feature. The above picture doesn’t really do the viewpoint justice (I swear I took better photos but I’m yet to find them) and you get a sweeping view of both sides of Victoria Harbour. It was just an assault of blue on the summery December morning I hiked up there. It’s a nice easy walk as well which can easily be done in a morning. It’s definitely one I’ll go back to.
Getting there: Take the MTR to Yau Tong (on the green Kwun Tong line and purple Tseung Kwan O line), Exit A1. Walk along Lei Yue Mun Road and follow the signs for the cemetery. Return the same way.
If you want to try out any of these hikes, visit the Hong Kong hikers’ bible – Hike Hong Kong – and search for them. The blog gives full directions and instructions for each hike.