There’s more to Hong Kong than concrete buildings and neon signs. Sure, if you’re in the centre of all those magnificent skyscrapers, then it’s easy to forget about the city’s greenery. But venture out of the urbanised areas and in less than half an hour you will find yourself amongst dense wilderness, biking paths and hiking trails, not to mention some great beaches. Whilst Hong Kong hiking trails play host to some world-class walkers with decades of experience, the city also boasts some easy trails that are perfect for the little ones. So grab your boots and some water and get out there! As well as making you feel grounded and helping you recharge your batteries, these hikes offer some of the best vistas around Hong Kong and you’ll need only spare a few short hours out of your day.
Everyone likes to rag on the Peak hike. For the busy person who lives in Central however, it’s the perfect short hike. Although it’s an easy-to-follow paved path, some may find it difficult in parts as the incline can get very steep. Not to worry though, because there’s plenty of rest stops along the way and even well-maintained WCs should the need arise. As you ascend this uphill trail, make sure to take in the beauty of your surroundings. You’ll see colourful butterflies along the way and birds chirping and soaring through the air. Say hello and admire fellow runners gunning it up the super steep climb. The rewards are worth the pain – stunning views of Hong Kong Island and Kowloon on a clear day. If you time it well, you may just get to see the sunset too! Once you reach the top, you can catch the peak tram down or walk back the same way.
Starting Point: There’s plenty of ways to get up to the Peak. We like to start from Old Peak Road but you can also start on Hatton Road. It’s guaranteed to get your heart racing and your calves screaming.
Duration: 30 – 45 minutes, one way.
Peak to Pok Fu Lam Reservoir
You’re up the Peak, yay! Whether you’ve just been delivered there by the Peak Tram or hiked up from Old Peak Road, head on over to Pok Fu Lam Reservoir. Why? Because it’s an easy descent, perfect for all levels. As the path is paved, it’s suitable for runners, hikers, visitors and families with children and pets. At the end, you can have a picnic by the reservoir!
Starting Point: From Peak Road (this is where all the buses stop) walk down the hill 100 metres. To your right, there will be a slip road with clear signs to Pok Fu Lam Reservoir. Take this path down, veering right when you see the fork in the road, continue until you arrive at the reservoir.
Duration: 20 – 30 minutes, one way.
Discovery Bay to Mui Wo
Lantau Island has many excellent hikes, all with varying levels of difficulty. This hike is still relatively easy, though you’re looking at a good few hours to complete it, including transportation. It’s worth tagging this hike onto an afternoon or morning spent exploring DB’s weekend market. After you’ve had your fill of local artisans and their wares, you can embark on the two-hour hike to Mui Wo. The trail provides views of Lantau Island’s undulating mountainous terrain and the hike includes a visit to the Trappist monastery hugging the side of the mountain where you can take a moment to reflect and breathe in life. You’ll also be reacquainted with simple farming life and banana plantations and you may even bump in to wild buffaloes. Have your cameras ready on the descent to Mui Wo to nab an instagram worthy pic of Silvermine Bay, a stretch of golden sandy beach perfect for your post-hike dip.
Starting Point: Get on the Discovery Bay ferry from Central Pier 3. Upon disembark, swing a left off the ferry pier and get onto the main road. Look out for the gatekeeper’s cabin on Marina Drive where you will find the hidden path to the right, leading to Mui Wo. Follow the signs to the monastery, have a break at the peak then meander your way down to Mui Wo. If you’re full of beans and want a bit more of a challenge, do the walk in reverse starting from Mui Wo. But be warned, you’ll be slammed with a heart-thumping 15 – 20 minute, sweat-inducing uphill hike!
Duration: 2 – 2.5 hours, hike only.
Man Cheung Po Infinity Pool
If you have a bit more energy following your DB–Mui Wo hike, catch the bus to Tai O. From there, you can trek to Man Cheung Po Infinity Pool. This hike is popular in the summer, as most people enjoy a dip in the man-made pool or surrounding waterfall and soak in the glorious views. On our visit at the end of last August, we were able to take a leisurely swim but as recently as mid September, there were whispers that the pool has been closed to the public for preservation purposes. Whether this is true or not, it’s still a very worthwhile hike, if only to admire the beauty of the pool’s natural surroundings. With it being winter and all, who wants to go for a dip anyway? The hike from Tai O is virtually flat, except for the final climb that takes you to the pool.
Starting Point: If you’re starting from Mui Wo, catch bus 1 or get yourself to Tung Chung MTR and catch bus 11. When you arrive at Tai O, head towards the pier bridge and follow it around to a little village. Walk along the shore and after about a 45 minute walk, veer to your left and go up ‘n’ up til you get to the pool.
Duration: 45 minutes – 1 hour, one way.
Hong Kong’s most popular hike, voted Best Urban Hiking Trail in Asia many times over, had to feature in our list. The hike can be considered from easy to medium on the difficulty scale. The first part of the hike is definitely no walk in the park so to speak- the gradient will require some physical exertion! Don’t despair because the effort will all be worth it. Upon reaching the spinal cord of Dragon’s Back, you’ll be greeted by dramatic, breathtaking views of the South China Sea, the lush greenery of Shek O Country Park, sandy beaches, as well as views of Stanley, Clearwater Bay and the numerous islands around Hong Kong. You’ll feel pretty smug once you complete this hike. If you hike in the morning, you’ll be ready for an ice cold beer and a relaxing lunch eating fresh, tasty seafood at shabby chic Big Wave Bay or Shek O eateries.
Starting Point: Catch the MTR to Chai Wan and walk to Cape Collinson Cemetery. Find the steps that climb to the heavens then follow the signposts. You can opt to catch bus 9 towards Shau Kei Wan MTR to get back to Central or why not walk for a further 30 minutes to Shek O Village and take advantage of the hippy chic eateries that line this ancient fishing outpost.
Duration: 1 to 1.5 hours, one way.
Don’t forget to be sun-smart! Hong Kong’s rays can be brutal at the best of times so make sure to dress appropriately: bring your hat, sunnies and wear sun-block. Most importantly hydrate before, during and after your hike. Take a bottle of water and perhaps some fresh coconut water- our favorite thirst quencher. Make sure to check the weather, bring your trail map or GPS, and some friend to catch up with during your hikes!