Hong Kong haze getting you down? Sick of breathing recycled air? Looking for some beautiful panoramas? Want to get chased by monkeys and watch cattle grazing? If so, plan a visit to Shing Mun Reservoir and Country Park.
Just a short ride from Tsuen Wan MTR, enjoy one of Hong Kong’s most beautiful hikes. Circling the entire reservoir will take around 3 hours. It is fairly flat though there are some steep bends; overall it’s a good balance of proper-hike and serene-nature-walk. A great family excursion for kids and grownups alike though we did it entre amoureux and it is plenty romantic for a unique date.
The country park is overwhelmingly lush and immediately transports you far away from Hong Kong’s urban sprawl. The vistas are truly spectacular and on this particularly perfect summer day, we kept forgetting which continent we were on.
At the beginning of the trail, there is an old fashioned refreshment stands but the offerings are mostly junk food and ice cream so bring your own supplies. The park boasts a wild butterfly garden as well as an Arboretum with over 270 plant species- both of which are popular with the kiddies. The park also offers shaded table and bench sitting areas and barbeque pits at various points for those looking to grill Canto-style. We were there on a sunny Sunday and it was extremely pleasant crowd-wise: there weren’t that many people to fight through and at many points during our hike, we felt like we had the park to ourselves.
The park is inhabited by wild macaque monkeys. They are curious and sometimes vicious: they will approach you if you are holding any kind of foodstuff in your hands. We were actually chased down by a family of them!
We came upon grass pastures where buffalo herds were grazing quietly. Unlike their Symian friends, they were extremely docile and we were able to walk across the field without a second thought.
The park has an unusually large number of tree species- over 70- and we found gorgeous tree-lined walkways that simply took our breath away.
We discovered a lovely clearing that would have been the perfect picnic spot had we been better prepared.
Though we didn’t spot any clear signs, Hong Kong reservoirs do not allow swimming. A bit of a drawback on a hot summer’s day, although most of the hike around the reservoir is shaded and the trees offer some breeze; the effect is cooling and pleasant.
It’s very easy to get to the Reservoir: from Central MTR station, the red line goes straight to Tsuen Wan which only takes about 25 minutes. We then exited at the Bus Terminus and grabbed a cab- the ride to the reservoir was only 10-15 minutes. You can opt to take the no 82 Green Minibus, it will take you straight to the entrance but it is hard to find the bus stop as it’s a few blocks away from the MTR station.On our way back, we saw the queues for the minibus and decided against waiting- preferring to walk down from the Visitor’s Centre/Shing Mun Reservoir Entrance to the main road. Luckily, we found a free taxi fairly quickly.
Don’t forget to pack lots of water, sunscreen and some bug spray just in case- we didn’t get bitten for the most part but there were a couple of mozzies zooming around.