About 40 per cent of Hong Kong’s land is conserved within 24 country parks. This is not lost on the locals, many of whom spend their weekends hiking, at least in the cooler months. But visitors are often pleasantly surprised by the rugged mountains, gorgeous beaches and sub-tropical forest, full of thriving wildlife (some of it endemic) and 390 native tree species.
Even the remotest parts of the territory are within reach, thanks to the city’s efficient and inexpensive public transport system. Whether you’re a hiking novice, bringing the kids along or just pressed for time, these Hong Kong hikes provide an easy urban escape. Read on for details, along with some practical dos and don’ts.
3.5 kilometres, 1.25 hours
Aalong Lugard and Harlech Roads that showcases the two sides of Hong Kong – urban core and mountains. Cars on these narrow paths are rare; the only drivers are the very few residents. The circuit starts and ends at the Peak Tram station and is a welcome respite from the crowds there. After a few hundred metres, the path opens up and provides jaw-dropping views of the skyscrapers of Central and Western districts, with Kowloon in the distance. Information boards scattered along the trail give clues about The Peak’s varied flora, such as camphor and scarlet sterculia trees.
Look out for: A magnificent India rubber tree, about halfway through the walk, with multiple stems and roots reaching across the path
How to get there: Peak Tram or No 15 bus
Credit: Thomas Au
3.5 kilometres, 1 hour
Mountain tallow, schima and Hong Kong gordonia trees are notable examples of the rich biodiversity that has earned part ofthe government designation, Site of Special Scientific Interest. This flat path loops through such woodland and follows the curve of Hong Kong’s first reservoir, opened here in 1863. It starts and finishes at the same point, unless you decide to continue to The Peak by following Pok Fu Lam Reservoir Road east and then north.
Look out for: The former watchman’s cottage at the beginning of the trail; views to the west towards Lamma Island from the higher sections of the trail
How to get there: Numerous buses go to Pok Fu Lam Reservoir Road, including the No 4 between Central and Wah Fu, and the No 71 from Central to Wong Chuk Hang
8.5 kilometres, 4 hours
is a classic among Hong Kong hikes. This charmingly named choice is admittedly not a secret, but merits inclusion as it is one of the best and most scenic hikes on Hong Kong Island. It’s not too challenging, with its highest point, Shek O Peak, at just 284 metres; and it’s refreshingly easy to access, meaning it’s likely to be the busiest of the suggestions in this list. However, start early in the morning and you can beat most of the crowds and be done in time for a well-earned lunch. Dragon’s Back is so named for the ridge of mountains the trail follows at the eastern end of Hong Kong Island, with arresting views of the sea, city, mountains and the pleasant waterfront village of Shek O.
Look out for: The delightful beach at Big Wave Bay at the end, when you’ll be glad of a dip in the South China Sea (or a cold beer at the beach bar)
How to get there: MTR to Shau Kei Wan (25 minutes from Central), then the number 9 double-decker bus to To Tei Wan, where the trailhead is well signposted
Credit: Stevecimages/iStockphoto/Getty Images
6 kilometres, 2 hours
Look out for: Sweeping views across the South China Sea; birds of prey over the peaks
How to get there: MTR to Tung Chung Station/Ngong Ping 360 Cable Car. Buses operated by New Lantao Bus go from the reservoir to Tai O, Mui Wo, Tung Chung or back to Ngong Ping
4 kilometres, 1.5 hours
Lamma Island features a series of gently undulating hills, one big one (Mount Stenhouse, 350 metres) and some truly lovely beaches. It’s also known for seafood restaurants and a boho atmosphere – both of which, we’re happy to report, are part of this section of the
Look out for: The chance for a quiet swim at Lo So Shing Beach, just to the west of this trail; on weekdays, you may have it all to yourself
How to get there: Ferry from Central Pier 4
1km, half an hour or more
Kam Shan is known as Monkey Mountain for good reason: most of Hong Kong’s 2,000 or so primates live here. Though they are generally benign, don’t be tempted to feed them. From the Shek Lei Pui Reservoir bus stop on the Tai Po Road, walk over the dam, continue for half a kilometre and set out on the
Look out for: Among the many rhesus macaques are another species: long-tailed macaques (the clue’s in the name). Also look out for turtles in the reservoirs
How to get there: No 72 bus (Cheung Sha Wan to Tai Wo) or No 81 (Jordan to Sha Tin)
Credit: Marc Anderson / Alamy Stock Photo / Argusphoto
4 kilometres, 1.5 hours
There’s a good reason that this is a popular area for birdwatchers and nature lovers: the 460-hectare sub-tropical forest is home to 100 different species of trees, which support a diverse array of wildlife such as spotted doves and the Chinese bulbul. There are
Look out for: Birdlife – scarlet minivets are particularly striking
How to get there: Bus No 72A from Tai Wai MTR Station. Get off at the Chung Tsai Yuen stop
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