That’s right- this big city has a lot more to offer than dim sum and neon sky scrapers (though the former is reason enough to plan a visit).
When you think of Hong Kong, pristine mountain trails may not be one of the first things that come to mind. This city has enough on offer to keep any semi-ambitous traveler busy for weeks, if not months or years. The city’s superb public transport, abundance of attractions, and many english speaking residents make it an ideal destination for westerners. While the roast geese and egg tarts get plenty of well-deserved love from those passing through town, many visitors will overlook the world class hiking that lies just a short cab ride away from the bustling city streets. As much as forty percent of Hong Kong is designated as Country Park, much of which is laced with well built and scenic hiking trail. I was able to venture out on a couple of day hikes there during a visit last week, and I feel that I’ve barely even scratched the surface.
Hong Kong Trail Section 8; Dragon’s Back
This is probably the most iconic and well known hike in the region, and for good reason. Though it ranks near the bottom on the difficulty scale, this hike offers coastal views and sublime ridge walking that would be worth an entire day’s climb. You can easily reach the trailhead by taking the MTR (HK’s subway system) to the Chai Wan station, or hopping in a cab from Central for about $15 USD.
After a short ascent from the trailhead, you’ll find yourself walking along an exposed ridgeline with coastal views over both shoulders. On one side the mountain drops away to the South China Sea, and on the other to the Hong Kong Bay. Be sure to take your time, as the entire hike is only about 5 miles and this is be far the most impressive stretch.
After following the ridge for a short while, you’ll begin your descent and quickly be reminded of the metropolis that lies around the bend. Continue your descent and follow signs for Tai Long Wan to end up Big Wave Bay. Once there, I’d strongly recommend treating yourself to an ice cold TsingTao and taking a load off while watching local surfers catch some waves.
Wilson Trail Section 1; The Twins and Violet Hill
This hike presents a somewhat significant physical challenge, and is best suited for those who are prepared for steep climbs and descents. The section is only about about 3 miles long, but the consistently steep grade will make it seem longer. The trailhead is serviced by 3 bus routes from Central (6, 6a, 260), which makes getting to this hike a breeze. Grab a seat on the the upper deck of the bus and enjoy the views along the way.
Get off the bus at the Stanley Gap/ Wilson Trail stop, where you’ll see abundant signage for the trailhead. The trail begins with a steep climb from the trailhead, be sure to take a few breaks on the way up to enjoy the view behind you. You’ll continue ascending until the trail skirts the summits of The Twins and drops into the valley on the other side.
If you decide you’ve bitten off more than you can chew, there is a bailout point about halfway through where an easy path leads down to Repulse Bay, where transportation is available back to Central. While this hike offers spectacular views and rewarding climbs, it should be noted that much of the trail follows STEEP stone steps. If you’re someone who’s knees are bothered by this type of descent, then you might consider other sections before setting out on this one.
After continuing up and over Violet Hill, the section ends at The Hong Kong Parkview residences. Here you can grab a cab or walk a quarter mile downhill to Wong Nai Chung Gap and hop on a bus back to Central.
More info and other Hong Kong hiking trails
These are just two of the many day hikes which are easily accessible from downtown Hong Kong. I thoroughly enjoyed both of these hikes, and I look forward to exploring other trails on my next visit to HK. If you’re visiting Hong Kong and interested in doing some hiking, you can find find great information on trails and transportation here. If you have any questions about my experiences in Hong Kong, whether hiking or otherwise, I’d love to hear from you!