6 Lesser-Known Hikes To Try In Hong Kong
With the autumn weather here in the city, it's the best time to get out and explore Hong Kong's great outdoors, from glamping, to running, picnicking and more. If you're up for a challenge and have tried out some of the most popular Hong Kong hikes, we're listing six off-the-beaten-path trails for you to try.
You may have taken the iconic cable car ride before, but have you ever walked beneath it? Previously closed to the public, Ocean Park opened the gate to its emergency rescue trail on Brick Hill for a new series of attractions in October. The easy, well-paved and short hike starts at the trail entrance right next to the gate of the Hong Kong Police College, which is a five-minute walk away from Ocean Park’s entrance.
The path will take you uphill as you pass by some private gardens. At your right is a narrow staircase. The short 15-minute walk upstairs is worth the effort for the breathtaking panorama at the top which looks out to Deep Water Bay, Middle Island and beyond. The rest of the path is flat and easy, with a few flights of steps occasionally. You’ll have to return the same way since the path is blocked halfway through. The restricted section is open only to visitors who join Ocean Park’s hiking trips, but of course the sweeping view of cable cars and roller coasters is free for all.
How to get there: Alight at Ocean Park MTR station. From Exit A, head downstairs via the entrance elevator to the bus terminus. Follow Ocean Park Road until you reach Hong Kong Police College on your right. The entrance to the trail is right in front of you.
The Ngong Ping 360 Rescue Trail
Ngong Ping also has a rescue trail open to the public. This one, however, isn’t for the fainthearted. This rescue trail is notorious for its endless flights of steps; some of which are well-paved with wooden platforms and staircases, whereas others are steep and tall. Nonetheless, the 5-hour hike features some of the most stunning vistas of Tung Chung, Lantau forests and the Hong Kong International Airport. The dense and lush greenery also offers some zen and peace away from the city centre.
The glass cable cars above you will be your guide most of the way and the path is easy to follow, with the end part of the trail is connected to Lantau Trail Section 4. We recommend ending your journey during sunset for some impressive shots. Be sure to also stop by the tuck shops and restaurants in Ngong Ping village for some local bites such as tofu pudding, sesame seed sweet soup and curry fish balls after your hike.
How to get there: Take Lantau bus 38 from Tung Chung City Centre to Tung Chung Hau Wong Temple. Stay on Tung O Ancient Trail after crossing Hau Wong Bridge. The Ngong Ping 360 Rescue Trail, which intersects with Tung O Ancient Trail, will be on your right.
See also: 6 Dog-Friendly Hikes In Hong Kong
Getting its name due to the golden rock formations and valleys that resemble pineapple skin, Por Lo Shan (“Pineapple Hill”), also dubbed “Miniature Great Canyon of Hong Kong”, offers some unique sights found nowhere else in the city. The rugged relief is caused by years and years of weathering and erosion which leave the hard rocks barren with cracks.
Most of the Tun Mun path is natural and filled with loose rock and pebbles, a section is also close to Tsing Shan Firing Range which can be used for military exercises. We recommend that hikers check the government website for the firing schedule before setting off.
How to get there: Head to Siu Hong station via West Rail Line. Take light rail number 505 and alight at Leung King station. Walk towards HKRSS Tuen Mun Primary School. Stay on the main road until you see an intersecting path on your left. That is the entrance to Leung Tin Au. The hiking trail is connected to a main car drive. Sights of Po Lo Shan can be seen on the main car drive. End your journey in Ha Pak Lai where you can take minibus 33 back to Tin Shui Wai West Rail station.
See also: Hong Kong Hikes—Plus Where To Eat And Drink After
Mount Johnson at Ap Lei Pai
South of Hong Kong Island in Ap Lei Chau is a fun adventure for those who want to try their hand at climbing without facing too intense of a challenge. Hidden behind the Lei Tung village, the hike begins with climbing to the top of Mount Johnson through some thickets. The trail is quite steep and there are loose rocks, so we recommend bringing gloves to make your climb easier. Once you reach the top, you’ll be rewarded with the panorama of the South China Sea.
The hill is named after Alexander Robert Johnston, a British colonial official and Acting Administrator of Hong Kong from 1841 to 1842. There is a stone plaque writing out the story of the last standing navies who attempted to escape the Japanese army in the Second World War. After a short break admiring the stunning coastal views, the next hill you’ll conquer is at the southeast of Mount Johnson––Ap Lei Pai, which is connected by a tombolo. A lighthouse marks the end of your journey.
How to get there: Alight at Lei Tung station. You’ll see a bus terminus outside exit B. The entrance to the hike is hidden behind the yellow booths. Take the stairs. You’ll pass by a wired fence along the way. There is a sign that marks the start of your climb. Both trails run parallel and will lead you to the top of Mount Johnson. You’ll have to retrace your way back when you return.
See also: 6 Hong Kong Heritage Hiking Trails To Explore
Pottinger Peak Country Trail
Another fairly short and easy hike close to the city centre on the island is the 1.9km Pottinger Peak Country Trail that connects Chai Wan and Siu Wai Wan. The first 190 metres may be slightly challenging since it’s a non-shaded concrete path. But once you’ve accomplished the uphill climb, you’ll be greeted with the stunning views of Big Wave Bay. Take the short detour to Peak View Compass for some impressive shots of Tathong Channel. The rest of the trail is pretty flat as you gradually descend to Cape Collinson Road that leads you to Siu Wai Wan.
You can take a taxi or follow Dragon Trail that takes you back to Siu Sai Wan Promenade. If you think it’s a little too short for your adventurous streak, there is a trail nearby which links together Siu Sai Wan and the popular rock carvings at Big Wave Bay. Simply turn right and head south when you reach Cap Collinson Road for this extra journey.
How to get there: Head to Lin Shing Road from Chai Wan MTR station exit C. You’ll pass by the Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery. The start of your hike is the entrance to Hong Kong Trail Section 8.
See also: 5 Scenic Hong Kong Hiking Trails Near Your Country Club
869 metres above sea level, Sunset Peak gained fame for its glorious sunset vistas, with its altitude offering an unblocked view of Lantau’s Cheung Sha, Hong Kong's longest beach. The most convenient start is from Pak Kung Au, where a flight of tall stairs, made up of large boulders, await. Once you conquered the challenge, however, the path becomes gentler. You can look down from time to time for the breathtaking scenery.
On a clear sunny day, the mountain looks glorious whereas on a misty or cloudy day, layers of mist create the stunning illusion of walking within a sea of clouds. What is less popular or obvious is the narrow trail mid-way through Lantau Trail Section Two. It leads you to the peak. The path needs a little climbing; we don’t recommend beginners to attempt it or doing it on a rainy day. Since we’re all probably there for the sunset, remember to bring headlights for the evening. You can return the same way or continue northeastward for Mui Wo, which may take you a few hours.
How to get there: Take Lantau bus 11 from Tung Chung. Alight at Pak Kung Au. The start is only a few minutes away.
Please note that some of the locations listed have no official hiking trails. Consider visiting as part of a group, or with a licensed guide. Always check the weather and warnings of live military exercises before you go.