I recently took a fascinating trip through Asia where Hong Kong was a stop. I was on a Holland America cruise ship’s “around the world” Asia Pacific Voyage. While on the ship, I would walk the deck on a regular basis. But what joy I found when I was able to step off the ship, step out of the concrete jungle of Hong Kong’s city center and go on a calorie-burning hike. A hike with jaw-dropping views! You may not even realize it, but Hong Kong has no shortage of scenic hiking trails that are just a short distance from the city center. They also have many trails with varying amounts of difficulty for you to choose from.
Hong Kong Hikes
Hong Kong Hikes
Hong Kong is known for its businesses, banking, and shopping. so, of course, I was surprised that this is one of the best regions in the world for day-hikes. What makes Hong Kong so cool and unique for hiking is the views from the forested mountains! With that backdrop that overlooks the high-rises in the city, the view was gorgeous! Hong kong totally lived up to any expectations I had formed in my head. In fact, it blew my expectations away.
I Used to Be Afraid of Hiking – But NOT anymore!
I used to be so afraid of hiking, afraid that I wouldn’t be able to keep up with the group I was hiking with. I didn’t want to be embarrassed by my lack of physical ability. I was afraid I would be a sweaty mess by the time the hike ended so much so that I didn’t even want to begin the hike. I may still get that way with really hard hikes, but today, I can honestly say that I can do easy to moderate hikes due to my change in lifestyle and diet! I do prefer to go at my own pace, as I have shorter legs than many. As in the old days of my hiking, if I didn’t hustle, I would fall behind fairly quickly.
I took a look at many of the hiking trails in Hong Kong to get you (and me) out of the city center. I have listed here a beginner’s Hong Kong hiking bucket list for us to accomplish on our trips to Hong Kong. This spring, Hong Kong Tourism is highlighting five special hikes: Lantau South Heritage Hike, Geopark Boat Tour, Lai Chi Wo Hiking Tour, Sai Kung Volcanic Rock Region, and Geopark Hiking Tour designed to bring locals and visitors alike closer to nature. I have also put together a list of my favorite Hong Kong hikes so you can have a look and see which one you are excited to explore.
Special Hiking in Hong Kong
#1 Dragon Back’s Hike
This half-day outing from busy Hong Kong will keep your interest. It features trails that wind along mountains, through forests, and make their way down to the white sand of Big Wave Bay (Tai Long Wan). You might even have time to take a relaxing swim in the South China Sea or just sit and watch the surfers! They have trails from easy to moderately challenging. And the stunning views of all the Hong Kong islands will make it worth the sweat!
Hiking tip: Pack a swimsuit or a spare shirt. You may want to jump in the water or you may get wet from both sweat and ocean spray.
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#2 Geopark Hiking Tour (Guided)
The Geopark Hiking Tour features interesting landforms: a natural geological site of spectacular rock formations that were formed by volcanic activities over 140 million years ago. It has been shaped by weathering and waves and is quite spectacular to see. Here there is a hexagonal volcanic column of a wall that is the world’s largest example of hexagonal columnar jointing. There are also many cool-shaped formations as you look around. You can also walk along Reservoir Road and into Sai Kung Country Park.
The views from this area are stunning. This hike wraps up in the Sheng Yiu Hakka Village Museum, which preserves the history of this area. You can spend an entire day hiking this area and the trail is 4 km long or almost 2 and a half miles long.
Hiking tip: Use bug spray to avoid getting bit by mosquitos and use sunscreen even if it’s cloudy.
#3 Geopark Boat Tour: Sai Kung Islands
While you are close by, you could do the Geopark Boat Tour as well. For this one, you will be island hopping around Hong Kong’s Sai Kung Peninsula. This opens up a world of geological wonders! They have everything from hexagonal columns, tubular rocks, to sea caves, and sea stacks. You can book this tour in advance of getting here if you like. It is a small-group boat tour. You will get to see: Kau Sai Chau, High Island, the Bell-Shaped Arch, and Elephant Trunk Cave, with a land stop on Sharp Island.
#4 Lai Chi Wo Hiking Tour (Guided)
Lai Chi Wo Hiking Tour is beautifully set into the landscape with a coastal grouping of mangrove roots that intertwines with plants. It is a park in the northeast of the New Territories and is one of the most pristine areas of Hong Kong. The area still has wild boar and deer, as well as plenty of birds and butterflies. The hike begins in Wu Kau Tang and goes past abandoned rice fields. It then follows a stream to the inlet of the Yan Chau Tong Marine Park. With reddish colored rock along the coastline, it then arrives at the villages of Sam A Tsuen and Siu Tan. You continue to walk to the Hakka Village of Lai Chi Wo, said to be one of the oldest surviving fung shui woodlands in Hong Kong. You will marvel at the beauty.
Hiking tip: Don’t rush to get to the top of the mountain immediately. Slow down and take deep breaths. Enjoy the moments you are on the trail. The journey is a part of the fun!
#5 Lantau South Hike
Lantau Island is the largest island in Hong Kong and located at the mouth of the Pearl River. The Lanau South Hike trail is obviously located on the south side. The trail crosses both the Sunset Peak and the Nam Shanau Nam Shan Peak. These are the two main mountain ranges on the island. The trail goes along the slopes of both peaks. One section of the trail overlooks Cheng Sha Beach!
Hiking Tip: Pack plenty of water and salty snacks and definitely bring a camera.
Hong Kong is the perfect place to start working on your fitness goals. Fortunately, over the course of the last year, I have been able to change my physical life. I finally implemented some changes with that age-old resolution to get back into shape. I have altered my eating habits, lost 40+ lbs, and started exercising for the first time in at least 5 years. So now, when it comes to my travel, I like finding active walks and hikes to do while I’m on a trip so that my personal goals and my travel goals match up.
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More Hong Kong Hiking
I have outlined 5 Hong Kong hikes that are some of my favorites. For each one, I have written a short guide with information such as how to get there, how long the hike is, and a little bit about what you will see on that hike.
#1 Victoria Peak Circle Walk
Victoria Peak Circle Walk is one of the easiest hikes in Hong Kong. It offers awesome views with spectacular scenery. In fact, yet again, it is one of the most popular hikes in all of Hong Kong. It has easy accessibility. You can even bring your kids, your grandparents, or even your dog (if you have one.) So pretty much everyone can do this hike. So if you want a spectacular city view but not the difficulty of a super long hike, then this Hong Kong hike is made for you. The entire Victoria Peak Circle walk is only 1.8 miles of 3km.
Once you up at the top, you feel like you are on top of city skyscrapers, as this is the closest hike in Hong Kong that is nearest to the city. If you are in town for only one day and want to get out of the city, yet want to stay close, then this is the perfect hiking in Hong Kong.
#2 Rhino Rock or ChePau Teng in Stanley
Rhino Rock is one of the most incredible rock formations in all of Hong Kong, bearing a very close resemblance to an actual Rhinoceros. It takes about an hour to reach Stanley from Hong Kong Central, so this is a hike you can do when you are staying in Hong Kong. The trail is pretty short, so I recommend doing this hike with the Twin Peaks and Violet Hill hike (mentioned below), which is also in Stanley. The hike is a little bit more than half a mile each way, so not very long.
But what I really love about this hike is that the rocks really do resemble a rhinoceros! As the ridges in the rock look like the eyes and features of a giant rhino! With stunning views along the coast, it is like a fun mini-adventure for any day you happen to be in Hong Kong, and hopefully, it will be sunny. Oh, and the other name for this Hong Kong hike is ChePau Teng.
#3 Twin Peaks and Violet Hill hike in Stanley
So for this hike, I recommend doing it with the Rhino Rock hike, since they are both located in Stanley. This Twin Peaks Hike takes up and down Violet Hill. The views are pretty spectacular, especially when looking down at the peninsula below. However, let me warn you, it is one of the hardest Hong Kong hiking trails due to the stairs… they call them “terrible twins” …like hundreds of stairs that take you up and down. Believe me, your legs will burn like crazy.
I promise you, you can do it if you are up for a challenge, as most average fitness people are able to finish it. I like it because you are either going up a very sharp incline or you are going down some pretty steep steps. If you go on the weekend, it is packed full of people, so be prepared for that.
#4 Braemar Hill or Hung Heung Lo Fung Hike
The Braemar Hill hike can be reached from a 5-minute walk from the nearest bus stop (practically)! It takes you up to one of the best viewing platforms in Hong Kong. Many love to do this hike around sunset, as it has great views to watch the sunset. Many people even call it the Red Incense Burner Summit. The hike is short but has an option to hike about 1.8 miles or 3km. And while you are up there, you will see plenty of night photographers… all jockeying for position to get the best photograph.
#5 Lion Rock Hike
With an epic viewpoint of the lion-head shaped rock at the summit of Lion Rock Hike makes this popular trail an epic trip. You can see from Kowloon to Hong Kong Central! This is also the perfect spot to watch the sunset! You go from city to forest and back again. So go ahead and do this great hike in Hong Kong.
Honestly, I love the incredible view from the head of the Lion. The trailhead is only a few kilometers and once you reach the summit you will know what I am talking about. You will see the winding ridge down the back of the lion all the way to his head. Love this hike! Also, know that there will be lots of night photographers here setting up right before sunset.
#5 Devil’s Peak Hike
Devil’s Peak Hike is a very easy hike and also another great place to watch the sunset. You will enjoy seeing the city lights. Maybe after you have been on a few other hikes, this would be a easy Hong Kong hike for you. It is a bit strange though, as you start by passing through a really big cemetery and a lot of old fort ruins. Despite the interesting start of this Hong Kong hike in interesting conditions, you will find a great view at the top of Victoria Harbor with Kawloon on the right,
So there you have it, 10 epic Hong Kong hikes for every traveler. Enjoy the views, the staircases, the cemeteries and the stunning lights of Hong Kong on these epic hikes. Happy hiking.
Disclosure: As is common in the travel industry, I was provided with compensation for this article sponsored by the Hong Kong Tourism Board in partnership with iAmbassador. While it has not influenced my review, PointsandTravel.com believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest. All Photos by the author or were provided by the Hong Kong Tourism Board.
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