A rugged and windswept headland, Cape D’Aguilar offers breathtaking coastal scenery without the need for a back breaking adventure. However, at the same time there are ways to spice up the day for those who are more intrepid. It can be done either as a half day or full day outing.
Littered with sculpted granite outcrops and sparse tree cover to obscure the horizon, hiking here is never dull with near constant ocean vistas to stimulate the senses. Located on the southeasternmost tip of Hong Kong Island, Cape Dag was named after British Major General George Charles D’Aguilar and was made the only Marine Reserve in Hong Kong in 1996. For the most part, Cape D’Aguilar remains hidden from the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong Island.
The lighthouse and marine reserve are right at the end of the road on a rocky promontory and easily located; one of the most scenic places in Hong Kong with views out across the Pacific, dotted by various islands forming the Po Toi and Wanshan archipelagos. Once nearby, be sure to scope out the rock formations containing two outstanding features; the ‘Thunder Cave’ rock arch and double ended ‘Thunder Cave’. For more demanding options, give the ribbon marked trail to the abandoned Cape D’Aguilar Battery or a hike up D’Aguilar Peak a go. Passing back through the village having worked up an appetite, there is a little joint called ‘Shun Kee Store’ where you can grab a bowl of noodles and cold drink if desired.
Returning to the city is equally simple as finding your way in. In addition to taking the bus or driving, there are plenty of taxis on Shek O Road to flag down. If not ready to dart straight back to the city, one can also head down to Shek O to cool off with a refreshing drink and dip at the beach.
In summary, Cape Dag is a fantastic spot for a relaxing day walk and exploration of some of the finest coastal scenery Hong Kong has to offer. It’s charming village and stunning headland walks will live long in the memory for those who make voyage south.
The hills of far Northwestern Hong Kong may not be so well known compared to other areas, but Lam Tsuen Country Park and its surrounds are as dramatic as any other HK landscape and ought to receive more recognition. The Country park is dominated by two primary peaks called Kai Kung Leng and Tai To Yan.
Conquer this rugged range of hills and one will witness some of the territory’s finest views; gazing down upon Shek Kong on one side and absorbing the immense sprawl of Shenzhen on the other. Meanwhile clearer days atop the summits reveal glimpses across to Lantau Island and the expansive Waters of the Pearl River Delta. Not only is arriving at these mountain tops exhilarating, but the hiking to be had either side of them is most enjoyable.
In my opinion Kai Kung Leng or “Rooster Ridge” is a more beautiful and attainable hiking trail, so I am going to focus on the hill of Kai Kung Leng here. But for those who are much more intrepid, then her sister peak Tai To Yan is also very spectacular and can be done instead of Kai Kung Leng, or in conjunction to create a twin peaks route.
Lunchtime or early afternoons make for an ideal time to set off if doing just the one hill in the cooler months, ensuring pleasant temperatures and sunset vistas from the summit (however leave first thing in the morning if wanting to do both hills). The route up is most easily accessed from Kam Sheung Road or Yuen Long MTR Stations by taxi, ask for Fung Kat Heung Road, the trailhead is located between a basketball court and the Miu Kwok Monastery. If opting to travel by public transport, then there is the 603 minibus you can catch from Yuen Long to the same starting point.
Once at the trailhead, simply crack on and follow the ridgeline trail upwards. Something you’ll notice quite soon that sets this hill apart from most in HK is how grassy and windswept it is. It translates to very tough hiking in the heat, but for wintertime it is simply sublime with nonstop views and plenty of scope to size up the route ahead. Having clambered over a subsidiary peak at 335 meters above sea level, the gradient eases for a period before reaching Rooster Ridge Summit at 585m.
Having conquered this beast of a hill, take a perch and soak up the relaxing vibes. Few mountains in HK offer a 360-degree panorama of such variety; aside from the Tai Mo Shan massif, you’re the surveyor of all things in Western HK. On clearer days, the views of Shenzhen are jaw dropping. The sheer size and scale of this city becomes clearly evident from this vantage point, as one can see all the way from Lo Wu in the east to Nanshan in the west. To think that 40 years ago there was next to no development there almost defies logic.
Take care heading down afterwards as the path can be quite skiddy at times due to its exposure and lack of stairs. The return route down is otherwise fairly simple to navigate. Keep following the hiking trail directly along the ridgeline and you’ll be
back to civilization in an hour or two. Compared to the route up, the return trail is more direct in its descent. Once you reach Fan Kam Road, there is the 77K bus route and various minibuses that facilitate travel to the closest MTR stations of Sheung Shui and Yuen Long.
If wishing to do twin peaks as mentioned before, then nip across Fan Kam Road and follow the trail which heads east up to the main ridge line of Tai To Yan. From that ridge, there are a multitude of different paths one can pursue to drop back down towards Fanling, Tai Po or Shek Kong.
Kai Kung Leng and Tai To Yan are classic winter routes almost anyone can have a crack at, yet keep even the most seasoned of hikers honest. Although the Northwestern New Territories may not be especially well known amongst many hikers, the area has a few nice surprises for those who venture out. Its enchanted forests below and spectacular vistas above will no doubt leave one wanting to revisit for another go.
If you fancy exploring a peaceful area that many folks don’t know about or overlook within Hong Kong, then a day trip out to Shing Mun Reservoir could be in order.
The simplest way in (other than driving) is to head over to Tsuen Wan MTR station and take exit B1. From the station it’s a five minute walk to the 82 green minibus, which will take you to Shing Mun Country Park terminating immediately below the grassy banks of Pineapple Dam. It is recommended you enjoy a meal or prepare food to bring with you before embarking on a visit, as there are no food vendors at the park other than a small kiosk at Pineapple Dam.
Arriving at the Pineapple Dam bus stop, keep an eye out for some of the delightful wildlife on offer in HK, especially on the quieter weekdays. You could well be confronted by many monkeys, invariably a troop of Rhesus Macaques. Although the Rhesus species is native to Hong Kong, the macaques found today are believed to be re-introduced. During the construction of the Kowloon Reservoirs, the apes were deployed to the surrounding areas in order to combat the spread of a plant that tainted the water supply. They can roam in large numbers and enjoy the area around entrance areas, as the rubbish bins and increased human presence provides the chance of finding a meal. There are signs at the park entrance spelling out the dos and don’ts in regards to the monkeys. From experience, simply be relaxed. Don’t approach the monkeys with food and they will mind their own monkey business. Direct eye contact and sudden movements won’t endear you to them either. With those unpleasantries out of the way, the monkeys are great fun to observe and can be extremely photogenic!
There are a couple of ways to negotiate Shing Mun; the simple way and the adventurous way.
Every now and then, a gap in the foliage may reveal framed views of Tuen Wan, Kowloon and enjoy the iconic backdrop of HK Island behind on a clear day. Back at the reservoir, this final leg of any route you take is particularly pleasant, walking along a flat paved surface under large shady trees that cloak the water’s edge. It is most definitely worth it to have a breather down here, soak up the tranquil atmosphere and capture relaxing views across the water.
Heading back to Tuen Wan from the country park is equally simple as finding your way in.
This discreetly tucked away corner of rural HK has an incredible amount on offer for those who enjoy venturing into the wild, escaping to Shing Mun provides a peaceful retreat at the doorstep of those wishing to find space for reflection or satisfy a burning urge of wanderlust.
Despite its small size, Hong Kong has some pretty great hiking trails. While it is undoubtedly a mega city, did you know that 70% of the country is actually mountain forests, blue lakes, and pristine beaches? We thought that might surprise you! In this article, we’ll take a look at the best way to pack for your hiking adventures in Hong Kong. We’ll help you narrow down what to bring so that you’re comfy during your trip and can really make the most of some great outdoor adventures.
You don’t need a big backpack
Although the hiking in Hong Kong is undoubtedly great, you’re not going to be doing any multi-day hikes like you might in the Himalayas or the Andes. So, you don’t need a huge backpack. Just bring a daypack that’s big enough for the bare essentials like any extra layers you might need, plenty of water, and of course, your camera. Anything you leave behind, you’ll be reunited with it back in your accommodation later on. Whatever time of year you’re travelling to Hong Kong, it can get quite hot, sweaty, and humid. A great option to stay comfy and (relatively) dry, is a bag with a space for air between your back and the pack itself.
It’s not only being hot you should be prepared for but keeping yourself safe from the sun.
Sunscreen is one of the most important things to bring with you, as on a wide-open hiking trail, that hot sun can be relentless. And you don’t want to miss out on another hiking trail because you’re sheltering inside from those UV rays.
Be prepared to get wet
One of the downsides of Hong Kong is that the weather is often unpredictable. So even though in the morning, there may be brilliant sunshine and no clouds in the sky, don’t let that fool you. It’s a rookie error to go out without a waterproof, no matter when you travel. In the cooler months from December to February, consider something a little heavier. For the rest of the year, something lightweight that can easily fold up into your day pack should suffice. Quick drying and lightweight travel pants are also a great idea to keep try. Not only will they protect you from the rain, but they’ll save plenty of space in your pack too.
Make sure you’ve a good pair of walking boots
Even if you’re not going hiking in Hong Kong, it’s a great idea to have sturdy walking boots or trainers. There’s so much to see in the city that you will spend the majority of the day on your feet exploring, so you’ll need support. However, if you’re reading this post you probably are going hiking, so keep reading. Specialist hiking shoes will assist you on the rough and uneven tracks like the Po Toi and Lung Ha Wan country trails. They’ll also provide you with extra grip should you find the track wet and slippery. On the subject of footwear, it’s not just about having an appropriate pair of shoes. Socks are important too. Pick up a wool or synthetic blend to keep your feet dry and minimise the risk of blisters. Avoid cotton, as that attracts moisture and leaves your feet prone to rubbing and blisters. That can easily ruin your hike.
Don’t bring anything that isn’t essential
Sometimes it can be hard to decide what’s essential and what’s not on a hike. But you do need to be ruthless. An overweight and heavy pack can ruin your experience of hiking, and you certainly don’t want that! Although it’s a lovely idea to read a book on top of a mountain during a break, things that add extra weight and you’re not 100% sure you’ll use can be left back in your accommodation. If you can’t decide what’s essential and what’s not, just ask yourself if you could live without it for 8 hours. If the answer is yes, leave it behind! Make sure you don’t leave anything behind anything important on your hotel or on the
place where you stay. And speaking of a place to stay, there are lots of vacation rentals in Hong Kong so there’s no need to worry as they are very comfortable so you can relax and chill after your hike.
But do bring toiletries that are…
Toiletries are an important one when it comes to essentials. They’re some of the weightiest objects we take on holiday with us, and a lot of the time we don’t use them all. However, the two biggies that you’ll need for your hiking adventures in Hong Kong are sunscreen and insect spray. Don’t forget ‘em. Hand sanitiser is a good idea too, especially just before eating.
So, now that you know exactly what to pack for your hiking adventures in Hong Kong
It can be tricky to plan adventures in a different country. To find the best hikes in Hong Kong, why not search out a little bit of expert help? Wild Hong Kong is one of the top adventure and eco-tourism operators in the country, and they’re on hand to help you with any questions and queries you might have about your trip. They offer a number of day tours of the coolest hiking spots in HK, including the Dragon’s Back Trail, and sunrise and sunset climbs of the mountains surrounding the city.
Trip101 is a one-stop travel guide, offering the latest guides on different ways to travel and places to check out. Featuring content contributed by travel writers and enthusiasts, showcasing top hotels, Trip101 features the best vacation rentals and private accommodations for your travels.
(Photos by Rory Mackay of Wild Hong Kong)
There is a bountiful array of wild places to explore in Hong Kong, some more remote and some more accessible than others. Our list combines the best of both on offer in HK, with all offering respite along the way from the summertime heat. All the places below we offer customised tours to.
East Dam & Long Ke (East Sai Kung Country Park)
–Beaches, Cliff Jumping, Hiking, Kayaking, Rock Climbing
WILD FACTOR- ★★★★☆
Venturing into the wilds of Sai Kung, the plethora of options open to adventures is astounding! The East Dam is a great launch pad from which to mount an expedition. Coming in, the drive around the azure waters of High Island Reservoir makes for a scenic introduction. Upon arrival at the east dam one can venture in a couple of directions; either head down the slope to the dam wall and Geopark beyond, or follow the Maclehose trail northwards. The Geopark is rugged and truly wild. Littered with islands, caves and hexagonal rock formations, there are many opportunities for the more intrepid of folk to enjoy some fishing, climbing & cliff jumping. Following the Maclehose Trail in the opposite direction, one can explore arguably the most Idyllic beach HK has to offer in Long Ke Wan and some extraordinary hiking routes over to Sai Wan and beyond.
Getting there: Having reached Sai Kung, grab a cab out to the East Dam of High Island Reservoir for around $120. Returning from the East Dam, a taxi is again the best option instead of walking. From Sai Wan, one can hike up to the road or take a boat back to Sai Kung. If hiking back remember to check the 29r bus timetable or call for a taxi in advance, as mobile reception in that area can be fickle.
An untarnished landscape bursting with deserted beaches, fertile valleys and lush jungles lying in wait.
Getting there: To reach the start of the trail, catch either the ‘number 11’ bus from Tung Chung, or ‘number 1’ bus from Mui Wo to Tai O. Keep an eye out for Shek Pik Reservoir and disembark at the first bus stop immediately after crossing the dam wall. Take in the beautiful sight of Shek Pik Reservoir and Lantau Peak behind before turning away and following the Lantau Trail south. Additionally, if hiking 15-17 kilometers sounds like biting off more than you can chew, there is always the option to hike either end of the trail as a shorter return from Shek Pik or Tai O, to Fan Lau and Man Cheung Po/Yi O respectively.
Ping Nam Stream (Pat Sin Leng Country Park)
–Cliff Jumping, River Walk, Waterfalls
WILD FACTOR- ★★★★★
If you fancy exploring a natural world that most folk don’t know about within Hong Kong, then a day trip out to Luk Keng could be in order. Located within the innermost depths of Pat Sin Leng Country Park, it is a region that is as much unknown as it is remote. However, the area is easily assessable via public transport and totally worth the effort to reach. Nestled amongst rolling hills and the gateway to the northern parts of Pat Sin Leng Country Park, Luk Keng is truly rural. Life moves at a different pace here, the locals are as relaxed as they come in HK. It rubs off quickly and once there, you certainly won’t be in a rush to leave. From there one can venture into higher peaks of Pat Sin Leng and discover hidden gems that lie within, namely the Ping Nam Stream. A challenging route upstream with many dramatic cascades and pools along the way to take in. However, beware of slippery rocks in the wet, the use of a guide would be strongly recommended.
Getting there: Make your way to Fanling MTR Station, exit A and hop on the KMB 78K Bus. After 20-25 minutes or so, hop off at Nam Chung stop and cross the main road looking for Luk Keng Road. A further 20 minutes walk and one will reach a small village, turn right here onto South Bay Road and keep going till you meet a small reservoir dam wall. Find the goat track on the right hand side, this will bypass the dam and lead you to the Ping Nam Stream. On the way back, keep an eye out for a 56K minibus. Catch this back to the MTR if the opportunity arises.
Sharp Peak & Ham Tin (East Sai Kung Country Park)
–Beaches, Hiking, Mountain Climbing
WILD FACTOR- ★★★★☆
I think this could regarded be Hong Kong’s most remote mountain and the areas surrounding the mount are simply stunning! Although Sharp Peak isn’t massively high at 468m, it is a very prominent hill and easy on the eye. The unspoilt views from the summit are among the finest in the land. It is a steep and dramatic final ascent to the summit, but well worth the effort on a fine day. It is a top draw route deserved of top draw conditions, so save this one for the best weather available (clear skies, high visibility). Get up there for sunrise/sunset if you can. Be warned, that this is a tough route in the warmer summer months!
Getting there: From Sai Kung town, take the 29R village bus or $100 taxi to Sai Wan Pavilion. Walk for an hour to reach Sai Wan and then a further hour in a northerly direction along the beaches of eastern Sai Kung Country Park. Dominating the landscape, Sharp Peak will often be in view. The simplest way to ascend is to take the direct route up the mountain ridge from the northern end of Tai Long Beach. Heading down there are a few options route wise, either returning via Sai Wan or following Mclehose Trail section 2 towards Wong Shek Pier and catching a bus from Pak Tam Road. This route can be done in either direction.
Yellow Dragon Gorge (Lantau North Country Park)
–River Walk, Waterfalls
WILD FACTOR- ★★★★★
Hidden away within the depths of Lantau Island is the Yellow Dragon Gorge, a secluded oasis away from all the hustle and bustle. Boulder by boulder, one ventures upstream into a vertical landscape. Surrounded by cliffs and waterfalls, you would not believe you're in Hong Kong. The adventure culminates at the end of the gorge where three massive cascades fall down onto you from high above! Be aware that this route is of a technical nature, requiring jumping between stones on the river and bouldering in places to reach the upper waterfalls. The use of a guide would be strongly recommended.
Getting there: Make your way to Tung Chung MTR station and from there; walk through the estates of Tung Chung Town to Wong Lung Hang Road. Follow the paved road all the way to the end and find the river on your left. Venture as far upstream as you dare.
Life moves at a different pace here, the locals are as relaxed as they come in HK. It rubs off quickly and once there, you certainly won’t be in a rush to leave. From there one can venture into higher peaks of Pat Sin Leng and discover hidden gems that lie within. It’s perfectly feasible to walk the lakeside loop in a clockwise direction, but the anticlockwise adventure makes for the best experience and simplest navigation.
Getting there: The simplest way in (other than driving) is to head into the northern New Territories on the MTR East Rail Line before disembarking at Fanling Station. From there, one can catch the 52B minibus that departs roughly every 20 minutes. Hop off the bus at Hok Tau Wai and make your way to the t-junction in the road. Continue along the sealed road in a southerly direction following signs for Hok Tau Reservoir. Walking in is easy going on a sealed access road. The imposing ranges of Pat Sin Leng become ever nearer and before you know it you’re in amongst the rocky peaks. After rising up, one reaches a dam wall and the impressive panorama of the lake held behind is unveiled; from this point onwards the adventure begins in earnest,
following signs for the ‘Hok Tau Family Walk’.
Getting there: The best way to reach Ng Tung Chai from central HK is by catching the MTR to Tai Wo Station, then descending below the station where one can either taxi or bus it up to Ng Tung Chai Village. The 64K bus runs every 15-20 minutes during the day, you can catch this to Ng Tung Chai stop and follow the sealed side road up the hill. However, I recommend hopping in a taxi on the way there as it enables you to whizz right up through the village and be deposited at the trailhead. A taxi ride only sets you back around $50HKD.
Lion Rock (Lion Rock Country Park)
–Hiking, Wildlife, City Views
WILD FACTOR- ★★☆☆☆
For those who thought The Peak was the most dramatic summit looming over Victoria Harbour, think again. There is a roaring lion to north. It may not be as well known, but the Lion Rock is right up there in terms of grandeur. Conquer this rugged ridge and one will witness some of Hong Kong’s finest views. Feel the intense sprawl of Kowloon and enjoy the iconic backdrop of HK Island behind. Meanwhile a gaze round the other side reveals Sha Tin Valley and the expansive hills of the New Territories. Not only is being at the top incredible, but the walking to be had either side is most enjoyable. Keep an eye out for wildlife along the way, in particular monkeys! The path will undulate for an hour until arriving at the foot of the Lion Rock. Upon the reaching the summit at 495 meters above sea level, the footpath emerges from the undergrowth to reveal unrivaled panoramas of Kowloon and its surrounds.
Getting there: The route up is easily accessed from Wong Tai Sin MTR Station. Find exit E and begin climbing up Sha Tin Pass Road, stay on Sha Tin Pass Road and you shall gradually rise above the tower blocks of Kowloon. After about 45 minutes of walking, you’ll intercept the MacLehose Trail and signage for the Lion Rock Country Park on your left hand side. The return route down is fairly simple. Keep turning left at all junctions in the hiking trail and you’ll be back to civilization in an hour. The simplest way to the MTR is to turn left once reaching Lung Cheung Road and follow the highway into Wong Tai Sin. Alternatively, you can cross Lung Cheung Road and head into either Lok Fu or Kowloon Tong.
If you fancy exploring a natural world that most folk don’t know about within Hong Kong, then a day trip out to Hok Tau Reservoir could be in order. Located within the innermost depths of Pat Sin Leng Country Park, it is a region that is as much unknown as it is remote. However, the area is easily assessable via public transport and totally worth the effort to reach. Nestled amongst rolling hills and the gateway to the northern parts of Pat Sin Leng Country Park, Hok Tau is truly rural. Life moves at a different pace here, the locals are as relaxed as they come in HK. It rubs off quickly and once there, you certainly won’t be in a rush to leave. From there one can venture into higher peaks of Pat Sin Leng and discover hidden gems that lie within.
The simplest way in (other than driving) is to head into the northern New Territories on the MTR East Rail Line before disembarking at Fanling Station. From there, one can catch the 52B minibus that departs roughly every 20 minutes. Hop off the bus at Hok Tau Wai and make your way to the t-junction in the road. Continue along the sealed road in a southerly direction following signs for Hok Tau Reservoir. Walking in is easy going on a sealed access road. The imposing ranges of Pat Sin Leng become ever nearer and before you know it you’re in amongst the rocky peaks. After rising up, one reaches a dam wall and the impressive panorama of the lake held behind is unveiled; from this point onwards the adventure begins in earnest.
Back at the reservoir, one either rejoins or continues along the Family Trail beside the lake. This final leg of the loop is particularly pleasant, walking along a flat paved surface under large shady trees that cloak the waters edge. It is most definitely worth it to have a breather down here, soak up the tranquil atmosphere and capture relaxing views across the water.
It’s perfectly feasible to walk the lakeside loop in a clockwise direction, but the anticlockwise adventure makes for the best experience and simplest navigation. Once back at the dam wall, retrace your steps down the valley to Hok Tau village. Return travel from the Hok Tau Wai is fairly simple. More or less the same way as when you came in. However it is probably worth catching a taxi back to the main highway near Fanling if possible to avoid waiting for a minibus.
This far-flung corner of HK has an incredible amount on offer for those who enjoy venturing into the wild; a day trip here serves up an insight into Hong Kong’s past and the full scope of her landscape. Escaping to Hok Tau provides a peaceful retreat for those wishing to find space for reflection or satisfy a burning urge of wanderlust.
For those who thought The Peak was the most dramatic summit looming over Victoria Harbour, think again. There are some incredible vistas to the north of Kowloon.
It may not be as well known, but Tate’s Cairn and the adjacent Kowloon Peak is right up there in terms of grandeur. Conquer this rugged ridge and one will witness some of Hong Kong’s finest views. Feel the intense sprawl of Kowloon and enjoy the iconic backdrop of HK Island behind. Meanwhile a gaze round the other side reveals Sai Kung Country Park, Sha Tin Valley and the expansive hills of the New Territories. Not only is being at the top incredible, but the walking to be had either side is most enjoyable.
Mid afternoons make an ideal time to set off, ensuring cooler temperatures and sunset vistas from the summit ridge. The route up is easily accessed from Wong Tai Sin MTR Station. Find exit E and begin climbing up Sha Tin Pass Road, stay on Sha Tin Pass Road and you shall gradually rise above the tower blocks of Kowloon. After about 45 minutes of walking, you’ll intercept the Wilson Trail (Stage 4). Turn right and follow the road up towards the ridge line. Walk through the lush forests of Lion Rock Country Park before emerging upon more grassy terrain. Keep an eye out for wildlife along the way, in particular monkeys.
For those who want a much shorter stroll, upon reaching the junction between Fei Ngo Shan Road and Jat’s Incline, simply walk back down into Choi Hung via Jat’s Incline. Otherwise I recommend following Fei Ngo Shan Road to the mountain ridge where the Tate’s Cairn Weather Observatory is located.
Upon the reaching the summit at 583 meters above sea level, the route emerges from undergrowth to reveal unrivalled panoramas of Kowloon and its surrounds. Pose for dramatic photos above large granite outcrops dating back to the Jurassic Period. Or take a perch, soaking up the relaxing vibes as skies darken and the vibrant lights from the millions below come to life. A quick dash up one of many small tracks running above the road reveals stunning natural vistas over Ma On Shan and Sai Kung Country Parks... the contrast to Kowloon couldn’t be starker.
The return route down is fairly simple, but only if you want it to be.
Keep walking down Fei Ngo Shan Road to Choi Hung if you want to play it safe. Otherwise, there are a few really awesome alternatives for onwards adventures and ultimately decent back to town. For longer walks, remain with the Maclehose or Wilson Trails as long as you wish. However my pick for the super intrepid is the ridge walk over Kowloon Peak, past ‘Suicide Cliff’ and down the East Face to Clear Water Bay. Be forewarned that this is a very technical and dangerous option only to be attempted by the most experienced of hikers. If in any doubt whatsoever then bring a guide with you, or at the very least do the route in reverse so that you’re climbing the trickier parts of the route.
The whole walk should take the best part of three to four hours. Be sure to bring a few snacks and plenty of fluids for consumption along the way as there are no facilities up there. If you are feeling lazy or want shorten the duration, it is possible to cycle, drive or take a taxi up Fei Ngo Shan Road instead.
Tate’ Cairn is a classic year round spot that anyone can have a crack at, yet one with detours that will keep even the most seasoned of hikers more than honest. Its enchanted forests below and spectacular vistas above will no doubt leave one wanting to revisit.
If you fancy exploring a natural world that most folk don’t know about within Hong Kong, then a day trip out to Plover Cove Reservoir could be in order. The area is easily assessable via public transport and totally worth the effort to reach. Nestled amongst rolling hills and the gateway to the eastern expanses of Tolo Harbour and Double Heaven. Begin the trail at Tai Mei Tuk and venture out into the wilds of northeastern Hong Kong and discover hidden gems that lie within. Once there, you certainly won’t be in a rush to leave.
Getting to the start point can take a little time from HK Island and Kowloon, but it is a relatively hassle free trip. Having reached Tai Po Market via MTR, you can either catch the 20C minibus, 75K KMB bus or alternatively grab a cab for around $70 to reach Tai Mei Tuk. Before you shoot off, a quick stop for a bite to eat and stocking up on refreshments in Tai Mei Tuk could be a good idea as there are no facilities out on the trail.
Once refreshed and all set to go, make your way towards the water sports center and continue up the small road until you reach the lake. Greeted by the sight of the dramatic 2-kilometer long dam wall, Plover Cove Reservoir is a very impressive structure. The world’s first ‘at sea level’ fresh water reservoir, construction on Plover Cove Reservoir began back in 1960 amid disputes with China over Hong Kong’s water supply.
Walking the dam wall is often a relaxing experience; one of solitude and tranquillity as you emerge into the open spaces and dazzling waters of Tolo Harbour. On a weekday or public holiday, the promenade is abuzz with folk enjoying the outdoors in many fun ways; whether it is windsurfing and kite surfing out on the water, or casting a line from sure in the hope of landing fish. Watch out for manic cyclists and kite flyers too! Once at the far end of the dam wall you will meet a small island in the middle of the harbour, turn left and continue through the gate.
Once on the other side of this obstacle, you leave the cyclists and most others behind and start to venture into the heart of the route. Keeping the calm turquoise waters of the reservoir on your left and the darker more rugged seas on your right, the road twists and turns its way around scenic nooks before traversing a few smaller concrete dams. After this the hiking trail begins in earnest, rising and dropping many a time of small hills, every one more dramatic than the last. From here on in, it is really left to your discretion how far you wish to venture before turning back.
For the more intrepid types who wish to do the entire circuit around Plover Cove Reservoir or venture towards Double Heaven, the trail over the hills to Wu Kau Tang or Double Heaven, will take a long full day of hiking to achieve this. However, it is a very fulfilling one for those who are up for the challenge. The approaching winter months do lend themselves more to undertaking such distances, but make sure you are thoroughly prepared! I would recommend beginning at Wu Kau Tang instead of Tai Mei Tuk. There is an infrequent, but reliable minibus service (20R) running there from Tai Po Market MTR. This way, if you are circumnavigating the lake, it is nice to finish at Tai Mei Tuk where there are plenty of amenities and transport options. From Tai Mei Tuk, one can return to Tai Po and the rest of HK more or less the same way they entered.
Overall, this is an adventure for all. A safe and pleasant excursion catering to the needs of families, yet one that is engaging and flexible enough to challenge the most intrepid outdoor adventurers in HK. These approaching winter months are ideal for such activities, so there is no better time get out and explore the open spaces in this stunning part of the territory.
The western New Territories is not necessarily synonymous with natural wonders, however there are some hidden gems out there that are worth uncovering.
If you fancy exploring a natural world that most folk don’t know about within Hong Kong, then a day trip out to Tai Lam Chung Reservoir could be in order. Located in the hills between Tsuen Wan and Tsuen Mun, it is a region that is as much unknown as it is remote. However, the area is easily assessable via public transport and totally worth the effort to reach. Life moves at a different pace here, the locals are as relaxed as they come in HK. It rubs off quickly and once there, you certainly won’t be in a rush to leave. The area has abundant family friendly walks and for the more intrepid, one can venture into higher peaks of Tai Lam and Tai Mo Shan Country Parks.
The simplest way in (other than driving) is to head into the western New Territories on the MTR West Rail Line, disembarking at Tuen Mun Station. From there, one can ride the number 43 minibus that departs roughly every 20 minutes or catch a taxi to ‘So Kwun Wat Tseun’. Hop off the bus at the end of its route and continue along the sealed road in a northerly direction. Walking in is easy going on a sealed access road.
Passing through tranquil surroundings and a few small farms, you soon climb up to Tai Lam Chung Reservoir. Built in 1957, the Reservoir is often referred to as ‘the lake of a thousand islands’. Once an open valley with many small hills, now flooded it has created a stunning freshwater archipelago that sets it apart from all other reservoirs in Hong Kong. This lake became the focal point of Tai Lam Country Park upon the parks creation in 1979 and her shores serve as a good starting point for many different walking routes. The easiest of these circumnavigates the reservoir and provides a scenic stroll, suitable for families. Simply follow the Maclehose Trail Stage 10 and walk a return route to So Kwun Wat, or finish in the nearby village of Tai Lam Chung Tsuen. For those who fancy more of a challenge, then there are various trails up and over the surrounding hillsides offering superb vistas over Tai Lam Country Park and across the sea to Lantau in the south. Additionally there are a few watercourses flowing into the reservoir that feature a few small waterfalls to check out.
Walking around the lake can take anywhere from one hour to an entire day depending on your route, so it’s a fairly flexible place to visit making it suitable for the warmer months of late summer and early autumn. If visiting later in autumn, keep an eye out for the lovely red and orange shades of the many maple trees in the area. Once a part of Hong Kong that suffered from a lot of erosion, the last five decades have seen the area transformed amid mass afforestation.
Return travel is fairly simple, more or less the same way as when you came in from So Kwun Wat. Unless you complete the route all the way around the lake, then you can find transport at Tai Lam Chung village to Teun Mun or the HK Gold Coast.
This far-flung corner of HK has an incredible amount on offer for those who enjoy venturing into the wild; a day trip here serves up an insight into Hong Kong’s past and the full scope of her landscape. Escaping to Tai Lam Chung provides a peaceful retreat for those wishing to find space for reflection or satisfy a burning urge of wanderlust.
We are one of Hong Kong's premier adventure & eco tour operators. This is our blog, documenting many of the wild places we explore and show guests.