Six Great Hikes on HK Island

July 7, 2010 by  
Filed under Nature, Uniquely Far East

I know it sounds crazy, but the bustling metropolis of Hong Kong is actually a great backdrop for hiking. Hong Kong Island has lots of hills and trails, and if you’re ready to walk off last night’s round of drinks and dim sum, then check out any of these excellent hiking trails.

Photo credit – Rob Young

Photo credit – Rob Young

Wisdom Path

This is one of my personal favourites. It’s a trail on Lantau Island (so not technically on HK Island, but close enough), which starts just behind the Big Buddha. Look for the signs (last time I was there, there was lots of construction so keep an eye out) as the trail is right there but easy to overlook. It’s about a 10 minute walk along a quiet trail before you reach the Wisdom Path, which is a circle of 38 wooden timbers with Chinese sayings carved in them, and of course some excellent views. The path goes on from here, which is part of the 70km Lantau Trail.

Photo credit - tboothhk

Photo credit - tboothhk

Hong Kong Trail

Another fantastic trail is simply Dubbed the Hong Kong Trail, and it’s one of the city’s major routes, so it’s well marked throughout. That’s a good thing because the trail winds around a 50km stretch of land, starting up on Victoria Peak and ending in Big Wave Bay. You start with great city views, with some parts of the trails right on the cliff – not for those with a fear of heights! As you go you’ll run into scenic rivers and reservoirs, and near the end the views of hidden beaches and coastal shores is unbeatable.

Check out as well our list of 10 Things to do in Hong Kong other than the Frenzied Shopping for more traveling tips and inspirations!

Photo credit - KarenDotCom127

Photo credit - KarenDotCom127

Dragon’s Back

Time Asia called the Dragon’s Back the best urban walking trail in Asia. This 5km trail runs from the edges of Hong Kong itself to a great island hang out, Shek O. The trail is named after the ridge that you cross midway, inside Shek O Country Park. From here you get fantastic views of Stanley Peninsula, Clear Water Bay Peninsula, and of course the sea. Shek O is also a great place to hang out – try one of the fresh seafood restaurants after you walk, where you can eat outside and soak up the fresh sea air.

Photo credit – Marcel Lekkel

Photo credit – Marcel Lekkel

Violet Hill Path

Another calm and relaxing walk is along the Violet Hill Path. It starts at the Wong Nai Chung reservoir and then heads around Violet Hill itself. The views just never stop – Brick Hill, Deep Water Bay, and Wong Chuck Hang, and Repulse bay, just to name a few. It’s a bit of a rocky path, so while it’s not terribly difficult, you do need to watch your footing. The trail ends at Tai Tam Tuk Reservoir, and you’ll know you are close when you start to see all those beautiful streams and creeks. The entire route is approximately 7km.

Hong Kong is a megapolitan city of many facets. Explore a different side of HK, the Kowloon Side, with Andy Hayes at Unearthing Asia.

Photo credit - tboothhk

Photo credit - tboothhk

Eastern Nature Trail

This 9km trail is great not only for the scenery but for a bit of nature and historical sightseeing too. Be sure to note the signs along the way explaining flora and fauna that you’ll encounter. Heading out of Quarry Bay, the route heads up into the Quarry Bay Complex. The red brick house building here is a former sugar factory, now a nature center. If you head down along the Quarry Bay Tree Walk you’ll find some large outdoor stoves that were built during WWII. You’ll also find Sir Cecil’s Ride nearby, where Japanese invaders once landed. The route carries on through Tai Tam Country Park to the Tai Tam reservoir.

Photo credit - Ming Hong

Photo credit - Ming Hong

Lung Fu Shan Fitness Trail

Warning: only those who want to get fit need to hit this trail, the last of our six recommendations. It is only 1km long, which may seem an unlikely candidate for a fitness regime, but in fact there are twelve fitness stations along the way to make sure you get a full body workout. There are great views, naturally, as you head up from the gorgeous gardens of Pinewood Battery and head straight up. The Hong Kong Medical Association actually helped contribute to the signage and layout of this path, so it’s definitely a great choice for hangover cute or to work up an appetite for lunch.

India is another country with mesmerizing mountain attractions. Check out our 10 Stunning Mountain Attractions in India.

Health & Safety Warning

It is worth noting Hong Kong is the only place in the world I’ve visited where I’ve had a hard time with the pollution. It can be a very thick haze, and you’ll feel it when you’re out and about. Ok, so wearing one of those face masks looks absurd, but is it really not worth it if it saves your lungs?

Also, be sure to grab a map from any tourist office, so that you know where you’re going. Often the best routes start and end in different places, so you should be aware of what public transport options will take you back to your accommodation.


If you are planning a visit to Asia, don’t forget to check out Unearthing Asia, the best Asia travel portal focusing on Lifestyle, Culture and Attractions all over Asia. We have got some of the best last min Sun holidays ideas and inspirations in the region of Asia, such as this list of Singapore’s best romantic views.

About the Author. Andy Hayes. Andy Hayes is a freelance travel writer and photographer based in Edinburgh, Scotland. When not crossing the world to have his next Asian travel adventures, he is hitting the walking trails near home. To get in touch or see Andy’s other travelogues, visit his website, Sharing Travel Experiences.

10 Things To Do In Hong Kong

Compared to Singapore, Hong Kong is often synonymous with a dirty, rowdy and cramped megalopolis that’s extremely easy to get lost in. It’s maze of cheap shopping and street-side food snacks are thronged with locals and tourists alike, almost always succeeding in confusing your exploration.

Fortunately, there are plenty more to enjoy here other than the frenzied shopping of Mong Kok – here are but ten suggestions for you!

Amazing view from the harbor. Photo credit - Steve Webel.

Amazing view from the harbor. Photo credit - Steve Webel.

Tramming through Hong Kong Island

The HK2 narrow double-decker city trams trundling on the north coast of Hong Kong Island are a Hong Kong icon. They are much slower, but the route takes you by various points of interests such as the Western Market, Causeway Bay, Happy Valley and finally ends at Shau Kei Wan. Through the journey, you’ll be able to see the landscape gradually changing from that of a CBD to towards public government housings. Definitely the cheapest sightseeing tours around.

Watching the horse race is great fun and a big local past-time. Photo credit - lecercle.

Watching the horse race is great fun and a big local past-time. Photo credit - lecercle.

A Night Out at the Happy Valley

For those into a bit of gambling or just wanting a great night out, take off the tram at Happy Valley Race Course, another of Hong Kong’s iconic landmark. Horse races are usually held on Wednesday night, but it’s best to check ahead of time. Bring your passport to get a tourist pass for HK100 (roughly US$13) which gives you access to most areas of the course. The atmosphere is great, and there are always side-shows and activities for those less interested in the horses.

Relaxing at Lei King Wan

At the east end of the MTR route is Sai Wan Ho, a quiet coastal side town that plays host to the Hong Kong Film Archive and the Museum of Coastal Defence. Take a walk along the Eastern District Tourist Trail, passing by various temples towards Lei King Wan, or Soho East. There are various waterfront establishment in the area serving a wide array of cuisines, from the cheap to the luxurious, a great place to enjoy a slow, quiet dinner and end the night on a high note!

The promenade by the Avenue of Stars. Photo credit - werty.

The promenade by the Avenue of Stars. Photo credit - werty.

A Symphony of Lights at the Avenue of Stars

Directly within walking distance of the Tsim Sha Tsui MTR Station is the Avenue of Stars, Hong Kong’s version of the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It celebrates icons of Hong Kong cinema from the past century, and the seaside promenade offers fantastic views, day and night. Every night at 8pm, you can also enjoy A Symphony of Lights, a spectacular lights and laser show that is recognized byt the Guinness World Record as the world’s “Largest Permanent Light and Sound Show”. Go on either Monday, Wednesday or Friday, when the show is performed in English.

The Giant Buddha Statue at Lantau Island. Photo credit - Nik.

The Giant Buddha Statue at Lantau Island. Photo credit - Nik.

Exploring Lantau Island

Lantau Island is the biggest of the 230 or so islands belonging to the territory of Hong Kong. Take the MRT to Tung Chung, and make your way towards the Po Lin Monastery through a 30-minutes cable car ride called the Ngong Ping 360. There is a cultural village at Ngong Ping where you can have refreshment and shop for souvenirs, but the main treat is the Giant Buddha statue. This extraordinary statue is 34 metres high, and visitors can climb the 268 steps to reach the platform where the Buddha is seated. For those more adventurous, skip the cable car ride and enjoy the natural hiking trail through the hills.

Bargain Hunting at Tung Chung Factory Outlets

Back from your exploration at the Lantau Island, take a quick stop at Tung Chung MTR Station and explore the CityGate Shopping Mall, Hong Kong 1st outlet mall. There are plenty of outlet factories here, which means cheap, quality bargains you won’t find elsewhere. Unlike the street-side vendors and shops at Mong Kok, the goods here are not fake. It is also significantly less cramped, which means less competition in search for that great bargain.

Stanley Town

Accessible by bus, Stanley Town is a tourist attraction located in the southeastern peninsula of Hong Kong Island. Take a walk through Stanley Market, a large open-air marketplace that is similar to Mong Kok, but minus the throng of crowds. The bargains here are mostly souvenirs such as ornaments, arts and crafts. The main attraction however, is the Stanley Main Street, renowned for its many waterfront establishment offering a variety of foods and refreshments. This area is very popular with both tourists and expats, not unlike Singapore’s Clarke Quay.

Lan Kwai Fong is always crowded every night. Photo credit - strauser.

Lan Kwai Fong is always crowded every night. Photo credit - strauser.

Nightlife at Lan Kwai Fong

A buzzing center of clubs, bars and restaurants, this buzzing estate of trendy establishment is a popular hangout place for the night owls, both locals and tourists. Located smack in the middle of Hong Kong’ Central area, the place is always crowded every night. You can also find various bistros and pubs around the area, serving midnight supper and snacks for bar-goers till late at night.

The Peak Tower at Victoria Peak. Photo credit - jiazi.

The Peak Tower at Victoria Peak. Photo credit - jiazi.

Victoria Peak

Take the extremely steep Peak Tram and head towards Victoria Peak to enjoy a scenic view of Hong Kong. Up at the Peak, there is the Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum and also the recently renovated Peak Tower, housing an array of shops and establishments for your enjoyment. There are also various hiking trails and the Sky Terrace from which you can enjoy the best view in Hong Kong!

Fortune tellers ply their trade at Temple Street. Photo credit - dreistreifen.

Fortune tellers ply their trade at Temple Street. Photo credit - dreistreifen.

Mystic Reading at Temple Street

The Temple Street at night is filled with various fortune tellers who can give you readings for around HK50 to 100. They consists of a varied bunch with differing skills, from reading of tea leaves and palms to Tarot cards and the traditional fortune teller based on your birth date and Chinese zodiac. Some of the more popular ones have queues up to an hour or so, and one stall I saw was fully booked for the rest of the week! I’m pleased to say that my reading was about 75% accurate, and it was right on target on the more important questions!

As you can see, there are plenty to see and do in Hong Kong other than trudging along with thousand others in search for a good bargain. Hong Kong is also a great place to be based in while you explore Macau, and even Shen Zhen.

Travel smarter! If your looking for the best deals on Hong Kong hotel prices, head on to SmartHotelComparison.com for a one-stop portal which allows you to compare prices from over 500 booking websites!