Hong Kong is known for its beautiful hikes, which are available for all to enjoy – including wheelchair users. Accessible hiking has opened up a whole new world for rising star of Hong Kong rugby, Ben Kende, who tragically sustained a spinal cord injury during a match in August 2010 and is now adjusting to life as a tetraplegic. The inspiring athlete and founder of the Ben Kende Foundation shares his favourite accessible hikes which leave him with a glow from the rush of endorphins from a good upper body workout.
1. Bowen Road First Pagoda
Bowen Road is popular among walkers, cyclists, and dog lovers, and it is possible that you might spot a porcupine there among the bushes, or even a green snake in the trees trying to attack a bird nest. There is no wheelchair bus to Bowen Road, so it is something of a challenge to get from the start of Macdonnell Road up to Bowen Road. However, you can take accessible bus 15 or 6 from Exchange Square or Admiralty to Stubbs Road (before the roundabout to Tai Hang and Wong Nai Chung Gap Roads) and start your hike from the eastern end of Bowen Road.
On our first accessible walk we went to the first pagoda – a round trip is about 40 minutes from the beginning of Bowen Road. The first pagoda is not really a pagoda but a peaceful little park with pagoda type shelters, and backed by a sleepy waterfall in wetter conditions. It was a nostalgic walk to first pagoda, taking me back to my boyish days at Island School, where the first and second pagodas were used as landmarks for my school’s cross country runs.
Bowen Road was named after George Bowen, the ninth Governor of Hong Kong, and it was built in 1883 as a perfect example of Victorian engineering. As Hong Kong had little freshwater, an aqueduct was built to transfer water from Tai Tam to Central, and Bowen Road was built on top of the aqueducts.
2. Bowen Road Second Pagoda
On our second walk we drove to first pagoda, via Bowen Drive, from Kennedy Road and started our walk from there. This time we went to and beyond second pagoda, another peaceful park. Since the great typhoon of 2019, the vegetation has been swept aside and the views over Hong Kong are paramount. The round trip took around 40 minutes, and to walk or roll the entire length of Bowen Road takes about two hours in one direction. The exit is just below the Adventist Hospital.
The famous Lover’s Stone is located about one hour along the track from Bowen Road and about 20 minutes from the Stubbs Road end. Above the track, the 9-metre high granite monolith is said to have the power of giving those who worship it happy marriages.
3. Kei Ling Ha Tsai King
Kei Ling Ha is located at the coastal area near Sai Sha Road, at the junction of Ma On Shan Country Park and Sai Kung West Country Park. It is located in the innermost shore of Three Fathoms Cove which is known as Kei Ling Ha Hoi. It is a very good place for countryside visits, picnicking, and bird watching.
We drove to Kei Ling Ha Park, which is located about ten minutes away from Clearwater Bay and offers amazing views of the ocean. Almost no one frequents this park as it is quite out of the way, but on warm winter’s day it is the perfect spot for a picnic. Basking in the winter sun, we sat around for hours while our friend Robbie Nimmo, serenaded us with her tales of Hong Kong lives, past and present. If you walk along the road you enter a village carpark, and from there, there is an entrance to a flat walk that ends at a dai pai dong which is sometimes open on the weekend. A picnic in the park is a great thing to do.
4. The Peak Circle Walk
Accessible via bus 15 from Exchange Square MTR station, this walk winds around the highest point on Hong Kong Island and offers some of the city’s most panoramic views. You can start outside the Peak Café and roll around for about one and a half hours – the walk is a perfect circle. In one or two places there is a slight climb and the wheelchair may need a slight push. The most striking views of Victoria Harbour, reaching all the way round to Aberdeen, provide a panorama of sights, along with intriguing, sometimes abandoned and sometimes grandiose, stately homes. Parts of the path are criss-crossed by aerial root systems between the trees that make you duck a little, and this is a shady and peaceful walk. The walk can begin in Lugard Road, which was built in 1913 and named after the fourteenth Governor of Hong Kong. One nice spot to stop at is the waterfall at Mount Austin playground. After about twenty minutes you will come to the Lugard Road lookout, which is a good place to rest and view the panorama. Harlech Road will then take you back to the Peak Tower. You can also do the walk in reverse, and if you choose to go in the late afternoon, you will see a galaxy of shimmering lights.
5. The Broadwalk – Repulse and Deepwater Bay
This easy and beautiful, shady roll can be begin at either Repulse or Deepwater Bay. To start the walk from Deepwater Bay you can take bus 6x or 260 from Exchange Square Central, or bus 973 from TST East Bus Station and get off at the Deepwater Bay barbecue pits (opposite the street parking) where there is a ramp.
The whole walk takes about one hour and follows the shoreline from Deepwater to Repulse Bay, or the reverse. You may access the path from the ramp located at the end of Deepwater Bay beach, just past the barbeque pits. Repulse Bay was once popular with pirates who attacked foreign ships trading with China. This was repulsed by the British in 1841 and so the beach got its name. At the eastern end of the beach is the Tin Hau Temple where visitors toss coins into the mouths of fish statues in order to bring them good fortune. The Coco Thai restaurant is also near the barbecue pits in Deepwater Bay and worth a visit.
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