Getting fit doesn’t have to be a chore when you have the beautiful scenery of Hong Kong’s hiking trails at your fingertips – or rather, footsteps. From gentle jaunts to more challenging mountain trails, there are dozens of hiking routes dotted around Hong Kong and the outlying islands that offer you breathtaking views of the great outdoors. So we say dig out your hiking boots and head for the hills with these five handy tips for happy hiking!
1. Pick a Suitable Trail
You’ve gathered your friends together and agreed to go on a hike – now all you need to do is pick a trail. Thankfully, we are blessed with a plethora of handy websites and forums dedicated to sharing tips on where to find the most enjoyable hiking routes around Hong Kong. The Hong Kong Tourism Board, for example, offers dozens of suggested routes spanning deserted beaches, reservoirs, and outlying islands to give you a variety of spectacular views and a range of landscapes to suit every mood. They even have some helpful safety tips and emergency contact numbers for you to take along the way so you know that help is always at hand – or foot! Similarly, the Leisure and Cultural Services Department provides a handy breakdown of hiking routes which are categories by region, fitness level, and point of interest such as nature, scenery, heritage, and family.
2. Join a Hiking Group
With hiking remaining one of the most popular activities in Hong Kong, you shouldn’t have too much trouble finding a companion or two to join you on your outdoor adventure. Having said that, you will never be short of enthusiasts in the Hong Kong Hiking Meetup group, which is the largest organised hiking group with more than 22,000 members. The group plans regular hikes which vary in scale and ability – from ‘easy’ to ‘extremely hard’ – meaning there is something for everyone, whether you are a seasoned hiker or just starting out. They also organise other outdoor activities such as mountain biking and camping, so you can always find a way to enjoy the great outdoors with like-minded people. Meanwhile, the Hong Kong Hikers (pictured) is an amateur group which organises a range of hikes throughout the territory, welcoming residents and visitors of all levels of fitness and experience to join. They usually hike between four and six times each week during the cooler months and two to four times during the summer. Take a look at their scheduled hikes and sign up now.
3. Book an Organised Tour
Fancy a bit of history with your hike? Then you’re in luck, because Walk Hong Kong offers guided urban walks and day hikes which aim to provide you with local knowledge and experiences that enhance your understanding of Hong Kong. The organisation has been offering guided hiking tours since 2003, where an experienced guide will take you to some of Hong Kong’s most unpopulated and pristine areas including World War II and bird-watching sites. You could be hiking through stunning landscapes, catching a glimpse of former village life, or finding yourself in unique natural areas with special geological, natural, and cultural significance. The hikes cater to all tastes and fitness levels, and cost around $800 per person which includes transport. Check out the upcoming schedule and pick your guided hike. If, on the other hand, you fancy veering off the beaten track and discovering the untouched parts of Hong Kong that boast natural beauty and overgrown charm, then check out adventure and eco tour company Wild Hong Kong. Led by experienced thrill-seeker Rory Mackay, you will discover a bountiful array of wild places to explore in Hong Kong such as waterfalls, beaches, and gorges. Take a look at his epic tours and read our article on his Top 5 Wildest Hikes.
4. Download an App
You can always count on a trusty app to be your hiking companion in the great outdoors. The popular free mobile app TrailWatch allows you to plan and share hiking tracks with your buddies, and is designed to add an interesting twist to your journey – in the name of conservation. Users can record any incidents they see while out hiking or walking around the city such as landslides, waste dumping, and vandalism, and then share the details on the TrailWatch website and Facebook page for organisations to take action. So, as well as counting how many calories you burn along the way, you can rest assured that you are helping to keep Hong Kong safe and beautiful. Another handy app is Hiking Trail HK, which provides offline maps and over 100 hiking trails, as well as information like route length, gain, time estimation, GPS location, and deviation alert. These apps are brilliant for ensuring your hike runs smoothly – just make sure you fully charge your phone before you set off!
5. Download a Handy Guide
Wouldn’t it be nice to have all the information you need about hiking in one easy place? Well, now you can, because Discover Hong Hong has published a helpful free e-book called Your Guide to Hiking & Cycling in Hong Kong which serves as a great resource to planning your hiking adventures. With maps, photos, case studies, and handy tips dotted throughout the 60-page guide, you can plan whatever hike you fancy in Hong Kong Island, the New Territories, and the outlying islands. The book even points out the best spots to take photographs as well as recommending scenic cycling routes and guided walks to help you experience the best natural landscapes that Hong Kong has to offer. You can download the e-book for free and even take it with you on your phone or tablet – now how’s that for handy!