Header image courtesy of @mightyredshk (via Instagram)
When the festive season rolls around, it is first and foremost a time for loved ones, so why not let off some of that steam from staying in all the time with some hikes that are suitable for the whole family—pets included? These are trails that generally do not have too much incline or too many stairs, which means even the little ones can toddle along with some supervision—great for a day out with the whole gang and the dog!
We’ve previously covered routes in western New Territories and the Outlying Islands, so for our next instalment, here are the best family walks in Sai Kung for a day trip in Hong Kong’s backyard and beyond.
Situated within Clear Water Bay Country Park, the Clearwater Bay Tree Walk begins at Tai Hang Tun—the pass between High Junk Peak and Tai Leng Tung—which is a popular picnic and barbecue destination for families. Because the area almost always enjoys a cool breeze, you will also often find kite-flyers doing their thing, which makes for a picturesque sight. To get there, take the bus 91 to Tai Au Mun roundabout then walk along Clear Water Bay Road until you get to the barbecue site.
Clear Water Bay Tree Walk in itself is a relatively short one, measuring just over one kilometre, cutting through dense woodlands midway up the mountain slopes. The viewing platform at the beginning of the trail affords sea views of Tsing Chau and the Ninepins, a group of islands. Though within a forest, the middle section of the walk opens up to beautiful views of Clear Water Bay and Po Toi O in the south.
There are also about a dozen informative stop points along the way, displaying information about the flora and plants in the area. If you’ve ever wanted to go on a relaxing walk and learn about the bamboo orchid or square-leaved Chinese laurel at the same time, then make for Clear Water Bay Tree Walk this weekend.
Lai Chi Chong is part of the Hong Kong UNESCO Global Geopark and is home to some intricate swathes of volcanic rock formations. Most parts of eastern Sai Kung are better known to weekend visitors, so take this chance to distance yourself from the crowds and explore the western side instead.
From Sai Kung Pier, take minibus 7 towards Hoi Ha and alight at Pak Sha O Youth Hostel, then simply walk down Hoi Ha Road until you reach a sign signalling Lai Chi Chong. The hike itself is fairly short and can be completed in roughly an hour, but you’ll pass by a couple of old villages, little streams, and even mangrove wetlands.
Eventually, you’ll emerge at your destination on the southeastern shore of the Tolo Channel, where you can take your time admiring views of the sea and examining the multi-layered rocks of different colours.
Click here for our more detailed guide to hiking into Lai Chi Chong.
This hike is a good option for a family day out that incorporates a bit of Hong Kong history as well. From Sai Kung, take bus 94 and alight at the stop for Pak Tam Chung Village. This is the Sheung Yiu area, where you will start the hike by taking the Pak Tam Chung Nature Trail. The path is paved and shaded, which makes for easy going, following beside Orange River.
Eventually, you’ll reach the Sheung Yiu Folk Museum; this is a fortified Hakka village from the nineteenth century that is now a declared monument. The small museum has furniture and artefacts on display so visitors can get a glimpse of what a typical Hakka abode used to look like. Keep heading south from the museum and turn left uphill on the tree-lined path for the Family Walk. The middle section is level with picnic sites available so you can choose to break out the snacks here or continue on to the end where there are barbecue facilities.
The trail ends on Man Yee Road, which shortly leads back onto Tai Mong Tsai Road, where you can get public transport home. The entire hike should take under two hours, not accounting for time spent exploring the museum. If you choose to only walk from Sheung Yiu to the museum and back, it is even stroller-friendly!
Sharp Island Geo Trail lets visitors appreciate rocks made from volcanic activity more than 140 million years ago, bringing you away from the popular beaches and deeper into the rest of the island. From Sai Kung waterfront, approach any of the small kaito operators and see if they stop at Sharp Island (most do). The starting point of the trail on Hap Mun Bay (also known as Half Moon Bay) beach is only a 15-minute ride away.
The waters here consistently rank among Hong Kong’s cleanest but don’t be distracted just yet. The trailhead can be found towards the back of the picnic site, leading up to Hak Shan Teng—this initial ascent may be a bit steep, but it quickly levels out and the rest is easy going. The journey to Kiu Tsui Beach should only take just over an hour, and while this is a great spot for scuba-diving or kayaking, the main attraction is the nearest tombolo connecting a small islet to Sharp Island. This tombolo is only accessible when the tide is lower than 1.4 metres, so be sure to check and plan ahead if you want to cross over to the islet of Kiu Tau.
Also, look out for the area’s famous “pineapple bun stones”—rocks scattered around the tombolo beaches—before hopping on a kaito back to Sai Kung. Of course, it’s always possible to do the hike in reverse, starting from Kiu Tsui Beach and ending at the prettier Hap Mun Beach to chill before leaving.
This family walk is one of the best places from which to appreciate the beauty of “Hong Kong’s backyard.” Located next to Wong Shek Pier, your family will be taken on a gentle journey along beaches, which affords views of Ko Tong Hau, the seasonal foliage in To Kwa Peng, and Tung Sam Kei, all with boats and little vessels passing by.
After climbing to higher vistas, the view widens out and extends to Long Harbour, Grass Island, Ko Lau Wan, and Wan Tsai Peninsula. Despite the bit of climbing involved, it’s all via stone steps and very manageable; the entire walk should only take about an hour to complete. Buses 94 and 96R run to Wong Shek Pier Bus Terminus, and the trailhead is right beside the Wong Shek Barbecue Area.