Living the fast life in our famous concrete jungle, it’s no wonder that most people don’t realise that over 70 percent of Hong Kong is actually green space. As the weather is blessedly cooling down, this is the perfect time to explore some of Hong Kong’s natural landscapes. Fear not if hiking has never really been “your thing”; we’ve compiled a handy list of easy hiking trails that are suitable even for beginners and couch potatoes.
If you’re already in the city, this conveniently located hike is perfect for you. Simply head to Hong Kong Park via the Peak Tram station on Garden Road, and the starting point is at the stairs beside the tram tracks. The trail more or less follows the Peak Tram, so if it’s a good day and you’re headed up to the Peak anyway, we suggest beating those insane tram queues by walking up one of Hong Kong’s most accessible hiking trails instead.The majority of the hike is mainly along quiet residential roads, marked by silver points of interest signage dotted along the way. Towards the end, you’ll get picturesque views of the cityscape through the foliage, and once you’re at the Peak, it’s a simple matter of grabbing a bite to eat, taking in the scenery, and catching a bus or minibus back down. Paved the whole way without inclines that are overly steep, most people should be able to complete this hike within an hour.
Located in a peninsula south of Shek O, Cape D’Aguilar might take a little while to get to, but the views of the ocean and a few gorgeous spots for photos make it worth the trip. Take bus 9 at Shau Kei Wan MTR station, making sure that it’s going to Shek O via Cape D’Aguilar (otherwise it’s not a service that makes the detour into the peninsula), and alight at Cape D’Aguilar bus stop. Enjoy the coastal views as you follow Cape D’Aguilar Road until you reach the PCCW radio transmitting station and go off-road onto the well-trodden path.At a fork further down the trail, you can either go left to reach the Cape D’Aguilar Lighthouse or turn right for the Marine Reserve. We prefer the latter, where you can explore Thunder Cave, a craggy gap in the rocks that leads out to sea. You can also admire the bones of a mysterious whale displayed outside the University of Hong Kong Swire Institute of Marine Science. Google Maps has it marked as ‘the bones of Miss Willy’, but some say they belong to Hoi Wai, a female orca from Ocean Park, while others claim it was a juvenile Bryde’s whale that was stranded in Victoria Harbour in the 1950s.
One of Hong Kong’s friendliest hiking trails, with relatively flat with a great view, the only downside to Red Incense Burner Summit, also known as Braemar Hill, is that it’s likely to get crowded. Take minibus 25 from Causeway Bay to Braemar Hill and alight at the final stop; the end of the pedestrian road towards the school is the starting point. Once you reach what seems to be a dead-end, simply hop over the fence on the left and skirt around the restricted area. You’ll reach some stairs, from which you can turn off into the woods to get to the summit. According to photographers, the place to get good photos is the large rock along the trail. You’ll want to skip the boulders on the summit, as that’s where everyone inevitably gathers.
Tai Long Wan is a cove in Sai Kung with three adjacent beaches: Sai Wan, Ham Tin, and Tai Wan. Take minibus 29R from Sai Kung town to the Sai Wan Pavilion, where you will find signs to Sai Wan. Cross the beach towards Ham Tin, perhaps making a cheeky pit stop for a cold beer first, and go up the hill to start your hike. The cliffs between these two beaches are blessed with a stunning view of the azure ocean dotted with green islands. There are boats running to both Sai Wan and Ham Tin from Sai Kung Pier, so before you start off, it’s worth arranging for one to pick you up at either beach at the end of your hike.
Finally, of course, Dragon’s Back, one of Hong Kong’s most famous hiking trails. Named for the outline of the mountain range along southwestern Hong Kong Island, this hike offers beautiful panoramic views of Stanley and Shek O highlighted by gorgeous natural hues of blues, green, and earthy browns. As with journeying to Cape D’Aguilar, take bus 9 from Shau Kei Wan MTR station. Alight at To Tei Wan stop, then follow the markers for the Hong Kong Trail on Shek O Road.There are a few small climbs scattered throughout the gradual incline. Be sure to lend a hand to children if you’re bringing them along. If you’re not already panting slightly by the time you reach the top, the view will definitely take your breath away. Once you’re done taking pictures, the descent is along easier flat and downhill trails, finishing in Big Wave Bay. All newcomers to Hong Kong should experience walking along the back of this dragon.