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5 best beach hikes in Hong Kong

By Beverly Ngai 22 May 2021

Header image courtesy of @852go (via Instagram)

To the unacquainted, hiking in Hong Kong during the summer is no joke. With temperatures often rising above 30 degrees Celsius and the intense heat exacerbated by humidity, just the thought of going outside may be enough to get you sweating—never mind hiking—but the idea is not as absurd as you might think. Our city is blessed with a handful of beach hikes that offer epic sea views, a good workout, and, most importantly, the promise of a refreshing cool-down. So, slather on some sunscreen, grab your bathing suit, and hit up one of these gorgeous shorelines!

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Photo: @dlky_nature (via Instagram)
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Mui Wo to Pui O Beach

Covered in lush mountainous terrains, Lantau Island boasts more than its fair share of bucket-list-worthy hikes, but if you’re going in the heat of summer, then the undulating trail connecting Mui Wo and Pui O Beach is a no-brainer. Bookended by beaches, with the intermission of shaded sections and aerial coastal views, it’s the perfect mix of adventure and relaxation.

Spanning nine kilometres along Section 12 of the Lantau Trail, the hike involves some steep inclines as it meanders through mountain ridges—with the summit at Tai Ngau Wu Peak checking in at the 275 metres—but is nonetheless approachable by novice hikers.

The initial section skirting along the beautiful coast of Mui Wo is fairly flat, easing you into the tougher climbs that are to follow. After around two kilometres, the trail bends into the woods, taking you up and down through a series of stairs. At the top, you’ll see an open clearing with a radio tower and helicopter pad.

The remainder of the trail is relatively straightforward, albeit a bit hard on the knees. Punctuating the downhill trot are stunning views of Pui O Beach to guide the way and get excited about. Once you’ve reached the end of the path at the Tin Hau Temple, walk through the village along Chi Ma Wan Road and South Lantau Road to the beach. Expect to be greeted by a few water buffalos along the way!

Click here to read our full guide on how to hike from Mui Wo to Pui O Beach.

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Cheung Chau Family Walk

Feeling overstuffed after a food crawl gorging on mango mochi, red bean cakes, and other iconic Cheung Chau delicacies? Why not take a little saunter across the island to help your body digest and burn off those extra calories?

The Cheung Chau Family Walk fits perfectly into your island day-trip itinerary, with a short, scenic route to Tung Wan Tsai Beach that won’t take more than an hour or two to complete. Passing through the highest point of the island at the North Lookout Pavillion, you’ll be treated to unobstructed panoramas of Cheung Chau and Lamma Island!

That being said, the topography of the island is relatively flat, so the inclines are not particularly steep—doable even for little ones! Starting from the main pier, walk along Pak She Praya Road and turn on Cheung Pak Road towards the trailhead of the family walk.

Next to the basketball courts in front of Pak Tai Temple, you’ll see the path leading up to the Cheung Chau Family Walk. Although you’ll be climbing uphill for the first 20 minutes of the trail, the well-maintained concrete stairs and wooden railings make the ascent manageable. Before you know it, you’ll have reached the North Lookout Pavillion!

As much of the trail runs along hilly ridges, there is very little shade to speak of, particularly in the latter half of the hike. This comes as good news on the visual front, but it also means you’ll be fully exposed to the sun, so bring a hat and don’t be stingy with sunscreen!

After soaking up the coastal beauty at the lookout point, keep on the path all the way down to Tung Wan Tsai Beach. This quiet and secluded little beach on the northern headland of Cheung Chau is less crowded than the main Tung Wan Beach, making it ideal for lounging and relaxing!

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Trio Beach Hike

Despite Sai Kung’s stellar reputation as a haven for beach bums, one dreamy stretch of coastline that has managed to fly under most people’s radar is Trio Beach. Tucked away behind the hilly headland of Hebe Haven, this hidden gem is only accessible by sampan boat or a 45-minute hike, meaning it’s one of the best places to beat the crowds and enjoy a slice of coastal paradise at a distance from others.

To start this three-kilometre trail, you’ll first make your way to Hebe Haven. The easiest way to get there is by bus 92 or 96R from Diamond Hill or 792M from Tseung Kwan O. Alight at Tai Chung Hau stop and walk down Hiran’s Highway for several hundred metres until you reach Che Keng Tuk Road.

Turn right and follow along the concrete road to Sai Kung International Pre-School. You’ll see a flight of steps flanked by green railings that leads into the trees. Stay on this level path until you come to a forked junction and a signpost for Trio Beach directing you to turn right onto the dirt path. Another kilometre later, you’ll emerge from the woods near a barbecue area. Head down the flight of steps and sink your toes into the soft golden sand of Trio Beach!

The beach may be small, but its exceptionally soft sand and pristine waters more than make up for what it lacks in size. Complete with many on-site facilities like barbecue pits, a children’s playground, and a refreshment kiosk, you’ll have no problem filling your afternoon with a fun and entertaining mix of activities. When you’re ready to leave, simply hike back the same way or hire a sampan to Hebe Haven Pier.

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Siu Sai Wan to Big Wave Bay

With a name like Big Wave Bay, you know some wildly good fun is in order! This windswept alcove on the eastern coast of Hong Kong Island has long been a renowned surfer’s mecca, but is less frequented by mass tourism due to its isolated location that requires a bit of hiking to get to.

There are multiple trails that lead to Big Wave Bay. Dragon’s Back is arguably the most famous one, but if you don’t want to expend all of your energy before you get a chance to pick up your surfboard and catch some waves, the route from Siu Sai Wan to Big Wave Bay is your best bet, delivering you to cool, watery salvation in about an hour and a half.

Commencing at Siu Wai Wan Promenade Park, head near the back of the park where a flight of stairs will take you to the Leaping Dragon Walk. This paved section to Cape Collison Road is a blend of steps and gentle slopes. At the end of the path, you’ll see a little garden and sitting-out area. This would be a good time to stop for a break and admire the lovely views of Tung Lung Chau and Clearwater Bay Golf Course.

The next section following Pottinger Peak Country Trail is considerably steeper, but the path is nonetheless well-defined. Around three hundred metres in, you’ll come to a four-way junction. Before you decide to either carry on forward straight down to Big Wave Bay or turn right and take a 20-minute detour up to Pottinger Peak Lookout, we think it’s obligatory to go up to the Pottinger Peak View Compass located just 20 metres left of the junction.

On a clear day, this spot affords you unhindered views of Tathong Channel and Tseung Kwan O on the other side. As you make the final descent to Big Wave Bay, the trees around you will start to thin out, revealing the expansive seascape beyond. Just before reaching the beach, there will be a path on your left that veers off to the nearby ancient rock carvings. History buff or not, the intriguing three-thousand-year-old animal-shaped patterns are definitely worth a gander!

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Lamma Island Family Trail

The superlative combination of natural beauty, historical landmarks, and a quaint coastal community have tourists and day-trippers flocking to Lamma Island on the weekends like moths to a flame, and a great way to experience the abundance that this fine locale has to offer is with the Lamma Island Family Trail!

As one can expect from a family-friendly trot, this six-kilometre route near the eastern coast of the outlying island is well-groomed and easy-going, with a myriad of attractions to explore. Giving you a front-row seat to peculiarly shaped rocks, abandoned villages, and a large, picturesque beach, it delivers a serious bang for your buck!

Hiking clockwise from Sok Kwu Wan, the first two kilometres are more or less a leisurely waterside stroll. As you work your way to Mo Tat Wan, the trail takes a woodsy turn, and soon you are enveloped by the haunting presence of an eerie ghost village overgrown with grass and vines. Once home to the Chow clan, the centuries-old, crumbling stone houses were abandoned nearly two hundred years ago when the clan relocated to the nearby Yung Shue Ha village to be closer to the sea.

Continuing on the main path, you’ll eventually emerge from the foliage and meet the sea once again at Shek Pai Wan. This serene strip of beach is the longest of its kind on the island, so you’ll have no shortage of soft sand to frolic on!

When you’re ready to leave the beach, make your way to Tung O Village and up Ling Kok Shan. As you ascend the hill, you’ll come across a Chinese pavilion offering extraordinary views of Lamma and the southside of Hong Kong Island. Catch your breath and indulge in the scenery for a bit before trekking up to the summit, perched on which are some precariously stacked boulders for your viewing and photographing pleasure.

In particular, fans of the comic strip Peanuts should keep their eyes peeled for Snoopy Rock. Living up to its name, the tower of rocks looks uncannily like the beloved cartoon pup. To finish off the hike, continue down to Mo Tat Wan and simply head back to your starting point by the same route. Once you’ve returned to Sok Kwu Wan, do yourself a favour and stay for a well-deserved seafood feast!

Click here to read our full guide for hiking the Lamma Island Family Trail.

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Beverly Ngai

Junior editor

A wanderer, chronic overthinker, and baking enthusiast, Beverly spent much of her childhood in the United States before moving to Hong Kong at age 11 and making the sparkling city her home. In her natural habitat, she can be found baking up a storm in her kitchen, journalling at a café, or scrolling through OpenRice deciding on her next meal.

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