Header image courtesy of @shayne_faulkner (via Instagram)
With beaches, mountain ridges, summits, and stairs to tackle, Lantau Island is a veritable cornucopia when it comes to hikes, offering an abundance of trails to appeal to all levels. Here, we have rounded up the best hikes on Lantau Island so you can make the most out of your weekend getaway. Be sure to slap on a high-SPF sunscreen and bring more than enough water with you, as a lot of these trails do not offer opportunities for you to refill on the way. Let’s take a hike!
Hong Kong’s Olympic Trail is part of the Tung Mui Ancient Trail, connecting Tung Chung and Mui Wo. A 5.6-kilometre section that stretches between Pak Mong Village and Mui Wo, it was renamed the Olympic Trail in 2008 to honour Hong Kong’s hosting of the Beijing Olympic Games’ equestrian events. Although the Olympic torch never actually passed through the Olympic Trail (what irony), hikers can still find plaques and memorabilia for different games held during the Olympics, from badminton to shooting and athletics.
Shorter and with less elevation than other popular country trails, the Olympic Trail nevertheless offers a quick getaway from the bustling city and a clear panoramic view of Lantau Island’s breathtaking waterfronts and idyllic nature. What makes this quick escape unique is its accessibility and its short length, and with entrances only minutes away from urban areas, it’s perfectly suitable for hikers big and small.
Click here to read our full guide for hiking the Olympic Trail (Tung Mui Ancient Trail).
Looping around the south of Lantau Island, the mammoth 70-kilometre range of the Lantau Trail covers stunning peaks, spectacular panoramic views, and gruelling challenges to the legs. Among them, Sunset Peak is probably the most breathtaking stretch. While it’s not a long trail, it does start with a back-breaking set of stairs that rise 400-plus metres in height depending on which route you take to get there.
For an easy and fast option, take a minibus or taxi to Pak Kung Au and slog along for two kilometres to reach Sunset Peak. Alternatively, you could tackle the uphill climb from Wong Lung Hang Picnic Site, where, for the first hour or so, you’ll be treated to nothing but stairs, stairs, and more stairs. Finally, if you’re a hiking pro, consider doing a through-hike all the way from Tung Chung Station for a nine-kilometre hike.
For a bit of history on your hike, check out the dozens of low stone houses scattered all across the miscanthus slopes. Some say that these “holiday homes” have been around for more than 90 years, and others also believe that they were constructed by British missionaries for camping purposes. Coincidentally, this windswept ridge makes for a wonderful photo-taking spot around sunset.
Click here to read our full guide for hiking to Sunset Peak.
Lantau Island is lovingly associated with its national parks, quiet communities, quaint villages, and the Tian Tan Buddha, who sits atop the rolling hills of Ngong Ping. As one of Hong Kong’s most notable landmarks, the Big Buddha is effortlessly reachable via public transport, but where’s the fun in that? We would recommend taking to the Ngong Ping 360 Rescue Trail instead for a scenic route up to Ngong Ping.
Following more or less along the path of the Ngong Ping 360 cable car, the Ngong Ping 360 Rescue Trail is a tough cookie to crack. Its paved trail belies the seemingly endless steps and staircases that you’ll come across. However, it’s certainly one of the more fun and unusual hikes in the area, as you’ll have plenty of opportunities to gawk at the gondola passengers above you along the eight-kilometre climb.
Click here to read our full guide for hiking the Ngong Ping 360 Rescue Trail.
Waterfalls, old villages, beaches, and fascinating rock formations—there is little that the trek from Mui Wo to Discovery Bay does not cover. Coupled with exceptional views overlooking Discovery Bay and Hei Ling Chau, Sunshine Island, and Peng Chau in the distance, the stunning ridges of Lo Fu Tau (which translates to “Tiger’s Head” in English) run through the landscapes of northern Lantau for a 500-metre ascent.
Exercise caution when tackling this challenging mountain hike; the trail dips up and down across several high points with treacherous cliffsides to boot. Start your journey at Pak Ngan Heung, an ancient village that houses the oldest Man Mo temple in Hong Kong, and be sure to stock up on snacks and water before leaving Mui Wo. Navigation should be a piece of cake, as the trail is well-signposted and you can scan a detailed map of the route at A Po Long, where the Lo Fu Tau Country Trail officially begins.
Click here to read our full guide for hiking from Mui Wo to Discovery Bay via Lo Fu Tau.
Lantau Island is replete with beautiful beaches, and it only makes sense to highlight a hike where you can hit the sand and surf. Spanning nine kilometres of beautiful mountain ridges with a summit at Tai Ngau Wu Peak, the beach hike from Mui Wo to Pui O runs along Section 12 of the Lantau Trail.
Initially, the climb will be moderate and fairly flat, but soon after, the trail will turn into a series of stairs to take to you the peak. This is the most challenging trail of the hike, but you will soon be rewarded with an unobstructed view of Pui O from Tai Ngau Wu Peak. Along the way, you’ll also get to explore the Mui Wo Lai Chi Yuen Cemetery, the Pak Fu Tin Campsite, a charming Tin Hau temple overlooking Pui O Wan, and Pui O Beach, of course.
Here’s a pro tip: Once you’ve reached Pui O, take a cab down to Lower Cheung Sha Beach for an even better beach excursion than Pui O Beach. Don’t forget to say hi to the resident water buffalos!
Click here to read our full neighbourhood guide to Mui Wo.
Needless to say, there is more than one way to scale the mountain up to the Big Buddha, and another route to consider is via Lantau Peak. As Hong Kong’s second-highest peak, Lantau Peak gives you magnificent 360-degree views all over the island bays and Hong Kong Island and Kowloon in the distance.
Start your hike from Pak Kung Au, where Tung Chung Road crosses between Lantau Peak and Sunset Peak, for the easiest journey. At 934 metres, Lantau Peak is a formidable foe to conquer, so be sure to come prepared with lots of water and snacks. You will be ascending and descending along Stage 3 of the Lantau Trail, which will take you through the Wisdom Path, a series of 38 poetry-inscribed wooden pillars. Branch off here to continue into Ngong Ping Village for the famed monastery and the Big Buddha.
If Buddha-viewing does not appeal to you, you can also choose to continue down towards Tung Chung along the Tei Tong Tsai Country Trail, where you will pass through several monasteries wherefrom mystical chants sound out to serenade your long trip. Finish up in coastal Tung Chung with a hearty seafood dinner to reward your efforts!
Click here to read our full guide for hiking to the Big Buddha via Lantau Peak.
As the name implies, the Tung O Ancient Trail takes you from the residential new town of Tung Chung to the sleepy fishing village of Tai O. It used to be the main travelling route between villages back in the day before Tung Chung was urbanised. While it may not be the top choice for the gorgeous, unspoilt, scenic shots that so many of our hikes are known for, the Tung O Ancient Trail is interesting because of its historical relevance and the opportunity to glimpse old Chinese settlements from a bygone era.
Keep in mind that while the hike in itself is mostly flat and easy to tackle, this is quite a long hike, clocking in at around four and a half hours in total. Be sure to start your journey early enough so you can complete it before dark, as the final section is on unpaved dirt paths, without lights. Navigation can also be a bit treacherous if it has rained recently, with streams and waterfalls known to swell over paths after heavy rainfall.
Click here to read our full guide for hiking from Tung Chung to Tai O (Tung O Ancient Trail).
Dubbed “the hardest hike in Hong Kong,” West Dog’s Teeth on Lantau Island is high up there in terms of fun, views, and adventure—though you’ll certainly need to work for it to enjoy your spoils. It makes up one of three ridgelines that connect to the south of Lantau Peak, and of the three ridges, West Dog’s Teeth is considered the most challenging. You’ll find yourself scrambling along a narrow and precarious pathway that is aptly named “One Lifeline” (一線生機), as well as the ominously named Hades’s Wall, which is towards the end of the hike.
Starting from the Shek Pik Reservoir, you will follow a path that is largely exposed. It is best to do this hike during the winter only, and it is not advised for inexperienced hikers or those with a fear of heights, as most of the trail is at height. Those not in peak health are not advised to attempt this hike. West Dog’s Teeth will take you to Ngong Ping and the Wisdom Path, and you can end your challenging excursion at the Big Buddha.
Click here to read our full guide for hiking to the Big Buddha via West Dog’s Teeth.
Not to be confused with the Fa Peng Trail on Cheung Chau (which also boasts a remarkable rock formation), Fa Ping Teng on Lantau Island is known as one of the more demanding hikes in Hong Kong. Don’t be put off by the challenge though—after much sweat and toil, the hike will reward you with stunning panoramas and a breathtaking sunset, if you time your climb right.
With an altitude of 273 metres to its name, Fa Ping Teng commands a steep rise all the way to the top. At its summit perches Fa Ping Rock, a natural geological formation that famously resembles a vase. On this trail, you’ll be tackling a distance of around seven kilometres, which does not sound like a lot, but we would recommend planning ahead for a three- to four-hour excursion, depending on your level of fitness and overall stamina. Plus, there will be lots of photo-taking opportunities that you’ll want to stop for.
Click here to read our full guide for hiking to Fa Ping Rock on Fa Ping Teng.