Header image courtesy of @nillyotaur (via Instagram)
Summer is waving her golden tendrils outside our office windows and the promises of lazy days floating in a pool, late-night barbecues, and movie marathons have us all walking with an extra spring in our steps. After a year of travel restrictions, gym and pool closures, and seemingly endless online meetings, it seems Hongkongers have found a new love and appreciation for the mountains that frame our city.
In particular, Sai Kung has continued its reign as one of Hong Kong’s most popular weekend destinations. Outside of town centre, there’s plenty to do, so we have rounded up some of the best Sai Kung hikes for you to make the most of your weekend getaway. If these trails seem out of your comfort zone, see our guide for family walks in Sai Kung that are perfect for people (and dogs!) of all walks (pun intended).
When construction began in 1978 for the High Island Reservoir, the Hong Kong government was simply looking for a method to tackle water shortage issues. Instead, what construction uncovered were volcanic structures, formed over 140 million years ago when lava and ash cooled down into hexagonal columns. Now, with both the promise of volcanic remains and the clean lines of the dam and breakwaters, the High Island Reservoir not only serves our hydration needs, but also makes for a photographer’s dream.
Relatively flat, this particular Sai Kung hike starts at the West Dam of the High Island Reservoir, but the East Dam is the one that’s part of the Hong Kong UNESCO Global Geopark and houses the remnants of volcanic activity. To get to the trailhead, hop on bus 94 or minibus 7 or 9 from Sai Kung Bus Terminus and alight at Pak Tam Chung. Follow Tai Mon Tsai Road before turning right onto Sai Man Yee Road for the start of Section 1 of the MacLehose Trail. You can also take a taxi straight to the trailhead if you wish.
Click here to read our full guide on how to hike to High Island Reservoir.
You know what they say—nature is the best classroom! With the stress of at-home learning, why not take your kids into the great outdoors for their next science class? Hoi Ha Wan Marine Park in Sai Kung will give you the opportunity to both enjoy the calm waves and seclusion of the bay but also participate in WWF Hong Kong’s educational programmes. Hoi Ha Wan Marine Park ranks as one of the most comprehensive marine programmes in Hong Kong, shedding light on 60 types of hard coral and 120 species of fish in the area.
With summer coming up, their programmes on conservation and plastic pollution are all the more important when learning about proper hiking and beach etiquette! But if you are just looking for a fun day at the beach, the bay is also a popular spot for scuba diving and kayaking. Take bus 94 from Sai Kung Bus Terminus and get off at Tai Tan, before heading down Route 2.
Click here to read our full guide on how to hike to Hoi Ha Wan Marine Park.
Long Ke Wan seems to be a rite of passage for every junk boat enthusiast or beach-loving adventurer. Enclosed in the bay of Tsang Pang Kok, Cheung Ngam Teng, and Bin Tsim Kok, Long Ke Wan faces the South China Sea, providing a view dotted with junk boats and speed boats bringing day-trippers for a dip in the water. Long Ke Wan earned bragging rights when it appeared on CNN’s list of most beautiful beaches in the world, which should come as no surprise, as the white-sanded coastline sits against a lush backdrop of forest.
Hiking to Long Ke Wan via Pak Tam Chung is not too tough, with its entry point at Section 1 of the MacLehose Trail via Sai Kung East Country Park. However, if a 10-kilometre hike sounds too tough on the knees for a leisurely day out, there are speedboats from Sai Kung Pier that will bring beach-goers directly to Long Ke Wan.
Click here to read our full guide on how to hike to Long Ke Wan.
A little jaunt in the woods with some history and a bit of precarious balancing over the ocean? Sign us up! The Po Kwu Wan hike trails through the preserved remnants of Sheung Yiu Village, now a museum detailing its history. The village used to be a forerunner in the booming lime industry of Hong Kong, and so its history resonates deeply across the coastal city. But the crowning jewel—and goal for Instagram enthusiasts—is Po Kwu Wan, an old fishing embankment created by fishermen to capture and farm fish.
The trail is relatively easy, starting off as a family walk before veering off the main path into an unpaved but clear road towards the coast. Just take bus 94 from Sai Kung bus terminus and alight at Sheung Yiu station before heading to the Pak Tam Chung Nature Trailhead.
Click here to read our full guide on how to hike to Po Kwu Wan.
Nothing looks more welcoming at the end of a long and sweaty hike than the cool waters of the ocean and the soft folds of sand on the beach. Well, good news for all the summer hikers—Tai Long Wan has four beaches! Whether you end your trek at Sai Wan, Ham Tin, Tai Wan, or Tung Wan, you will be sure to find the perfect spot for a post-hike nap or picnic.
Sai Wan Village will greet you when you first step off the trail, where you will have some dining options, plus a handful of rental shops for surfing equipment or tents. Tai Long Wan is infamous for its massive waves, making for a cult favourite spot amongst surfers. Aside from camping and beach-hopping, there are a few hidden jewels along the trail—the Sai Kung rock pools are off the edge of Sai Wan Village, perfect for a bit of bouldering and swimming, and the Sai Wan Stargazing Site will take your breath away.
The hike to Tai Long Wan is notoriously long, with most people favouring speed boats to ferry there and back, but a shorter option is possible by hiking backwards on Section 2 of the MacLehose Trail, starting from Pak Tam Au. (Please do not walk backwards.)
Click here to read our full guide on how to hike to Tai Long Wan in just an hour and a half.
Despite local gyms and pools slowly reopening, it is no surprise that many locals are still a bit concerned about the safety of working out in enclosed spaces. If you are looking for a replacement for the StairMaster, the steep ascent up Tai Tun Shan is perfect for you. With views overlooking Tsam Chuk Wan and its surrounding islands, it’s sure to make the sweat and exhaustion of climbing worth it. The path back down will bring you to the apex of Cheung Shan as well, and open up to a view of the Yim Tin Tsai and Kau Sai Chau islands.
Fair warning though—this hike has quite a steep ascent and descent, so bring a hiking stick or wear sturdy shoes with good friction! Despite the speed sliding down would give you, it’s just not worth the scratches. To get to the trailhead, hop on bus 94 or minibus 7 or 9 at Sai Kung Bus Terminus before getting off at Pak Tam Chung. Look for the “hidden” entrance behind a blue “P” signpost in the parking lot that’s marked with ribbons.
Click here to read our full guide on how to hike to Tai Tun Shan.
Hong Kong is a mish-mash of people, places, and culture, so you’ll never be quite sure of the type of day you’ll have—you just get a little bit of everything! Three Fathom’s Cove holds the same type of variety—Hakka villages, Catholic relics, grasslands, wetlands, and hiking trails.
This Sai Kung hike will take you past Pak Sha O Village and Pak Sha Ha Yeung, both abandoned after the High Island Reservoir cut off their water supply. This trail also holds important historical remnants of Hong Kong’s Catholic community, with these two villages housing the Immaculate Heart of Mary Chapel, and a third village, Sam Chung Village, housing the Epiphany of our Lord Chapel.
Aside from historical and religious monuments, keep an eye out for relatively rare animals like the Hong Kong paradise fish and the brown fish owl. Make sure you stop at the ancient stargazing platform at the end of the hike for the perfect picnic spot. To get to the trailhead, catch minibus 7 from Sai Kung Bus Terminus and get off at Pak Sha O Youth Hostel.
Click here to read our full guide on how to hike to Three Fathoms Cove.
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. 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.
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. 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.