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5 best hiking trails on Hong Kong Island

By Alisa Chau 18 June 2021

Header image courtesy of @cheryltohcy (via Instagram)

Hiking has quickly become how most people spend their weekends nowadays, but not every civic dweller is keen on venturing outdoors, simply due to the lengthy travel time needed to reach most trails scattered across Kowloon and New Territories. Luckily, there are plenty of beautiful hikes all over Hong Kong Island that do not cost half of your day to get to—here are the ones you should definitely check out this weekend.

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Dragon’s Back to Big Wave Bay

Possibly the most well-known hike in all of Hong Kong, its ostentatious name loosely describes the shapely peaks that contour the southwest of Hong Kong Island. Stretching over the distance of eight kilometres, the trail begins at Shek O Road, meandering its way up a gradual incline with pockets of steep climbs and firm terrain.

Making your way up the mane of this mythical creature may serve as a bumpy trek to start off on, but the views of the Southside, Stanley, and Shek O that await at its highpoint are surely rewarding. After defeating the back of the beast, you will be rewarded with a flat and downhill journey that brings you straight to beautiful Big Wave Bay. For a fun-filled summer day, head to the beach to cool off. For a detailed guide on how to get there, click here.

Photo: @beckyisj (via Instagram)
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Twin Peaks & Violet Hill

Although it only spans five kilometres, the journey across Twin Peaks and Violet Hill has been infamously hailed as one of Hong Kong’s toughest hikes. Despite the sharp hills and endless steps that one needs to overcome, the bragging rights over conquering the “Terrible Twins” are incentive enough to tackle this challenging route. Those who manage to clamber their way to the top are afforded top-tier views of Stanley, Repulse Bay, the D’Aguilar Peninsula, and even the outlying islands. Click here for our full guide that breaks down the journey in detail.

Photo: @cheryltohcy (via Instagram)
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Victoria Peak

As quintessentially “Hong Kong” as taking the Peak Tram may be, the hikes around Victoria Peak are experiences you should not miss out on. There are several walks that snake their way around this mountaintop area, each varying in intensity and time required. Families towing along young’uns and sweat-avoidant folk can opt for the flat circular stroll along the Peak Circle Walk, which starts off from Lugard Road.

If you desire a greater but too challenging incline, the Pok Fu Lam Reservoir route is a secret pathway to hidden calm right in the middle of the city. Meanwhile, history lovers can check out the Pinewood Battery Heritage Trail to encounter old structural remnants that give a glimpse into Hong Kong during the era of the Second World War. Once you have reached the apex, why not check out the fun activities and delicious food in the area?

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Photo: @ac_hongkong (via Instagram)
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Mount Butler & Tai Tam Tuk Reservoir

Starting from residential Braemar Hill, the winding roads of the Mount Butler and Tai Tam Tuk Reservoir hike take you around the serenity of Sir Cecil’s Ride Stream, and then up towards the Island East Viewpoint. An abundance of sweeping views showcases almost the entire span of Hong Kong lengthways, going across from Junk Bay in Tseung Kwan O all the way to the vertical lines of IFC and other skyscrapers.

After passing the ridges of Siu Ma Shan, you will have to trek through Mount Butler before reaching the classic beauty of the upperside dam of the Tai Tam Tuk Reservoir. For the full guide on how to hike Mount Butler and Tai Tam Tuk Reservoir, click here. Once you’re done, you can explore the neighbourhoods of the Eastern District.

Photo: @luker.traveling (via Instagram)
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Cape D’Aguilar

A unique landmark, the Cape D’Aguilar Lighthouse on southeastern Hong Kong Island is an awe-striking sight to behold. Surrounded by rocky cliffs, chunky boulders, and undulating pebbled trails, the coastline twines along the edges of the island to form an amazing geological tableau that needs to be seen to be believed.

More so a trek than a gravity-defying hike, the peninsula takes only an hour or so to get to from the inner Cape D’Aguilar Road and involves a manageable walk, but the Marine Reserve is where things can get a bit crunchy and slippery, so be sure to bring shoes with good grip! Here is the full guide on how to make your way there. If you have some extra time to spare, the neighbouring Shek O is also a lovely place to spend the weekend.

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Alisa Chau

Junior editor

Always down for an adventure, Alisa’s general approach to life (and anything, really) is to “just go with the flow.” She believes that the most unforgettable moments are the most spontaneous ones. One thing she will always be certain of, however, is her love for the band My Chemical Romance and potato-based food.

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