Header image courtesy of @shotswithshoots
It may not seem like it most days, but sometimes, we all need a gentle reminder that three-quarters of Hong Kong’s landmass is actually covered in lush woodlands and forests. But even with that in mind, it should come as quite a surprise to know that we also boast more than a dozen imposing and picturesque waterfalls, mostly scattered across the New Territories with a few on Hong Kong Island as well. Wading through rock pools, dipping your feet into pristine waters, snapping a few pics for the social feeds, and mostly, getting a true sense of nature in Hong Kong—what’s not to like about a waterfall adventure? Almost all of the scenic falls on this list will require a hike of some sort to get to, so strap your boots on and get to adventuring!
This hidden waterfall is considered one of Hong Kong’s best-kept secrets amongst those in the know, and you might even miss it if you don’t know what you’re searching for. Fight your way through the rugged cliffs and lush wilderness of Ma On Shan Country Park and it will eventually reveal its glories, allowing you to enjoy the splendour of the Ma Dai Stream. This magnificent waterfall comes with a secluded rock pool for those keen on a private dip. While the hike to the waterfall itself isn’t a long one, there are stretches of strenuous clambering over rocks and uneven ground, so be ready to use your hands and get ready to climb.
A collection of four stunning streams, the Ng Tung Chai Waterfalls come together as one of the New Territories’ most prominent natural beauties. This three-hour hike consists of steep inclines, scaling large rocks, and general adventuring, but it comes with immense rewards, as you’ll get to splash around in shallow rock pools, each more splendid than the next, and take in the tallest waterfall in Hong Kong. Best of all, it only takes a few hours to get there. Read our detailed guide on how to hike to the Ng Tung Chai Waterfalls here.
One of Hong Kong’s most beloved day trip destinations, getting to Bride’s Pool near Tai Mei Tuk is a breeze and suitable for families with children as well. It’s one of the many scenic places in Hong Kong that doesn’t look like Hong Kong at all, and you can spend the better part of a day exploring the cascading pools and surrounding wildlife.
You would never guess that this majestic fall got its name from a Chinese folk tale: Legend has it that a bride was being carried in a sedan chair by four porters on her way to meet her groom in stormy weather. As they passed the pool, one of the porters slipped and the bride fell into the pool and drowned. Therefore, the pool was named Bride’s Pool in memory of the bride’s tragic fate. Fortunately, there’s nothing gruesome about it on the surface—in fact, its glistening waters tell quite the opposite story. Click here to read our guide on how to cycle to Tai Mei Tuk to see Bride’s Pool.
One of Sai Kung’s hidden gems, Sheung Luk Stream behind Tai Long Sai Wan is located in Sai Kung East Country Park. This pristine and crystal-clear pool plays host to summertime swims amidst delicate waterfalls. With only a manageable hike to conquer (it takes about an hour from Sai Wan Pavillion if you’re fleet-footed!), it’s a great destination to put on your list if you’re already making your way out to Ham Tin or doing a section of the MacLehose Trail on the weekend. Pro tip: If you hike a little further up the stream, you’ll come across Thousand Threads Falls, which marks one of the four consecutive pools in the area, though this one requires a steady hand and heart to scale—it’s definitely not to be done in sandals.
This urban waterfall is perfect for families with kids, and with its central location in Pok Fu Lam and compact distance of just under three kilometres, you don’t even have to dedicate a full day to your trip. While the family-friendly path to Waterfall Bay won’t be sweat-inducing or all too challenging (it’s mostly flat), you’ll get a lot out of the experience with the area’s gorgeous coastal views and, of course, a marvellous waterfall, and there’ll be a bit of fence-hopping as well for the intrepid adventurers. You’ll also get to take in unique cultural relics, such as the seaside statue garden filled with figurines of gods, deities, and religious figures from religions across the world.
Tai Tam Mound Waterfall is a shaded and brief hike around the Tai Tam Reservoir area reveals a cute little waterfall hidden by lush woodlands, so if you’re looking to splash around and have a chill day out with enough time for a leisurely picnic, this is the one for you. You’ll have to go off-trail to find the base of the waterfall, but the hike there (it’s really more of a walk) only takes about 20 minutes from start to finish, and you’ll be rewarded with cascading waters and a half-moon-shaped beach that’s shallow enough for a bit of wading around.
Head off the beaten track and prepare yourself for a wet hike across Fanling’s overgrown backyard. Ping Nam Stream is a trek for more experienced hikers, as it involves a fair bit of climbing further along the trail, but only if you want to see the entire collection of waterfalls in the area—you could also just settle for the whimsically-named Hula Skirt Falls, which is the first one you’ll come across after a manageable hike. While we think the sight from the base of the falls is striking enough, you can climb to the top of the waterfall as well to do even more exploring, but as usual, exercise caution when doing so, especially when it has been raining and rocks are slippery.
More than just a pretty moniker, Lotus Stream (and its affiliated river) counts itself amongst one of Hong Kong’s nine big rivers and is a popular destination for dedicated trekkers in the city. The stream is located at the upper right-hand corner of Tai Lam Chung Reservoir between Yuen Long and Tuen Mun and has a great number of falls and pools for you to explore and take a dip in.
Take your pick from the fanciful Rainbow Fall, Lotus Terrace Fall, Fairy Lotus Fall, and Curl Dragon Fall, or choose to see them all in one day—it’s not often you come across such whimsically-named waterfalls. It’s not a dry hike—you’ll pass through streams with rocks so your shoes will probably get wet—and it’s advised to wear proper shoes for this secluded journey of the Tai Lam Country Park.
Here’s another waterfall that requires little effort and rewards bountifully in return. Mui Wo’s Silvermine Waterfall is located near the old Silvermine Cave northwest of town, noteworthy for its silver mining business back in the nineteenth century. Divided into the upper falls and lower falls, Silvermine Waterfall is highly prized by day-trippers and picnic-goers, and it’s just an easy-peasy three-kilometre hike on the paved Islands Nature Heritage Trail—barely a hike at all.
The best time to visit is usually from May to October, as the falls depend heavily on rain for a spectacular flow. You’ll find the Silvermine Bay Waterfall Park right next to the falls, where you can take rest in a Chinese pavilion and admire the cascading waters from afar if you don’t want to get your feet wet.
This waterfall hidden away in the depths of Tung Chung will require some agility and rock scrambling, but most visitors with moderate hiking experience should be able to tackle it without a problem. What we like most about it is that it’s just a short three-kilometre hike, though most of it will be over rugged terrain and streamside trekking, so you’ll want to come prepared with the right clothing and shoes.
Previous hiking groups have left ropes for climbing around the rocks, but we strongly suggest to double-check their condition before you use them. You’ll pass through several small waterfalls and pools before you reach the main falls, so you’ll want to save your swimming and river-bathing until you get to Yellow Dragon Waterfall and the “three dragons” beyond it—Left Dragon Waterfall, Right Dragon Waterfall, and Dragon Tail Waterfall.