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5 Hong Kong hikes with the most spectacular views

By Catharina Cheung 6 August 2020

Header image courtesy of Ekaphon Maneechot (Shutterstock)

Everyone knows a lot of Hong Kong’s hikes are accompanied by spectacular views, so how would you even choose which ones to go to? We’ve made the decision easier for you by gathering five such hikes, each with gorgeous vistas of various areas of Hong Kong, so you get a different experience for each outing and can also come away with a camera roll full of promising photos.

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Photo credit: @ricleung (Instagram)
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Suicide Cliff

Despite its frankly terrifying name, Suicide Cliff is so named not because there have been many suicide cases here, but because of a dramatic outcrop with a steep drop that has famously been pictured in an award-winning photo for the National Geographic photography competition. That said, there have been some unfortunate accidents, including a hiker who lost their footing and fell just earlier this year, so do exercise caution on this hike.

From Exit D1 of Kwun Tong MTR station, take minibus 47 to its final stop of Lee Hang House. Make your way to Clear Water Bay Road, then cross at a V-junction and head onto Fei Ngo Shan Road. If you’d rather not walk it, minibus 1A from Choi Hung MTR station will take you to Fei Ngo Shan Road as well. The trailhead is hidden in plain sight after the first left, as a rocky path of uneven stairs—if you see a residential building and start getting confused, you’re in the right place, as the trail starts right before its entrance.

You’ll need to get through some vegetation and scramble among the rocks a little, and there will be ropes along the way to help haul yourself up the ascent. Gloves will be a useful addition on this hike to prevent rope burn. Once you’re out in the open without trees for shade, you’ll see city views below; it might be a good idea to pick out a nice spot here and have some refreshments before continuing up.

Suicide Cliff is to the left of the main trail and pretty hard to miss. From here, you’ll get to see stunning views of Kowloon, as well as get dramatic shots of the city with the rocky outcrop in the foreground. Feel free to make your way out to the rock platform for the famous photo, but be aware that there are probably a bunch of people also awaiting their turn. Pro tip: Shots look the best when you’ve got a tripod set up on the trail, aiming out onto the outcrop. Be careful if you do clamber out onto Suicide Cliff; although the rock is wide, it’s also sloped so, for the love of God, no crazy poses here!

You can end the hike by making your way down from the Kowloon Peak Television and Radio Station. Follow the path to the right after the helipad, which will take you down to Fei Ngo Shan Road. The full hike will take two hours, not including the time you’ll no doubt spend taking photos. Here’s our detailed guide to the Kowloon Peak and Suicide Cliff hike, which are often done in conjunction.

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Devil’s Peak

Once occupied by pirates during the Ming dynasty—the most famous of whom was Cheng Lin-cheong—Devil’s Peak commands a favourable view over the Lei Yue Mun straits, which was classified as one of the 16 major sea passages during the time. For the same strategic reasons, the British later commandeered the area and built military stations, including two gun batteries named Gough and Pottinger.

Devil’s Peak then became part of the Gin Drinkers’ Line, a defensive line across Hong Kong’s natural geological ridges against the Japanese invasion. The ruins of Pottinger Battery have mostly been reclaimed by vegetation, but Gough Battery, a smaller outpost, and a redoubt on the summit of Devil’s Peak are still visible today.

The terrain on Devil’s Peak is very easy, so this is a family-friendly hike. From Yau Tong MTR station, head towards the Lei Yue Mun Estate, then go uphill towards the Tseung Kwan O Chinese Permanent Cemetery. The entrance to the Wilson Trail will be to your left, and from there it’s a simple matter of following signs up to Devil’s Peak.

About 350 metres in, you’ll want to go off-trail to the right and follow the signs for Devil’s Peak Fortifications, which will bring you up to the ruins of Gough Battery. When you’re done exploring, head back down the same way and rejoin the Wilson Trail, heading right to continue on to the peak.

The redoubt at the top offers great views of Junk Bay, LOHAS Park, and across Victoria Harbour to the Hong Kong skyline. The view here is more of the city than nature, and you can get a great contrast using the rocks and trees along the trail to frame the buildings in the background.

To end the hike, you can return the way you came, or head across the fortification to a little ladder that will lead you to a muddy dirt path downhill. When you get to a platform level, simply follow directions back to Yau Tong. You’ll want to take pictures so make sure you pack a portable battery for this hike!

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Violet Hill and Twin Peaks

This hike is a bit of a beast, known for being the toughest to get through on Hong Kong Island. Consisting of steep inclines and approximately 3,000 stairs to conquer, usually it’ll be intermediate hikers or above who take on the challenge, though of course it’s also entirely doable for beginners as well. You might want to give it a miss if you’ve just done leg day though!

From Exchange Square in Central, take the bus 6 or 66 towards Stanley, and alight at the Wong Nai Chung Reservoir Park stop. The little set of stairs beside the petrol station will take you to Tai Tam Reservoir Road, where you’ll simply continue up until you hit the trailhead for the Wilson Trail section 1 at Parkview. Should you choose to drive, there is parking in Parkview, though these are fairly expensive, or alternatively a limited number of metered parking spots along the road nearby.

The dense bush paths along the first section are easy to follow so you can let your gaze rest on the Hong Kong skyline before you. If you make this hike in the early months of the year, you’ll also be able to see the Hong Kong iris (iris speculatrix), the protected flower for which this hill is named. From the top of Violet Hill, make the gentle descent to Tze Kong Bridge and notice as the city scenery changes to natural views of Tai Tam Reservoir and Country Park.

Take a quick breather and gear yourself up as you begin tackling the infamous Thousand Steps up to the Twins. There’s no doubt you’ll run out of steam along the way, so luckily there are spots along the side of the stairs to rest. Eventually you’ll emerge on the Northern Twin’s summit, and it’s a simple matter of following along the ridge to the Southern Twin. It’s only a short dip before you’ll have to climb again. These mountains aren’t called the Terrible Twins for no reason! Turn and look back along the long steep flight of stairs, and take heart at how far you’ve journeyed—you’re almost there.

At the top of the second Twin, you’ll be able to see the Dragon’s Back range and Mount Parker to the east, but much better vistas lie ahead. Venture onto the ridge that will lead you down to Stanley, and from here you’ll be rewarded for all your hard work with fantastic open views of the Stanley Peninsula. Sun, sky, and sea greet you as you make the final descent onto Stanley Gap Road, where you can catch buses into Stanley for a well-deserved bite or back into Central. Here is a detailed guide to this hike.

Keep scrolling for the rest of the list 👇

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Pineapple Mountain

Also called Po Lo Shan in Cantonese, this location is so named because some locals apparently thought the unique rocks had cracked crusts that reminded them of Hong Kong’s famous pineapple buns. Pineapple Mountain actually consists of an interesting valley sandwiched by sloping hills, and we think it resembles a miniature Grand Canyon more than a baked pastry.

From Siu Hong MTR station on the West Rail Line, hop on the light rail train 615 or 505 to Leung King station. For those unfamiliar with the light rail system, there are no barriers so you’ll need to tap your Octopus card on the reader as you go in or out of the station. Follow the main road to the left and make your way to Castle Peak Range Road, which will bring you uphill. The hike up is steep but easy to follow and should only take roughly half an hour; just make sure you’re following the biggest, main path, which will first be concrete that then gives way to a sandy path.

The “Grand Canyon” of Hong Kong is part of Castle Peak Road, and you’ll know you’re in the right place when you see a sign proclaiming “Dangerous Road, No Trespassing.” Do watch your footing as the sandy ground can be very slippery, and the valley itself has steep drops. Amuse yourself by finding different ridges and outcrops where you can angle some dramatic photos!

Though not the usual expansive views you get on mountain hikes, Pineapple Mountain is a sight that is found nowhere else in Hong Kong and has a natural splendour of its own. It might be a lot smaller than the Grand Canyon but, hey, who knew we even had anything comparable? Stick around for golden hour, because when the setting sun rays hit the valley, it could almost pass for the real thing.

When you’re ready to leave, head directly across from where you entered the Pineapple Mountain area, which is marked by another “No Trespassing” sign. Same as when you climbed up, follow the biggest path down until you reach Nim Wan Road at the bottom. Turn right at the roadblock, then left later to get to the Ha Pak Lai village. You can catch the minibus 33 to Yuen Long—just so you’re aware, this is the one and only public service, which might also run infrequently sometimes.

Photo credit: @hea_hike (Instagram)
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High Junk Peak

Located in Clear Water Bay Country Park, High Junk Peak is one of the sharpest peaks in Hong Kong, and offers amazing panoramic views of the bay and New Territories from its spiky summit.

From Tseung Kwan O MTR station, take minibus 103M to Ng Fai Tin; there’s a sign for the High Junk Peak Country Trail across the road next to some steps. This is the start of the hike. The trail is easy to follow and for the most part consists of gradual inclines with the odd flights of steps dotted in—essentially nothing that will leave you gasping. The only challenging part of the entire hike is the last 300-metre to the peak. This is a rocky slope that could be quite difficult to climb in certain parts, where you might have to scramble on all fours sometimes.

There is an option to take a more picturesque detour before you reach High Junk Peak, which involves going through Miu Tsai Tun, and making your way up and down a shorter summit before High Junk. This obviously makes the whole hike more challenging, but in return you’ll be treated to a fantastic view of High Junk Peak with Clear Water Bay in the background.

If the unrelenting and steep ascent to this shark tooth-shaped mountain hasn’t already taken your breath away, the views from the top will. You’ll have unparalleled and unblocked views of Joss House Bay, Clear Water Bay Country Club, as well as the boundless Pacific Ocean, all seemingly laid out at your feet.

One thing to bear in mind is that this hike might be an issue with people who have a fear of heights. The path up to the summit is narrow with steep drops on both sides, so it could get scary if you suffer from vertigo—though the scenery is so amazing that it’d distract you from feeling too scared! Don’t worry, it may look ominous but it’s safe as long as you don’t get distracted and wander too far off-trail.

To end the hike, head down the steep slope facing the bay to go to either Clearwater Bay Road or Po Toi O Village. There is also an earlier exit along the descent; from the junction near distance post C3106, follow the signs to Clear Water Bay Road. The full hike will take just over two hours, and you’ll be glad you’ve completed one of Hong Kong’s most treacherous but most beautiful hikes. Here is a detailed guide to this hike.

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Catharina Cheung

Senior editor

Catharina has recently returned to her hometown of Hong Kong after spending her formative years in Singapore and the UK. She enjoys scouring the city for under-the-radar things to do, see, and eat, and is committed to finding the perfect foundation that will withstand Hong Kong’s heat. She is also an aspiring polyglot, a firm advocate for feminist and LGBTQIA+ issues, and a huge lover of animals. You can find her belting out show-tunes in karaoke, or in bookstores adding new tomes to her ever-growing collection.

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