Header image courtesy of @wenplanet (Instagram)
Known as one of the harder hiking trails in Hong Kong, Fa Ping Teng (花瓶頂) on Lantau Island is definitely worth every effort and every drop of sweat, given the spectacular panorama hikers are exposed to along the trail. Also noteworthy is the breathtaking sunset view which an immense sight to behold. The guide here gives you a heads-up for this trail, which is not known to most but is simply fascinating.
Situated in the northeast of Lantau Island, Fa Ping Teng is a mountain with an altitude of 273 metres. The hiking route, therefore, is quite demanding, with a steep rise all the way to the top, where Fa Ping Rock (花瓶石), which famously resembles a vase, is located. Ensuing is a drastic drop, which is not as well paved as the beginning, leading all the way back to the starting point.
With a distance of around seven kilometres, the trail takes around three to fours hours to complete, depending on how much time you would like to immerse yourself in the beautiful scenery in Sunny Bay. Fa Ping Rock, though, is comparatively less attractive than the breathtaking scenery around. If you are hiking in the afternoon, remember not to miss out the sunset, which is downright impressive and can be enjoyed conveniently at almost any point of the trail.
Distance: 7 kilometres approx.
Total ascent: 273 metres
Total time: 3 to 4 hours approx.
The starting point of the trail is Lantau Toll Link Plaza, which can be directly reached by bus from most places in Hong Kong. Almost all airport buses will make a stop at the Lantau Toll Link Plaza, or you can take a taxi from Sunny Bay, the nearest MTR station.
Beginning at Lantau Toll Link Plaza, the trail is flat and extremely well paved and hence, you can simply indulge yourself in the all-encompassing view of Ting Kau Bridge and Tsing Ma Bridge. While the trail is mostly flat, there are a few flights of stairs leading you to Tai Chuen (大轉), Yi Chuen (二轉), and ultimately Sam Chuen (三轉), where Tso Wan (草灣) beach is located.
At the beach, there is an intersection with a pretty conspicuous handwritten sign, indicating Disneyland on the left side and Fa Ping Teng on the right side. Follow the sign and walk up a steep flight of stairs, followed by some rocky paths all the way to Fa Ping Rock. Be ultra-careful as the paths are quite slippery!
As its name suggests in Chinese, Fa Ping Rock supposedly looks like a vase, yet controversies have been stirred regarding what it actually resembles... Regardless, do take loads of photos there as the view is just mesmerising and decide for yourself what the Rock looks like!
Upon reaching the Rock, there are still some rocky paths to trek until you reach the trigonometric station, which is the summit of Fa Ping Teng. The view, as expected, is spectacular and simply leaves you in awe. Other than enjoying the hard-earned view though, do remember to drink plenty of water to keep hydrated.
After arriving at the climax, the trail is significantly less demanding, with winding flights of stairs all the way downward. Take your time to enjoy the scenery as you make your way to the final destination—Lantau Toll Link Plaza—which is, in fact, the same as your starting point. As said above, Fa Ping Teng is prominent for its sunset view, so it will definitely be nice if you can catch a glimpse of the descending sun as you walk all the way downwards.
The trail works both ways, either reaching Tai Chuen first or reaching it at the end, with the former direction being much more popular and well-known among hikers (and thus discussed in this guide). There are no shops along the trail, so make sure you have enough water and food with you to keep yourself energised throughout the hike. Also, there are no restrooms all along, so be prepared for an entire lack of privacy in case of nature’s call.