Yes, Hong Kong has plenty of beautiful hiking trails to explore, but unfortunately not all of them are safe or easy enough for children to tackle. No worries if the entire family is still raring to head out into the great outdoors though: we’ve put together some family-friendly hikes and walks that kids can do and will still be interesting for the adults as well!
Of course, hiking with children has more specific needs; you can’t really just grab a bottle and head out. Make sure you bring enough water to keep everyone hydrated, snacks for when energy levels start flagging, and small towels or wipes to mop up sweaty faces and dirty hands. Take the time to enjoy the little things, such as stopping to observe flora and fauna you come across, and point out interesting observations. Have fun!
From Tai Po Market MTR station, take the 20C minibus to Tai Mei Tuk bus terminus, then follow Tai Mei Tuk Road till you reach the little roundabout near the Bradbury Jockey Club Youth Hostel. Carry on up the hill, which is the start of the road that will take you across the dam at Plover Cove. This is also the only incline along the entire route; once you’re at the top of the hill, just turn right and stroll straight out onto the dam wall.
Because the trail is so flat and paved, this is great if your kids want to bring their bikes or scooters. There are also bikes for hire as Tai Mei Tuk is a popular area for biking. That said, this also means there are lots of inexperienced bikers around who might have trouble going in straight lines, particularly on weekends, so make sure your little ones are alert and careful!
Alternatively, you can go onto the Tai Mei Tuk Family Walk instead of heading out onto the dam. The start of this easy walk is also beside the youth hostel, and will take you past 12 columns representing the zodiac signs, as well as viewing points from which you’ll be treated to lovely views of Plover Cove Reservoir. Across the water on the far side is Ma On Shan. Measuring approximately one kilometre, the entire walk should only take about an hour to complete, looping right back to the roundabout.
Apart from being incredibly easy to do, the Peak Circle obviously also grants some of the best views of Hong Kong’s cityscape. Once you’re up in the Peak area, simply take Lugard Road next to the Peak Tower and continue along the well-paved path. The way is flat with plenty of trees for shade, and you’ll always come across people walking their cute dogs. You’ll even pass by a waterfall at some point, so this really is the urban hike that keeps giving.
Lugard Road eventually connects to Harlech Road, and it brings you on a full loop right back to the Peak Tower where you started. It’s a very easy journey that will only take up to an hour and a half, depending on how often you stop to take pictures of the tots against an incredible backdrop. Finish the walk with a nice meal at the various offerings in Peak Galleria before hopping on bus 15 back into town.
If you’re in the Sai Kung area, this hike is a good option for the family that incorporates a bit of Hong Kong history as well. From Sai Kung, take the bus 94 and alight at the stop for Pak Tam Chung Village. This is the Sheung Yiu area where you will start the hike by taking the Pak Tam Chung Nature Trail. The path is paved and shaded, which makes for easy going, following beside Orange River.
Eventually you’ll reach the Sheung Yiu Folk Museum; this is a fortified Hakka village from the 19th century that is now a declared monument. The small museum has furniture and artefacts on display so visitors can get a glimpse of what a typical Hakka abode used to look like. Keep heading south from the museum and turn left uphill on the tree-lined path for the Family Walk. The middle section is level with picnic sites available so you can choose to break out the snacks here, or continue on to the end where there are barbecue facilities.
The trail ends on Man Yee Road, which shortly leads back onto Tai Mong Tsai Road, where you can get public transport home. The entire hike should take under two hours, not accounting for time spent exploring the museum. If you simply walk from Sheung Yiu to the museum and back, it is even stroller-friendly!
This nice walk is paved and downhill all the way, which makes it great for a peaceful stroll on the island. Because of the steepness of the route, however, we wouldn’t recommend bringing scooters or bikes; similarly, it’s definitely stroller-friendly, but you’ll need to keep a firm grim or bring a stroller leash.
From Exchange Square in Central, get the 6, 63, or 66 bus towards Stanley, and alight at the Wong Nai Chung Reservoir Park stop. Walk a little ways along the road, past the Hong Kong Cricket Club, until you reach the Sinopec petrol station, where there will be a little flight of stairs taking you up to Tai Tam Reservoir Road. This is the toughest part of the walk as you’ll be making your way uphill until you reach Parkview. If you choose to drive, know that there is Octopus parking but spaces are very limited; failing that, you’ll need to park in Parkview itself, which is expensive to say the least.
The start of the trail is straight down the road from Parkview’s main entrance. It’s easy going all the way, with a public toilet some ways in. When you get to the Upper Reservoir Aqueduct, turn left and cross the bridge, then simply keep on the path until you cross the Tai Tam Tuk Reservoir Masonry Bridge as well. This will bring you onto Tai Tam Reservoir Road, which will eventually spit you out at the south entrance to the Tai Tam Country Park. There are bus and minibus stops here that can take you back into town, but we recommend heading to nearby Stanley to end the day with a meal instead! The whole hike should take under two hours.
This is a slight departure from the rest of the list because it’s not really a hike, but an historic attraction. Established in 1951, the Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery actually houses close to 13,000 statues altogether. The walk up the hill leading to the main buildings is already interesting—431 steps are lined on both sides with 500 life-sized statues of arhats (Buddhist ‘saints’ who have achieved enlightenment).
Take Exit B of the Sha Tin MTR station, going down the slope of the overpass, then staying on Pai Tau Street as it bends left towards Homesquare. You will see some distinctly Chinese-style pagodas up ahead on the hill, but this is actually Po Fook Hill Cemetery, easily mistaken for the Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery! Arranged in levels on the hillside, this can also be an interesting place to explore, but for now you’ll want to turn into Sheung Wo Che Road beside the Shatin government offices, where a little path at the end will bring you up to the monastery.
Once you get past the golden arhats and up the hill, there is still much to see as the monastery complex itself includes a nine-storey pagoda, pavilions, and main hall lined with shelves housing tens of thousands of small ceramic Buddha statues, each with different poses and expressions. This landmark was even famously featured in the opening scene of the acclaimed Hong Kong crime thriller film Infernal Affairs. There are a second set of stairs on the other side of the compound, lined with more golden statues, that will lead you back down the hill. There is a paved slope built in by the stairs for accessibility, so the journey is stroller-friendly as well. Depending on how often you pause to admire the religious artefacts, this walk should take no more than a couple of hours to finish.