Header image courtesy of @rooster88 (via Instagram)
A dreamy coastal village, an undulating and straight-forward hike that’s just challenging enough, and a post-trek dip in the ocean to feel like a million dollars—what more could you ask for? Grab your sunscreen, water, a plastic bag for your rubbish, and a friend for a convenient coastal hike from Mui Wo to Pui O Beach on Lantau Island.
Mui Wo, a coastal settlement on Lantau Island, is known for its Silvermine Bay Beach, named after the town’s history as a silver mine in its heyday. As one of South Lantau’s busier neighbourhoods, you should have plenty of wine-and-dine options for your pre-hike meal. Additionally, there are exploration options in Mui Wo as well.
Once you arrive at Pui O, you will be greeted with a little village nestled against the lower slopes of Sunset Peak and the Chi Ma Wan Peninsula. For the history buffs, these settlements were actually originally constructed as walled villages to offer defence against pirate attacks in the Qing dynasty.
Now a family-friendly beachside town, Pui O offers surfing and camping options to appease appetites for outdoor adventure. And of course, keep an eye out for your affable neighbourhood water buffaloes! Pui O is one of the last homes for Hong Kong’s water buffaloes, so watch where you step as well.
Distance: 9 kilometres approx.
Total ascent: 725 metres approx.
Total time: 2.5 to 3 hours approx.
The hike is an uncomplicated path that’s perfect for a bunch of friends looking to sweat off the stresses of the week. With good shade, clear paths, and plenty of official and unofficial markers, it’s a hike worth adding to your summer beach-hopping bucket list.
The initial part of the hike, after you follow the green railing stairs up, is quite an easy and flat walk. It follows along the coast of the island and gives you an amazing view of Mui Wo and the ferries coming and going. Along the road, you will realise some of the signs indicate that you’re on a mountain bike trail. Lantau Island houses one of Hong Kong’s few mountain biking trails, so keep an eye out for bikers speeding past.
You will come up to a split in the road with a set of stairs curving up to your right. Head straight until you arrive at a second split in the road, this time with the right path headed up an incline and the left path dipping down. Head to the left, confirmed by friendly hikers who have spray-painted “Pui O” (貝澳) in baby blue to confirm the direction. You will come to a relaxed downhill saunter before the path dips up a long flight of stairs. You will be able to rest at a pavilion midway where you can catch your breath and take in the view!
After a quick break for water and snacks, continue up the stairs and along the path for another 10 minutes. You will arrive at a set of stairs leading down onto a concrete road. Follow the road to the right, as indicated by a yellow road sign, where you will pass a set of portable toilets as you take a nice little jaunt on paved road.
At the end of the path is a junction with three paths—two paths take a sharp left, and one runs to the right. For Pui O, head left. It is clearly marked with a sign.
Your next major “landmark” is Pak Fu Tin Barbecue Area, where you can grab a break before you begin the final climb to Tai Ngau Wu Peak. A sign pointing you up indicates that you’re headed to Pui O via Shap Long. Prepare for the toughest part of the trail as you begin climbing up to the peak. At 275 meters, it is the highest point of the hike. At the top of two long stretches of stairs will be a radio tower and a helicopter pad.
Follow the path to the left of the helicopter pad and from here, it’s a straight-forward path towards Pui O. It may be a bit rough on the knees but with an aerial view of Pui O Beach and Lamma Island on your left, it makes it all worth it. Once you arrive back onto a concrete path, Chi Ma Wan Country Park will be on your left. Head to the right and you’ll have reached the end of the hike when you arrive outside a Tin Hau temple.
Getting onto the beach is a bit tricky as you can either wade through waist-deep water across a quick two-step stretch of water, or take a 15-minute walk down Chi Ma Wan Road and South Lantau Road through the village area, where the entrance to Pui O Beach is behind the basketball courts.