Header image courtesy of @christonlee_photography (Instagram)
Known as Por Lo Shan in Cantonese, daytrippers flock to this remote part of Tuen Mun for a glimpse of nature that invokes what some believe is a likeness of Hong Kong’s most iconic breakfast bun. We’re not so sure the jagged valley looks all that appetising, to be honest, but we’ll let you be the judge of that. If you want to see this fabled ravine for yourself, here’s your guide to how to get to Pineapple Mountain, Hong Kong’s very own mini Grand Canyon.
With a name like Pineapple Mountain, you can bet that it comes with an amusing origin story. Allegedly, this destination is so named because locals who came across the unique rock formations drew parallels to the cracked crust of Hong Kong’s famous pineapple buns. We rather think it bears more resemblance to miniature Grand Canyon.
Getting to Pineapple Mountain is less of a hike, with a short trail that is steep at the start and quite leisurely the rest of the way. The route will take you up Leung Tin Au and along to the Leung Tin Au Gorge, where you’ll find Pineapple Mountain. If you’re wanting to make a quick run of it, you can easily tackle the hike in a two-hour round-trip, but we would recommend finishing it off at Pak Nai Beach for a full excursion. Proper footwear is highly recommended should you wish to tackle this trail, as the path around the rocks can be treacherous, filled with sandy and slippery areas.
Although the start of the hike to Pineapple Mountain is shaded in certain areas, you’ll still need to prepare ahead with adequate sun protection, as the trail will eventually lead you out into the exposed sun. Plenty of water is needed as well, as there are no kiosks along the way. All in all, this is a manageable workout for hikers of all levels.
Important: Some parts of the route to Pineapple Mountain are located close to the Tsing Shan Firing Range, which is occasionally used for military exercises. Before embarking on your trip, make sure to check the firing schedule on this government website to avoid disappointment.
Distance: 6 kilometres approx.
Total ascent: 235 metres approx.
Total time: 3 hours approx.
The starting point of the Pineapple Mountain trail is at Leung King Plaza in Tuen Mun. Leung King Plaza, a shopping arcade located within the Leung King Estate, is easily accessible via Light Rail from Siu Hong Station or Tuen Mun Station. You can also easily take a taxi to Leung King Plaza from either MTR stations.
The end of the trail will spit you out at Ha Pak Nai Village, where boarding minibus 33 is an option to take you to Tin Shui Wai Station on the West Rail line. Do note that it runs infrequently, with one bus every 20 minutes or so.
Starting the hike from Leung King Plaza, take a right and follow the road to make your way past Sai Wan Court and Leung Wai House, where you’ll pass a dilapidated football court and a primary school to your right. The residential blocks aren’t much to look at, but you’ll soon arrive at a footpath that leads you through fences and into the woods.
Follow the trail uphill to Leung Tin Au; it is steep at the start but can be managed within half an hour for regular hikers. Fortunately, the path is paved all the way to the top, upon which it will transition to sand and dirt. From here, the trail is exposed, so be sure to come prepared with plenty of liquids and sunscreen, especially on a hot summer’s day. There’s little opportunity of getting lost here; although the trail is not signposted, there’s only one way to go.
You’ll know you’re in the right place when you see a blue sign proclaiming “Dangerous Road, No Trespassing.” That’s because this incredibly accessible area is technically within a military zone, though it’s hard to believe that as you note its close proximity to Tuen Mun’s residential estates and witness crowds of visitors milling about for the perfect photo-taking opportunity. As part of the Castle Peak Hinterland, the nearby Tsing Shan Firing Range is where military exercises are sometimes carried out, though generally speaking, it’s open to the public on Sundays and public holidays.
And just like that, you have reached the “Grand Canyon” of Hong Kong, where sloping valleys open up to greet you. Keen-eyed hikers exploring the area should quite easily spot patches of ground that gave this singular rock formation its whimsical name. While Pineapple Mountain isn’t quite as grand as its American cousin, you’ll find its ridges and outcrops just as treacherous if you’re not careful with your footing. Here, all around the precipitous drops, the sandy ground is very slippy, so think twice—or thrice—before bounding over to a particularly narrow platform just for the ‘gram; there are plenty of safer spots to choose from for dramatic angles.
Depending on the day, you may come across a bit of a wait to capture that epic “overlooking-the-ravine” shot, as this spot can be quite popular and crowded. Exercise caution when moving around the edges, as the canyon walls are steep and there’s nothing but rocks, rocks, and more rocks to break your fall to the bottom.
If a few snaps of Pineapple Mountain is all you came for and you’re willing to turn back rather than finish the hike, then stick around for the sunset, which is actually quite gorgeous as it descends over the horizon, bathing the valley in warm hues of orange and red and scattering glittering rays over the ridges. However, if you’re intent on finishing the hike at Ha Pak Nai Village, then we would not recommend dilly-dallying as the trail is not illuminated at night.
Once you’ve packed your camera roll full of snaps, look around for another “Dangerous Road, No Trespassing” sign; it makes the continuation of the trail. Along the path, you’ll be treated to views of the South China Sea as well as the rather polluted landscape of Shenzhen just across the waters.
You’ll come across smaller trails that veer off but don’t get distracted; simply follow the biggest path until you hit what is marked on the route map (or Google Maps) as Sergeant Arnall Memorial Park. Don’t be taken in by the misnomer; there really is nothing park-like around or on the way there. In fact, it’s best to watch your step as you make your way along this road, as you’ll come across several occasions of deep splits and quasi-sinkholes.
Closing in on Sergeant Arnall Memorial Park, you’ll see a roadblock. Take a right on Nim Wan Road and head towards Ha Pak Nai Village. If you want to extend your day trip, you can take a detour here to Pak Nai Beach, a popular spot for sunset photography enthusiasts. Otherwise, from the Ha Pak Nai Village Office, hop onto minibus 33 to make your way to Tin Shui Wai Station and wrap up your hiking adventure.