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#852Basics: 5 hiking trails in East New Territories under three hours

By Catharina Cheung 16 April 2020

It’s a damn shame to stay cooped up indoors when we can see the weather gradually getting nicer. While the COVID-19 pandemic has put a stopper in a lot of social plans, there’s nothing stopping you from nipping out for a brisk walk and some fresh air—as long as you’re being responsible about it.

We’ve already recommended quick hikes on Hong Kong Island, Kowloon side, and northern and western New Territories that you can complete in roughly two to three hours. If you’re still clamouring for more, here are five more hikes that lie mainly in the Sai Kung and Clear Water Bay areas. Make sure both you and your phone are fully juiced up, and show us the photos you take along the way!

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High Junk Peak

Located in Clear Water Bay Country Park, High Junk Peak offers amazing panoramic views of the bay and New Territories from its sharp peak.

From Tseung Kwan O MTR station, take minibus 103M to Ng Fai Tin; there’ll be a sign board 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.

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. 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.

Trio Beach

Embarking on this leisurely hike has the added bonus of bringing you to the partly hidden Trio Beach at the end of the journey. Tucked away behind the headland of Hebe Haven, Trio Beach is tranquil with nary a building in sight, yet easily accessible, making it perfect for a half-day trip.

Make your way to Che Keng Tuk Road. There are several ways you can reach it. Take bus 92 or 96R from Diamond Hill, bus 792M from Tseung Kwan O, or minibus 101 from Hang Hau, and alight at Tai Chung Hau on Hiram’s Highway. Follow Che Keng Tuk Road until you reach Sai Kung International Pre-School, and the start of the trail is right next to it. Keep going along the trail until you see a signpost for Trio Beach signalling you to turn right onto a dirt path. This will bring you down into a small woods—turn left at the bottom gate to emerge near a barbecue and children’s area. The beach is then just down the flight of stairs.

Trio Beach is small, but boasts fine, soft sand and clear waters, and also feels secluded, with nice views out onto Clear Water Bay. There are also plenty of public facilities available for such a small area, including barbecue pits, changing rooms with showers, a playground, and a kiosk. Unfortunately, this beach isn’t a dog-friendly one, but it would make for a nice day out with the family.

When you’re done soaking up the sun, you can simply hike back the way you came, or hop on a sampan boat, which will take you to Pak Sha Wan Pier (Hebe Haven Pier). These small boats run fairly frequently, especially on holidays, and all you have to do is wave one down when you see them. From Hebe Haven, you can easily transfer onto various modes of public transport. The one-way hike should only take 45 minutes to an hour at a leisurely pace.

Sai Wan Pavilion to Tai Long Wan

Tai Long Wan is a large bay in the Sai Kung East Country Park comprising four lovely beaches: Tung Wan, Tai Wan, Ham Tin, and Sai Wan. The southernmost beach of Sai Wan even has some famous “secret” rock pools. There are several ways to get to Tai Long Wan that don’t take much physical exertion, but why not squeeze a quick hike in since you’re already out and about?

From Sai Kung Town, take minibus 29R to Sai Wan Pavilion. From here, it’s an easy case of following signs and the well-paved trail along to Sai Wan Beach. The going is mostly downhill with only one main uphill section which is easy to tackle anyway, and there is a decent amount of shade along the way—children will also be able to do this hike without much problems. On a clear day, you’ll be treated to stunning views over the country park and the High Island Reservoir.

Once you’re at Sai Wan Beach, you can either lay down your towel and laze the day away, or choose to beach hop and visit all the beaches along Tai Long Wan. Ham Tin Beach is about a 35-minute walk away, which in turn is connected to Tai Wan Beach in a further 15 minutes, and finally Tung Wan after an additional half an hour. The initial hike from the pavilion to the first beach will take approximately 45 minutes.

To leave, you can hike back to Sai Wan Pavilion and flag down a taxi or a minibus. Alternatively, you can book a speedboat from either Ham Tin or Sai Wan Beach, which will take you back to Sai Kung. If you go for this option, make sure to check the schedule and book ahead when you arrive at the beaches. These little vessels really do live up to their name and the half-hour journey is an adventure in itself. Be prepared to get a bit wet in the sea spray during the bumpy ride!

Keep scrolling for the rest of the list 👇

Lung Ha Wan

Cutting through Clear Water Bay Country Park, the Lung Ha Wan hike is one of those trails that is a fantastic combination of being easy, relatively short, accessible, and very scenic. It is also a circular hike, meaning you end the journey back where you started, which simplifies things a lot.

To get to the starting point at Tai Au Mun Road, you have the options of either taking minibus 103M from Tseung Kwan O MTR station, minibus 16 from Po Lam MTR station, or bus 91 from Diamond Hill MTR station, and alighting at the roundabout near Clear Water Bay Road and Tai Au Mun Road. There are also two car parks conveniently nearby should you choose to drive there.

Follow Lung Ha Wan Road, and look out for signs that will take you on a small detour to see an ancient rock carving—discovered in 1978 and one of Hong Kong’s nine historical rock carvings. Then get back onto the road and make your way up to the highest point: Tai Leng Tung. You’ll be able to see panoramic vistas of Sai Kung, Clear Water Bay, and Lobster Bay, with stunning azures juxtaposed against the greenery. If you clamber onto the rocks on the side of the trail, you’ll be able to take some very visually appealing photos.

Simply continue on until the trail loops right back to the start near the equestrian centre; you’ll pass by a picnic site which also has a public toilet. This hike should take approximately two and a half hours to complete.

Ngong Ping

Not to be confused with the Ngong Ping 360 Trail all the way across the territories in Lantau Island, Ngong Ping is one of the few plateaus in Hong Kong. Though it doesn’t take very long to complete, this is definitely a more challenging hike. You’ll need to make your way up Ma On Shan summit, then wind along the length of the ridge to Sai Kung.

From Ma On Shan MTR station, catch village bus NR84 to Ma On Shan Campsite. The bus runs much less frequently than normal buses, so if you can’t catch one, you can make the journey on foot as well. Go through the archway for Ma On Shan Family Walk in the Ma On Shan Country Park, and follow signs to the summit.

The going will be tough as it’s made of stairs and steep inclines. At some point, the trail becomes a little more precarious and there’ll be ropes to help you up, but don’t be too intimidated—there’s no real danger nor is it truly rock climbing and the ropes are really just there as an additional support in case you need them. From Ma On Shan summit, continue winding your way up and down along the ridge, taking special care along the rocky sections. All along the way, you can admire great views over the Sai Kung region to Kau Sai Chau, and can occasionally spot paragliders as well.

From Ngong Ping, meander your way down along the MacLehose Trail Section 4, which will eventually bring you onto Pak Kong Au Road, where you can then make your way to Po Tung Road and Sai Kung Town. Reward yourself with a celebratory meal at one of the various seafront restaurants! The whole hike will take you close to three hours to finish, depending on how quickly you tackle the more challenging uphill sections.

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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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