Header images courtesy of @minaalofficial and @heilun_photogallery (via Instagram)
We’re back again with another in-depth look at a lesser-explored hike. This time, it’s Razor Hill, a trail that runs between Pik Uk and Tseung Kwan O, offering views of Sai Kung, Clear Water Bay, and Tseung Kwan O.
It’s a short and relatively easy hike that won’t take you far away from the city, but still offers great views, and if you live in any of these neighbourhoods, Razor Hill is literally in your backyard, so no excuses! If you’ve still got energy, tack on the walk up to the Little Hawaii Waterfall once you reach Po Lam. Got your gear on? Let’s go!
At only three kilometres from start to finish and only requiring one to two hours of your time, Razor Hill is the perfect quick workout to start or end your day. The secluded hike will take you from a small village in the Sai Kung district up to Razor Hill Peak and back to civilisation in Po Lam. You’re far away enough to appreciate nature, but still close enough to toilets, refreshments, and public transport.
To truly end the hike on a high, head to the Little Hawaii Waterfall, which can be done as a separate hike from close to where this trail begins, but we find it’s easier to add on at the end of your Razor Hill adventures before we catch the train in Po Lam. It’s only another kilometre, so why not, right?
Located south of Sai Kung and north of Tseung Kwan O, Razor Hill rises out of the high-rise housing estates and cosy villages at 432 metres, offering panoramic views of not only TKO, Hang Hau, and Po Lam, but also the splendid Sai Kung and Hebe Haven beneath Ma On Shan in the distance. You’ll also be able to catch glimpses of HKUST, Port Shelter, Kau Sai Chau, and the West Dam of the High Island Reservoir.
While the hike is easy and family-friendly, the ascent to Razor Hill Peak can be challenging in some parts, as nature has overtaken the trail and isn’t clearly marked. The ascent directly before the summit is steep and covered in moss, so proper hiking shoes with grip are recommended. As always, bring adequate sun protection when you’re hiking, though most of this hike is shaded by a dense forest. A litre or two of water should suffice, but if you've forgotten to bring your own water, there are shops at both the start and finish.
Distance: 3 to 4 kilometres approx.
Total ascent: 432 metres
Total time: 1 to 2 hours approx. if you explore Little Hawaii Waterfall as well
There are just as many locations to begin your Razor Hill adventure as there are ways to get to them. As it runs along several villages, there are many uphill points that join up to the main path, which is convenient if you live in the area. You can also do this hike in reverse, starting from Po Lam up to Pik Uk.
For the purposes of this guide, we recommend starting your hike at Pik Uk, a village along Clear Water Bay Road that also lends its name to the nearby correctional centre. There’s a bus stop right outside the starting point, where a petrol station and a supermarket serve as recognisable markers.
Once you alight at Pik Uk, depending on which side of Clear Water Bay Road you’re coming from, you may have to cross over to the Shell gas station which is where the hike starts. Follow Razor Hill Road all the way up until the end where you’ll find Rise Park Villas. There is a path outside the gate of Block 14, which takes you to a small rest area then up to a small graveyard.
Be careful not to disturb the groups of graves as you trace the path along to a muddy, unmarked path on the upper right of the graveyard. This will take you to the shaded path up to the Razor Hill trail. The trail is almost impossible to navigate after a day of rain, as the roots of the dense forest jut out underneath the mud, and there are mossy rocks scattered about.
There are also many forks in the road, with no signs indicating the right way to go. When in doubt, go left, or load the map above onto your phone so you know you’re on the right path. Fortunately, most of the forks lead to the same destination, so it’s hard to get truly lost.
The beginning of this trail is mostly gentle, and you’ll reach the final part of the summit after about 20 minutes when you see a rope left behind by locals that’ll help you on the steep 50-metre climb up. Hold onto the ropes and make your way up, being careful not to slip on the moss and dirt.
The ropes take you up through the woods to the ridge of the hilltop and right ahead is the range pole. This is where Razor Hill opens up to spectacular views of Port Shelter, as well as Sai Kung, Hebe Haven, and Trio Beach. Reward yourself with a break at the peak before you begin the much longer but gradual descent.
Follow the stone steps that snake along the ridge as you walk away from Razor Hill Peak. These steps gently slope down and will allow for amazing views of HKUST campus in Clear Water Bay on the left, High Junk Peak straight ahead, and the bustling Tseung Kwan O on the right, all just above the short bushes and trees.
As you continue to descend, the sights of Sai Kung and the gorgeous Clear Water Bay coast disappear, and you find yourself back in the woods, although the trail in this patch of woods is much less slippery, and more clearly marked. The hike ends when you reach a cross junction along the concrete path. You can choose to end your hike here, by going forward along the path down to Po Lam Road North, or turn right at the junction to continue onto Little Hawaii Waterfall.
As you cut about the woods you will come across another crossroads. Take the right again to join the Little Hawaii Trail, and walk ahead following the signpost for O Tau. You’ll know you’re on the right path when you hear the bubbling and gurgling of the stream. After about half an hour from the first junction, you’ll find yourself next to the peaceful Little Hawaii Waterfalls.
We recommend visiting Little Hawaii after a rainy season to truly enjoy the cascades, but when the falls aren’t flowing as greatly, it’s much easier for visitors to climb the rocks for the best pictures. We admit, it’s not the most impressive waterfall in Hong Kong (and boy, do we have a lot of them), but it’s definitely easily accessible.
And now for a little history lesson: The trail and waterfalls got their name in 1946 when the Tseng Lan Shue village chief renamed the old reservoir and dam as the Little Hawaii Swimming Centre. Why was there a reservoir and dam in the woods behind a village, you may ask? Well, in 1906, a Canadian businessman by the name of Alfred Herbert Rennie set up a mill in Tiu Keng Leng and built a small reservoir for water storage, as well as a 100-foot dam to generate electricity. Unfortunately, he died shortly after the opening of the mill and the villagers nearby turned it into a private pool. The swimming centre was closed shortly after as well after a tragic accident, and you can still see the reservoir walls along the trail.
If there are too many people at Little Hawaii, venture down to another waterfall downstream called Lin Yuen Terrace Falls. From the bridge, walk about 10 minutes back downhill along Little Hawaii Trail until you reach the four-way junction again. Turn right and walk for another five minutes. Here‘s where you’ll find the Lin Yuen Terrace Falls cascading over a cliff. It’s crazy how all of this splendour is right in our backyards!
When you’ve snapped all the photos you need, retrace your steps back to the cross junction, then turn right to follow the steps down to Tseung Kwan O village. The closest MTR station from there is Po Lam, and there are conveniently heaps of eateries in the area and inside Metro City Plaza. There you go, you’ve finished a beautiful hike and seen two waterfalls. How rewarding! Now go home and keep doing your part in social distancing.