Header images courtesy of David Yeung and @v_eekelen (via Instagram)
Originally published by For Something More. Last updated by David Yeung.
If you are looking for a quiet and tranquil hike with minimal crowds and a challenging ascent, Razor’s Edge Ridge is the one you should consider. Often coined as the Dragon’s Back of the New Territories, this hike runs along the ridgeline of Tai To Yan, a mountain in the Lam Tsuen Valley. One of the most understated hikes in Hong Kong, this alternative trail offers stunning views of Tai Mo Shan, Cloudy Hill, Shenzhen, and Pat Sin Leng.
Razor’s Edge Ridge is perfect to hike right now as the weather cools down, making it a comfortable and bearable experience. Although this is a demanding hike that requires physical effort and determination, the beautiful vistas, uncrowded trail, and the wild sense of adventure you will feel in return are definitely worth the trouble.
Razor’s Edge Ridge is one of the defining features of Tai To Yan, a mountain located in the northern part of Hong Kong in the New Territories. It lies within the Lam Tsuen Country Park and Lam Tsuen Valley. Tai To Yan will also give you some spectacular views as it overlooks Tai Mo Shan, Shenzhen, Cloudy Hill, and Kai Kung Leng.
Razor’s Edge Ridge consists of completing two mountain peaks, Pak Tai To Yan and Tai To Yan. Like many hikes, there are numerous ways to get to the actual trail of the desired hike. For clarity, we highly recommend starting the hike at Tai Po via the Ngau Kwu Leng hiking trail, which will directly lead you up to Lam Tsuen Country Park, where you can start the Razor’s Edge Ridge hike. Before even starting the hike, make sure to bring enough water, as there are no places along the way to refill and the hike itself requires a lot of physical endurance.
Both peaks offer spectacular views and landscapes of the New Territories, and the trees and plants will remind you of natural beauties seen in temperate forests, making it feel like you are not in Hong Kong but perhaps adventuring in North America, New Zealand, or even Europe. The hike is quite challenging and it is not recommended for beginners, as the trail is unpaved and rugged. Despite the challenge, Razor’s Edge Ridge is arguably one of Hong Kong’s most underrated hikes. Uncrowded, beautiful, and constantly challenging, this is the perfect hike for people who are athletic and looking for the next peak to conquer.
Distance: 8.4 kilometres approx.
Difficulty: Intermediate to advanced
Total ascent: 566 metres
Total time: 3 to 4 hours approx.
There are many ways to get the start of the Razor’s Edge Ridge hiking trail which starts in Tai Po, however, the most convenient way is to ride the MTR to Tai Wo Station and start at Fong Ma Po village.
Hiking to Razor’s Edge Ridge begins at Tai Po’s Ngau Kwu Leng hiking trail. Before you start, we highly suggest you visit the Lam Tsuen Wishing Trees and Tin Hau Temple in Fong Ma Po village, as it is one of the most well-known attractions in all of Tai Po. After your stroll through the villages, temples, and local attractions, make your way towards Ngau Kwu Leng hiking trail. The trail begins right after you cross the bridge and it first appears to be a steep road. Follow the road and you will soon see a sign that says indicates the start of the Ngau Kwu Leng hiking trail. Walk this trail for around two kilometres to get to the beginning of the Razor’s Edge Ridge trail.
Whilst following the Ngau Kwu Leng hiking trail, you will be flanked by lush greenery that sometimes covers both sides of the trail. As you make your way higher and higher, views of Tai Po and Sha Tin emerge from between the treetops. Throughout this part of the trail, the path is conveniently paved with cement. It is only until after you complete this two-kilometre stretch that your journey into the hike’s rugged terrain begins.
You will find a sign that directs you to the start of an unpaved path, which, in turn, will lead you to Lam Tsuen Country Park. Luckily, this part of the hike is mainly shaded with a lot of trees, making it relatively pleasant for a cool reprieve. Follow the trail for around 15 minutes and then you will come across a sign that will take you to the first peak, Pak Tai To Yan. Follow the trail and make your way up towards the summit.
Once you reach the first peak of Pak Tai To Yan, enjoy the views that it has to offer and use this opportunity to take a break. You are now standing at 480 metres above sea level. After you’ve had your fill of the scenery, continue your way down the trail and descend back into the verdant forest. Overall, the hike is a series of ups and downs as you walk along the ridges of two mountains. Once in the forest, the trail is mostly shaded, but while hiking up, the terrain will be more open, therefore revealing the natural splendours around the trail.
After conquering the Pak Tai Yo Yan summit, it is another two-and-a-half kilometres to Tai To Yan. Along the way, prepare for a strenuous leg day as you weave your way up and down the mountain. Fortunately, for most of the hike, you will be shielded from the sun by an avenue of trees, elegantly placed all over the sides of the trail, evoking imagery of the dense forests one might find in Germany or New Zealand. But the biggest challenge is yet to come; before you reach the Tai To Yan summit, there will be a steep section you will need to overcome in order to make it to the top, and the steps going up to Razor’s Edge Ridge and Tai Yo Yan are uneven and unforgiving.
As you trudge up the steps, embrace your newfound appreciation for Razor’s Edge Ridge, as well as the reason it was named as such. Referring to the razor-like ridge and narrow path that slashes through the face of the mountain, this is one incline you will want to be careful with, as one wrong step can easily leave you tumbling off the side of the mountain. Its slim peak, however, does offer the benefit of sweeping, unobstructed views.
Ready to leave? Make your way down the mountain towards Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden. After leaving Razor’s Edge Ridge and Tai To Yan, you will undulate your way through the ridgeline of the mountain, all with beautiful views of Kai Kung Leng and Ma On Shan alongside you. You will eventually reach a very narrow segment on the ridge, which is quite dangerous, so be sure to put your phones away and be cautious when crossing it.
From the peak of Tai To Yan and Razor’s Edge Ridge, you will have two-and-a-half kilometres to go until you reach the button of Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden. Happily, the trail going down the mountain is straightforward. A key indicator to look for is a sign that signals Pak Ngau Shek, as that will lead you to the end of the hike. There will be a bus stop conveniently located right next to where you finish, where you can catch bus 64K, minibus 25K, or a taxi back to Tai Wo Station on the East Rail line after a long and fruitful day out.