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Take a Hike: How to hike Sharp Peak, the sharpest peak in Hong Kong

By Rory Mackay 27 October 2021

Header image courtesy of TK (via Wikimedia Commons)

Venturing into the wilds of Sai Kung, the plethora of options open to hikers is astounding. Amongst the area’s many hills, at the top of most to-do lists lies Sharp Peak, belonging to the Three Sharp Peaks of Hong Kong. Arguably Hong Kong’s most remote mountain, the areas surrounding Sharp Peak are simply stunning. Although not massively high at 468 metres, it is a very prominent hill and easy on the eye, and the unspoilt views from the summit are among the finest in the land. Follow our guide to learn more about how to hike Sharp Peak, the sharpest peak in Hong Kong.

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Overview & fast facts

Sharp Peak (蚺蛇尖; jim4 se4 zim1) lies in the Sai Kung East Country Park, just north of Tai Long Wan’s collection of beaches. Considered a challenging hike by most, it is recommended to tackle this behemoth only in the best weather conditions and with the correct hiking equipment, and even then, beginners should be wary of the trail.

Much of the route to and from is simply a segment of the MacLehose Trail Stage 2. However, the meat of this sandwich deviates away to tackle Sharp Peak itself. Getting there can take some time from Hong Kong Island and Kowloon (particularly on weekends and public holidays), but it is a relatively hassle-free trip.

Distance: 14 kilometres approx.

Difficulty: Advanced

Total ascent: 500 metres approx.

Total time: 3.5 to 5 hours approx.

How to get there

From Sai Kung, grab a cab out to either Pak Tam Au or Sai Wan Pavilion. Alternatively, one can take the 29R village bus from Sai Kung Town Centre to Sai Wan Pavilion. You can also hop on minibus 7 from Sai Kung to Pak Tam Au.

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The hike

If starting at Pak Tam Au (the easier way; see the first map), walk for an hour along Maclehose Trail Stage 2 up to the top of the pass just after distance marker M040, where you then need to make a left turn onto a smaller trail. 

If coming from Sai Wan Pavilion (see the second map), then you will need to first reach Ham Tin Wan. At the top of the pass out of Tai Long Wan, turn right instead of left to reach the trail to Sharp Peak.

From there, the ribbon trail works its way along a gentle ridgeline, transporting you through some light forests before breaking out into shrubbery, followed by open grassland. From here, the way up is clearly evident as the gradient dramatically steps up a gear and Sharp Peak gets “sharp.”

It is a steep and dramatic final ascent to the summit, but well worth the effort on a fine day. Sharp Peak’s path is well-worn and eroded to the extent that it could use an overhaul from the AFCD. In light of this, do take care, as it will be skiddy in the dry and slippery when wet. Heading down will require more care than ascending!

Heading down, there are a few different ways to do it. Many may want to play it safe and take the main trail back the same way you came directly to the Maclehose Trail. Other loose trails lead towards Tai Ngam Hau Peninsula and the best of the lot will have you navigating a steep ridge down to Tai Long Beach.

I recommend heading down to Ham Tin after summiting for a drink and a bite to eat, complemented by a stroll along the sands to look back up at your recently attained summit. From there, most will either hike back to Pak Tam Au or Sai Wan Pavillion. Additionally, the natural rock formations in the area south of Sharp Peak are special sights to behold, if you have a little extra time for exploring. Plus, the Hong Kong UNESCO Global Geopark makes for a fun detour if you would like to continue your hike over to the East Dam of the High Island Reservoir.

All in all, this is arguably Hong Kong’s most prestigious summit to have bagged. It may not be quite as high as Tai Mo Shan, or as technical as some other hills, but for its remoteness and beauty, Sharp Peak is a true heavyweight. For anyone who enjoys a physical challenge and packing in lots of sights, these routes make for an incredible day out.

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Rory Mackay

Contributor

Growing up between Hong Kong and Scotland, Rory was never a stranger to adventure. Whether it was scaling Munros in the Scottish Highlands or finding new waterfalls in the New Territories of Hong Kong, he was always keen to utilise any opportunity to explore. As an experienced traveller, he enjoys meeting other travellers and showing them a different side to Hong Kong with adventure and eco-tours at Wild Hong Kong.

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