Header image courtesy of @w.cho_
While we love a sharp summit, sometimes it’s nice to just chill out and enjoy some of the most beautiful views Hong Kong has to offer. Tai Leng Tung is often overlooked in favour of its more challenging cousin in Clear Water Bay Country Park, the famous High Junk Peak, one of the three sharpest peaks in Hong Kong. This is where Lung Ha Wan Country Trail comes in: This hike is easily accessible, scenic, and won’t leave your legs aching; there’s ancient geography to be seen, kites to be flown, and horses to be ridden.
Tai Leng Tung offers beautiful coastal views of the “East Sea” (Sai Kung Sea) at an elevation of 291 metres. It’s located on the eastern part of the peaceful Clear Water Bay Country Park peninsula, northeast of the popular Clear Water Bay beaches.
The hike starts and ends at Tai Au Mun, a roundabout loop that leads to the Clear Water Bay beaches, down Lung Ha Wan Road to Lobster Bay, or up Clear Water Bay Road to Tai Hang Tun, where the Clear Water Bay Country Park Visitor Centre is located. Along the way, you’ll find a cliffside clearing that’s ideal for kite-flying, barbecue pits, views of Port Shelter and Green Egg Island, and even an ancient rock carving besides a quiet rock beach.
The trail gets a bit steep during the ascent and descent, and once you hit the actual trail, it’s all dirt paths with only wild grass to break your fall. Fortunately, it’s a short hike in terms of both distance and height, so Tai Leng Tung is still a very family- and pet-friendly walk. While the hike is easy, we’d recommend bringing adequate sun protection and at least two litres of water, as there is no shade in the paths leading to and from the peak. If this were an impromptu hike and you’re hungry or thirsty, there are two snack pavilions along the circular route. Public toilets can be found at three different spots at the beginning and end.
Distance: 5 kilometres approx.
Difficulty: Beginner to intermediate
Total ascent: 291 metres
Total time: 3 hours approx.
The hike to Tai Leng Tung via Lung Ha Wan Country Trail starts at the Tai Au Mun roundabout. It’s serviced by several buses and minibuses, and there are also two free car parks should you choose to drive. Don’t worry if you’re unfamiliar with this side of Hong Kong, as the bus and minibus drivers are usually quite helpful if you tell them where you want to alight.
There are two ways you can get to Tai Leng Tung via Lung Ha Wan Country Trail, as it’s a circular route that’ll lead you back to Tai Au Mun. We personally prefer ascending from the Tai Hang Tun starting point, as the climb to the top from there is less arduous and provides more shade. You can, of course, go the other way round if you want to check out the rock carving and equestrian school first; just follow this guide backwards.
Going from Tai Au Mun, head straight up Clear Water Bay Road. The road here is paved, with a slight incline that gives way to flat road. After about 15 to 20 minutes, you’ll reach the starting point, Tai Hang Tun. At the small and usually full car park, you’ll see a sign and map marking the start of the Lung Ha Wan Country Trail.
We do recommend hanging out at Tai Hang Tun though, if only for five minutes. Tai Hang Tun is a gorgeous, exposed location for kite-flying enthusiasts as well as family outings. The hill is covered with rolling fields and overlooks Clear Water Bay, and the smell of grilled meats is carried by the sea breeze. There’s also a short Tree Walk along the dense woodlands near the Visitor Centre, featuring 12 stops with info on the interesting flora that inhabit Clear Water Bay Country Park.
From the starting point by the carpark, begin your hike. The steps here are steep but thankfully shaded and paved (or at least maintained), and once you emerge from the trees you can already start to enjoy the panoramic views of the Clear Water Bay peninsula behind you.
The straightforward path up to Tai Leng Tung is gentle after the short climbing challenge, and if you do this walk on a clear day, you’ll be able to see past tranquil Po Toi O and the Clearwater Bay Golf Course to the jagged Ninepins. The wave-swept seascape below you seems almost reachable, and it’s clear to see (pun intended) how this side of the Hong Kong seas got its name.
The green hill is also popular with bird and butterfly lovers, as they thrive in the breezy countryside. Keep an eye out for the spotted doves, magpies, and great tits that frequent the skies, as well as the common tiger butterfly and Paris peacock butterfly. If you’re really lucky, you may encounter a masked palm civet, though sightings are few and far in between. The flora in the area is worth exploring as well.
Remember to hydrate, even though the path up to this flat summit is relatively easy on the knees. Before you know it, you’ll reach Tai Leng Tung, an absolutely stunning vantage point surrounded by rocks where you can sit and catch your breath, or climb up for some impressive snaps. It does get crowded at the top, so head down about 50 metres for another flat vantage point with clearer views of Sai Kung and Clear Water Bay. You might almost forget that you’re in Hong Kong when you’re pondering the vistas of the rolling hills and little islands that pop up from the shimmering turquoise water.
From the summit, you’ll be able to get a clear view all the way downhill for the rest of the trail. The path here is less well maintained, with uneven rocky steps lining the way, and a lot steeper than the ascent. It’s easier to go downhill though, which is why we prefer coming up via Tai Hang Tun. From here, it’s about 250 metres until you hit Lung Ha Wan, known in English as Lobster Bay. You won’t find lobsters here, unfortunately, but you will find an equestrian school that offers short public rides, as well as a clean and rocky beach, and a Bronze Age rock carving that still has archaeologists and geologists baffled. There’s also a public toilet here.
The rock carving was discovered in 1978 and named a monument in 1983. Geometric designs that vaguely resemble birds and animals are carved into a weathered boulder, perhaps from the earliest settlers of our land. There are some people who think that it was created merely from water and wind erosion. From the rock carving site and the beach beside it, you can get a closer look at the striking volcanic rock formations that make up the Sai Kung and Clear Water Bay peninsulas.
When you’re done sightseeing at Lobster Bay, walk past the public toilet to reach Lung Ha Wan Road, which will take you back out to Tai Au Mun. Be sure to watch out for cars, as the road here can get narrow and there are bends where you may not see them coming. There’s another attraction when you get closer to Tai Au Mun, the Cham Shan Temple that doubles as a home for the elderly. The Great Buddha’s Hall is one of the largest in Hong Kong, and it’s a popular filming location for period dramas. Reward and refuel yourself after this picturesque hike with some luncheon meat and fried egg rice or good old fish siu mai at Shing Kee Store.