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Where to see bamboo forests in Hong Kong

By Jen Paolini 12 December 2020

Header image courtesy of @fungcwl (via Instagram)

It’s about that wistful time of year when we curl up in bed with a hot chocolate and reminisce on the wonderful memories we made and the places we were blessed to travel to in the past 12 months. Except that, of course, we did not get to roam the world as we had planned and the only thing we can remember from the last year is not to touch handrails and to religiously scrub our hands about six times an hour.

If you are feeling that insatiable travel pang and longing for the cooler climes of Japan, know that you are not alone—2.21 million Hongkongers, or three in 10 people in Hong Kong, visited Japan in 2018 alone. A staggering number like that is hard to argue with, especially when Japan offers so many cultural, culinary, and ecological wonders to please the sensibilities of Hongkongers. Arashiyama’s bamboo groves, in particular, receive a swarm of visitors from abroad, mostly for its unique photogenic appeal that we are sure you must have seen first-hand on your social feed. For an Instagram-obsessed city such as ours, visual aesthetics is everything and the added benefit of the magical otherworldliness of scenic bamboo forests evokes imagery of mysticism, folklore, and restorative spirituality. 

Fortunately—and as unlikely as it seems—Hong Kong is not completely without its botanical charms. In fact, we boast our very own bamboo groves, too, out across the New Territories and even on Hong Kong Island. Bring Arashiyama and Kyoto to you this season and visit these tried-and-true places in Hong Kong for a leisurely and enchanting stroll through bamboo forests.

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Photo credit: @jensennphoto (via Instagram)
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Yin Ngam

We’ll start off strong: For one of the lushest bamboo forests in all of Hong Kong, you can do no better than Yin Ngam, a deserted village in the northeastern foothills of Tai Mo Shan, where two (!) sections of thick bamboo forest tunnels will reward you for your bushwhacking efforts.

As the longest natural bamboo forest tunnel in Hong Kong, this particular stretch is popular amongst photographers for the dense intertwining and elegant curvature of bamboo across the top. Its leaf-strewn pathways, too, make for a wonderful contrast in colours when snapping pics—be sure to capture a shot from a low angle to include the full scenery.

How to get there:
  1. Take the East Rail line to Tai Po Market Station (Exit B).
  2. Hop onto minibus 23S to Ta Tit Yan (it’s the final stop).
  3. Walk along Win Yiu Road and follow the signposts to Yuen Tun Ha.
  4. Follow the uphill path to the right of the white ancestral hall.
  5. Entry to Yin Ngam is overgrown but marked with ribbons.
Photo credit: @fungcwl (via Instagram)
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Ho Pui Reservoir Family Walk

Cameras at the ready—here’s another spot for you to live out your Arashiyama Instagram dreams. Nestled between the rolling hills of Pat Heung and Tsuen Wan, the Ho Pui Reservoir is a family-friendly destination for those looking to squeeze some light exercise into their weekend schedule.

Aside from the well-paved Ho Pui Reservoir Family Walk that takes you all the way around the peaceful area, we would recommend exploring the more hidden surroundings as well, courtesy of little trails that veer off from the main circuit—this is where you’ll find the bamboo forest.

Click here to check out more family walks in the western New Territories area.

How to get there:
  1. Take the West Rail line to Yuen Long Station (Exit B).
  2. Hop onto minibus 71 to Ho Pui (it’s the final stop).
  3. From here, simply follow the road to Ho Pui Campsite and beyond.
Photo credit: @ming9597 (via Instagram)
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Mui Tsz Lam & Mau Ping

For a bamboo forest tunnel that will take you straight out of the modern age and into a setting much more primal and mystical, hit the Mau Ping Ancient Trail, an old stone-paved pathway that connects the abandoned villages of Mui Tsz Lam and Mau Ping between Sha Tin and Sai Kung.

Its mist-lined sylvan walkways evoke images of high fantasy epics like The Lord of the Rings or even whimsical animated features like Spirited Away, so if you have ever wanted to spend a few magical moments pretending to be a woodland elf or a playful Japanese sprite, this is the place to go.

Aside from its bamboo forest, the Mau Ping Ancient Trail is also famous for its fragrant trees, used to craft the incense we so often come across in Chinese temples and places of worship. You’ll also get to explore the ruins of an old village school as well as the extraordinary biodiversity of this remote area.

Click here to check out more ancient trails in Hong Kong.

How to get there:
  1. Take the East Rail line to Tai Wai Station.
  2. Interchange to Ma On Shan line to Tai Shui Hang Station (Exit B).
  3. Head down Hang Tat Street, keeping to the left.
  4. Pass through Tsung Tsin Secondary School and keep to the left pathway.
  5. Cross the Mui Tsz Lam Tai Shui Hang Stream to Mui Tsz Lam Road.
  6. Follow the road as well as signs that point to Mui Tsz Lam Tsuen.

Keep scrolling for the rest of the guide 👇

By Annette Chan 4 December 2020
Photo credit: @cherish.wy (via Instagram)
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Yuen Tsuen Ancient Trail

It would appear that ancient trails in Hong Kong hold all the ecological goodies and Yuen Tsuen Ancient Trail is no different. Once serving as the principal link between the settlements of Yuen Long to Tsuen Wan, traders made of the most of this old footpath to travel and peddle their wares. Nowadays, far from its days as a primary mode of transportation, it still offers lovely views over Tsuen Wan and Kwai Chung.

Although most of the path is easy to follow and should be suitable for hikers of all levels, there does come an episode of bushwhacking territory around the pavilion on Shek Lung Kung—the highest point of the Yuen Tsuen Ancient Trail. Persevere and you will be rewarded as the trail joins Tai Lam Wooded Road, where you will be treated to a refreshing little corridor of beautiful bamboo forestry.

Click here to check out more ancient trails in Hong Kong.

How to get there:
  1. Take the West Rail line to Tsuen Wan West Station (Exit E2).
  2. Hop onto minibus 95 to Tsuen Wan Centre (it’s the final stop).
  3. Head up Tsuen King Circuit and take a left on On Yiu Street.
  4. Follow On Yiu Street to the end and take a right back into Tsuen King Circuit.
  5. Across from the Tsuen Wan Adventist Hospital car park is a small path.
  6. Follow it to join up with the Yuen Tsuen Ancient Trail.
Photo credit: @netteyau (via Instagram)
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Rotary Club Park Nature Trail

If one bamboo forest in the Tai Mo Shan area is not enough, fear not—here’s another. At the foothills of Hong Kong’s tallest mountain lies the Rotary Club Park Nature Trail, a quaint family walk that showcases Taiwanese cherry blossom trees, an assortment of indigenous flora, and rich woodlands.

Lined with stone-laid dirt paths that snake along verdant hinterlands, this beginner-level stroll is a short one, but it will take you through a section that is blessed with a lush little bamboo forest. It’s certainly smaller and less impressive than other bamboo forests and tunnels on this list, but the low-effort-to-high-reward ratio makes it a favourite in our books for a swift and refreshing traipse out in nature.

Click here to check out more family walks in the western New Territories area.

How to get there:
  1. Take the Tsuen Wan line to Tsuen Wan Station (Exit A).
  2. Make your way to the Railway Station Bus Terminus on top of the station.
  3. Take bus 51 to Sheung Tsuen and alight at the Country Park stop.
  4. Walk up Route Twisk to the Tai Mo Shan Country Park Visitor Centre.
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Jen Paolini

Content director

Born in Hong Kong, raised in Germany, and educated in the U.S., Jen is an award-winning creative with a background in illustration, communication design, art direction, and content creation. When she’s not getting lost in a good book, you’ll find her doing crosswords, eating dim sum, covering all sides of a “Hamilton” number, and taking naps.

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