Header image courtesy of @rooster88 (via Instagram)
Aside from viewing red leaves in autumn, another natural phenomenon much loved by Hongkongers during the colder months is fields of silvergrass. Despite its name, silvergrass actually carries more of a golden hue, and seeing a normally lush green slope covered in swaying stalks of silvery gold is a beautifully inspiring sight.
Light golden stalks that loom far above the height of normal grass will be tipped with fuzzy plumes. While these do look cute, it may be prudent to wear long bottoms to prevent scratches on your legs, especially if you have sensitive skin. The growth of this plant peaks from November to December, so now is the perfect time to check out the following seven spots to see seas of silvergrass in Hong Kong.
Don’t forget to be responsible, take your litter with you, and keep Hong Kong’s nature beautiful!
Sunset Peak is undoubtedly one of Hong Kong’s most popular spots for silvergrass viewing. With wide expanses of fluffy grass over the rolling hills, embellished with the rugged stone structures of Sunset Peak Cabins, this location makes for a great Instagram post—and an even better sight in person. Every year, autumn hikers are disappointed by making the trip too soon—the peak season for the silvergrass plains on Sunset Peak starts from mid-November, so it’s actually winter that’s the perfect time to do this hike!
The easiest route to tackling Sunset Peak is to start from Pak Kung Au, climb up to the peak, go through the cabins, and loop back to the starting point. It may be tempting while you’re trying to get the perfect shot, but don’t climb onto the stone cabins! These are part of private property, maintained by volunteers. Click here for a full guide to hiking Sunset Peak on Lantau Island.
Not to be confused with the Ngong Ping 360 Trail all the way across the territories on Lantau Island, this stunning plateau—one of Hong Kong’s only such features—is such a pretty sight that it has attracted its share of artists who have used it in their works. Singer Pakho Chau has filmed one of his music videos at this very plateau! Aside from the silvergrass plains, you’ll also get to see unobstructed sea views out towards Sai Kung and Kau Sai Chau.
Your hike will start from Ma On Shan Campsite, following the Ma On Shan Family Walk, which will take you up to the summit of Ngong Ping. You’ll then need to wind your way up and down along the length of the ridge towards Sai Kung, admiring views along the way—you might also be able to see people paragliding over the expansive plateau. The hike up consists of stairs, steep inclines, and perhaps a little bit of scrambling, but it’s not a long journey overall and the views will be worth it. Click here for a more detailed guide to the Ngong Ping hike.
Known locally as Fei Ngo Shan, Kowloon Peak is famous for its crown jewel popular with hikers and photography enthusiasts alike, Suicide Cliff. The best thing about hiking Kowloon Peak is its accessibility from the city; you could do the journey and make it back down to town to have the evening free without long travelling times.
Up at the summit, you’ll feel on top of the world with luscious greenery bringing the imagination to faraway lands. Stretch your eyes past the slopes full of silvergrass to be treated to views of the city below for a stunning nature versus metropolis contrast.
To start this hike, make your way to City One Station. The start of the trail up Kowloon Peak is at Ming Kei Fa Yuen. Do be warned that the climb up is fairly steep and narrow in parts, with its fair share of accidents and casualties—we’d recommend that inexperienced hikers swot up with some of Hong Kong’s more easy-going trails before attempting this one! Click here for a detailed guide to the Fei Ngo Shan hike.
A Cantonese transliteration of “Tiger’s Head,” Lo Fu Tau is the tallest mountain near the Discovery Bay area on Lantau Island. It’s really less of a peak than a treacherous cliffside ridge as the trail dips up and down along several high points. Tiger’s Head is so named for the two rocks on either side of the cliff, with grassy pastures that turn a golden colour, resembling the fur of the large feline, so visiting during this time of year will allow you to see its namesake. Lo Fu Tau faces Discovery Bay with panoramic views out to Peng Chau and further; on clear days, it’s even possible to see all the way across to the skyscrapers lining Victoria Harbour in the far distance.
The best way to experience Lo Fu Tau is to do the scenic hike from Mui Wo into Discovery Bay, which will pass by the ridge. This intermediate-level hike offers next to no shade, with rugged trails that may prove a little difficult to walk smoothly along, but it shouldn’t be too strenuous. Besides, you know you’ll have a nice meal awaiting you at DB’s many restaurants! Click here for a detailed guide to hiking to Discovery Bay via Lo Fu Tau.
Located pretty much as far out as you can go, the silvergrass fields of Ping Yeung are in Ta Kwu Ling, right near the mainland Chinese border. Because of its remote location, there are no high-rises in sight, just fields that stretch out and soft hills nearby, and the tufty grass lends a playful touch of whimsy to the view. Stick around for golden hour because it all gets even prettier.
Though far away from the city centre, Ping Yeung is much less taxing to get to because it does not require any hiking or strenuous activity. From Sheung Shui MTR station, head to the Shek Wu Hui bus stop and take bus 79K, alighting at Ping Yuen Road. Look for the pavilion in Ping Yeung Village, and you’ll be able to spot the silvergrass fields behind it. The government’s development plans for this area has already wiped out some of the silvergrass, so see it while you still can!
Nam Sang Wai is located merely half an hour away from the bustle of Yuen Long centre. This wetland area which used to be the home of Pui Pui the crocodile is also ecologically important to the migratory birds that pass through Hong Kong every year. Apart from the seas of silvergrass you can see, the area is also pleasant to visit for its eucalyptus and red gum trees, idyllic vibes, and Hong Kong’s only ferry ride across a river.
Unfortunately, Nam Sang Wai is another area on which developers have set their sights to build large-scale residences and a contentious golf course, so make sure to visit while it is still in its natural glory! From Yuen Long MTR station, come out of exit A and make your way to Shan Pu Road, where you can follow the signs leading to Nam Sang Wai Jetty. Once across the little river, it’s a simple matter of following the path through Chung Hau Yu Man San Tsuen, then along Shan Pui River. Click here to read a more detailed guide on Nam Sang Wai.
Far out to the northeastern end of the New Territories lies Kuk Po. While not particularly easy to get to by any means, you will be able to see silvergrass fields juxtaposed against mangrove trees, making this a perfectly romantic spot for a day trip with a loved one. Since you’re going to be out in the sticks anyway, you might as well make a journey of it by walking into Kuk Po from Luk Keng.
This leisurely hike couldn’t be easier, suitable for even the most hardened of couch potatoes, with only one section of stairs and mostly no incline. From Fanling MTR station, come out of exit C and onto minibus 56K. Alight at the final stop, then walk along Bride’s Pool Road, turning into the Kai Kuk Shue Ha trail at length, then turning left when the path intersects with the Fung Hang Family Walk to reach the village of Fung Hang.
There is a small tea stall where you can stop for refreshments, as well as a public toilet and a picturesque little pier in this hamlet. Fung Hang itself is restricted access, so simply keep following signs along the waterfront to Kuk Po. The journey takes roughly an hour, and you simply retrace your route back out.