I’d kicked off the “Hiking in Hong Kong” series with some of the most common hikes. Outside of these, there are other well-known trails, which people may cover in their entirety or in parts, as they like. I had mentioned the Hong Kong Trail before. Section 6 and 7 of the Hong Kong trail pass to the east of Tai Tam Reservoir and Tai Tam Tuk Reservoir. The trails and trails nearby have views of beautiful colonial-era concrete and granite structures as well as the brilliant shades of nature (water bodies and shorelines) managed by those structures.
This one is 100 Km long and cuts through the New Territories, particularly through the Sai Kung area. Sai Kung is a favourite of people who want to seriously get away from the city. I have made multiple treks to the famous and far-flung beach at Tai Long Wan. A nice way to visit Tai Long Wan is to trek there and arrange a boat to pick you up for the return leg. The landscape as seen from the boats is unique and definitely worth checking out.
High Island East Reservoir Dam requires special mention as part of the Maclehose Trail. This area is part of the Hong Kong Geopark and is home to the fantastic hexagonal rock formations. These volcanic rock formations are scattered across the Geopark, widely-stretched across many islands in addition to the New Territories land area. I had been intrigued by formations such as The Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland. Imagine my surprise to learn that similar formations were present just a couple of hours away in Hong Kong! I discovered these within a couple of months of moving to Hong Kong and talked to any colleagues who would listen about it. I was surprised again that few of them had heard of it, let alone seen it.
Outside of the Maclehose Trail, I also came across the hexagonal rock columns at other Geopark spots such as the NinePin Islands. These have to be reached by boat; one cannot trek to them.
The Wilson Trail is 70 Km long, starts at the south of Hong Kong Island, and goes north close to the border with China in the New Territories. I have visited parts of it, including the trail that passes by Shing Mun Reservoir. Aside from more old colonial-era dam structures, this trail gets one views of the paperbark forest, where one gets to see paperbark trees growing out of the water.
A couple of random good sites
What is described so far are a taste of the standard hikes that are accessible to just about anyone with a moderate level of fitness. Those willing to up the ante can be treated to a variety of offerings of natural beauty. I have picked a few random hikes that I have done.
Stanley Peninsula: Rhino Rock
There is a hike along the Stanley peninsula on Hong Kong island that gets the hikers views of the seaside – and of Stanley Prison and even parts of Stanley Fort and Stanley Barracks. At a particular spot juts out a rock shaped pretty impressively like a rhinoceros’ head. The somewhat brave can have a go at climbing the head for a great picture. It’s not that scary.
Plover Cove Country Park: Tiu Tang Lung
Plover Cove is one of the northernmost country parks in Hong Kong. High altitude spots on this country park gives the hiker great views of the islands on Mirs Bay, Shenzen cityscape and (on a clear enough day) the countryside across the border.
Tiu Tang Lung provides exactly that sort of views. When I went, we got to see the impressive sights of some northern islands. The name in Cantonese could be a double entendre that translates to “hanging lantern” or “fuck the lantern”, according to my Cantonese-speaking friends. Given that swear words are the first Cantonese words that the locals teach foreigners, and that they use them pretty liberally, I’m not going out on a limb on this one.
In any case, I happened to go on a poorly thought out hike with people of varying skill levels. Myself and the organiser were not challenged by the steepness of the climb and heat of the day after starting the hike after 2 PM. But that wasn’t the case for everyone; we needed a lot of breaks on our route to the top. Eventually we ended up at Sam A Village at around sunset. We had not fully read the link to the route; it was a dead end. We had no choice but to turn around and go back to the start. We replenished ourselves with food and then set off in the dark; there were flat routes that bypassed the peak, so it turned out OK.