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Best hong kong hikes for beginners

For those without any idea, nor any of the gear

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By Time Out Hong Kong |
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Hiking season is almost upon us. For the experienced trail-walkers among you looking for something a little different, have a go at the best night hikes or try some alternative hikes, or if you prefer exploring the country parks on two wheels, try our top 10 cycling routes

But for those of us whose idea of a brutal climb is taking the stairs to the fifth floor, it can be daunting deciding on a trail to head out on. Happily not every trail in Hong Kong ascends a mountain at a 45-degree angle. There’s plenty of enjoyment to be had from the gentler slopes and paved pathways wending their way across the territory.

So if you don’t own crampons and those hiking boots you bought three years ago are going mouldy in the back of the wardrobe, don’t sweat it. These are the best hikes in and around HK for novices. All you need is a good supply of water, a sun hat and a sense of adventure. By Sam Sinha

Best Hong Kong Hikes for Beginners

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Things to do

Dragon’s Back

Shek O

Distance: 7km

Duration: 3-4 hours

Difficulty: 2/5

After an initial climb, Dragon’s Back winds its way gently down the eastern side of Hong Kong Island through the Shek O Country Park. It’s probably the most popular trail there is and a great place to start. Why? Easy access, not too hilly and with some of the best views across the Island. And most importantly you end up on the beach at Shek O Village. 

How to get there: 

Take the MTR to Chai Wan Station at the end of the Island Line. Take Exit A and head towards Cape Collinson Cemetery where the hike begins. 

Attractions, Beaches

Tai Long Wan

Sai Kung

Distance: 6km

Duration: 1.5-2 hours

Difficulty: 1/5

This 6km hike from Pak Tam Au is a lovely way to get to some of Hong Kong’s most picturesque beaches. Taking Stage 2 of the Maclehose trail in reverse. It offers a reasonably gentle one-and a-half hour walk through the beautiful and serene Sai Kung East Country Park. Once you’ve fuelled up at the beachside restaurants, either take a boat back to Sai Kung, or continue your trek up to the Sai Wan Pavillion and grab a green taxi or 29R minibus back to civilisation. 

How to get there: 

From Sai Kung town, take the KMB 94 bus towards Wong Shek Pier, or the No. 7 Green Mini Bus bound for Hoi Ha.

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Lion Rock
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Sport and fitness

Lion Rock

Wong Tai Sin

Distance: 6km

Duration: 2-3 hours

Difficulty: 3/5

Disclaimer: This is not an easy hike as it involves a steep 495m climb. However, Lion Rock is stunning and offers unbeatable urban views over Kowloon and Hong Kong Island. And given its proximity to Kowloon, it’s a good starting point for those who plan to conquer some of the land’s highest peaks. Once you’ve defeated the initial climb, the walk along the ridge of the mountain is pleasant and not too tricky. Look out for monkeys among the trees and enjoy the scramble up to the pinnacle. The whole thing can easily be completed in two-to-three hours. 

How to get there: 

Take the MTR to Wong Tai Sin station. Take Exit E and walk the 20-minute steep incline to Wong Tai Sin temple – or take a taxi there – where the hike begins.

Things to do

Mui Wo to Pui O (Lantau Stage 12)

Mui Wo

Distance: 9km

Duration: 3 hours

Difficulty: 2/5

This 9km trail traverses a (small) peak but happily involves beautiful beaches and easy transport options. Get the ferry to Mui Wo from Central Pier 6 and then just head left! Follow the yellow markings for Lantau Trail Stage 12 which will take you to some fantastic ocean vistas and all the way to the chilled-out beach vibes of Pui O. From there you can take a bus back to the ferry at Mui Wo or across the island to the MTR at Tung Chung.

How to get there: 

Take the ferry from Central Ferry Pier 6 to Mui Wo Ferry Pier.

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Attractions

Lamma Island

Lamma Island

Distance: 5-6km

Duration: 2 hours

Difficulty: 1/5

One of the easiest yet most rewarding trails in the territory, Lamma’s Family Trail connects the island’s two ferry piers allowing easy access to transport and post-hike refreshments, whichever side of the island you choose to start at. This gentle trail is particularly scenic with views out across the South China Sea and of Hong Kong’s scattering of islands. The trail is a comfortable 5km, or a bit longer with a few detours to check out beautiful beaches and fishing rafts of Lo Sho Shing village, Kamikaze cave, which was used by the Japanese during the war, and other temples and shrines dotting the route.  

How to get there: 

Take the ferry from Central Pier 4 to either Yung Shue Wan or Sok Kwu Wan.

Things to do

Ngong Ping 360 Rescue Trail

Tung Chung

Distance: 8km

Duration: 3 hours

Difficulty: 2/5

This reasonably gentle trail follows the path of the Ngong Ping 360 cable car. As you near the start of the trail, you’ll feel the urban surrounds of Tung Chung recede into tranquil nature. The wooden walkways and wide steps of the Ngong Ping 360 Rescue Trail then take you over undulating hills – with some great views of the airport and the new Macau-Zhuhai bridge – all the way to Ngong Ping village. You’ll catch glimpses of the Big (Tian Tan) Buddha as you go and its 268 steps will be your final challenge of the day. From here the more adventurous can continue to Lantau’s numerous other trails.

How to get there: 

From Tung Chung MTR station, walk through the Yat Tun Estate and start on the Tung O Ancient Trail.

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Things to do

The Peak Circular Walk

The Peak

Distance: 3.5km

Duration: 1-1.5 hours

Difficulty: 1/5

Don’t panic, this walk doesn’t involve walking up The Peak. The great thing about it is you can get the bus or Peak Tram up and start from the top. Head either way around on Harlech Road and Lugard Road taking in the fantastic views over the North and East sides of the Island. There’s an optional trek up to Victoria Peak itself, which is worth it for those who can handle all the steps, but if not you can just pootle along the circular path and stop off for a well-deserved coffee and cake at The Peak Galleria when you’re done.

How to get there: 

Take bus 15C from Central Pier 8 or bus 15 from Exchange Square bus terminus (near MTR Hong Kong Station, Exit D) or walk from MTR Central Station Exit J2 to take the Peak Tram from the Peak Tram Lower Terminus. 

Looking for more ways to get fit?

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