This is a brilliant chance to explore the north-east corner of the New Territories near the border, via the old (and now basically derelict) Hakka village of Lai Chi Wo. The hike takes at least 4.5 hours (16km) and there are no exits, but there is only one significant climb. The hike commences downhill, broadly following a stream to the sea via Sam A Chung. Proceed through the village of Sam A Tsuen, then with a small climb and descent to join the Lai Chi Wo Nature Trail. Take a lunch break (read: bring your own) at the pavilion next to the Hop Shan Temple before continuing on the NatureTrail and then up the one fairly steep climb of about 200m to Fan Shui Au. Descending again, walk through the largely deserted village of Kuk Po and then along the shore of Starling Inlet (which is the Closed Area Boundary next to the Chinese border) overlooking the edge of Shenzhen to reach your end point at Luk Keng.
Stamina is needed. While none of the route is difficult underfoot, most is on rocky dirt trails. Wear hiking shoes or strong trainers with a good tread. Beginners should take the climbs gently. There are no technically difficult sections, but if it has recently been raining heavily, sections will involve getting your feet wet as small streams cross the path. Bring along at least 1.5 litres of water, as well as snacks. Bring a hat and sunblock − much of this route is without shade.
TIME OUT RATING
Length: 3 (about 16km)
Gradient (ascent): 2
It takes about an hour to get to Tai Po Market MTR Station from Central. From there, grab a drink and take the 20R minibus to Wu Kau Tang. Or, if you don’t mind paying, grab a taxi (about $100) to the start point.