Get us in your inbox

Hong kong Rhino Rock
Photograph: Shutterstock

The best alternative hikes in Hong Kong

Done with Dragon’s Back and tired of the Twin Peaks? Check out these hikes instead

Edited by
Time Out Hong Kong
Written by
Kenneth Choi

Hiking is one of the most popular pastimes for many Hongkongers. Why? Well, there’s all the fresh air you’ll be getting, all the exercise you’ll be doing, and then there are all the interesting views you see on your way up. Yes, it’s not just verdant vistas that you’ll have your eyes on in this list. Try these lesser-known hikes with rewarding views and fewer crowds on for size.

RECOMMENDED: Hiking lovers should also check our lists of the best night hikes and the top 13 hiking trails in Hong Kong

Best alternative hikes in Hong Kong

Tai Po Kau Forest Walk

Best for: Families

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Melissa C (@melissa_cheung_)

Tai Po Kau Forest Walk is located inside the Tai Po Kau Nature Reserve, a popular destination for nature lovers. It features different colour-coded trails which allow you to control the duration of your hike, including red, blue, brown and yellow. The red trail is the shortest and easiest path (3km/45 minutes), while the yellow is the longest and most difficult one (10km/3.5 hours). This nature reserve is also home to various wildlife, so if you’re lucky, you might be able to see some resident owls or even fireflies during breeding season from May to August. Another benefit is that Tai Po Kau has a dense forest canopy which provides plenty of shade for the entire duration of the hike.

Distance: 3-10km
Duration: 45 mins-3.5 hours
Difficulty: 2.5 out of 5 (Choose your preferred distance)

How to get there: Take bus 72 from Sha Tin MTR Station or bus 74A from Tai Wo MTR Station. Get off at Chung Tsai Yuen bus stop and follow the signage to the starting point. Limited parking lots are also available. 

Sam Chi Heung (Three Incense candles)

Best for: A short hike

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Aaron (@yeunghuu)

Looking for a quick hike with views of famous bridges? Sam Chi Heung in Tsing Yi is a lesser-known trail that works for all levels. Tsing Yi has three peaks: the North, Centre, and Southern peak, hence the name Sam Chi Heung (or three incense candles). Follow the Sai Shan Country Trail where you’ll need to go up a lot of stairs. Ten minutes into the hike and you will be able to see Tsing Ma Bridge and Lantau island. Continue walking until you reach the last peak, Southern Peak, where the view opens up and you can enjoy the scenic Stonecutters Bridge to Victoria Harbour. Remember to check when sunset time that day to take full advantage of the landscape with sunset views of the city. Finish off the walk by returning the way you came. 

Distance: 4.5km
Duration: 2.5 hours
Difficulty: 2.5 out of 5

How to get there: Take bus 249M  from Tsing Yi MTR Station or take bus 43M from Kwai Fong Station, and get off at Cheung Ching Bus Terminus. Enter Tsing Wah Playground and you will be able to find the entrance of Sai Shan Country Trail. There are pavilions and seats along the road to rest.


The Penis Rock at Nui Po Shan

Best for: Interesting rocks

There are tons of named rocks in Hong Kong but this particular hike will take you to see an interesting rock that leaves very little to the imagination. Start from Wong Nai Tau Bus Terminus, take the stairs and follow the path towards Fa Sam Hang Village. At the forked road, turn left towards Mui Tsz Lam and in 5 to 10 minutes you will arrive at a pool with a bridge called Fa Sam Hang over it and a large heart-shaped rock at the back. Ascend here on the main road until you see a pavilion. Continue the walk with the brown handrail next to the pavilion towards Mui Tsz Lam and when you reach a three-forked junction, take the one on the left to continue your ascent. The path will start to get rocky and steep here but there are ropes if you require. Eventually, you will reach The Penis Rock (Yeung Yuen Shek in Chinese). Feel free to get creative with your photos but don’t forget that this is just the base of a group of rocks. Continue the ascent and enjoy the panoramic view of the hills and Sha Tin. Once you reach the top of Nui Po Shan, descend on the other side and follow the ribbons until you reach the path to Shatin Hospital. Be aware of the steep paths here. At the end of the descent, you’ll see an orange building – Breakthrough Youth Village – walk around it to get to the main road where you can get a minibus back to the city. 

Distance: 4km
Duration: 2.5 hours
Difficulty: 3 out of 5

How to get there: Take bus 83k  from Sha Tin MTR Station and get off at Wong Nai Tau Bus Terminus and take the stairs to begin the hike. Wear proper hiking boots and be careful when climbing around the rocks.  

Lai Chi Wo

Best for: Heritage  

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Raven Yuen (@raven2_photohk)

Explore the northeast corner of the New Territories through the old Hakka village of Lai Chi Wo and the Double Haven Geo Area. The hike commences downhill towards Sam A Chung. You can take a break at the Fook Lee Tea House at Sam A Tsuen which serves Hakka and Cantonese delicacies. Back on the trail and at the junction, join Lai Chi Wo Nature Trail and proceed to Lai Chi Wo village. It was the largest Hakka village in the 50s, and the village houses were built with nine narrow horizontal lanes and three vertical lanes for traditional fung shui reasons. As part of the Rural Sustainability program in 2014, a group of outsiders moved into the village to take over the farming business and every first Saturday morning of the month, they hold a farmers’ market where you can buy fresh veggies, tea bags, quinoa, and more. After that, go behind the village to Fung Shui Woods. Along the well-paved trail, you will find hundreds of species of wildlife here. Don’t miss the chance to check out the wetlands, fishponds, and mangroves around Double Haven too. You may end the hike here and take the ferry back to Ma Liu Shui (available on the weekend and public holidays). Alternatively, continue the walk from Fung Shui Woods to Fan Shui Au, then follow the signage to Luk Keng. You will pass through Kuk Po village and the coastline overlooking Shenzhen until you reach the endpoint in Luk Keng. 

Distance: 16km
Duration: 4.5 hours
Difficulty: 2.5 out of 5

How to get there: Take minibus 20R from Tai Po Market Station to Wu Kau Tang. Begin the hike at the Double Haven Country Trail. On weekends there are ferries from Lai Chi Wo back to Ma Liu Shui. If you continue the hike to Luk Keng, take minibus 56k to Fan Ling Station.


Fa Heung Lo Teng

Best for: More rock formations

Castle Peak Basin in western New Territories is a place of eroded hills. There are some interesting natural spots such as Moon Canyon, Bread Rock, Piglet Rock, and Star Rock that make this hike worth the challenge. Begin the hike from the green stairs next to Lau’s Ancestral Hall in Lung Kwu Tang and in around 30 mins uphill, you’ll arrive at the first two spots of the day – Piglet Rock, which looks like a little piggy, and Star Rock, which requires you to go under the Piglet Rock. These two rocks are great Instagram spots but be careful when climbing up Star Rock as it can be slippery. Continue ascending to the top where you can enjoy the beautiful view of Lung Kwu Tang, South China Sea and Castle Peak Basin. Finish off the hike by descending on the left path towards the Castle Peak Power Station (with two pipes sticking out) and join the Lung Mun Country Trail to go back to Lung Kwu Tang bus stop. Part of the hike is not on official paths but is marked by ribbons. This hike will also walk you through some deserted roads, so proper hiking boots with good grip are highly recommended.  

Distance: 5km
Duration: 3 hours
Difficulty: 4 out of 5

How to get there: Take bus K52 from Tuen Mun Station and get off at Lung Kwu Tan. You can go the same way back. 

Little Hawaii

Best for: A waterfall hike

Known as the easiest waterfall hike in Hong Kong, Little Hawaii was once the water reservoir for a flour factory in the 1900s. Now, it’s the perfect spot for a leisurely walk. Start the hike along Wilson Trail Section 3 at Tseng Lan Shue bus stop on Clearwater Bay Road where the path is mainly flat. At the fork, turn into the Little Hawaii Trail and in several minutes you’ll reach Little Hawaii waterfall, the first waterfall of the hike. From the bridge on top of the stream, continue downhill along Little Hawaii trail and at the cross-section, turn right and walk towards Au Tau where you’ll eventually reach the second waterfall, the Lin Yuen Terrace waterfall. As the highlight of the hike, you can go upstream to view the waterfall from a different angle too. To finish, go back to the cross-section and make your way to Tseung Kwan O village where Po Lam station is a mere 10 to 15 minute walk away. 

Distance: 2.5km
Duration: 1 hour
Difficulty: 1 out of 5

How to get there: Take bus 91, 91M, or 92 from Diamond Hill Station and get off at Tseng Lan Shue. At the endpoint of Tseung Kwan O village follow the MTR sign and walk back to Po Lam station. 


Rhino Rock

Best for: A short but challenging hike

Rhino Rock is located in Stanley, which is a short but challenging hike. It gets its moniker from a rock that looks like a rhino’s head. Begin the hike at the stone staircase next to Stanley Fort military gate and walk uphill until you reach the top. Keep walking on the same trail and follow the ribbons as you descend. Be aware that you will walk through the bushes and the road can get slippery. Once you reach the rocky part, where you need to climb through, you’re not far from the famous Rhino Rock. For those who are adventurous, there is a ladder to climb up the rock for pictures. In the background, you can see Stanley Prison and Tai Tam Bay. You can go back the same way you came. Part of the hike is not on an official path, but once again, is marked by ribbons. This hike is mainly uphill and downhill so please do consider your level of physical ability although the hike is short and be careful on and around the rock.

Distance: 1.5km
Duration: 1.5 hours
Difficulty: 3 out of 5

How to get there: Take bus 14 from Sai Wan Ho Station and get off at Stanley Fort. You can go the same way back.

Wo Yeung Shan

Best for: Advanced hikers

As the fifth highest peak in Hong Kong, Wo Yeung Shan offers breathtaking views of the city. Those who are up for the challenge can even climb up the Wo Yeung Rocks for photos. Start your hike in Chuen Lung (there’s a self-service dim sum spot called Choi Lung that you can fuel up at) and walk along the road until you reach Chuen Lung Management Centre of Tai Mo Shan Country Park – the starting point of the hike. Follow the path to Heung Shek Cemetery where you will find a staircase to climb up to Tai Mo Shan fire lookout station (or Miu Ko Toi in Canto). This portion of the hike has little to no shade so make sure you have enough water and sunscreen on. Take a break at the lookout station, then walk towards the Wo Yeung Rocks. It’s not well marked on Google Maps but you should be able to see it from the lookout. There are a couple of paths but the key here is to take the path that leads you towards a group of very large boulders. You will be passing through some thicker bushes and bamboo plants on your way to this. When you get there, you can climb up the bare rocks for photos but be very careful as it can be dangerous. As you continue on the path you’ll start the descent. Follow Sheung Sze Forest Trail towards Lung Mun Country Trail and end the hike at Shing Mun Reservoir, where minibuses and taxis are available to return to the city. 

Distance: 9.5km
Duration: 4.5 hours
Difficulty: 3.5 out of 5

How to get there: Take bus 51 from Tsuen Wan MTR Station or take minibus 80 from Tsuen Wan (Chuen Lung Street), and get off at Chuen Lung. Most of the paths are marked with ribbons, however, please be careful when climbing between bare rocks. 

    You may also like
    You may also like