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waterfall
Photograph: Courtesy Cindy Ng Bride's Pool

Hikes that take less than an hour in Hong Kong

Wanders in nature that aren't too strenuous in the summer heat

By Time Out Hong Kong
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While many of us enjoy a good strenuous hike, sometimes there's nothing better than enjoying a good trek in nature without the need to exert ourselves to the absolute fullest. Considering that the Hong Kong summer is well and truly upon us, short wanders out in nature – in which sweating is kept to reasonable rather than torrential levels – can prove especially prudent, especially for those who are tired of staying in all day watching Netflix with the AC on full blast. Here are some of the best hikes in Hong Kong that take less than one hour to complete once you've got yourself there by public transport or other means. By Hoi Man Yau

RECOMMENDED: What better way to avoid the heat than avoiding the sun? Check out the Best Night Hikes in Hong Kong.

Hikes that take less than an hour in Hong Kong

Before you go

While these hikes are generally on the easier side, it is, of course, important to remember to always prepare properly when heading out into nature. Remember to pack plenty of water, insect repellent, sunscreen, and other essentials. We also strongly advise hiking in numbers where possible.

Ha Pak Nai
Ha Pak Nai
Photograph: Shutterstock

Ha Pak Nai (Yuen Long)

Widely regarded as the best spot to view the sunset in Hong Kong, Ha Pak Nai is surprisingly easy to reach by catching a minibus from Yuen Long Station. A wetland area populated with mudskippers, fiddler crabs, and mangroves, the mudflats here are teeming with life and rather easy to access. You will be getting off at Ha Pak Nai, so there won’t be much walking to do afterwards, but feel free to explore the mudflats while waiting for the sunset. Do bring a pair of shoes that you won’t mind getting mud on, as well as mosquito repellent – we learnt this one the hard way.

How to get there and home:
From Yuen Long MTR station exit E, make the short walk to Tai Fung street and catch the 33 minibus to Pak Nai bus stop (35 minutes). To get home return the way you came.

Distance on foot:
100 metres from the bus stop (plus however much meandering you wish to do once there).

Time on foot: 
Five minutes.

 

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waterfall
waterfall
Photograph: Shutterstock

Mirror Pool (Shuen Wan)

Bride’s Pool and Mirror Pool are a pair of adjacent waterfalls with some slightly spooky folklore surrounding them. According to legend, Bride’s Pool is named so because a bride drowned in the pool when the porter that was carrying her slipped in the stormy weather and she fell into the pool along with the wedding sedan. The Mirror Pool gets its name from the ghost of the bride, who uses the pool as a mirror. 

Despite the tragic story, these pools are actually fairly safe to get to, though you would be well advised to stay away after it rains as things can get rather slippery. While you are there, take an extra 15 minutes to walk to the Bride’s Pool as well. The falls are over 30 metres tall and make for quite the grand view, especially considering the relatively low amount of effort needed. 

How to get there and home:
Take the 20R minibus from Tai Po Market MTR Station to Bride’s Pool/Wu Kau Tang bus stop (30 minutes). From here, it’s a five-minute walk to the pool itself. Return the way you came.

Distance on foot: 
150 metres from the bus stop.

Time on foot: 
10 minutes.

 

Check Keng
Check Keng
Photograph: Shutterstock

Chek Keng (Sai Kung)

This trek is probably even easier than taking a one hour walk on regular streets. Beginning at Pak Tam Au – which you can reach by taking a bus from Sai Kung, it is pretty much a downhill trail all the way, which means that this trail is even less strenuous than most others on this list. Scenery wise, you’ll be rewarded with a close view of the coastline, the mudflats, and Sharp Peak, which is a notoriously difficult hike in contrast to the Chek Keng walk. Upon arrival at Chek Keng, you can take a ferry to Wong Shek, from where it's easy to catch a bus back to Sai Kung. Check the kaito ferry schedule for your return ferry time, so you can pace yourself on your walk to avoid waiting for a long time at the pier. 

How to get there and home:
From Choi Hung MTR Station Exit C2, ride 1A minibus to Sai Kung Pier (30 minutes), then take the number 7 minibus to Pak Tam Au (30 minutes). To get home, return the way you came or, board a kaito ferry to Wong Chek Pier and transfer to a bus back to Sai Kung.

Distance on foot: 
Three kilometres.

Time on foot: 
50 minutes.

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Tai Hang Tun
Tai Hang Tun
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Alan Wat

Tai Hang Tun (Clear Water Bay)

A part of Clear Water Bay Country Park, Tai Hang Tun is an ideal spot for kite flying, barbecuing, and general outdoor fun with scenic views suitable for the whole family due to the ease of the trek. 

Alight the bus at Tai Mun Au, and from there follow the signage that points to Clear Water Bay Country Park and walk along the tarmac-paved Clear Water Bay Road for around 15 minutes. 

Do visit the Clear Water Bay Tree Walk, which will take you around 20 minutes to finish. All in all, this is a stroll for picturesque views overlooking the lush green peninsula and sapphire waters.

How to get there and home:
Take bus number 91 from Diamond Hill MTR station and alight at Tai Au Mun (1 hour). Return the way you came.

Distance on foot:
1.5 kilometres.

Time on foot: 
25 minutes.

Hiking
Hiking
Photograph: Shutterstock

Garden Hill (Sham Shui Po)

This 90m tall hill located in Sham Shui Po is very easy to climb. Due to the ease of climbing, it is an ideal spot for trying out your first night hike. It would be wise to bring a flashlight (your phone won’t cut it) for your trip if you choose to do so, as the lighting is insufficient when the sun goes down. 

That being said, this hike is worth the hassle because of the enchanting view you get overlooking Kowloon lit up at night. 

How to get there and home:

At Sham Shui Po MTR station, take exit D2 and take the flat, route to the foot of the hill. From here, take a deep breath and ascend the snaking stone staircase up the hill which will take around 20 minutes. Return the way you came.

Distance on foot:
1.5 kilometres.

Time on foot: 
One hour round trip.

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Trio Beach (Sai Kung)

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Reachable by sampan or hike, Trio Beach is a rather popular destination during the holidays, and it is no surprise considering how smooth the sand is, and how it is graded as top-notch by the Environmental Protection Department for its water quality.

How to get there and home:
From Diamond Hill MTR station, ride the 1A minibus to Tai Chung Hau bus stop (65 minutes). From here, follow Hiram’s Highway towards Lion’s Nature Education Centre until you see Che Keng Tuk Road. Follow Che Keng Tuk Road until you see SKIP (Sai Kung Pre-school), then follow the trail next to SKIP and follow the signage to Trio Beach (45 minutes on foot). To get home return the way you came.

Distance on foot:
2.5 kilometres.

Time on foot: 
50 minutes.

Hok Tau reservoir dam
Hok Tau reservoir dam
Photograph: Courtesy Typhoonchaser

Hok Tau Reservoir Family Walk (Fanling)

Located inside Pat Sin Leng Country Park, this trail is a fair bit easier than the other hikes you can find in the park. Here you will be quickly rewarded with a view overlooking the lakes below after a 68 step ascent. Like most trails labelled as family walks, this is a trail which is, for the most part, more like a stroll than a hike. The walk wraps around the reservoir, so you will have had a tour of this reservoir hidden in a valley when you reach the end. Since water is plentiful and clean here, you might be able to spot butterflies and dragonflies around!

How to get there and home: 
Take the 52B minibus from the Fanling MTR Station and alight at Hok Tau Wai (25 minutes). From here, make your way to the Family Walk. Return the way you came.

Distance on foot:
Three kilometres to the start of the trail. 

Time on foot: 
35 minutes to the start of the trail.

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beach
beach
Photograph: Shutterstock

Long Ke

Admittedly, this trail is a bit more steep and unshaded than the others on this list are, but we promise the trip is worth it (especially if you skip the lengthy trek from Pak Tam Chung to East Dam with the minibus) even in the summer heat because this trail’s view of the sun shining on the silky white sand and clear waters is very difficult to beat. 

If you start from East Dam, the hike to Long Ke is a 10-minute ascent followed by a steep but well-paved five-minute descent. The shortest path on foot back to civilisation is returning the way you came, which is more taxing on your stamina, take it slow though, and you should be fine. 

Bonus if you like cows - there are plenty of them on your way there from East Dam as well as a few on the beach itself. We find it rather therapeutic to just sit and watch them graze.

How to get there and home:
From Choi Hung MTR Station Exit C2, ride the 1A minibus to Sai Kung Pier and then take number 7 or 9 minibus to Pak Tam Chung (90 minutes). Following this, switch to the 9A minibus (Only available on Sundays and Public Holidays) towards East Dam (30 minutes). Return the way you came. 

Alternatively, take the taxi from Sai Kung Pier to East Dam. (1 hour, ~$130)

Distance on foot:
Two kilometres from East Dam bus stop.

Time on foot: 
30 minutes.

Looking for more outdoor ways to spend your day?

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