Awesome shopping? For sure. Superb luxury hotels? Absolutely. Pulsing nightlife and jam-packed markets? You betcha. Fantastic nature opportunities? Not to be missed. Check out the best nature spots for hiking in Hong Kong with this guide.
Roughly one-half of Hong Kong is occupied by nature parks and green space which means natural spaces are often a short walk or ferry ride from bustling urban areas. This is our guide for hiking in Hong Kong.
Here is a look at some great hiking and walking options in this varied destination, which is dotted with dozens of remote islands.
VICTORIA PEAK CIRCLE WALK
This is one of the easier and more rewarding experiences you will find. Take the fun tram ride to the top of Victoria Peak, then look for the signs for Lugard or Harlech Road. You will find a lovely walking trail (with the occasional small car or truck rolling past) that carries you around the peak, passing through deep jungles filled with hanging vines, banyan trees, bamboo and wild hibiscus.
Below your feet are some of the great vistas of the world; tremendous views of one of the world’s great harbours and dozens of boats darting through the passage between Hong Kong Island and Kowloon. The mountains of the New Territories jut out in the distance, and skyscrapers poke their way into the hazy Hong Kong sky.
I like going in the afternoon for the views of the harbour and central Hong Kong, as the light is behind you rather than directly in your face (and in front of your camera lens).
You can do the hike in less than an hour (including stops for photos). If you want to stretch things out a bit, take a hike from Victoria Peak down past Pok Fu Lam reservoir; about a 3 km downhill trek that takes you past small waterfalls and forests filled with chirping birds. Once you are at the bottom you can hail a cab or take a local bus back to your hotel in central Hong Kong or Kowloon.
CHEUNG CHAU ISLAND
Cheung Chau Island is a fantastic island for short, rewarding walks. You can head to the north end of the island to check out a pretty pagoda that sits high on a hill and offers tremendous views of the ocean and distant Hong Kong Island.
There’s also a lively beach (Tung Wan) that is a short walk from the ferry dock, where you might find surfers, sailors or paddle-boarders.
Be sure to check out the wild carvings and rich colours at the Pak Tai Temple.
Stop at any number of oceanfront restaurants for an inexpensive meal of seafood or noodles. Last time I was there a small shop called Yu and Me sold lovely Japanese and Chinese teas.
Start in the small village of Yung Shue Wan and explore the small shops, hippie-like bookstores and casual restaurants before heading out of town on the Lamma Island Family Walk.
You will pass deep green forests and some fun, casual places to eat and drink before reaching the beach at Hung Shing Yeh after a short walk (maybe 15 minutes). It is a fine stretch of sand that is marred slightly by a hulking power plant off to one side. Still, the water is usually fairly warm (especially for Canadians) and it is a great place for people-watching.
There are several longer trails if you want something more challenging.
Most folks take the Ngong Ping Cable Car up a steep hill, then stroll through the main village to see the Giant Buddha that sits atop a large promontory. It is a lovely sight and a very important spiritual destination for Buddhists.
Take a short stroll to check out Po Lin Monastery with its gardens, gleaming buddhas and vegetarian lunches.
Some folks skip the cable car and take the extremely strenuous hiking trail to the Giant Buddha, a trek that rises some 600 meters (depending on your route) and usually takes several hours.
The Tai O Fishing Village on Lantau is worth seeing, too.
THE DRAGON’S BACK
This is a tough trail that goes on for roughly 10 kilometres along Hong Kong Island. Take the number 9 bus from Shau Kei Wan Metro station and then follow the crowds and the wooden signs for the trail.
The first part is quite steep, rising and falling over craggy peaks until you reach the top of Shek O Peak at 284 metres. You will be rewarded with tremendous views of fishing villages, distant islands and deep blue bays cutting into the dense, green islands all around.
Things get a bit easier after the initial climb and you level out along a wide, easy trail before ambling downhill to Big Wave Bay, which feels like a California surf village transplanted to Asia.
Order a cold Dragon’s Back beer at the beachfront café, watch the surfers dance on the waves and congratulate yourself for a hike well done.
WHERE TO STAY IN HONG KONG
The Peninsula is an iconic hotel on the Kowloon side, with some of the city’s best dim sum and Hong Kong’s coolest lobby.
Hotel Madera has nice rooms and a 29th-floor lounge with great views in Kowloon.
The Eaton Hong Kong is a great property for folks on a budget, with nice rooms and a cool urban feel in Kowloon.
Mojo Nomad is a new, clean, trendy and chic chain of hostels geared towards remote workers and travellers. There are options for single rooms, doubles, or mixed and female-only dorm rooms. The bilingual staff run daily events, including hiking to the peak and pub crawls. Recommended for backpackers and digital nomads of all ages.
Check out Skyscanner’s flight search for the best airfare deals to get you to Hong Kong.