With the end of the DSE season comes a two-month holiday. For once, you don’t have to do any homework, revision or assignments. Hiking is a great way to spend a day - you get exercise and fresh air - so here are five trails you might not have tried before.
High Island Reservoir (East Dam)
This trail is relatively easy since there aren’t too many steep climbs. What makes it unique is that it is part of the Hong Kong Unesco Geopark. The area was a super volcano 140 million years ago. When it erupted, it produced hexagonal, or six-sided, rock columns which line the path.
The highlight of the trail is the East Dam, where the natural and the man-made collide. On one side, you have volcanic rocks; on the other there are concrete dolosse, blocks which stop the waves damaging the coast.
How long is the hike? 2-3 hours
How to get there: Take the 94 bus from Sai Kung Town Centre or 96R from Diamond Hill MTR Station to Pak Tam Chung
Ma Shi Chau
Also listed as part of the Hong Kong Unesco Geopark, Ma Shi Chau is another great hike for people who love rocks. The area is covered with sedimentary rocks which are nearly 300 million years old.
The trail also offers two unusual features. When the tide is low, it connects to a nearby island, Yim Tin Tsai. The path also cuts through a small village, so you experience rural living as well as natural beauty. If you want to experience prehistoric Hong Kong, as well as its distant roots as a fishing village.
How long is the hike? 1-2 hours
How to get there: Take the 20K minibus or 74K KMB bus from Tai Po Market MTR Station to Sam Mun Tsai Road
Get away from the tourist traps of Lamma and Cheung Chau and explore the best of Hong Kong’s hidden outlying islands
Lion Rock Country Park
Lion Rock is a culturally significant peak: it is in the name of a popular Cantonese song, Below the Lion Rock. “Lion Rock spirit” is said to describe Hong Kong people’s core values of standing together and being brave. And during Occupy Central in 2014, a banner reading “I want real universal suffrage” was hung from the highest point of the rock.
Part of the MacLehose Trail, this is one of the harder hikes here, and you’ll need some of that Lion Rock spirit to finish it. Luckily, there are several ways to get to the top. The view, when you get there, is worth the effort.
How long is the hike? 3-5 hours (depending on which trail you take)
How to get there: Take the MTR to Wong Tai Sin MTR Station, then walk an hour, or take a 10-minute taxi ride, to the start of the trail.
Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery
If you’re looking for a short hike, the Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery (open from 9am to 5pm) is the perfect place to go. Although it is relatively short, it consists of quite a long flight of steep steps.
Climbing those steps among the 10,000 Buddha statues is a spiritual experience. While it is quite popular, it is a peaceful space, with a few shrines where people can pray, and a view of the bustling Sha Tin district. A great choice if you like to mix your exercise with meditation.
How long is the hike? 30 minutes
How to get there: five-minute walk from Sha Tin MTR Station (Exit B) to the entrance
You probably think of The Peak as a place where only tourists go. After all, it offers breathtaking views of Hong Kong and Kowloon. But the path around The Peak, often referred to as the Victoria Peak Loop, is great for tourist and locals alike.
It is fairly easy and doesn’t get too steep. You will see other hikers, and lots of people walking dogs, but it isn’t usually crowded. Five hundred metres above the ground, it’s surprisingly tranquil, and a refreshing change from the bustling concrete jungle below. Plus those views.
How long is the hike? 1 hour
How to get there: Take the Peak Tram, 1 minibus or 15 NWFB bus from Central Exchange Square to The Peak