18 April, 2023
historic hikes hong kong ancient trails hikes: devil's peak
historic hikes hong kong ancient trails hikes: devil's peak
Health & Wellness

Hikes With A History: The Best Historic Walking Trails In Hong Kong

18 April, 2023
historic hikes hong kong ancient trails hikes: devil's peak

Put your explorer caps on and tick off these historic hikes, treks and trails in Hong Kong where you can uncover everything from World War II relics to ancient temples and more.

Our city’s modern developments can overshadow and even overtake its rich cultural history — leaving some of the most historic sites in Hong Kong completely overlooked. Luckily for us, there are plenty of historic hikes, ancient trails and heritage walks that are short, easy and within a stone’s throw away from the city. Transport yourself back to nature — and back in time — to unearth the historic gems that are hidden in the midst of skyscrapers and greenery. These historic hikes are well worth the trek, to learn about Hong Kong’s history and culture.

Read More: The Best Hikes In Kowloon – Lion Rock, Suicide Cliff & More

Disclaimer: Some hikes are harder than others so it’s important to be prepared. Make sure to look up the difficulty of the trail route and take necessary precautions before and during your hike (safety before Instagram!). Check the weather for high temperatures or unexpected rain, bring water, wear appropriate clothing and shoes, stay on the path and keep your mobile charged in case you need to make an emergency call.

historic hikes hong kong ancient trails hikes: wong nai chung gap

Wong Nai Chung Gap Trail

Explore the terrain of, arguably, the most important battle of the Defense of Hong Kong in World War 2. Starting from the Wong Nai Chung Reservoir and ending on Stanley Gap Road, the Wong Nai Chung Gap Trail offers hikers and history buffs a thrilling insight into Hong Kong’s wartime landscape. Explore the ruins of bunkers, pillboxes, and anti-aircraft batteries.

Getting there: Bus routes 41A, 63, 6 or 76 as well as minibus route 5 (they all have a stop at Wong Nai Chung Gap)
Distance: About 3km
Duration: Around 1.5 hours at a leisurely pace
Difficulty: Beginner
Getting homeWhen you reach Stanley Gap Road, take the 6A, 6, or 260 to get to Admiralty, Central, or Wanchai. Alternatively, cross the road to take the 6A, 6, 260, or 73 to go to Stanley.

historic hikes hong kong ancient trails hikes: devil's peak

Devil’s Peak

Named after the pirates that occupied the hill during the Ming Dynasty, Devil’s Peak is perfect for beginner hikers or those looking to squeeze in a quick scenic hike. During The Battle of Hong Kong, Japanese forces bombarded the prudent fortifications built here — such as the Gough Battery built in 1898, and the Devil’s Peak Redoubt.

Getting there: Get off Yau Tong Exit B2 and walk along Cha Kwo Ling Road until you reach the intersection at Yau Tong Road. Get to Junk Bay Chinese Permanent Cemetary Access Road and walk along the gentle slope ahead until you see a flight of stairs pointing to Wilson Trail Section 3.
Distance: About 2.6km
Duration: Around 1.5 hours at a leisurely pace
Difficulty: Beginner
Getting home: Once you reach the observation post, retrace your steps back to Yau Tong Station.

Read More: 6 Short Hiking Trails In Hong Kong: Easy Hikes Under Two Hours

Shing Mun War Relics Trail

The Shing Mun War Relics Trail is the shortest section of the famously challenging MacLehose Trail. As part of the Gin Drinker’s Line, a 13-mile defence front designed to counter Japanese aggression in World War 2, this trail is full of historic ruins. Although it can be hard to get to, it offers hikers the chance to trace Hong Kong’s wartime scars and journey into the past through underground war tunnels, pillboxes, and trenches.

Sassy Tip: Keep your eye out in general, be mindful of any monkeys you see, and make sure you don’t have any food visible on you when you are near them.

Getting there: Take minibus 82 from Tsuen Wan Station to Shing Mun Reservoir. Take a right from the Shing Mun Reservoir sign and walk down the road until you reach the BBQ area where you can join the MacLehose Trail. Walk towards the Memorial Arch of MacLehose Trail Section 6.
Distance: About 4.1km
Duration: Around 1.5 hours at a leisurely pace
Difficulty: Beginner
Getting home: From Tai Po Road (the end of the trail), take bus number 81 to Jordan, or bus number 72 to Sha Tin, Kowloon.

Tung O Ancient Trail

Also known as the Tung Tai Trail, residents of Tai O used to travel via this route to reach Tung Chung. Though this is a fairly lengthy hike, it’s well-paved for the most part and flat. We’d just suggest avoiding this hike on rainy days in case of flash floods, and when it gets dark as there aren’t that many lights around this area. As you hike past, you can still catch sight of residents that live along this trail.

Getting there: From Tung Chung Station Exit A, head to the Tung Chung Fire Station via Tat Tung Road and then Shun Tung Road. Turn to Yu Tung Road and go past the Yat Tung Estate until you reach the Hau Wong Temple which is the starting point of the hike.
Distance: About 15km
Duration: Around 4.5 hours
Difficulty: Intermediate
Getting home: After exploring Tai O, you can take bus route 11 back to Tung Chung or bus route 1 to Mui Wo and catch a ferry to Central.

Read More: Lantau Island Guide – A Local’s Guide To South Lantau

historic hikes hong kong ancient trails hikes: pinewood battery

Pinewood Battery Heritage Trail

The next time you’re at The Peak, why not take a hike through the Pinewood Battery Trail? Nested in the Lung Fu Shan Country Park, this trail features the highest coastal defence Battery in Hong Kong. Built in 1903, the Pinewood Battery was used as an anti-aircraft battery during World War 2. After being severely destroyed by Japanese heavy artillery, the ruins now provide a relaxing picnic spot after a steep hike.

Getting there: Take the number 15 bus from Central Exchange Square Bus Terminus to The Peak. From there, walk 20 minutes into Harlech Road and then go down Hatton Road. There is a sign for the Lung Fu Shan Country Park on the left. Walk down the flight of stairs.
Distance: About 2.2km
Duration: Around 45 minutes at a leisurely pace
Difficulty: Beginner
Getting home: From the battery, go back to Hatton Road and walk down the path to Kotewall Road. Turn to University Drive and head towards the HKU MTR station. Alternatively, retrace your steps back to The Peak.

historic hikes hong kong ancient trails hikes: ping shan trail

Ping Shan Heritage Trail

Opened in 1993, the Ping Shan Heritage Trail was Hong Kong’s first heritage trail. Escape the city and immerse yourself in the ancient architecture from the Tang Clan dating back to the Northern Song dynasty (920-1127). Starting from the Tsui Sing Lau Pagoda — the only surviving ancient pagoda in Hong Kong — and ending at the Hung Shing Temple, this trail is sure to transport you back in time!

Getting there: Bus routes K65, 53, and 276, and green minibuses 33, 34, and 35. Alight at Ping Ha Road which is the closest point to the Visitors Centre.
Distance: About 1.6km
Duration: Around 2 to 4 hours depending on breaks
Difficulty: Beginner
Getting home: The trail ends right by the Tin Shui Wai MTR station.

Read More: Your Ultimate Guide To Beginner-Friendly & Easy Hikes In Hong Kong

historic hikes hong kong ancient trails hikes: tai tam waterworks

Tai Tam Waterworks Heritage Trail

Perhaps one of the most picturesque reservoir hikes in Hong Kong, this circular walk comprises 22 pre-historic waterworks structures (some built all the way back in 1883!). You can cover everything from dams, valve houses and aqueducts. The most iconic structure here has to be the Tai Tam Tuk Reservoir Masonry Bridge built in 1907.

Getting there: Make your way to either the north end which is Hong Kong Parkview (via bus route 6 or 66) or the south end which is Tai Tam Road (via bus routes 14 and 314 or minibuses 16M and 16X)
Distance: About 5km
Duration: Around 2 hours at a leisurely pace
Difficulty: Beginner to moderate
Getting home: It’s a circular trail so you can take bus routes 6 or 66 to get back to the main areas of Hong Kong Island.

Editor’s Note: “Hikes With A History: The Best Historic Walking Trails In Hong Kong” was originally published by Christiana Wu and most recently updated in April 2023 by Fashila Kanakka.


Main image courtesy of @wingyan.bside via Instagram, image 1 courtesy of @ingramtom and @hongkong_mushu via Instagram, image 2 courtesy of @cliffordpolycarp via Instagram, image 3 courtesy of Najuka Redkar, image 4 courtesy of @yoshikei_hongkong via Instagram, image 5 courtesy of @ourhongkongadventures via Instagram.

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