Another one of the big trails, the Maclehose Trail can be divided into different sections and hikers can enter from various locations around Hong Kong. And while some avid hikers may do the whole thing in one stream, if you’re looking to wake up at 9am on a Sunday and make a spontaneous decision to go to Sai Kung and hike to the beach, then this is a beauty! There is no argument that any hike in Sai Kung grants you some of HK’s best views and if you’re lucky enough to have good weather, then this hike is one of the most magnificent around.
Tai Long Wan is divided into four beaches, with Ham Tin and Sai Wan being the most popular (and best facilitated).There are also the little villages dotted along the hike to replenish your food and water supplies and snap a couple IG stories, but it’s the scenic beaches (yes, plural) that will keep you motivated. Oh, and a small detour to a waterfall you say? Can do, can do, can do. Again, this hike has various amendments you can make and different routes you can choose or lose so make sure to keep your GPS handy if you’re opting to veer off from this particular trail.
Getting there: If you’re not feeling too lazy and cabbing directly (a not so inexpensive venture but worth it if you’re pressed for time and have a few wallets to share the price), you’ll need to get to Sai Kung Town (there are minibuses from Mong Kok, Choi Hung, Hang Hau and Causeway Bay or bus 92 from Diamond Hill Exit C2). From Sai Kung Bus Terminus you can take the 94 bus towards Wong Shek Pier to get you to Pak Tam Au – the starting point for the hike and Maclehose Trail Section 2 (the whole hike is pretty well signposted). Get onto the paved path to begin your hike – this section is mostly shaded – and follow the trail until you reach Chek Keng Pier and see the boats coming in from Wong Shek Pier. The path then starts to ascend and although it is a bit strenuous, you can totally manage it. This path, inclusive of some awesome views of the upcoming bay, leads you all the way to Ham Tin Beach. Here you can book your boat trip to return to Sai Kung Town and stock up on fresh coconuts or food before continuing along the hike. Of course you can also rest your feet on Ham Tin; a beautiful beach that’s famous for camping. If you follow the lush forest path and veer left you’ll be able to check out the waterfall! Otherwise, from Ham Tin you’ll want to continue along the Maclehose signed trail that takes you uphill again towards Sai Wan Beach. Expect a lot of foot traffic and people stopping for the ‘gram (#guilty) but do yourself a favour and take a moment to take in the natural beauty Hong Kong has to offer. Continue along the path until you reach Sai Wan beach. It’s now time to unwind (and undress) and settle in for a solid chill on the sand. But be warned that unless you want to hike back the way you came, you’ll need to either get a boat back from Sai Wan or make a quick return to Ham Tin for the boat trip back to Sai Kung Town.
Duration: 3.5 hours
Getting home: If the weather permits, you can catch a boat back to Sai Kung Town from Sai Wan or Ham Tin until roughly 5pm (always check on the day as the schedule changes and there are sometimes no boats at all, which means hiking back along the Maclehose Trail). From Sai Kung Town you can catch the bus back to Diamond Hill or minibuses to Mong Kok, Choi Hung, Hang Hau and Causeway Bay where you can get back onto the MTR or cab home.
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