Heat and humidity are part and parcel of Hong Kong living, so we’re always keen for a hike that offers a water break.
Picturesque photo opportunities atop breathtaking cliffs are everywhere in this tiered series of waterfalls and natural pools hidden in the hills between Sai Wan and Ham Tin beaches in the Tai Long Wan cove (just make sure to watch your step!). They are a perfect side stop for a day trip to the beach or during a camping staycation weekend.
Getting there: From Sai Kung town, take the 29R Minibus from outside the McDonald’s to the Sai Wan Pavilion, or take a taxi. You will see signs from there to Sai Wan. You will reach Sai Wan after about 40 minutes. Walk past the restaurants and follow the path left onto a larger neighbouring beach where tents may be set up. Stick to the left until you see the end of the stream and trek into overgrown shrubs, where you will find fenced off farmlands on your left. Continue forward and watch your step as you climb uneven and rocky paths that are shaded by overgrown leaves. Follow this for 15 to 20 minutes and you will see the waterfall.
Length: 3.5km (one way)
Time at a leisurely pace: About an hour
Avoiding wrong turns: There is a cement footbridge that crosses the river – don’t go over it. Stay on the path to the left. As the path is mostly off-beat, it will be best navigated with someone familiar with the area.
Getting home: Either hike back out the way you came, or arrange a sampan which will take 45 minutes and cost from $100 up from Sai Wan or Ham Tim, the next beach over in the inlet. You should arrange your boat before you leave Sai Kung town as they can get full, or may not be running due to weather.
Read more: Your Guide To Tai Long Wan
Looking for more than one waterfall on one hike?! This is the trail for you.
The north-western face of Tai Mo Shan, Hong Kong’s tallest peak, boasts some of the most spectacular waterfalls in the city, with the highest being 35 metres tall. It’s the perfect place for swimming and picnicking, with a cultural stop at the Man Tak Yuen temple along the way.
Getting there: Take the MTR to Tai Wo station. From there, take the 25K minibus to Ng Tung Chai Road. Get off the bus and continue along the road for about 10 to 15 minutes until you see a path that branches off to the right. If you’re in a taxi, simply ask to go to the Ng Tung Chai waterfall path. Stay on the main path, where signs to the waterfalls are clearly marked. Follow straight on past the village houses until you reach a rock-paved path heading towards a temple. Continue past the temple as you reach Bottom Fall (the first fall on the main path). The path gets much steeper beyond that, but the views further up are worth the climb.
Length: 3km (one way)
Time at a leisurely pace: About an hour
Avoiding wrong turns: Stay on the main path. It takes you to all of the falls and is much less slippery and steep than shortcuts that might tempt you.
Getting home: Go back the way you came! We wouldn’t advise it, but it is possible to continue right to Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden where you can get a taxi from there or take the 64k back to Tai Wo station. However if you spot a “no trespassing” sign, turn back around because that could warrant a fine.
Urban legend has it that the area gets its name from a bride who fell into the pool when she was being carried in a sedan chair during stormy weather. Today, there is a clearly marked, paved and flat path to get to the falls – phew! There are some beautiful trails around Plover Cove, so it’s worth using these as brief picnic and snack stops during a full day of wandering in the area.
Getting there: Take the MTR to Tai Po Market stop. If it’s a Sunday or public holiday, you can take the 275R bus to the Bride’s Pool stop found at exit A3. Any other day, just hop in a taxi, which will take about 25 minutes. From there, there are clearly marked paths for the Bride’s Pool Nature Trail. Once past the trailhead, go down the stairs and over the bridge where you’ll need to turn left to arrive at the falls. Shortly you will see the signpost leading you to Mirror Pool. For Bride’s Pool, trace your steps back to the crossroads and walk in the direction heading towards the barbecue site. Through the barbecue site and up some stairs, you will find yourself at Bride’s Pool.
Length: Less than 1km to Bride’s Pool and less than 1km beyond that to Mirror Pool
Time at a leisurely pace: 30 to 45 minutes (one way)
Avoiding wrong turns: As there are so many trails around here, directions are clearly signed. If in doubt, Google maps is your friend.
Getting home: Call or hail a taxi from the trailhead if there are no buses. Spend some time in Tai Mei Tuk (a nice waterfront area filled with restaurants and bike paths) on the way out. There are buses or taxis to take you back to the MTR from there.
Read more: The Best Beginner Hikes In Hong Kong
Even easier to get to than Tai O falls, this series of waterfalls begins less than two kilometres from Mui Wo Pier. There are three sets of falls, the Silvermine lower falls, Pearl falls and Silvermine main falls. They are all heavily dependent on rain flow, so there isn’t much opportunity for swimming in summer– make the most of your trip by visiting in the wet season instead.
Getting there: From the ferry pier walk towards the beach and follow it along towards Silvermine Beach Resort. Right before Silvermine Beach Resort, turn left and head straight. You will see signs for the waterfalls and shuttered Silvermine Cave.
Length: About 3km (one way)
Time at a leisurely pace: About an hour
Avoiding wrong turns: The path will fork about 300 metres after you leave the beach, stay to the left of the creek, taking the left path.
Getting home: There are some much longer hiking paths connected to these trails but, for a short trip, the easiest path is simply back the way you came.
This hike is made all the more exciting by the fact that you can actually trek through the stream! Wong Lung Hang (WLH), or Yellow Dragon Stream is one of Hong Kong’s most picturesque, introductory-level stream treks. Lung Mei (Dragon’s Tail) Falls is a very scenic gorge, surrounded on all sides by waterfalls and there are a few falls on the route with opportunities to climb up some of the waterfalls with ropes – but this is best left to experienced climbers. For those just wanting to appreciate the view, there are also pools to swim in. Government Flying Services issued a warning, cautioning people to be careful when hiking to these falls, so be sure to keep this in mind!
Getting there: Take the MTR to Tung Chung and take a taxi to Chek Lap Kok Village. Walk to Wong Lung Hang Picnic Area and begin your trek along Wong Lung Hang Country Trail through to Wong Lung Hang Stream. At the end of the stream, go left towards a downward slope and begin the walk towards the stream. Onwards, follow the dam on the right and climb to cross the water pool where you will see the stream. Big rocks in the water help to make access to the waterfall a little easier.
Length: 10km (approx)
Time at a leisurely pace: 3 hours there and 3 hours back. Wong Lung Waterfall is 2 hours into the trek and 1 hour into the stream, where there is a really nice pool for swimming.
Avoiding wrong turns: There are a few smaller streams merging into Wong Lung Hang but you must stay on the main stream.
Getting home: Head back the way you came and take the MTR from Tung Chung.
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Ma Dai Stream is located in Ma On Shan Country Park in the New Territories and is one of Hong Kong’s best-kept secrets. There are opportunities to go canyoning here and to slide through the water, but this needs to be done with an experienced guide. The waterfall itself can be appreciated by a relatively short hike, although be prepared to get wet as you’ll need to scramble over rocks.
Getting there: Take the MTR to Tai Shui Hang and leave at Exit B. Head left and follow along Hang Tak Street. At the end of the path take the road on the right, which will eventually lead you to a dam. The trail towards the stream will be on the left, just before the dam. Following the trail, turn left at the end where you will see another dam and bridge. Cross the bridge, turn left and you will arrive at the entrance of the stream and the beautiful Hero’s cliff.
Length: 5km (approx)
Time at a leisurely pace: 2 hours
Getting home: If you keep following the path you will hit a fork, turn left and keep on the path past the private farm and on to Man On Shan Country Trail. Take a left past the picnic area and on to Man On Shan Tsuen Road and follow directions to Hang On MTR.
Lotus stream is one of nine big Streams in Hong Kong and is located at the upper right hand corner of Tai Lam Chung Reservoir. The trek takes you past a variety of waterfalls; Rainbow Fall, Louts Fall, Fairy Lotus Fall and Curl Dragon Fall. Take spare clothes and swimming gear for this one.
Getting there: The widest variety of bus routes is from the Tsing Yi MTR stop. Head out of Exit A to get to the bus terminal. Take KMB bus 251M, 263M, 264M or 265M and get off at the stop right after Tai Lam Tunnel. The journey will take around 20 minutes. Once you get off, go behind the bus stop and follow the path where you will find a minibus stop. Once you see the Tai Lam Chung Country Trail trailhead, you will have reached the beginning of the hike. At the first intersection, head left for 10 minutes where you will reach a catch-water paved road. Head right at the next intersection and follow the path upwards to arrive at Kat Hing Bridge. Here, cross the bridge and turn right immediately to begin the trek towards the stream. From there, follow red ribbons tied around branches and trees to guide you towards the stream. Since the path is mostly hidden amongst overgrown bushes, watch your step for slippery rocks or overgrown roots. Still confused? Reliable signposts are placed along the hike to ease any uncertainties that may arise throughout these jungle-like trails. For more detailed directions visit here.
Length: 10km (approx)
Time at a leisurely pace: Roughly 5 to 6 hours
Avoiding wrong turns: At one point you do need to cross the stream so be prepared for this. Keep right at the top of the waterfall and after about 20 metres, you will see a path on the right that climbs up the hill. Take it and it will lead you to the trail.
Getting home: At the end of the trail in Sham Tseng, make your way to the bus stop in front of Rhine Gardens. Minibuses 234A, 52X, 63 will take you to Tsuen Wan MTR.
Read more: Hikes You Need To Do Before You Leave Hong Kong
This hike takes you up near Wilson Trail section 10 and off the beaten track along rocks and through streams to a stunning waterfall. Hula Skirt fall is the first waterfall you encounter followed by Twin Falls. There are also great views along the Nam Chung Trail and on a clear day you can see Shenzhen in the distance.
Getting there: From Fanling MTR station, leave the station at exit A2 and take the 78K bus or the 56k minibus to Nam Chung. Once off the bus, cross the road and head right towards Luk Keng Road. The stream will just be a quick 35 minutes ahead. When you reach an intersection, turn right and go straight ahead until you reach the dam. Follow the stairs on the right and turn left once at the top. Continue alongside the railing and turn left onto a dirt road before heading down towards the stream. While walking over the rocks towards the stream, beware of slippery cracks and puddles (especially during rainy season).
Length: 6km (approx)
Time at a leisurely pace: 5 hours (including a dip)
Avoiding wrong turns: At the dam (2.5km from the bus stop), don’t try to jump the fence, climb the stairs on the right, then head left at the top, following the railing. Then left again and there’s a loosely defined footpath going through the bushes, that’s where you are going.
Getting home: The same way you came.
This is another series of falls in the Tai Mo Shan area with a stream running from Tai Mo Shan to Yuen Yuen Institute. Two waterfalls, Cliff of Flying Monkey and Jumping White Dragon are some of the standouts on the hike, however please be advised that getting to these requires a steep scramble directly up the rock face and is definitely for confident and competent climbers.
Getting there: From Tsuen Wan MTR station exit at B2 and head towards Shiu Wo Street to catch the 81 minibus. Get off at the final stop which is Western Monastery on Lo Wai Road. The trail towards the stream begins at the back of Yuen Yuen Institute where you will find a footpath that leads towards the stream. Follow the path past Lo Wai Village and you will find catch-water facilities of Tai Yuen Stream. Continue onwards and you will reach the entrance of the stream.
Time at a leisurely pace: 40 minutes from Yuen Yuen Institute
Avoiding wrong turns: Follow the stream.
Getting home: Head back the way you came.
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Editor’s Note: It’s important to do your research before embarking on any hike in Hong Kong, as some of the paths can be dangerous. Whether you’re a new hiker or a seasoned pro, familiarise yourself with hiking “do’s and don’ts” – especially when you’re navigating through slippery slopes. Keep your wits about you and know your limits!
This post was originally written by Eleni H in September 2015 and was updated by Tania Shroff in September 2020.