If Sai Kung is a little far for you and you’re keen to escape the Island bubble, across the harbour is just as stunning. Sure, beach hikes might not be as ubiquitous here, but if you’re looking for panoramic city views and acrophobia-inducing cliffs, Kowloon has everything you need.
As the name suggests, this hike is not for the faint-hearted. But if you’re quite the daredevil, Suicide Cliff could be your next big adventure. This spot is incredibly popular with photographers and is all over Instagram thanks to its breathtaking views (which we think must be experienced in person for the full effect). It is quite a risky hike though, especially if you decide to head out onto the cliff, so be sure to find someone experienced to accompany you, or just be super careful at all times.
Duration: 2 hours (or longer, if you’re obsessed with getting the perfect Instagram shot)
Getting there: There are quite a few routes up Suicide Cliff. One begins at a small unmarked path along Fei Ngo Shan Road. To get there, take minibus 1A from Choi Hung MTR Station Exit C1 and get off at Fei Ngo Shan Road (best to notify your driver once you get on the minibus because they don’t always stop there). Walk along Fei Ngo Shan Road until you see a small winding path on your left and walk in. The trail towards Suicide Cliff can be found right before the entrance to a residential building. Click here for Google Map directions.
Getting home: Return to Fei Ngo Shan Road the way you came and walk or take minibus 1A back to Choi Hung MTR Station. Alternatively, continue walking up to Kowloon Peak, which will take around 15 minutes. You’ll know that you’ve reached the peak when you see a television transmission tower and a helipad. Head back down the steps to return to Fei Ngo Shan Road.
Read more: The Best Beach Hikes In Hong Kong
If the Suicide Cliff hike doesn’t do it for you, try going up Kowloon Peak (aka Fei Ngo Shan) from a different spot and make your way across three (or even four!) peaks in one day. This route will lead you through the summits of Kowloon Peak, Middle Hill and Tung Shan, and ends at Tsz Wan Shan near Wong Tai Sin. Suicide Cliff is still accessible on this hike, so you’re not missing out on any (heart pumping) fun.
Distance: 8km (excluding Lion Rock hike)
Duration: 3.5 hours
Getting there: Take minibus 1A from Choi Hung MTR Station Exit C1 and get off at Fei Ngo Shan Road (best to notify your driver once you get on the minibus because they don’t always stop there). Walk uphill along Fei Ngo Shan Road (but don’t turn left onto the path), passing by a pavilion on your left and a rock marked with “Fei Ngo Shan” on your right. Continue walking until you see a stone tablet with “328” in red on it, which marks the start of the trail towards Kowloon Peak. After reaching the summit (the transmission tower and helipad), you can choose between heading south towards Suicide Cliff, or north for Middle Hill. Click here for further directions.
Towards the end of your hike, you will be greeted by the Lion’s Pavilion at Sha Tin Pass, which marks the start of the famous Lion Rock hike. Another hike, anyone?
Getting home: Walk 50 minutes or take a 15-minute taxi ride from the Lion’s Pavilion to Wong Tai Sin MTR station.
Read more: Hiking Trails Under Two Hours In Hong Kong
Watching over Kowloon is a majestic lion, a spectacle of nature aptly named Lion Rock. A symbol of Hong Kong’s can-do attitude in the 1970s, Lion Rock is where you’ll be rewarded with the most amazing, sweeping view of the city. Climb onto the rock itself for the full experience and a stunning picture to match!
Duration: 3 hours
Getting there: Most people begin their hike to Lion Rock from the east, but only by coming from the west will you see the side of the rock that looks like a lion.
East entrance: Catch a taxi from Wong Tai Sin MTR station Exit B3 for a 10-minute ride to the Lion’s Pavilion, then make your way down the slope to the start of the trail, which is marked by the “Lion Rock Country Park” arch. You could also walk to the start from Wong Tai Sin MTR station, which would take an extra 50 minutes.
West entrance: Take KMB buses 1/2B/7M/11C/11K/103/211 or green minibuses 72/73 and get off at Tin Wang Court, then head back down Chuk Yuen Road until you reach a very long staircase. Go up the stairs and you’ll reach Lion Rock Park Community Garden, where another flight of stairs will lead you to Lion Rock. You could also walk to the long staircase from Wong Tai Sin station Exit B1, which would take around 15 minutes.
Getting home: Beginning your hike from the Lion’s Pavilion will lead you to Lion Rock Park Community Garden at the end of your hike and vice versa. Simply head home by walking or taking a taxi back to Wong Tai Sin station from either side. We love ending the hike with an ice-cold tofu pudding (with lots of crunchy red sugar and lashings of syrup, of course) at the cute little shack near the Lion’s Pavilion.
Read more: Hong Kong’s Most Challenging Hikes
On the outskirts of north-western Kowloon is Monkey Hill, also known as Kam Shan Country Park, which is where the Smugglers’ Pass hike is located. As per its name, Monkey Hill is teeming with macaques, which are rumoured to be descended from pet monkeys released in the 1920s. Cute as they are, these little critters can get quite aggressive once they think you have food to offer, so unless you’re up for a mini Planet of the Apes re-enactment, we’d advise you to keep your food hidden.
This hike also offers a slice of history for all those interested in WW2 relics and Hong Kong’s colonial past. You will find the Shing Mun Redoubt, a range of trenches and bunkers with names like Charing Cross and Shaftesbury Avenue. The redoubt served as the defensive headquarters of the Gin Drinkers’ Line, a military defensive line against the Japanese invasion back in WW2.
Duration: 2.5 hours
Getting there: Take KMB buses 72/81 and get off at Shek Lei Pui Reservoir. Walk along Golden Hill Road and enter Kam Shan Country Park, then begin your hike at the Kam Shan Family Walk. Click here for further directions.
Getting home: The end of the trail leads to the Shing Mun Reservoir minibus stop. Though you’ll technically not be in Kowloon anymore, you’ll find yourself back in the city in less than 20 minutes by taking minibus 82 to Tsuen Wan.
Read more: Hong Kong’s Best Waterfall Hikes
Garden Hill technically isn’t a hike, but it’s one the best urban gems the city has to offer. Amidst the dense concrete of Sham Shui Po is an elevated oasis that looks over the chaos below, easily accessible by a staircase near Garden Bakery. Head up just before sunset with a friend and a bit of food for a whimsical picnic with the city right beneath your feet.
Distance: There are concrete estimates and unfortunately we couldn’t find the time to go measure with a trundle wheel (or measuring tape?), but trust us, it’s short enough
Duration: 20 minutes (or more if you plan on spending time at the top)
Getting there: Take Exit D2 of Sham Shui Po MTR station and make your way towards Mei Ho House, which is right behind Garden Bakery. You will find a sign that points towards the “Path Up Hill” right before you reach Mei Ho House. Simply follow the sign and head up the stairs.
Getting home: Head back to Sham Shui Po MTR station the way you came.
Read more: Hikes You Need To Do Before You Leave Hong Kong
Editor’s Note: This post was published on 13 July, 2018 by Rachel Au, and was updated on 20 August, 2019 by Tania Shroff.