Though Hong Kong has a wealth of hiking trails to offer, sometimes the heat can be too much to bear, making even the shortest of hikes feel like a trek. Fortunately, our city is made up not only of a concrete jungle but also a real one, and has plenty of shaded hiking trails to keep you cool. So if the prospect of finishing your hike in pools of sweat (or real pools) doesn’t appeal to you, why not have a go at these shaded hikes that give you all the beauty of Hong Kong’s landscape, minus the scorching heat?
Famed for its breathtaking skyline, the sprawling mass of Hong Kong can only really be appreciated from above, which is more than feasible given the city’s mountainous terrain. Victoria Peak or The Peak is the highest mountain on Hong Kong Island and provides a stunning view of the Victorian Harbour. The path itself is sheltered by plenty of trees so you should be able to come out of the hike looking less like a tomato and more like a radiant goddess! One can dream. For all night owls, the trail can also be enjoyed in the evenings, when the panorama of Hong Kong comes alive with a dazzling luminosity.
Getting there: For the scenic route up, take the Peak Tram, which can be accessed via the Garden Road Peak Tram Lower Terminus. This is a short walk away from Exit J2 of Central MTR Station. Another option would be bus number 15 via Central Exchange Square or minibus 1 from Hong Kong MTR Station, both of which terminates at the Peak.
Distance: 3.5 km
Duration: Around 1.5 hours
Getting home: The trail is a loop and will take you back to the starting point near the Peak Tower; so you can return home the same way you arrived. Alternatively, there are also taxis situated in the public transport terminus.
The Blacks Link trail links Wan Chai Gap with Wong Nai Chung Gap. The trail itself is made up of a long uphill path, which then gradually descends down again. The hike offers beautiful views of Ocean Park, Happy Valley Racecourse and Central – all whilst being sheltered from the penetrating rays! Towards the beginning of the path are some very stunning houses (just in case admiring expensive property is your thing). If you have extra energy to use up, at the end of the trail, there’s a playground with a pagoda and a kiosk selling snacks. All in all, a perfect way to spend a Sunday with family and friends!
Getting there: Take a taxi there from Central, which would take around 15 minutes. Simply tell the taxi driver to go to Blacks Link (布力徑/Bo Lik Ging in Cantonese) – you should be able to recognise the start of the hike by signposts saying ‘Black’s Link’.The hike itself is very straightforward; simply follow the signs directing you towards Wanchai Gap.
Distance: 3.5 km
Duration: 1 hour
Getting home: Simply hail a taxi back to Central or wherever it is you need to go. However, it would be easiest to head to Central first and then take the bus or MTR back home.
This hike starts at Mount Butler Road and ends at the Braemar Hill shopping centre. While the shaded trail is not difficult, it consists of some steps and rocky segments. Worth packing enough water, even though it’s a short one. At the end of the hike are several restaurants and a coffee shop – plenty of incentive to get your butt moving!
Getting there: Take minibus 24M from Admiralty, which pretty much takes you to the start of the trail. If you’d like a bit more of a challenge you can take bus number 11 from Central Ferry Piers which will bring you to the midpoint of Mount Butler Road; from there you can walk uphill towards the start of the trail.
When you arrive at Mount Butler Road, follow the signs to the firing range. At the end of the path you will see a sign pointing you in the direction of Sir Cecil’s Ride: follow this. The trail should conclude in some steps downhill. At the bottom of the steps, turn right and go down the hill where you will find the restaurants and coffee shop. For a more visual depiction of the route, follow these instructions.
Distance: 3 km
Duration: 45 minutes
Getting home: At the end of the trail is a bus terminus with various options for getting back to the city. There is also the option of getting a taxi to the closest MTR, Quarry Bay station, and then heading home via train.
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If your navigational skills are a bit rusty, how about having a go at this guided nature walk in Tai Po Kau? Tai Po Kau is as far as a city like Hong Kong will ever come to being an actual jungle. Nestled in the forests of New Territories, it’s a nature reserve home to hundreds of species of wildlife and is an excellent excuse to get away from the commotion of urban life. Of course, if you would like to enjoy this hike free of charge, there are several walks you can take – the shortest being 3 km and the longest being 10 km. Signs and an information board mark the route so there is no danger of getting lost.
Getting there: If you are following the guided nature walk, the package includes a pick-up and drop-off point from the University East Rail MTR station. Otherwise, bus 72 can be taken either from Shatin or Tai Po Market East Rail stations. Alternatively, you could take a taxi from Tai Po Market East Rail Station or University East Rail station (costs around HK$30-45).
Distance: 3-10 km depending on trail taken
Duration: If taking the guided tour, it is a total of 4 hours. Otherwise, it depends on the trail you take.
Getting home: At the end of the walk is a bus station with several bus options that you can take. Most will take you to Tai Po Market East Rail station; from there you can take the train back. There are also taxis that can take you back to your desired location.
Starting and ending at Tai Lam Country Park (Yuen Long), this hike requires you to retrace your steps back to your starting point. Luckily, this means you can hike for as short or as long as you want. However, we would recommend at least getting to the top of the hill from where you can admire the view of the Ting Kau Bridge. This hike has a butterfly garden and several picnic areas so bring your friends and pack some snaccos to ‘nosh on. Be warned though, this path is made up of plenty of hills so it probably wouldn’t be a good idea to complete this hike after a strenuous leg day. But if you are looking to escape from Hong Kong for a day and experience the beauty of New Territories, this is the one.
Getting there: Head to the Yuen Long MTR West Rail Station and take a taxi to Sham Tseng, Lung Yue Road. There should be a big signpost for the Tai Lam Nature Trail. Alternatively, if you have your own car, set your GPS for Tai Lam Country Park: there are several parking spots by the BBQ pits. The hike itself is relatively straightforward. Keep heading up the hill and once you reach a fork in the road, stick to the right fork.
Distance: 3-10km depending on what you feel like!
Duration: 1-3 hours depending on how long you walk for
Getting home: Get back the same way you came; by taxi to Yuen Long MTR station or to your desired location.
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Featured image courtesy of Jonny Epstein, image #1 by Bernard Spragg via Flickr, image #2 credited to Stroll In The Kong, image #3 by @kormanwong via Instagram, image #4 by @adoginmountain_dion via Instagram, image #5 credited to Stroll In The Kong