At first glance, it can seem like Hong Kong is all skyscrapers and concrete…in reality, it’s anything but! With just a little exploration (and, often, very little travel), you can easily find yourself running along the coast or surrounded by greenery. Here are just a few of the fantastic green and road-free running spots you can find on Hong Kong Island.
Best for: Flat, car-free running and waterfront views
Nearest MTR: Quarry Bay or Sai Wan Ho (you can enter the park at either end!)
One of the easiest to access waterfront runs on Hong Kong Island, Quarry Bay Park is an ideal flat route, and super easy to get to from the MTR station. Simply turn left (just before the end of Java Road) and you’ll find yourself able to run along the promenade for over a mile with views of the harbour and the New Territories all the while. There are lots of water fountains and public toilets in the park, so it’s a perfect spot for a short flat run – without a car in sight!
The dog park and boardwalk are often busy in the mornings, but don’t let this put you off. You’ll be amongst other joggers, dog walkers and groups of people doing tai chi to the sounds of K-Pop. As an extra bonus, there isn’t a single hill to get there.
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Distance: 1.4km (1,400m around the track)
Best for: Interval or tempo running sessions.
Nearest MTR: Causeway Bay, or take the tram to the entrance!
You might think Happy Valley Racecourse is just for Wednesday evening races – but did you know that you can also run on the track?
The paved running track is about 1,400m around. It’s a good place to run and avoid traffic (apart from the occasional maintenance vehicle driving around at 5mph) and it’s especially fun for the perspective – being surrounded by a stadium and high-rise buildings is definitely reason to feel like you’re in the Olympics. The track is great for doing interval workouts, and there is a park on the south end where you can do some body-weight strength training. The changing rooms in the middle of the racecourse have showers, lockers (take your own padlock) and water fountains. Plenty of football clubs and workout groups use the fields too.
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Distance: 4km each way
Best for: A flat, shaded run and “in the treetops” views of the island skyline
Nearest MTR: Wan Chai or Admiralty (walk up to Bowen Drive to join the trail)
One of the best known running spots on the Island, this 4km fitness trail is a beautiful place to run, with parks, convenient restrooms and water fountains all along. It’s arguably the place with the most runners and dog walkers in HK.
The easiest way to get to Bowen Road is by turning off Kennedy Road and either going up Bowen Drive or Wan Chai Gap Road (whichever is closer to you). The uphill trek to the fitness trail is steep and long – so it’s a great spot for hill repeats. You’ll be rewarded at the top with a flat, paved, traffic-free route with sweeping views of the skyscrapers below!
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Best for: A non-taxing trail run in the heart of the city
Nearest MTR: Quarry Bay (take exit A and head to Mount Parker Road)
There is a huge network of trails on Hong Kong Island that instantly make you feel like you’ve left the city, most with softer surfaces that are much better for your knees and shins.
One of the best for running is Sir Cecil’s Ride – a flat 2.5km dirt path between Quarry Bay and Fortress Hill that connects with the Wilson Trail. You can enter the trail from Mt. Parker Road in Quarry Bay (a short walk uphill from Quarry Bay MTR) or the Po Luen Path in Fortress Hill. Once you’re up, the forested path is dotted with spectacular mountain views, sightings of Victoria Harbour and Kowloon (and maybe a porcupine if you’re lucky), and spots where you can forget you live in a small apartment in the middle of a city. As this is a trail path, don’t attempt to run at dusk or in the dark without a head torch.
Sassy Tip: Make sure you take enough water with you, as facilities are scarce on this dirt track!
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Best for: Views of Kowloon Harbour and for catching the 8pm light show if you go in the evening!
Nearest MTR: Kennedy Town/HKU
Hugging the coast from the newly-opened Central & Western District Promenade near Kennedy Town until you reach the glittering lights of Tamar Park (via the inside of the Macau Ferry terminal tunnel), this out and back route can be made as long or short as you’d like – up to about 10km.
With public toilets and water fountains conveniently located throughout the route, and plenty of places to stop and unwind, this route is ideal for a Sunday morning jog or as part of a longer run. If you’re looking for a spot to do a few intervals along the way, stop off at Sun Yat Sen Park where there is a flat (albeit short) circular track – one loop is approximately 300m.
Sassy Tip: Central & Western District promenade is only open from 7am to 10pm, so time your run within this window to avoid an unplanned diversion along traffic-packed Des Voeux Road West.
Distance: 6.5k (the Harlech & Lugard Road loop at the top is approx 3.5k if you’re looking to add a few extra kms)
Best for: Getting in some hill training, appreciating the downhill and the breathtaking views on the way back
Nearest MTR: HKU (use Exit A2, walk through the HKU campus and head up University Drive to start the Morning Trail on Kotewall Road)
There’s a reason why there are runners pounding the pavements of the Morning Trail at all hours of the day despite its uphill trajectory. Home to one of the most amazing viewing points of the Hong Kong skyline, this 6.5k route begins with a gruelling uphill as you climb Victoria Peak (no judgment if you walk quite a bit of it) and then has a flat paved 3.5k loop once you get to the top. There are toilets at the start of the trail and at the top with water fountains, and the whole path is lit by street lamps at night. The Peak Galleria has plenty of places to refuel before you make your way back down. It’s also one of the best places on the island to spot our native flora and fauna, with porcupines, birds and all kinds of bugs making The Peak their home!
Running clubs, trail running groups and even paddle clubs are great ways to meet new people, do group cross training (abs, sprints and push-ups) and get running in new places.
Check out these Hong Kong running clubs – who all lead runs both on Hong Kong Island and further afield. Joining is a great resource for route inspiration, training sessions and Hong Kong race information:
- The Gone Runners – run by the team behind the Wan Chai running shop, this friendly club is suitable for runners of all levels and hosts events almost every night – from track workouts at Happy Valley to the popular “Getting into Running” sessions on Monday nights.
- Harbour Runners – This free running club leads an approximately 7km run every Wednesday – each week meeting at different points on the Island and in Kowloon. See the route posted each week on its Instagram.
- Midnight Runners – This new kid on the running club block runs a weekly session in Tamar Park – complete with music, mid-run strength training and post-run beers and mingling on the harbour front.
Editors note: This post was originally published on April 2013 by Jamie R and was updated on Tuesday, 12 November by Sam Book.