Hong Kong is a fantastic place for hiking.
The territory is mountainous with some spectacular scenery and there are many hiking trails on Hong Kong Island, the New Territories and the Outlying Islands.
If you’re really in to hiking there are also numerous hash and hiking clubs that organise events and races.
These can vary from the famous MacLehose Trail, a 100 KM trail that attracts the Oxfam Trailwalker challenge each year, to leisurely walks with great views.
The Oxfam Trailwalker challenge raises funds for Oxfam and involves teams of four organising themselves to complete the trail (all 100 KM) in less than 48 hours.
Most teams take between 24 and 30 hours, with the fitter ones coming in under 20 hours.
I’ve done several sections of the MacLehose. They are all spectacular but some are not for the faint hearted (or the unfit!).
On Lantau Island, where I live, there are several different trails: I’ve done some sections of the Lantau Trail (total length of 75KM) and separate trails to Tung Chung (Olympic Trail), Discovery Bay and Pui O.
I’m very much a social hiker but, if you’re in to it in seriously or competitively, there’s a new shop in Mui Wo that caters specifically to the hiking community and sells the latest hiking gear: Lantau Basecamp (between Lantau Taste and the Estate Agent):
Walk from Mui Wo to Pui O
The pictures I’ve set out below were taken on the trail from Mui Wo to Pui O.
Depending on your level of fitness, and how many times you stop to take pictures, the walk will take you between 1 hour 45 minutes and 2 hours 30 minutes. Longer if you stop for rests along the way.
Here’s how to get started
When you exit the Mui Wo ferry pier turn left. Head to the left of McDonald’s, and walk past it and the China Bear (which is behind McDonald’s):
After passing McDonald’s and the China Bear, join the road that passes more buildings on your right – you’ll see the Caltex garage then, after a road junction, The Kitchen and other shops. At the end of the road in the picture below, follow it round to the right.
As you get round that corner, you’ll see a small bay on your left and the road ahead curves around it.
As you get round the bay you will see a construction storage site on your right. Immediately at the end of that there’s a path and steps that go up the hill past the storage site:
This is the start of the trail. Keep your eyes open – if you leave the construction storage site behind you, you’ve gone too far!
Climb up some steps that will curve right, round the storage site, then turn sharp left. At the top of the steps you will join a path that comes from your right and now you’re on the trail.
This picture, looking back at the ferry pier, is after having climbed the steps and joined the trail. From here the trail follows the coast line.
This picture is taken after about 10 minutes walking. The ferry pier is behind the hill on the left:
Along the way you will be able to look across to Hong Kong Island and Kowloon:
After 20 – 25 minutes walking you will climb up a small rise and have a choice of routes: you can turn to the right (the route I took when taking these pictures) or continue straight on down the hill towards the coastline.
Here’s the choice:
The second option is an easier walk and takes you around the Chi Ma Wan bay and Shap Long. From the water at Shap Long turn right and join the road to head towards Pui O.
It’s a nice walk with some great views across Chi Ma Wan Bay, but you’re in wooded areas a lot of the way so, generally, the views are less spectacular.
The first route (turning right up the hill) is definitely tougher, but delivers some spectacular views. This is looking across Chi Ma Wan bay shortly after starting the climb:
This is from a pagoda about 5 minutes after turning right up the hill – looking towards Kowloon, with Peng Chau Island mid way back, behind the headland:
Behind Peng Chau, but not visible in this picture, is the Tsing Ma Bridge that crosses from Kowloon to North Lantau.
At the time of its construction (1998) it was the second longest single span suspension bridge in the world. But it has slipped well down that list – it’s now only the 11th longest.
Continuing up the hill, this is a shot of the fish farm at Chi Ma Wan:
And this is looking back with Lamma in the distance (the 3 tall Chimneys is the Hong Kong Electric plant), and Hei Ling Chau with the typhoon shelter in the foreground:
Just before you disappear into a long wooded area:
The picture below is some way further along, around two-thirds the way to Pui O. It looks towards Cheung Chau Island. There’s still a climb ahead of me at this stage but, again, a lot of it in wooded areas:
Along the way I passed these chaps having a good old wallow:
We have lots of feral water buffalo and cattle on Lantau and they frequently make their way into the villages, wandering around the bars and restaurants.
One managed to get itself into the ferry pier on one occasion and needed to be encouraged out.
They are completely harmless, so don’t be concerned when you come across them on your walks!
That village down there is Pui O, your destination – and this is the highest point on this particular walk:
From here you drop quickly back down towards the coastline. You will need to take a bit of care going down: the path takes you down some steep steps with big drops in places, so if your knees are a bit suspect you will need to be careful!
Once you reach the road at the bottom of the steps you need to turn right to get to Pui O, and shortly you will come across this beach:
You need to follow the road round past the beach and just after you go past some houses (the village of Ham Tin) you will see a path to your right and a small pedestrian bridge.
Cross the bridge and follow the path. It will take you across some flat lands and bring you out in Pui O, almost opposite Tap Tap. This is the view to your right from about half way along the path:
Once you hit Pui O there are two or three pubs where you can restore your fluid levels and get a bite to eat.
The Aviator is a good one – it’s a curry place, run by Sunny (who’s actually from Pakistan). The dishes are wonderful, best curries on Lantau!
Tap Tap is another, offering the usual pub food, and draught beers and lagers.
Getting there and back
If you’re coming from Hong Kong Island, getting to Mui Wo is a ferry ride from Pier 6 in Central.
To get going once you reach Mui Wo, turn left out of the ferry pier, past McDonald’s and the China Bear, and then follow the route I described at the top.
Once you reach Pui O, you can either catch a bus back to Mui Wo (any bus will do – they all go to Mui Wo) and take the ferry back to Hong Kong, or you can go to Tung Chung and catch the train.
If you decide to take the bus to Tung Chung you need to grab the 3M.
The bus to Tung Chung is about a 30 minute ride, to Mui Wo it’s about 10 minutes.
Have you hiked in Hong Kong? Tell us where and how you liked it!
The Expat Traveller