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It may seem strange, but Hong Kong Island that has one of the tallest skylines of any city region of the world also has good sized country parks with good hiking trails and some of Asia's best hiking scenery. You can walk up Victoria Peak to its Peak Tower mall or along the east coast to Big Wave Bay beach. The 80 square kilometer island is home for 1.5 million people, but most of the island is parkland where you can hike.
Three recommended hikes: There are numerous trails and hikes, but there are about the three best. If you like city park zoos and views of the city, then the Hong Kong Park to Victoria Peak hike is for you. For natural scenic hiking, Section 6 and Section 8 of the Hong Kong Trail are good choices.
Starting off, you can walk around Hong Kong Park. It is Hong Kong's best park, and it is free. Starting from the entrance near Queensway Drive, if you'd like, you can take a free look in the Flagstaff House Tea Ware Museum. The building itself is one of the oldest British colonial structures. Walk up the path to the aviary. After seeing the many species of birds, you can walk out the Sports Centre exit. The aviary is generally open 9 to 5 pm.
Then pass the Peak Tram Station and walk up Upper Albert Road about 150 meters until you reach the entrance for the Zoological and Botanical Garden. Many hundreds of people a day will take the Peak Tram up to the top, but depending on how busy the tram system is, walking up the mountain might actually prove faster. It is definitely more interesting.
You can enter and take a quick walking tour around the zoo. It is free too. It is recognized as having one of the best collection of primates in the world. Other than primates, there are few other animals. A good look at the critters would take about half an hour.
Next, head out and find Old Peak Road. The roads are confusing in this area, so ask the people around where the Old Peak Road starts. If you walk on Robinson Road, missing Old Peak Road, don't despair. Just follow it several hundred meters eastwards to Hornsey Road, and walk up it to Old Peak Road.
Old Peak Road is a small road that winds up through a parkland of jungle and woods above the Mid-Levels skyscrapers. You'll likely see hikers or joggers going back and forth between the top of the Mid-Levels Escalator system and the entrance to this small side road. You can follow this road and get up to the top in a stroll of less than an hour. Some people jog the road quite quickly to the top.
Of course, instead of walking through the park and zoo, you could simply catch the Mid-Level Escalator, one of the longest in the world, to the top at Conduit Road, and walk eastwards to Hornsey Road.
Some people not used to uphill walks or the heat and humidity in Hong Kong might find this walk up exhausting. We suggest take water and have sun protection for the first part of the walk around the park and zoo. But you'll find Old Peak Road nice and shady especially in the afternoon. You'll get great views of the city going up, good exercise, and a nice nature.
Try to get to the top before sunset to watch the sunset. It is beautiful on both the north and south sides. At 8 pm, the city is lit up most nights for the ”Symphony of Lights” building fashion display and skyscraper choreography. Some of the world's tallest buildings take part.
The Hong Kong Island Trail is one of the region's best long trails, and it is composed of eight sections. The last section called Section 8 includes the Dragon's Back and Tai Long Wan beach. The Dragon's Back was named by Time Magazine as Asia's Best Urban Hiking Trail. Though you are close to the city only a few kilometers away, it doesn't feel like that. The environment is that different. So it is one of Hong Kong's best trails.
The Dragon's Back is the part of Section 8 stretching from Wan Cham Shan (226 meters) to Shek O Peak (284 meters, 931 feet). The trail is along the ridge of upland of D'Aguilar Peninsula, and though the altitude isn't high, the scenery is the best on the island because there are broad expansive views of scrub and grassland, seas, beaches, and sky.
The way the water runs off the ridge makes the land grassy instead of jungle like the land below. So it will seem like you're in another part of the world.
Full route: The starting point is To Di Wan at Shek O Road. Walk up the hill. Follow the sign for the Hong Kong Trail. Walk along Dragon's Back dirt trail. The end of Section 8 is Tai Long Wan beach. Near Tai Long Wan, walk down on road for about 200 meters until you reach the beach.
Shorter route: Many people avoid the Tai Long Wan beach part of the trail and start their hike from Collinson Cemetery in Chai Wan. Others take a taxi further up to the Tai Tam Gap prison. Taking this short cut shorterns the hike by a third, and you'll go directly to the Dragon's Back part of the trail.
The big Tai Tam Country Park is behind the urban area of Hong Kong Island. It covers about a fifth of the whole island. There are great green vistas, four reservoirs, dams to investigate, bridges to cross, jungles, city and sea views, WWII fortifications, and even swimming turtles! The Wilson Trail and the Hong Kong Trail, two of Hong Kong's top 4 hiking trails, go through it.
Stage 5 of the Hong Kong Trail starts at Wong Nai Chung Gap Road. You can reach Jardine's Lookout which gives a beautiful view high above Victoria Harbor. This part of the trail is a rough and requires a lot of climbing on two peaks. You can change over for the Wilson Trail at Jardine's Lookout that goes to Tai Mo Shan.
Section 5 begins at the junction of Wong Nai Chung Gap Road and Tai Tam Reservoir Road. Walking along the dirt path, you'll reach the 433 m (1,420 feet) summit of Jardine's Lookout.
You'll then go down the hill. Down at the pass, the trail trends up again by a quarry. It then goes towards Mount Butler. Then follow the sign for Boa Vista. Go down the steps to Quarry Gap, the end of Section 5.
Best season for hiking and camping: In November and until about the middle of December, Hong Kong has a dry season with sunny dry weather and nice hiking and camping temperatures. It is cooler and drier than the summer, and it is the best season for hiking and tourism overall.
Free park and trail maps and information: The Hong Kong Tourism Board Visitor Centers on Victoria Peak and at the Star Ferry in Tsim Sha Tsui has free pamphlets and maps that provide information about the various trails and country parks. It is a good idea to pick some up.
Plan and make trip arrangements: China Highlights can help you design a trip that includes hiking and camping in Hong Kong. We specialize in arranging transportation and getting tickets for trips to Hong Kong and cities in Mainland China according to our clients' interests and travel constraints. We could provide private vehicles, drivers, and guides for individual and groups.
2-Day Hong Kong Coach Tour: Visit the local highlights on a bus. Tell our tour experts to include hiking in eastern Hong Kong. This tour is modifiable, and you can extend it.
You can create your own dream trip and visit the places you want in Hong Kong and China while you enjoy hikes in Hong Kong too.