Beyond the generic labels of a shopping mecca and food paradise, Hong Kong has much more to offer the intrepid traveller than the typical attractions such as Victoria Habour and Disneyland.
As a bonus, because Hong Kong is a sprawling metropolitan city, even the most obscure of landmarks are easily accessible via public transport.
So with hidden cultural gems and scenic hiking trails that will take your breath away, look no further than the pearl of the orient, to blend both natural and concrete jungles in your travel itinerary.
Adventure junkies would know that hiking is an extremely popular leisure activity among locals in Hong Kong due to the abundance of hilly terrain and breathtaking views. Some claim that without going on at least one hike, you can’t say that you’ve truly explored Hong Kong.
Here are some of the best hiking spots recommended to us by locals which we’ve presented based on their difficulty levels. Choose a trail wisely based on what you’re comfortable with and remember to always stay safe!
Easy: Garden Hill
Trekking trails in Mount Fuji may only open in mid-July, but the region surrounding Japan’s highest snow-capped mountain is accessible throughout the year.
Rather than a strenuous hike, Garden Hill is more of an relaxed urban walk that even beginners can go on. Think Bukit Timah Hill and you’ll be able to picture the small 90 meter hill overlooking the area once occupied by the famous Shek Kip Mei resettlement estate.
Purportedly unnamed on all local maps, the local nickname (嘉頓山- gar dun saan) came about because of the hill’s proximity to the famous local Garden Bakery
Regardless of the name, the hill has one of the highest vantage points in Kowloon, becoming a popular hangout for photographers and locals to appreciate sunsets.
In addition, the popular Apliu Street flea market is a stone’s throw away from the hill. Open daily, the market runs from noon to 9pm and is frequented by locals for their bargain prices on electronic products. Supposedly cheaper than the famous ladies market in Mong Kok, eagled-eyed shoppers can also find deals on toys and clothes. The best part to us? Haggling is permitted.Directions
To Garden Hill: Take Exit D2 at Sham Shui Po MTR Station and head towards Shek Kip Mei Estate. You will see stairs leading to the summit near Mei Ho House along Barwick Street after about 10-minute walk. Follow the flight of steps up for another 10 minutes to reach the destination.
To Apliu Street Market: Take Exit C1 at Sham Shui Po MTR Station which takes you out directly onto Apliu Street. The main parts of the flea market are equally to your left and right as you exit the MTR.
Intermediate: High Junk Peak
High Junk Peak is the number one attraction in Sai Kung, a peninsula located in the Easternmost part of the New Territories, because of its splendid view over Clear Water Bay.
Sai Kung has three "sharp peaks" dubbed treacherous due to their incredibly steep inclines. At 344 meters, the highest point belongs to High Junk Peak (釣魚翁) which looks over beautiful sceneries of the nearby archipelago, indented coastline and the forest that looks like a screen of jade.
On the climb up, hikers can also spot the other two peaks Tai Yue Ngam Teng (睇魚岩頂) and Sharp Peak (蚺蛇尖).
An average journey length of 7km, the trail should take about two to three hours to complete depending on one’s fitness level.
At the end of the hike, reward yourself by walking down to a village called Po Toi O along Tai Mun road where you’ll be able to find a large seafood restaurant called 海鮮島漁港 Seafood Islands Restaurant. There, indulge in the freshest catch of the day and end your adventure with a full belly and an even fuller heart.
Directions to the starting point If you’re coming from Kowloon, take the MTR to Choi Hung station and exit by C2. Then take the KMB bus 91 from the Ngau Chi Wan Village stop and get off at Ng Fai Tin stop.
If you’re coming from Hong Kong Island, take the MTR to Hang Hau station and take exit B1 towards the bus terminus. Then, take the green minibus (103/103M) to Ng Fai Tin stop, but you’ll have to let the driver know where to stop.
To head back to the city, there’s only one return minibus (16) in Po Toi O which will take you back to Hang Hau MTR station.
Hard: Suicide Cliff
With a name like Suicide Cliff, the road to the adrenaline pumping Kowloon peak is definitely not for the faint hearted. Not to mention, the 5km journey is not as easy one, requiring at least six hours to complete.
Made famous by a National Geography winning photo, the 600 meter altitude mountain is the highest in the Kowloon area. Separating the New Territories from Kowloon, a clear day on the summit offers an unrivalled view of the surroundings, all the way to Hong Kong Island.
Fair warning, the South Ridge facing Choi Wan is lined with treacherously steep slopes requiring hikers to scrabble up with their hands at some points. Atop the South Ridge lies the prominent “Suicide Cliff”, popular among photographers and adventurous. Aptly named because of a protruding rock that looks like a jumping platform, the summit provides spectacular views overlooking the Kowloon Peninsula.
This trail is a highly challenging one, especially for beginners or those without a good fitness level due to the long, steep climb up Kowloon peak. We recommend that you arrange to be accompanied by an experienced hiker for this trail due to an incident that happened two years ago. But if you do manage to conquer it, you’ll be rewarded with an unforgettable experience and of course, bragging rights for life.Directions to the starting point
From Kwan Tong MTR station, take the minibus (47) to Shun Lee Estate. If you’re coming in from Lam Tin MTR station, take minibus 60 to the same location.
Walk from Shun Lee Estate to 1 Fei Ngo Shan Road to start hiking.
At the end of you route, you can choose to walk back to Diamond Hill MTR station or 1 Fei Ngo Shan Road.