June 9, 2023

Get away from the city center to hike Hong Kong’s nature trails

On any hike, wear sturdy shoes, apply sunscreen, and carry lots of water.
Glitzy skyscrapers, neon lights, street vendors hawking meat on sticks: this is Hong Kong. Waves crashing against rocky cliffs, green islands rising from the sea, the call of gulls, white-sand beaches: this is Hong Kong, too. It may come a surprise, but about 40 percent of the Hong Kong islands is made up of protected land.

A quick bus or ferry ride out of the downtown Central takes you to quiet, green areas like the Hong Kong Global Geopark in the New Territories. Here you can hike the High Island Geo Trail, with views of coastal volcanic rock formations surrounding a manmade reservoir, and, in the distance, islands and empty beaches.

The gradual climb along the 9-mile Dragon’s Back Trail is the most famous hike in Hong Kong. You don’t have to walk far to understand why: sweeping views extend out over the coastal Shek O village and peninsula to the Nine Pins Islands and the South China Sea. The hike ends at Big Wave Bay beach, which is popular with surfers and families. Shek O is about an hour from Central via subway and bus; taxis (about US$20) take 30 minutes.

Rewards for a two-hour trek on the Lamma Island Trail are excellent coastal views and a lookout over Lantau Island and Hung Shing Yeh Beach. The island is known for its seafood, so be sure to stop for a bite in the village of Yung Shue Wan at the trailhead, or Sok Kwu Wan at the trail’s end point. The island is a 45-minute ferry ride from Central.

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