Hong Kong. It’s a fast paced city famous for skyscrapers, chaotic streets, endless shopping, junk boats, bright lights, bustling markets, its expat social scene and a deeply rooted love of food that sees a new restaurant open every other day.
Whether you’re hustling on the train and fending off locals falling asleep on your shoulder, trying to speak broken Cantonese to a taxi driver, rummaging your way through the endless markets and shopping up a storm in Causeway Bay, it is a well-known fact that Hong Kong has a lot going on.
But what you didn’t know is that Hong Kong lives two lives.
In less than an hour out of the chaotic city, there is the blissful countryside that I believe is the true beating heart of Hong Kong. Mountains, forests and beaches take centre stage and are, in so many ways, a hiker’s paradise.
Having been to the energetic island twice over the years, I love nothing more than lacing up my sneakers, escaping the daily grind and hitting my favourite hiking trails in the lesser-known parts of Hong Kong:
Lugard Road, The Peak
A rather pleasant walk, the Lugard Road hiking pathway encircles Victoria Peak. Built in 1913-14, this road is named after Hong Kong’s 14th governor Sir Fredrick Lugard. The 3.5km walk is shrouded by damp trees and breaks open to reveal pristine coastal views. The walk winds around to Lugard Road Lookout, which offers spectacular panoramic views of Victoria Harbour.
Dragon’s Back Hike
For those feeling adventurous, hiking Dragon’s Back is a must. Between Wan Cham Shan and Shek O Peak, Time Magazine voted Dragon’s Back the ‘Best Urban Hiking Trail in Asia’. The hike starts on Shek O Road and cuts through groves of bamboo and lush woodland, soon emerging into open hillsides covered in wildflowers. At 284 metres high, the hilltop sightseeing platform from the Peak is the perfect place to catch your breath and take in the majestic views of dense mountains, soft sand beaches and the glistening ocean.
Meaning “Long Island”, Cheung Chau is 10km southwest of Hong Kong Island. Nicknamed ‘dumbbell island’ for its shape, see a different side to Hong Kong by grabbing a Lucky Bun and walking the Mini Great Wall in Cheung Chau. Part of the Cheung Chau Family Trail, this path gets its quirky name from its granite railings. Climb to the North Lookout Pavillion on sunrise, the highest point on Cheung Chau. The turquoise waters of Tung Wan glisten in the distance as the sun sets a romantic glow over the area.
Known as Pok Liu by locals, Lamma Island is the third largest island in Hong Kong. Getting there is easy. Catch the ferry from Central to Lamma Island and follow the crowds off the boat towards Hung Shing Yeh Beach. Perfect for hikers looking for a blend of East and West, walk up and over to the other side where you will be spoiled with endless sea views and densely wooded hillsides of Sok Kwu Wan.
For more information about these spectacular hikes, visit here: www.discoverhongkong.com
Words by Jaharn Giles | Mr Weekender