Take a Hike

One of the very best things about Hong Kong is the hiking. There are mountains and trails everywhere, including four long distance trails: MacLehose (100 km, 10 sections), (2) Wilson (78 km, 10 sections), (3) Lantau (70 km, 12 sections) and (4) Hong Kong (50 km, 8 sections).

Hong Kong hiking map _ expatlingo.com

This hiking season I’ve been lucky enough to complete three out of the four long distance trails and plan to battle the rain and heat this spring to finish the final one, Hong Kong Trail.

In doing all of this hiking, I’ve concluded that there are eight reasons that Hong Kong has the best hiking in the world:

1. Friendliness. There is an unspoken rule in this urban crush of 7 million people: as soon as you enter a countryside trail, you should smile and greet everyone. The malls are full of shopping zombies, the streets are full of cell phone zombies, but the hills are full of smiles.

2. Transportation. Getting to any trailhead in Hong Kong is a breeze using the MTR, buses and taxis. Yes, hiking by taxi or MTR!

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Part of the Wilson Trail uses the MTR.

3. No need to ever be bored on an out and back hike. Because you can get a lift anywhere, you can start and end hikes at different points. There is absolutely no need to walk back on yourself!

4. Cold Coke. It is easy to finish a hot, sweaty hike and immediately buy an ice cold Coke from a vending machine or a small drink shop.

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A haven on MacLehose Section 5.

5. Wildlife. There are more animals in Hong Kong that cockroaches, mosquitoes and rats! In the mountains we’ve seen many monkeys, quite a few feral cows, water buffalo, indifferent (but also aggressive) dogs and one snake.

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I have been informed by a hiking friend, a brave expert who also took this photo while I stood at a distance, that this is a Rednecked Keelback. Spotted on Lantau Section 12.

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Another brave hiking friend took this picture of me. It looks close to me, but the friend with the camera didn’t have the web between her and it. On Wilson Section 8.

6. Little shrines. In the middle of the forest you can suddenly encounter small temples, outdoor shrines and amateur sculpture gardens.

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Gwan Yin with a monkey-baby (?) on Wilson Section 2.

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A short part of Wilson Section 3 is full of sculptures.

7. Ingenuity. Hong Kong’s ancient trails are often built of enormous stones. I have no idea how people moved these massive stones into place. Other trails have been maintained in more creative ways using any old scrap that could be dragged up the mountain, including car bumpers.

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How did all the massive stones for the old stretches of trails get placed? Lantau Section 9.

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I can imagine a couple of old Hong Kong hikers bringing up supplies bit by bit to fix a trail they use daily. On Wilson Section 3.

8. Gorgeous. Finally, Hong Kong hikes are stunning!

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MacLehose Section 2

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View of Tai Mo Shan from MacLehose Section 7.

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Lantau Trail Section 12

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MacLehose Section 10

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Wilson Section 1

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Wilson Section 2

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Wilson Section 8

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Wilson Section 9

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View of Lantau Peak from Lantau Section 2.

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Ok, sometimes the view is not so great, like this view from the top of Lantau Peak on Lantau Section 3.

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Lantau Section 5

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Lantau Section 9

With many thanks to all of my hiking buddies for getting me outside this season rain or shine, hot or cold, night or day!

(Source for original, blank Hong Kong map here.)

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4 responses to “Take a Hike

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