#3 MACLEHOSE TRAIL (Section 3) Location: New Territories Length: 10km (around four hours)


Level: Moderate, with a tricky ascent at the beginning

What is it? It’s been 10 years since this stunning path on top of the southeast peninsula of Hong Kong Island was named Asia’s best urban hiking trail by Time magazine. A lot of boots have trudged along its undulating hills since then, including around a zillion on the day I did it. It was a public holiday, though, so I should have seen it coming; you could almost hear the dragon groaning from the weight. What’s good about it? Happily, the crowds don’t matter. You still get glorious, unimpeded views of the South China Sea and Hong Kong Island’s various bays and beaches – especially from Shek O Peak (284m). Who’s doing it? Weekend sightseers, community groups, families. Try a weekday morning if you prefer a bit of solitude. What’s at the end of it? The beach! There are two options: stop at Big Wave Bay, known for its surf break, or continue to Shek O, where families enjoy late afternoon barbecues and ball games. There are plenty of places to eat, drink and buy provisions at both villages. How do you get there? Easy options include driving or taking a taxi (around HK$150 from Central), or you can take a combination of MTR and bus.

What is it? TheMaclehoseTrail is a famous 100km walking

#2 DRAGON’S BACK (Hong Kong Trail, Section 8) Location: Shek O Country Park, on the eastern side of Hong Kong Island Length: 8-9 km (around three hours) Level: Easy to moderate

track that cuts through the middle of Hong Kong’s NewTerritories. The first of its 10 sections begins in the east, not far fromSai Kung, and the Trail then follows an east-west direction (with plenty of meandering) before ending up inTuenMun. You can tackle any or all the sections; the prettiest is probably Section 2 with its stunning coastal views, but because I’d done that on an earlier visit, I opted for Section 3 instead. What’s good about it? The Maclehose Trail is a world- class walk – and an eye-opener for anyone who equates HK with hundreds of high-rises clustered around a harbour. Highlights of Section 3 include woodlands, meadows and streams, plus several testing hills. (The first one is a real thigh-burner.) A few wild cows will block your path from time to time, adding an extra challenge. Who’s doing it? Maybe I got lucky, but I didn’t pass a single person on Section 3 of the trail. The inclement weather may have helped, but even on a good day you’re unlikely to see many people in this part of HK. What’s at the end of it? Section 3 finishes kind of in the middle of nowhere, but there’s a bus stop on the quiet country road to get you back to Sai Kung (bus 99, 15 minutes). Before returning to the city, sample some seafood at one of the waterfront restaurants. How do you get there? A taxi from Central would likely cost around HK$300, so public transport is your best option (an hour or so). Get yourself to Sai Kung and then take bus 94 from the pier to Pak Tam Au.

Visit for maps and other info on all three of these hikes.


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