Active Travel, Hiking, Hong Kong

Dragon’s Back Hike, Hong Kong

Hong Kong is well known all the great eating, shopping and cosmopolitan city things to do, but it is also a haven for outdoor activities and hiking. We read a lot about the iconic “Dragon’s Back” hike, so we decided to do this hike on our visit to Hong Kong this time around.

The Dragon’s Back hike is located on the Hong Kong Island, and is well connected with public transportation. The trail head is right at the To Tai Wan bus stop of the No. 9 bus, which can be taken directly outside the Shau Kei Wan MTR station. The double decker bus winds through a narrow mountain road in the southeastern part of the island, and the lush forest scenery reminded us of the scenery more typical of Hawaii, Borneo or other tropical Pacific island.

Start of Dragon’s Back hike on Hong Kong Island

Topographical map posted at the trail head

There is a large topographical trail map posted at the trail head, as well as several bathrooms for hikers to use before the hike.  The trail starts off quite steeply, but after about 20 minutes, it levels off, and you will arrive at a scenic spot with a breath-taking view overlooking Shek O Beach in the east and the magnificent Dragon’s Back in the north-west.

First view point overlooking Shek O Beach

Rolling ridge that resembles a Dragon’s back

At this point we can see the reason this hike is called Dragon’s Back.  There is a ridge that looks like the spine of a Dragon to the left of the view point.  We continued on the trail that follows this ridge, with beautiful views all around us.  After about 20 minutes, we arrived at Shek O Peak at 284 meters elevation.  At this peak we took another short break, and enjoyed the view that includes Big Wave Bay.

Hiking path of the ridge that resembles the Dragon’s back

At another viewpoint, Big Wave Bay is visible behind us

We continued with the trail with the intention of checking out Big Wave Bay.  After hiking for another 20 minutes we came to a T-intersection with clear signage on our options.  We could walked back to To Tei Wan where we started the hike, or walked to Tai Tam Gap, which would also be the way to Big Wave Bay.

At T junctions, signage outlining options

We decided on following the direction towards Tai Tam Gap to see if we can make our way to Big Wave Bay.  Another 20 minutes into our hike, we met two people hiking toward us in the opposite direction.  They explained to us that we were indeed going the correct direction for Big Wave Bay but it would take another 2 hours to get there.

So when we reached Tai Tam Gap,  we decided to abandon our plan of hiking to Big Wave Bay.  Tai Tam Gap  was actually the entrance to Shek O Country Park.  At this point, there was a bus stop for the No. 9 bus stop which would take us back to the MTR station.

Shek O Country Park.  Total distance hiked: 6 km, 252 m elev gain. Total time: 1 hour and 45 minutes

Tom lost his HK transit Oyster card somewhere on the trail so we were concerned about being able to board the No. 9 bus back to the MTR station.  But as luck would have it, at the same bus stop, there was another smaller mini bus that accepts cash payment, also taking passengers back to the MTR station.  The Hong Kong transportation network never fails to impress us.

The Dragon’s Back hike, so easy to access, seems a world away from Hong Kong’s dense high rises.  By venturing outside of the urban core and looking back at Hong Kong, you will gain a better appreciation of the amazing geography of this wonderful city.

Dragon’s Back is widely hailed as one of world’s best urban hike

How to get there

To the starting point:

From MTR Shau Kei Wan Station Exit A, walk to the Shau Kei Wan Bus Terminus.  Take bus No. 9 or the red minibus with the sign "Shek O" to the To Tei Wan Stop on Shek O Road.  

From the end point:

Either return the same way, or keep going until you reach a T-intersection, where you can turn left to go back to To Tei Wan, or turn right to go to Tai Tam Gap, where you can take the No. 9 bus back to the MTR station.

 

 

 

 

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