Hiking in Hong Kong: MacLehose Trail Stages 1 & 2

Apart from all the food and shopping, Hong Kong does have beaches, mountains and greens so for my trip last year, I thought I’d try hiking there for a change. This trip would also be the first time for me going to HK without seeing a concert^^;;

I allotted a day to hike a portion of the MacLehose Trail. It’s 100 km long and traverses various territories of Hong Kong, but it’s generally well marked and cut in stages (emphasis on “generally” intended). There are longer and more challenging stages, but this one I tried is manageable for a total amateur like me. The views are rewarding though.

About half an hour or so from Stage 1’s starting point is the High Island Reservoir East Dam. The road is paved and there are markers so the trail is easy to follow. The view is very easy on the eyes, too.

Further down the trail is the entrance to Hong Kong UNESCO Global Geopark. There are taxis parked nearby so if you feel like turning back after this stop, grab this chance. (I kind of beat myself mentally a few times down the trail for not doing so, but then I digress.)

Walking along, there will be several climbs but there are coves you’ll see on the way, too. In a couple of beaches, there were hikers who pitched tents. I didn’t have the luxury of time though so I had to keep moving.

There are a few beaches along the way, and six hours into the hike, I was already looking for the Chui Tung Au exit point. It was tricky figuring out where the exit to Sai Wan Pavilion is and I almost didn’t make it, but in any case, the pavilion is a small gazebo where minibus NR29 passes by a few times every hour to take you to the Sai Kung town center.

So, how to get to the starting point? Get to MTR Diamond Hill, and at exit C2, take bus 92 going to Sai Kung Town. The starting point is marked so you can alight there.

Here are some of my other tips (more like lessons learned ahaha):

  1. Start early. A large portion of the trail is not lit at all.
  2. Bring plenty of water and make sure your gadgets are fully charged. The only store I remember encountering was in Sai Wan, and that was after more than five hours of walking.
  3. Take advantage of the many rest points. In the rough trails, I just looked for a place flat enough to sit on.
  4. Breathe and enjoy the scenery.
  5. Don’t be afraid to ask fellow hikers for directions. I needed to do so when I was trying to locate Sai Wan Pavilion.
  6. There are portions with no signal and there are no other hikers in sight. Just keep walking.

If you want to read more about the trail and other recommended hiking spots in HK, this is a good place to start.