I was just introduced to Hong Kong trails latter part of last year and I’ve been wanting to do it, eversince. The last time I hiked a mountain was over ten years ago back in the Philippines. I guess that would make me a novice or an amateur hiker. After researching about Hong Kong trails and all, along with my wife and some friends, we decided to do it and unmask the side of Hong Kong not everyone get to see. We knew that the hike would be exciting and of course, rewarding.
After careful planning and choosing the first mountain to hike, we decided to take on the most popular, Dragon’s Back mountain. On my previous article, I’ve introduced to you the Hong Kong hiking trails and Dragon’s Back Mountain is part of the Hong Kong Trail. The hike is Section 8 of Hong Kong Trail traversing To Tei Wan to Tai Long Wan.
Dragon’s Back hike was once named by Time Magazine as “Asia’s best Urban Hike.” Dragon’s back is so close to the city, yet, once you are climbing, you’ll feel that you’re far from it. Section 8 of Hong Kong Trail starts at To Tei Wan and ends at Big Wave Bay Beach in Tai Long Wan. It is an 8.5-kilometer hiking route with well-marked trails and a rewarding view from the top.
Here’s how the hike should take place:
From Central, take MTR to Shau Kei Wan Station and take Exit A. From there, walk to Shau Kei Wan Station Bus Terminus and take bus #9. Get off at To Tei Wan, Shek O Road and start the hike from there. The hike starts at a little after Distance Post H084 and you’ll be welcomed with stone staircase with some multiple and narrow switchbacks.
The ascent is a little bit steep but there is not much a gain in elevation. After few meters of continuous ascent, you’ll reach Shek O Peak and the Dragon’s Back at a height of 284 meters. Here, you can catch your breath while savoring the panoramic view of Shek O and the adjacent towns. After admiring the view you will be on a descent to Wan Cham Shan and Mount Collision. You’ll descend to some stone staircase that isn’t friendly to the knees and some dirty paths. This is also the forestry area and it’s very evident by some bamboo groves and some dried up spring.
When you reach the Pottinger Gap intersection, turn right to continue with the trail all the way to Big Wave Bay. The final section of the trail is somewhat a walking trail with a little to no gain in elevation. The path continue to descent until you reach the end point, Tai Long Wan. That may be the end of the trail, but, you keep walking until you reach the Big Wave Bay. After a long and tiring hike, soak your feet and allow yourself to get wet by the beach. You earned it.
From the end point, take a bus to Shau Kei Wan and then take a train or another bus to your destination.
The hike should last for 2.5 to 3 hours, depending on how much time you spent admiring the views and resting. This trail should end just after Distance Post H100.
Here’s What Actually Happened:
We thought we got it all figured out, but, we were wrong. Unfortunately, we got off at the wrong bus station and instead of taking another bus, we decided to do it the other way. The starting point was the entrance of Tai Tam Gap Correctional Institution that has a country trail intersecting Pottinger Gap. We kind of cheated on the trail and took a shortcut. From Pottinger Gap, we worked our way up to Mount Collision and continued the ascent until we reach Dragon’s Back and Shek O Peak. From there, we took the final stretch of the trail, in reverse, and worked our way down to To Tei Wan.
The path that we took was perfect for those who do not want to do the full trail but still covering the highlights. Yes, we didn’t get to go to the beach, but, Dragon’s Back and the views are more than worth it.
This trail is a perfect introduction to Hong Kong trail as it wasn’t that strenuous and the rewards are more than what you ask for. This should warm you up for upcoming, more difficult, hikes!