Hong Kong is often considered to be a concrete jungle with colossal skyscrapers, but in reality the city is a tropical island with a splash of towering high-rises. One of the best ways to make the most of what Hong Kong has to offer is to embark on one of the 50-plus hiking trails and immerse yourself in nature.
But here’s the thing, some of the best Hong Kong hikes with a view can be intense, involve lengthy travel times and are better suited to advanced hikers…and that’s just not everyone’s cup of tea! While I’m happy to venture out to get off the beaten track, my idea of a perfect hike is one that is short and sweet, ends with killer views, and gets me back in time for happy hour on a rooftop bar.
Sound like your ideal day out? Here is a list of some of the best easy hikes in Hong Kong that won’t take you all day, but will deliver big time on breathtaking views. But first, some quick tips if it’s your first trip to Hong Kong!
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Quick Hong Kong travel tips
- The local currency in Hong Kong is the Hong Kong dollar, and cash is king despite the fact that most places accept credit cards. Most transportation options (taxis, subway, buses) only take cash or Octopus card (a stored value card), so make sure you exchange or withdraw some money upon arrival.
- One of the first things you have to do when you arrive in Hong Kong is get an Octopus card. It is a stored value card that works on all public transportation (but not in taxis). You can purchase your tourist Octopus card in advance here, just pick it up from the airport when you arrive.
- The best time of year to go hiking in Hong Kong is from October to May. During this time, the weather is cooler and there is a smaller chance of encountering thunderstorms and typhoons. From June to August the temperature can soar above 30 degrees Celsius, and many hiking trails in Hong Kong offer little to no shade – so plan accordingly and bring lots of water, sunscreen and a hat. Hiking is one of the most popular pastimes in Hong Kong, so if you are looking to beat the crowds then opt to go for a hike on a weekday instead of over the weekend or on a public holiday.
- The main language spoken in Hong Kong is Cantonese, a local dialect. Many people speak English (or at least basic English), and almost all signs are bilingual. Trails in Hong Kong tend to be well-marked and you should be able to receive cell signal in most places – however, you should always plan ahead and download the route map just in case.
- Most visitors opt to book hotels on Hong Kong Island or on Kowloon side. Look into hotels in Wan Chai, Central, Soho, Sheung Wan and Causeway Bay for maximum convenience! Click here to book highly-rated accommodation in Hong Kong.
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The best easy hikes in Hong Kong
One of the top things you should know before visiting Hong Kong is that although Hong Kong is widely considered to be a dense metropolis, about three-quarters of land is actually countryside! If you’re looking for something unique to do in Hong Kong then embark on one of these easy outdoor adventures – suitable for beginner and advanced hikers alike!
1. Cape D’Aguilar
Cape D’Aguilar is one of the most underrated easy Hong Kong hikes and often overlooked in favour of the nearby Dragon’s Back trail. However, the relatively flat and well-paved trail takes you to the craggy coastline and offers up incredible views of Hong Kong’s only marine reserve. Its protected status means that you cannot swim here, but you can visit the unique formations – Thunder Cave or Crab Cave – or the small lighthouse at the rocky outcrop.
Though this hike is relatively long, the majority of the path is somewhat shaded (but you’ll still need plenty of water and sunscreen). As this is a marine reserve there are no toilet facilities or trash bins – remember to take all of your garbage with you!
How to get there: MTR to Shau Kei Wan on the Island line and then hop on bus 9 to Cape D’Aguilar, or red minibus towards Big Wave Bay. Make sure the bus you are on will stop at Cape D’Aguilar as buses occasionally bypass this stop – ask the driver if it will stop at “Hok Zui”.
Difficulty level: 6/10 – the path is relatively flat, even and mostly shaded, but expect the return journey to take approximately 3 hours with time for photos. The total length of the hike is around 9 KM.
View payoff: 8/10 – the rock formations are fascinating, and you get lovely views of Tai Tam Bay along the path. Don’t miss the archway at the Crab Cave!
2. Red Incense Burner Summit
The “Red Incense Burner Summit” hike is one of the best hikes in Hong Kong with a view. Sandwiched between Quarry Bay and Causeway Bay, the trail head to “Hung Heung Lo Fung” begins just behind the Chinese International School and involves some minor bushwacking to get to the summit (follow the ribbons).
It is one of the most popular quick Hong Kong hikes among avid photographers, as it offers an incredible vantage point to view the sunset across Victoria Harbour. Make sure you bring a flashlight or have your phone on you as you’ll need it to get back down after the sun sets.
How to get there: Take a taxi to “Hon Kay Gok Jai Hok Hau” or Chinese International School, or hop on minibus 25 across the street from H&M in Causeway Bay.
Difficulty level: 4/10 – the hike shouldn’t take you any longer than 20-30 minutes to get to this viewpoint from Braemar Hill, but you should still wear appropriate footwear as some sections are nothing more than a dirt trail. Keep your eyes peeled for coloured ribbons tied to tree branches as they mark the way to the top – there is no signage to get to the summit.
View payoff: 10/10 – I mean, just look at this view! You can see why it’s one of the best sunset viewpoints in Hong Kong.
3. Dragon’s Back
You can’t really write a Hong Kong hiking article without mentioning Dragon’s Back, widely considered to be one of the best hiking trails in Hong Kong. Dragon’s Back is a beginner friendly hike that is an easy Hong Kong day trip destination for those looking for a beautiful view minus the struggle. The trail starts with a quick upward ascent with lots of steps, but flattens out once you reach the ridge at the top of the mountain.
Most of the trail is exposed so you’ll want to bring a hat, water and sunscreen. It should only take you 3 hours or so to get to the end of the trail at Big Wave Bay in Shek O. The best time of year to do the Dragon’s Back hike is during the autumn months, when it is still sunny but much less humid.
How to get there: MTR to Shau Kei Wan (on the blue Island line) and then hop on bus 9 towards Shek O, or red minibus towards Shek O/Big Wave Bay.
Difficulty level: 6/10 – the entire trail stretches along for approximately 9 KM and you can take your time while taking in the views, but the first half can be a struggle on a hot day as there is minimal shade.
View payoff: 8/10 – on a clear day, the view of Shek O Peninsula is pretty spectacular.
You might also like: 12 Easy Hong Kong Day Trip Ideas for When You Need a Change of Scenery
4. Mount High West
Although not as high as the iconic Victoria Peak, Mount High West offers unobstructed views of Tai Mo Shan, Lantau and Lamma on a clear day. Mount High West is one of the best short hikes in Hong Kong and can easily be reached by taking the small trail on the left behind this pavilion area where Harlech Road meets Lugard Road.
If you start the upward ascent from the Peak instead of Pok Fu Lam it shouldn’t take you any more than an hour to reach the summit. The short-but-intense hike involves nearly 500 seemingly-unending steps, but the payoff is breathtaking as you’re greeted with views on all sides.
How to get there: Take bus 15 to the Peak and start walking along Harlech Road. Once you reach this pavilion garden take the path on the left behind the garden. To get back to where you started either walk back along Harlech Road or continue on via Lugard Road.
Difficulty level: 6/10 – short but challenging because of the number of steps up. The round-trip journey is only about 4-5 KM in total and you can easily do the Mount High West hike from the Peak in under 2 hours (with plenty of time for photos).
View payoff: 9/10 – I loved the 270 degree views from the Mount High West viewing pavilion, and the viewing platform offers plenty of signage to help you understand what you’re looking at.
5. The Peak Circle / Harlech Road and Lugard Road
The Peak Circle “hike” is one of those unique things to do in Hong Kong that isn’t in a guidebook because the vast majority of tourists head straight to the Peak Tower observation platform instead. However, the stroll along Lugard Road and Harlech Road is extremely leisurely and mostly-shaded, and you get some jaw-dropping views of Hong Kong and Kowloon.
The Peak Circle walk only takes around 90 minutes to complete and loops right back to where you started – it’s one of the best short Hong Kong hikes for people who are after unobstructed panoramic views with minimal effort. You can start at either Harlech Road or Lugard Road on the left hand side of the Peak Tower – it doesn’t matter much where you begin as both meet in the middle.
How to get there: Take bus 15 up to the Peak or hop on the Peak Tram.
Difficulty level: 2/10 – it doesn’t get much breezier than this. The Peak loop is under 4 KM in distance and will take about an hour and a half to complete. There are no steps or inclines, just an easy, paved path the whole way through.
View payoff: 9/10 – you get pretty much the same view from here as you do from the Peak Tower, minus the entrance fee and hordes of people. Minimum input, maximum ROI.
6. Brick Hill
In my opinion, Brick Hill (or Nam Long Shan) is one of the best short hiking trails in Hong Kong because so few people head here for the panoramic views, and is easily reachable by subway. Most people don’t consider hiking Brick Hill but I can’t understand why, given that the trail is relatively short and manageable and there are several areas to rest and catch your breath.
The hike starts with a mild incline all the way from the MTR station up to the trail head (past Singapore International School and Canadian International School), and then lots of stairs up to the helicopter landing pad. While the hike up can be intense in the mid-day sun, there are 2 pavilions on the way up where you can rest. Once you reach the top you get a sweeping view of Deep Water Bay, Repulse Bay in the distance and Middle Bay.
How to get there: Take the MTR to Wong Chuk Hang Station (on the green South Island line) and head to exit B. From there, keep walking up Nam Long Shan Road until you reach the trail head past Canadian International School. Take the same route back to get out.
Difficulty level: 7/10 – I found this hike slightly more challenging because of the never-ending steps, minimal shade and hordes of mosquitoes, but you can complete the round-trip journey (from the MTR station to the Brick Hill summit) in approximately 2 hours. The entire Brick Hill hike is under 5 KM.
View payoff: 8/10 – the view is not the typical city view which makes it less common, and on a clear day you can see the various beaches along Hong Kong’s south side.
Psst: Wong Chuk Hang is also home to some of the best street art in Hong Kong, so why not combine this short hike with a self-guided street art tour? Here is my guide on the best places to see street art in Hong Kong.
7. Coombe Road and Barker Road to the Peak
Looking for one of the best quick hikes in Hong Kong? This is an easy, relatively flat walk that will take you from Stubbs Road to the Peak in under an hour. This isn’t an “official” hike per se as you mainly walk along minor roads lined on either side by residential buildings, but it’s one of my favourites because it is easy to get to by public transportation, mostly flat and very shaded.
The 2.5 KM walk (follow these directions) takes you past some historic buildings in Hong Kong including Victoria House, and roadside viewpoints with a 180-degree view of Wan Chai and Central from above. Because you walk past residential areas it is quiet and extremely leisurely – perfect for a lazy afternoon stroll up to the Peak. If you don’t feel like walking back down do what we do – hop on the Peak Tram back down to Admiralty!
How to get there: Take the bus 15 to the Coombe Road playground/Police Museum, and then walk along Coombe Road all the way to the end where it meets Peak Road. Cross the road and continue along Barker Road. Take a left at the end of Barker Road and finish the hike up along Findlay Path. You’ll find yourself at the entrance to the Peak Tower.
Difficulty level: 5/10 – short and sweet hike which shouldn’t take you any longer than 45 minutes each way. Plus you can choose to take the Peak Tram or bus into town instead of walking back!
View payoff: 7/10 – lovely views of Wan Chai, Admiralty and Central from above.
8. Rhino Rock
Rhino Rock is a peculiar-looking rock high up on a hill on Hong Kong island’s southern end. Take one look at the rock formation and you’ll see where it got its name! The hike to Rhino Rock is short but involves some bushwhacking through the jungle, and climbing over boulders (at some points on all fours) to get to the final viewpoint – all you have to do is follow the ribbons.
I’d call this a weird-and-wonderful short hike in Hong Kong, because who doesn’t like checking out uniquely-shaped rocks around the world? The hike also shows you Stanley Prison on one side and Stanley Barracks on the other, so I’d recommend against flying a drone here unless you want the PLA to pay you a little visit.
How to get there: Take bus 6, 6X or 260 to Stanley and then take a taxi (or 14) to Stanley Fort, or catch the 14 from Sai Wan Ho. The trail starts right next to Stanley Fort.
Difficulty level: 6/10 – the hike should only take about half an hour each way, but involves some bushwhacking through dirt paths. However, there are plenty of spots where you can stop to catch your breath. I recommend wearing shoes with good grip as there’s lots of loose dirt and gravel along the way. The return journey comes to approximately 4 KM in total.
View payoff: 8/10 – one of the more unique hikes in Hong Kong as you get to check out rock shaped like a rhino’s head!
9. Jardine’s Lookout
If delayed gratification has never really been your strong suit then head to Jardine’s Lookout for a quick hike in Hong Kong. This hike is only approximately 1 KM each way, or for the hiking fanatics out there you can keep going along the Hong Kong Trail towards Mount Butler.
The Jardine’s Lookout viewpoint gives you a view similar to that from the Red Incense Burner Summit (which means it’s a great sunset viewpoint in Hong Kong), and mainly consists of hundreds of steps up to the peak. Pace yourself and you’ll be fine! Though the steps up can feel unending, it took us just 25 minutes or so to get to the top, and 15 minutes to head back down.
How to get there: Take bus 6 or 66 towards Stanley and then walk up Tai Tam Reservoir Road. The entrance to the trail is just across the street from the Parkview residential complex. Alternatively, take a taxi to Parkview – ask the taxi driver to take you to “Yeung Ming San Jong”. Once you arrive at these gates just take the first right and follow the signs for Jardine’s Lookout.
Difficulty level: 6/10 – the hike should take you less than half an hour each way, but involves lots and lots of steps. The return journey comes to approximately 2.5 KM in total.
View payoff: 9/10 – fantastic place to get a 180-degree view of Hong Kong’s skyline and Victoria Harbour.
I hope this list of beginner-friendly hikes in Hong Kong inspires you to get out and explore more of Hong Kong’s nature (without having to bring your hiking poles)! These are a few of my favourite easy hikes in Hong Kong that involve less travel time and minimal effort – yet still deliver on maximum views.
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