One of the very best things about Hong Kong is the hiking. There are mountains and trails everywhere, including four long distance trails: MacLehose (100 km, 10 sections), (2) Wilson (78 km, 10 sections), (3) Lantau (70 km, 12 sections) and (4) Hong Kong (50 km, 8 sections).
This hiking season I’ve been lucky enough to complete three out of the four long distance trails and plan to battle the rain and heat this spring to finish the final one, Hong Kong Trail.
In doing all of this hiking, I’ve concluded that there are eight reasons that Hong Kong has the best hiking in the world:
1. Friendliness. There is an unspoken rule in this urban crush of 7 million people: as soon as you enter a countryside trail, you should smile and greet everyone. The malls are full of shopping zombies, the streets are full of cell phone zombies, but the hills are full of smiles.
2. Transportation. Getting to any trailhead in Hong Kong is a breeze using the MTR, buses and taxis. Yes, hiking by taxi or MTR!
3. No need to ever be bored on an out and back hike. Because you can get a lift anywhere, you can start and end hikes at different points. There is absolutely no need to walk back on yourself!
4. Cold Coke. It is easy to finish a hot, sweaty hike and immediately buy an ice cold Coke from a vending machine or a small drink shop.
5. Wildlife. There are more animals in Hong Kong that cockroaches, mosquitoes and rats! In the mountains we’ve seen many monkeys, quite a few feral cows, water buffalo, indifferent (but also aggressive) dogs and one snake.
6. Little shrines. In the middle of the forest you can suddenly encounter small temples, outdoor shrines and amateur sculpture gardens.
7. Ingenuity. Hong Kong’s ancient trails are often built of enormous stones. I have no idea how people moved these massive stones into place. Other trails have been maintained in more creative ways using any old scrap that could be dragged up the mountain, including car bumpers.
8. Gorgeous. Finally, Hong Kong hikes are stunning!
With many thanks to all of my hiking buddies for getting me outside this season rain or shine, hot or cold, night or day!
(Source for original, blank Hong Kong map here.)