With Hong Kong characterized as an urban concrete jungle, it is often we neglect some of its more scenic natural landscapes. As the pandemic has resulted in most of us social distancing in the safety and comfort of our homes, it is hard to find the motivation to get out into the open air as COVID restrictions are gradually easing. We’ve compiled a list of the 4 best walking trails in Hong Kong to explore the tranquil and green areas that the city has to offer outside of its hustle and bustle.
Ngong Ping 360 Rescue Trail
Originally built to service the Ngong Ping 360, this 5.7-kilometer (3.5 mile) trail connects Tung Chung with the home of the infamous Tian Tan Buddha, Ngong Ping. From the Tung Chung MTR Station, head toward the route of the Tung O Ancient Trail via Yat Tung Estate. In transit to the Ngong Ping 360 Rescue trail, you can begin to withdraw from the hubbub of Tung Chung and instead relish in the serene and peaceful surroundings.
The trail itself is seemingly aligned with the Ngong Ping 360 cable cars. Beginning with a high concentration of steps to cable car tower No. 3, a picturesque landscape of Tung Chung Bay and the Hong Kong International Airport will come into view. Proceed toward cable car tower No. 4, and you will come across a wood paved Broadwalk also known as the “stairway to heaven.”
Head to the highest point of the trail which is located by cable car tower No. 5. At this point on the trail, you will be able to observe a panoramic view of the “boundless sky and mountainous terrain.” Begin your descent toward the end of the trail and capture the magnificent view of the Big Buddha – an ideal end to the scenic walk along the Ngong Ping 360 Rescue Trail.
Tung O Ancient Trail
The Tung O Ancient Trail is a route located on the northern coast of Lantau Island and connects Tung Chung with the Tai O fishing village. Formerly known as the Tung Tai trail, it was the main footpath between the two villages before the urbanization of Tung Chung. The trail is a cement paved footpath used mostly by locals residing in the small villages along the route. Only the last section of the trail has mountainous terrain, so this 13-kilometer (8-mile) trail is more a leisurely walk than a hike.
From the starting point of the trail at Tung Chung, head toward the mangroves at Tung Chung Bay. Along the path, there are a few abandoned houses which presumably the villagers left behind to head for the city. Despite the increasing modernization, mundane and traditional living is still prevalent in the remaining village. Proceed to Sham Wat Wan Bay and you will find a store which caters to visitors on the trail – providing refreshments and small meals. At Tai O – the destination of the trail – you will be able to see the traditional stilt houses elevated above the water that have become a major tourist attraction.
Wan Chai Green Trail
The Wan Chai Green Trail leads from the bustling urban streets of Wan Chai to the green center of Hong Kong Island. At the corner of Wan Chai Gap Road – the start of the trail – there is an environmental resource center where you can get useful information about the area and even a booklet with a map of the Wan Chai Green Trail.
The beginning of the trail on Wan Chai Gap Road is steeply uphill. Along the route are plaques which point out the shrubs and greenery of the area. Banyan trees are prevalent on the trail, with their roots spread through the stone walls in search of water. The route connects to Kennedy Road, at which there are a few more steps to climb. However, the setting is now more tranquil and green.
An Indian rubber tree hangs over the path and provides reasonable shade. At Bowen Road, a relatively level footpath that provides a scenic view of Central and Wan Chai, you can make a detour to the left to see the Lover’s Rock, a shrine doused in red color which women often visit with the desire of a husband or fertility. From Bowen Road, proceed on the uphill incline, passing through the forest to the end of the trail at Wong Nai Chung Gap Park.
Aberdeen Nature Trail
The Aberdeen Nature Trail is situated in the southern part of Hong Kong Island within the Aberdeen Country Park. The 423-hectare Aberdeen Country Park is the only country park on Hong Kong Island with a picnic area that is accessible to disabled citizens. Disabled visitors can use the wheelchair route to view the countryside and natural scenery. The Aberdeen Tree Center is the first education center promoting tree conservation and can also be located in this area.
The route passes by the Lower and Upper Aberdeen Reservoirs, which were the last two reservoirs built on Hong Kong Island in 1931. The reservoirs are surrounded by dense forests. This 1.2-kilometer (0.75 mile) trail starts at the eastern rim of the Lower Aberdeen Reservoir and is relatively flat. Along the Aberdeen Nature Trail, you will find several picnic areas with tables and benches, so you can take a breather and savor the beautiful green landscape.
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