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Looking for hikes
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Try these five trails in Hong Kong

It’s an untapped treasure for Canadians
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With a coastline backed by rugged mountains, the ever-bustling city of Hong Kong offers surprisingly good hiking for beginners and more advanced enthusiasts alike. Just a one-hour walk from the busy city centre filled with shopping malls leads you to an easy trail into the hills, where the sound of traffic is replaced by chirping crickets. That’s hardly surprising, though, as only 30 per cent of Hong Kong’s land mass is developed; the rest of the naturally hilly terrain is largely dedicated to protected country parks.

We’ve rounded up some of Hong Kong’s most spectacular hikes, with varying levels of difficulty.

Dragon’s Back

Best for: Beginners

One of Hong Kong’s most iconic hikes, thanks to a combination of accessibility, relative ease and scenic views, this hike begins just outside the most eastern MTR (subway) station of Chai Wan, on Hong Kong Island. The first section, which consists primarily of stairs, is followed by a two-hour hike over and above the ridges that overlooks the eastern part of Hong Kong Island. Although the highest elevation is only 284 metres, the ridges that give rise to the hike’s name offer spectacular coastal views across the headland of Shek O. This is one of many key Hong Kong hikes to finish at a beach, culminating at one of the island’s finest, Big Wave Bay, popular among surfers.

MacLehose Trail

Best for: Beach lovers

Named as one of the world’s top 20 dream trails by National Geographic, the 100-kilometre MacLehose Trail covers northeastern Hong Kong and is one of its hardest and most scenic. The trail is split into several levels, so hiking enthusiasts can pick based on their level of preferred difficulty. The most impressive by far are Stages 1 and 2, featuring a 14.5-kilometre, seven-hour section that covers Sharp Peak, a 468-metre jagged ridge that overlooks the stretch of coastline known to many Hong Kongers as the last remaining paradise in the city. It features the picturesque beaches of Tung Wan, Tai Wan, Ham Tin Wan and Sai Wan, otherwordly stretches of powder-soft white sand that front emerald and azure seas, backed by rolling hills and waterfalls more reminiscent of Hawaii than Hong Kong.

Victoria Peak

Best for: Lazy foodies

Hong Kong’s most famous hill, Victoria Peak, is just a short walk up from Central. The easiest trail begins at the end of the world’s longest system of connected escalators, the famous Mid-Levels Escalator, at Caine Road. From there, it’s a long, winding path up to Victoria Peak, where skyline views and gourmet cuisine await at The Peak Tower, a rice bowl–shaped structure that houses Madame Tussauds, the Sky Terrace 428 and several restaurants. Due to its central position, Victoria Peak is accessible via hikes through several other parts of the city, though these vary in difficulty and length.

Complete the experience by taking The Peak Tram – opened in 1888 and one of the world’s oldest funicular railway systems still in operation – back down to Admiralty.

Tai Mo Shan

Best for: Height lovers

Hong Kong’s highest peak, Tai Mo Shan (which means “Big Hat Mountain” in Cantonese), stands at 957 metres. Notably, it is only a moderate hike up because a bus takes you halfway there. The trail crosses through Shing Mun Reservoir, which is populated by monkeys, and offshoots from the trail lead to some of Hong Kong’s largest and most voluminous waterfalls, including Ng Tung Chai Waterfall.

With its enviable height, the peak offers unparalleled 360-degree views over Hong Kong, from the dizzying lights of Hong Kong Island and Kowloon skylines in the south, to the iconic mix of bridges in the west.

Sunset Peak

Best for: Campers and photographers

Climb two of Hong Kong’s highest mountains in one hike with the Lantau Trail that covers Sunset Peak. The moderate to difficult eight-kilometre, four-hour trail starts at Tung Chung Station, also the central point for the Ngong Ping 360 cable car, a popular tourist attraction that ascends toward the Big Buddha. This trail follows much of the path of the cable car.

Typical Hong Kong campsites feature flat surfaces, grass, benches and basic facilities, but there are no such luxuries here. Despite this, campers visit in droves when the weather is suitable to capture stunning sunsets and night scenes.

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