Hong Kong may seem like a glistening jungle of concrete n’ glass skyscrapers, but this luscious little gem is also home to acres of protected parkland – and some of the best hiking you’re ever likely to find in a major metropolis! The rugged MacLehose Trail, tucked away in the northern reaches of breezy Sai Kung in the New Territories, is one of the best, offering gorgeous sea views and secluded beaches.
Named one of the world’s top hikes by National Geographic Society, the city’s first and longest trail offers 100 kilometres of trekking heaven, divided into 10 sections, and varying from 5 to 16 kilometres. Overall, it includes some seriously tough ascents, vertiginous ridgetops, and hillside paths, not for the faint of glutes!
So unless you’ve got about six days, we suggest focusing on Section 2 of the trail, which is more accessible for keen, fit hikers, plus you go past the beautifully secluded and spotless Tai Long Wan beach, which is unreachable by car and so untraversed by the hordes.
Slap on the factor 50 and a comfy pair of trainers, pack a sun hat and swimmers, plenty of water and snacks (as there’s nothing along the way), then take the MTR to Hang Hao and zap out at Exit B1. Here you will find a variety of minibuses to zip you over to Sai Kung town centre, from where you should grab a green taxi, directing your driver to Pak Tam Au.
The 10k Section 2 of the trail begins to the right of the public loos at Pak Tam Au, and winds through reservoirs and eery abandoned coastal villages, taking in sea views, luscious bush and even quaint ‘midget’ cows, over the course of about three hours.
For stagger vertiginous aspects, endure the mini (but steep and scrabbly) side-trek up Sharp Peak, then continue along MacleHose until you reach the crystal clear waters and white sands of Tai Long Wan. Swim sesh complete, hike over the jutting cliff to the civilised shores of Ham Tin beach, which – hallelujah – has a simple seaside resto for a well-earned ice-cold beer and Canto snacks. Regular speed boats depart from this beach and will whisk you back to Sai Kung town centre. Phew!
MacLehose Trail / hiking.gov.hk