It is easy to go stir crazy when you are working from home. The day slips away and before you know it, it is dinner time and you have not left the house. But, Hong Kong is full of quick, accessible hikes, that you can do in an hour or so over your lunch break.
Time in nature can reduce stress and boost creativity. As little as 30 minutes in the outdoors will help your concentration and make you more productive. So, make sure you plan a small trip outside at least once a day as working from home continues to be the norm.
Central – Mount High West
If you live in Mid-Levels, Sheung Wan, Sai Ying Pun or Kennedy Town, Mount High West is an accessible but rewarding hike.
Start at the corner of Conduit Road and Hatton Road. Head uphill and you will soon find yourself on The Morning Trail. Snake up The Morning Trail, through a lush canopy, for 1.6km and you will reach a flat area with some pavilions and outdoor workout equipment.
Go up the five or six stairs to the workout equipment and walk straight for 50 metres, past the water fountain. There is a small notice board with the details of Mount High West. Go down the five or six steps in front of you, follow the path, then take the steep set of stairs up to the viewpoint and take in the stunning, sweeping views of Lamma, Lantau and central Hong Kong in one vista.
Head down the way you came in time for your afternoon meeting.
Tung Chung – Por Kai Shan
This is a challenging hike, but is short and sharp. Just 1.3km to the top and 1.3km back to Tung Chung will have you sweating and ready to take on your afternoon’s work.
The entry point to the hike is on Cheung Tung Road, which you can walk to from Tung Chung MTR.
The hike starts with a steep set of concrete steps and soon turns into rugged trail. Por Kai Shan is visible from Tung Chung but is deceptively steep. Look back at any time to see a view of Tung Chung and its many high-rise flats.
Keep going straight up, the route is self-explanatory. When you reach the top, bask in the view of Tung Chung with the vast green mountains of Lantau Island rearing up behind you. You can head down the way you came and back to work.
Quarry Bay – Mount Butler
A long, winding hike with great views at the end is well worth your lunch break. It is easily accessible and you can turn around at any time having still worked hard.
Start on King’s Road, about 100m east of Quarry Bay MTR exit A. Head up through Mount Parker Road. The inclined concrete path works its way up, away from the dense urban jungle through beautiful forests. After 30 or 40 minutes of walking you reach a flat, wide area with a Pavilion on your right and toilets on your left. You can turn around and go back the way you came, or if you have time, turn right, through the pavilion on to a set of stairs.
The short but sharp stair case, which could take 10-15 minutes to climb, takes you to Mount Butler lookout. You can see Hong Kong city and the vast green south side at the same time before turning around back the way you came towards an afternoon of working from home.
Sai Kung Town – Pak Sha Wan
Sai Kung is surrounded by stunning mountains. If you have the time, you can hike up Pyramid Hill and back. But over a lunch break, that is pushing it. Pak Sha Wan is a 10km loop, that is flat and takes you to lovely beaches and back if you are willing to run.
Start at the West end of the Sai Kung town sea front and run, keeping the shore on your left, to Hong Kin Road. Turn right, follow it round and then left onto Hong Fu Road. The road turns into a trail and you can follow it along until there is a fork in the road. Take the right road, and keep going straight to Trio Beach for stunning views of the sea and surrounding islands.
You can turn back the way you came, or follow the coast, keeping the sea on your right this time, around the peninsular. At the end of the peninsular the trail turns north again and back towards Hong Fu Road.
Discovery Bay – Discovery Bay Lookout
This hike will not take you long but will get the legs burning. Opposite the junction of Seabee Lane and Discovery Bay Road there is a set of stairs. These big steps will work your quads and get you heart pumping.
Keep heading up and up, until eventually the path veers to the left. Walk along the dirt track until it turns to concrete. Here is the lookout. Discovery Bay looks small below you and on a clear day you can see Hong Kong city in the distance.
You can turn back here for a quick exit or head down the concrete steps in front of you. Either turn left, through the trees and down steps until you are back in Discovery Bay, via Parkvale Drive, or turn right toward the long and winding Discovery Valley Road that takes you down from the dam.