Explore Hong Kong
Get more with myNEWS
A personalised news feed of stories that matter to you
Learn more
Andrew Daniels on Rhino Rock in Stanley, one of 160 trails as he attempts to hike every route in Hong Kong. Photos: Handout

Hiker tackles every Hong Kong trail during Covid-19 despite dogs, monkeys and snakes

  • Andrew Daniels compiles a list of all the city’s trails and sets his sights on walking all of them, no matter how distant or obscure
  • List of 160 hikes requires him to paddle board out to remote islands

A hiker is determined to walk every single trail in Hong Kong, after Covid-19 travel restrictions forced him to explore the local terrain.

Andrew Daniels started the idea with a scratch map in January, and then used websites and word of mouth to compile a 160-hike longlist. Since he started, he has been adding trails when others point out missing hikes.

“I started taking days off work and linking some of the trails to do two or three in a day. Then I started doing 40-45km a day, two or three different hikes at once,” said the 30-year-old American. “I needed to get about two or three per week.”

“I was always focused on where I was going next, but now I’m stuck here and wondered how I was going to make the most of this situation. Hong Kong has this incredible scenery, it is sort of like this oasis,” he said.

Dog’s Teeth is one of Andrew Daniels’ favourite hikes in Hong Kong.

Though hiking in Hong Kong is abundant and accessible, some of the trails Daniels still needs to hike are tough to reach. His list includes trails on outlying islands.

Currently, he has almost completed his list but is stuck, unable to get to the likes of Basalt Island because of swells and wind.

Another obscure spot is Double Haven, a small group of Islands in the Northeast that has a ferry to Kat O on weekends, but not to the other islands in the area.

A trail app that lets you report litter to the AFCD

“That was one of the more interesting experiences. I couldn’t figure out how to do it. My goal was to cross off Crooked Island, Crescent Island and Double Island in one. That was tough,” Daniels said.

“I bought a paddle board off Taobao, took a ferry to Kat O, hiked across the island, pumped up the paddle board and went to Crescent Island and used that as a base for two days. The place is awesome and the water is so calm up there. It has changed my mentality on Hong Kong in many ways.”

Another challenge is the Soko Islands, south of Lantau. There is no ferry or settlement there. He will take his paddle-board to Lantau, and paddle across to tick off the trails there.

Andrew Daniels has to complete three hikes a week to get through his list.

Even on the more accessible trails, it has not been plain sailing. Daniels linked MacLehose Trail sections five to seven, then looped back on himself and did Wilson Trail section five to seven. It was dark when he came across a bunch of oranges spread across the path and immediately thought, ‘Oh crap.’

A couple had put the food out to tempt the monkeys onto the path so they could watch them eat. It is a trick Daniels has seen before, and one he wishes people would not do.

“All of a sudden I locked eyes with a monkey and I thought, ‘Oh no.’ It began to chase me. I started running and it left me alone but this old lady started shouting at the monkeys and they dispersed,” he said.

Po Pin Chau has stunning rock formations.

Another time, when hiking in Plover Cover, Daniels heard rustling in the bushes. He thought it was a boar, but then four dogs burst out and started chasing him.

“They were not pleased at all,” he said. “I must have come onto their territory or something. I actually had to run into the water to get away from them. Then I started laughing. I was standing in the water by myself, and the dogs are just standing on the shore barking at me.” He waded around them, completed his hike and waded back again.

On a third occasion, he stepped on a red necked keelback, one of Hong Kong’s venomous snakes, without even realising until his friend shouted. The snake was poised to strike, eyeing up Daniels deciding whether he was worth the effort.

A geologist’s guide to Hong Kong Island’s best trails

Daniels now has a rare expertise into every nook and cranny of Hong Kong’s trails. One of his favourites is MacLehose section four, around Man On Shan: “That whole area is just awesome”

Another is Po Pin Chau, in the geopark in Sai Kung. The high cliffs and hexagonal shaped rocks are spectacular: “I just cannot believe that stuff is in Hong Kong”. Dog’s Teeth, two stark ridges up Lantau Peak, also stand out as “awesome”.

“My friends say it’s so cool and wish they could do something like this. Well, it’s very easy, I could send the list. It’s allows you to see parts of Hong Kong, run-down parts, it gives you a sense of history and shows what Hong Kong used to be like,” Daniels added.

“I hope people are inspired to try the same thing, maybe not the whole thing, but realise there is more to Hong Kong than just the concrete jungle.”

This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: American sidesteps snakes, monkeys and dogs on Hong Kong quest