New to hiking? Check out these 5 beginner-friendly routes in Hong Kong and tips for staying warm in winter

  • The founders of Hkhiker, a walking group sharing knowledge about the city’s countryside, bring you 5 easy and educational hikes that can be done in 2 hours
  • A hiking coach offers tips for staying safe amid the cold and shortened days of winter
Sue Ng |

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Lung Fu Shan is Hong Kong’s smallest country park. Photo: James Wendlinger

For those who are tired of being around crowds during the holidays, the great outdoors offers a perfect getaway from city life.

Young Post talked to the founders of Hkhiker, a walking group sharing knowledge about Hong Kong’s countryside, to bring you five beginner-friendly and educational routes. All of these can be completed in two hours. And to make your winter hike safer, we also consulted a hiking coach on tips for staying warm.

1. Lung Fu Shan Country Park in Pok Fu Lam

Known as the city’s smallest country park, Lung Fu Shan, or Dragon Tiger Mountain, offers an escape from city life through a journey to the past.

Famous for its war ruins, one of the park’s must-see attractions is the Pinewood Battery. Standing at about 300 metres above sea level, the military fort was built in 1903 as the city’s highest coastal defence battery. It was converted into an air defence battery in the 1920s, and during World War II, it was part of the city’s defences against the invading Japanese forces.

Aside from its historical relics, the park also features an environmental education centre to introduce visitors to Lung Fu Shan’s ecosystem.

Follow this map for your journey.

Total time: 1 hour and 15 minutes

Distance: 5km

How to get there: Walk about 20 minutes from Sai Ying Pun MTR Station or Hong Kong University MTR Station to Lung Fu Shan Environmental Education Centre via Kotewall Road or Pok Fu Lam Road. Or take bus 13 from City Hall in Central and disembark at University Lodge on Kotewall Road to walk to the centre.

Return to the city: If you end your journey at the Peak Galleria, you can take the Peak Tram, bus 15 or X15, or minibus 1 to Central.

Pinewood Battery in Lung Fu Shan Country Park was built in 1903. Photo: Wan Kam-yan

2. Mount Davis in Pok Fu Lam

Named after Hong Kong’s second governor Sir John Francis Davis, Mount Davis sits 269 metres high on Hong Kong Island’s western edge.

During World War II, the peak was an important artillery battery for the British armed forces. Built in the early 20th century, large parts of the battery remain on the hill, such as gun positions, outbuildings and barracks – some of which have been classified as grade two historic buildings.

Follow this map for your journey.

Total time: 50 minutes from Mount Davis Path to Kennedy Town station

Distance: 4km

How to get there: From Kennedy Town station, take bus 1 or minibus 58 to Mount Davis Path.

A glimpse of an old gun emplacement at Mount Davis Battery. Photo: Jonathan Wong

3. Pok Fu Lam Country Park in Pok Fu Lam

Covering 270 hectares of Hong Kong Island, Pok Fu Lam Country Park is in the foothills of Victoria Peak. It boasts spectacular views of Victoria Harbour and the tranquil countryside.

Designated in 1979, the picturesque country park not only encompasses the city’s oldest water storage facility, Pok Fu Lam Reservoir, but also features a 2.2km Pok Fu Lam Tree Walk. As the city’s first tree walk, the route introduces Hong Kong’s diverse native plant species, and it takes an additional 45 minutes to complete.

Follow this map for your journey.

Total time: 50 minutes from Pok Fu Lam Reservoir Road to the tree walk; 45 minutes for the tree walk

Distance: 2.8km

How to get there: From Central, take bus 4x, 7, 30X or 91 from Exchange Square and get off at Pok Fu Lam Reservoir Road.

Return to the city: Take the Peak Tram, bus 15 or X15 or minibus 1 to Central.

The Pok Fu Lam Reservoir is the oldest water storage facility in Hong Kong. Photo: Xiaomei Chen

4. Shing Mun War Relics Trail in Tsuen Wan

Situated between Tai Mo Shan and Kam Shan Country Parks, Shing Mun Reservoir is perfect for beginners and families. This hiking destination boasts both natural scenery and historical ruins.

The area around the reservoir sees rich wildlife, such as butterflies, monkeys, cattle, and even wild boars. Along the journey are Instagram-worthy spots, such as the Paperbark Tree Corridor which is lined with white paperbark trees, as well as the War Relics Trail featuring the Shing Mun Redoubt.

The 250-metre trail was an important stronghold of the Gin Drinker line, constructed in the 1930s before World War II to defend against attacks from the north. It is one of the city’s best-preserved war relics as it contains remains of tunnels and artillery observation posts.

Follow this map for your journey.

Total time: 25 minutes

Distance: 1.5km from Pineapple Dam to Shing Mun Redoubt

How to get there: Take minibus 82 from Tsuen Wan Shiu Wo Street to Shing Mun Reservoir Pineapple Dam minibus terminus.

Return to the city: Return by taking the same minibus.

People love posing for pictures with the paperbark trees at Shing Mun Reservoir Country Park. Photo: Nora Tam

5. Tai Po Kau Nature Reserve in Tai Po

This nature reserve is one of the city’s most biologically diverse forests offering a host of beautiful routes with unspoilt surroundings.

Boasting 460 hectares of natural beauty, the reserve comprises more than 100 different species of trees, as well as over 160 species of birds, 102 species of butterflies, and 50 species of dragonflies.

There are five way-marked paths to visit the nature reserve, including four colour-coded walks and one nature trail. Each route has different lengths: the shortest is just 3km, but the longest is 10km. You can choose the walk that best suits your needs!

Follow this map for your journey.

Total time: about 45 minutes (the shortest route)

Distance: 3km

How to get there: Take the 28K minibus from Tai Po Market MTR Station and get off at Chung Tsai Yuen. Or take bus 72, 72A, 73A, or 74A to the nearby Chung Tsai Yuen bus stop.

Return to the city: Take the same minibus or bus.

The planting of Tai Po Kau Nature Reserve began in 1926. Photo: Getty Images

Tips for hiking in winter

Sunny Leung is a hiking coach and director of the NGO, Mountaineering Council of Hong Kong. The expert said that staying warm was key on a winter hike and shared four tips:

  1. Pack extra thermal underwear to change into after the hike finishes. This will prevent you from getting cold due to the sweat on your hiking outfit.

  2. Wear a windbreaker jacket to protect yourself from the chill.

  3. Carry a flashlight or headlamp so that you still have light even as the sun sets earlier during the winter.

  4. Bring a towel to cover your chest and neck.

The coach also highlighted three essentials for all seasons that would further protect you on a hike:

  1. first aid kit

  2. two litres of drinking water

  3. map and compass

“I would advise people to hike in a group of three or four and make a plan in advance [for the route]. It’s always better to have more preparation and precautions,” said Leung.

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