Views of the lit-up skyline and harbour, an attempt at seeing the stars. These are our picks of the best night hikes in Hong Kong.
With over 75 percent of Hong Kong covered in greenery, it’s hard to keep track of all the reservoirs, waterfalls and peaks this stunning city has to offer. But if you find the sticky, humid heat too much to bear, try making tracks at night — it’s an entirely different experience: cooler, less demanding and star-lit (or perhaps, skyscraper-lit).
Some things to know about hiking at night:
- As with all hikes, hike with one more person (at the very least). You’re safest in a group, of course, but it’s always good to have someone with you if you get lost or injured.
- Go for a trail you or a companion are already comfortable and familiar with — don’t try out a new one for the first time at night. Start with something easier and build your confidence.
- Bring a handheld torch light or headlamp, and backups. Your phone’s flashlight won’t cut it.
- Bring everything you need and more. Government countryside maps, ropes, kneepads, gloves — you name it. There’s no harm in bringing it. And pack plenty of water.
The Peak (Pok Fu Lam to The Peak)
Let’s start with the Hong Kong skyline! There’s no need to explain this one — the view from Victoria Peak at night is stunning. This is a relatively easy trek through lovely greenery with more than one lookout point. Start at the Pok Fu Lam Country Park entrance and keep walking on Pok Fu Lam Reservoir Road. You have an option here to make your way to the Mount High West viewing point that’s located within the country park. Otherwise, follow along the road to Lugard Road, stop at the lookout and then finally make your way to The Peak Tower.
You can take any bus to the Pok Fu Lam Country Park’s entrance on Pok Fu Lam Reservoir Road (including buses NWFB 30X and 4X, CTB 7 and Green Minibus 22 from Central). To cut this hike by half, start at Lugard Road.
Distance: 6km (3.5mi) | Duration: 2-3 hours | Difficulty: Beginner
Braemar Hill (Sir Cecil’s Ride)
Easy with a simple trail — this one is perfect for a brand new night hiker. Skip waiting at the summit for the city lights to come on by starting after sunset. To avoid missing any viewpoints, start from Mount Butler and take Sir Cecil’s Ride up to Red Incense Burner Summit. Take your time with this one and feel free to venture off the main trail (but not too far!) to get sweeping views of Central, the Harbour and Kowloon. Braemar Hill’s viewing point is just a little way up from Red Incense Burner Summit.
You can take the MTR to Admiralty Station and catch a 24M Green Minibus and alight at “Mount Butler Block C & D”. To cut this hike to a walk, you can always make your way to the Braemar Hill bus terminus (or any nearby bus stop) and do a short walk up to the Braemar Hill viewing point.
Distance: 3km (1.8mi) | Duration: 1 hour | Difficulty: Beginner
Be warned, this one is for experienced hikers. While not the most gruelling in the day, it’s always good to be careful when hiking at night. Try hiking this one in daylight before committing as it can be very overwhelming in the dark — but the view is spectacular and worth the treacherous climb. (Please note: The hike has some parts that require using rope.)
Kowloon Peak is part of Ma On Shan Country Park and boasts the infamous “suicide” cliff that happens to make for a really beautiful photo spot — with caution. Inside the park, make your way to Fei Ngo San Road where you’ll find a pagoda and the Kowloon Peak Viewing Point. You’ll be able to see Lion Rock, Mount Davis, Victoria Peak, and Mount Butler — and plenty more — from here. Hike across Elephant Hill to reach the summit and then descend (very carefully) to the cliff where you’ll be greeted with panoramic views. Take your time!
You can take the MTR to City One Station on the Tuen Ma line, and then take a minibus (like Green Minibuses 65A and 65K) from Exit D. Alight at Wong Nai Tau Bus Terminus.
Distance: 9km (5.6mi) | Duration: 4-5 hours | Difficulty: Intermediate to Advanced
This beginner-friendly historic hike is an easy and relatively short trek. Named for the pirates that captured the area during the Ming Dynasty, the hill was later seized by the British who built military stations, including gun batteries. It starts at a former fishing village and travelling past ruins and relics, including Gough Battery and Pottinger Battery (mostly lost to vegetation). If you can, start just before sunset.
Make your way to Yau Tong Station and take Exit A1 into Domain Mall. Take the escalators to the mall’s ground floor and exit from the back (next to Tai Hing Restaurant) and get on to Ko Chiu Road. Walk past Lei Yue Mun Estate, take a right and walk uphill towards Tseung Kwan O Permanent Cemetery until you see the Wilson Trail ‘Pau Tai Shan’ (Devil’s Peak) entrance.
Distance: 3-4.4km (1.8-2.7mi) | Duration: 1-2 hours | Difficulty: Beginner
The Twin Peaks (Violet Hill)
Ah, the terrible twins. In fact, maybe the non-pros should just skip this entry — this is probably the most challenging hike on the list. Still here? The hike past Twin Peaks and Violet Hill takes you from Wong Nai Chung Reservoir to Stanley. Part of the first stage of Hong Kong’s Wilson Trail, this hike features beautiful greenery and blooms, mountains and water. End at Stanley Gap Road.
Make your way to Wong Nai Chung Reservoir — from Central, you can take Citybus 6 and Green Minibus 66 to Parkview on Tai Tam Reservoir Road.
Distance: 5km (3.1mi) | Duration: 2-3 hours | Difficulty: Advanced
Expect plenty of hikers with camera equipment around you — Garden Hill is popular with night photographers. Less of a hike, this “urban trek” (read: a 15-minute walk) is on the list because it really is a lovely spot at night to look out across the city from.
There are few ways to do this walk. You can take the MTR either to Shek Kip Mei Station and start from Exit A or to Sham Shui Po Station and start from Exit D2. Make your way to Mei Ho House and then walk up the hill.
Distance: about 1km (0.6mi) | Duration: 10-20 minutes | Difficulty: Beginner