Although I’ve never really associated Hong Kong with great hiking, it turns out that there are some very fine trails on these islands. John and I chose the Dragon’s Back hike, which is often on must-do lists of activities in Hong Kong.
To get to the trailhead, we took two trains and a bus, a commute which was, in fact, much easier than it sounds, thanks to the highly efficient Hong Kong MTR system. People from Hong Kong, like people from many places, like to brag that their transit system is the best in the world and in Hong Kong, the pride in this system is well founded. The trains are fast, comfortable, and efficient. During our visit, the MTR was operating at curtailed hours and many of the station entrances were closed due to system vandalism. Turnstiles, escalators, and ticketing machines have been torn up as the protests have become more intense. There was one day in early October when the full system shut down for a day, the first time in its 40-year history. The shut-down must have paralyzed HK, as many in Hong Kong rely solely on the MTR to move around the city.
The Dragon’s Back
We started our hike on the Dragon’s Back on a hazy Monday morning. The hike is described as moderate in difficulty, which seemed a bit off on the first stretch, which consisted almost entirely of stairs and steep spots, but soon enough we were up the ridge and after that the trail undulated like, well, like a dragon’s back.
Along the way, there were stunning views of the water, nearby islands, beaches, and other scenery. Most of the impressive Hong Kong skyline was obstructed but the scenery was beautiful. We saw many beautiful butterflies, birds, including eagles, and a Red Neck Keelback snake which moved off the trail too fast for us to snap a picture. We learned later that it is highly poisonous, so it’s just as well.
The hike ended at Big Wave Bay where there is a beach. At this point we took a red minibus (public transit) to go back to the Shau Kei Wan MTR station. We didn’t make it to the beach, although we did see the beach from the trail. We had read that the hike is 8 km, however, my pedometer registered 8 miles at the end. Some of this would have been walking through the train stations, however. Beginning to end it took us about 3 ½ hours. It was a beautiful hike!