By: Melissa Stevens
Going hiking in Hong Kong is an incredibly popular pastime – who hasn’t been regaled with tales of the amazing views or seen the stunning Instagram snaps of their hiking pals. If you have a young family it doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the fun. Here’s some suggestions of family-friendly hikes which even little legs can manage. Make it a day of fun and fitness for the whole family.
#1 Lamma Island
As the name suggests, the Lamma Island Family Walk is a suitable for the whole family. The hike is quite flat and runs between the two villages on Lamma, both of which are serviced by a ferry from Central. Start at Sok Kwun Wan and make your way to Yung Shue Wan, where you can poke around the shops and market stalls before enjoying a meal at one of the waterfront restaurants. Along the way you’ll pass the 150-year-old Tin Hau temple, the Lamma Island Pavilion, Hung Shing Yeh Beach, as well as getting a view of the Lamma Wind Turbine and Power Station.
#2 Bowen Road
This is a very easy hike, but it’s a good one if you have particularly young kids, as it’s so flat it’s stroller friendly, and is also good for kids on scooters and bikes but you still get your fair share of spectacular views over Happy Valley, Wan Chai and Central. You can start at either the Happy Valley end with an entrance from Stubbs Road, or from the corner of Bowen and Magazine Gap Roads. The full trail is under 4km, but there are little shrines and a playground to break up the walk if spirits are flagging among some of the smaller members of your squad!
#3 The Peak
The Peak Circle Walk is another stroller-friendly hike, with spectacular views over Hong Kong. Head up via the Peak Tram, or take the #15 bus from Exchange Square bus terminus. The Peak Circle Walk begins at Lurgard Road near the Peak Tower. Twenty minutes of walking on Lugard Road will get you to the Lugard Road Lookout. Lugard Road runs into Harlech Road, where another 15 minutes will take you back to the Peak Tower, where you will have come full circle and can then take the tram or bus back down the Peak.
#4 Ping Shan Heritage Trail
This is a flat route in the New Territories which has the added bonus of being quite educational. Hong Kong’s first-ever heritage trail features historic buildings belonging to the Tang family – the early settlers of this area and the first and most powerful of the ‘Five Clans’. Highlights along the 1km trail feature the city’s oldest pagoda, a temple, a gallery and an old colonial police station. Get there by the MTR to Tin Shi Wai Station and take Exit E. When you arrive at the ground floor, cross Tsui Sing Road and you will see Tsui Sing Lau Pagoda, where the trail starts.
#5 Dragon’s Back
This is one of those hikes on everyone’s Hong Kong bucket list – you really should do it at least once if you live here. It is a relatively simple ridge line hike meaning with only a few parts with rough steps and some climbing at the start it can make a good family hike and it has stunning scenery. You can start the hike at the beautiful Hong Kong Trail Section 8 entrance on Shek O Road and 20 minutes of hiking will give you a view over Shek O beach in the east and Dragon’s Back in the north east. Continue to the viewing platform on Shek O Peak and then if you want to conquer the dragon, follow the rolling ridge from Shek O Peak to Wan Cham Shan. You can continue on to Big Wave Bay as your final destination. Estimated time for the full hike is about four hours and its recommended for older kids, aged at least six years and ideally with some previous hiking experience.
#6 Tai Tam Reservoir Family Walk
This 1.6km hike starts at Tai Tam Reservoir Road, about 15 minutes from Parkview Mansions. The middle section intersects Tai Tam Reservoir Road where you can stop for a picnic, or continue on and get a panoramic view of Tai Tam Reservoir, before the hike ends at Tai Tam Reservoir Road.
#7 Ma On Shan Family Walk
This little hike is less than 1km, and will take about half an hour, so it’s a great entry level hike for young families. The hike starts inside a barbecue site near Ma On Shan Tsuen Road, through an arch at the right-hand side of the barbecue. Head up the small hill and you will see the top of Ma On Shan, and then follow the loop back to the barbecue site.
#8 Tai Mei Tuk Family Walk
This jaunt beside Plover Cove Reservoir is a great walk for little legs as it only takes one hour at the most. Around 1 kilometre in length, the trail takes you through Tai Mei Tuk – a natural paradise at the foot of Mount Pat Sin Leng. Kick off your adventure at Bradbury Jockey Club Youth Hostel, a stone’s throw from the scenic Plover Clove (take the 20C minibus from Tai Po Market Station to Tai Mei Tuk bus terminus). The walk passes a series of 12 columns representing signs of the zodiac and visits four viewing points from where you’ll be treated to views across the reservoir towards Ma On Shan, the mountain which towers over the far side of Plover Cove.
#9 Sheung Yiu Family Walk
This is a good option if you are looking for family-friendly hikes in the Sai Kung area. This hike is about 1.8km, starting at Sheng Yiu and ends at Tai Mong Tsai Road. The trail starts about 200m south of the Sheng Yiu Folk Museum, where you take a left turn and go uphill and then hit a tree-lined path. The mid part of the path is quite level with picnic sites, or you can continue the walk until you reach the barbecue sites. Once you reach the end of the walk at Tai Mong Tsai Road, it’s about 20 minutes walk back to Pak Tam Chung where you can get public transport.
Remember when hiking to take appropriate precautions. Plan your route in advance, wear appropriate clothing and carry water. Ensure you have the correct fitness level for the hike you are attempting and remember not all areas have mobile phone reception. The Hong Kong Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department has comprehensive safety advice.
Go to discoverhongkong.com and hiking.gov.hk for more hiking trail options.
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