Hong Kong is renowned for its skyscrapers, but few visitors know that it also boasts one of the best urban hikes in Asia.
When you think of Hong Kong, nature is certainly not the first thing that comes to mind. And yet you don’t need to travel far out of the city to enjoy its greenery and incredible coastline. Stretching from Shek O beach with its wide expanse of golden sand all the way to the island’s favorite surfing location, Big Wave Bay, Dragon’s Back is one of the most memorable hikes in Hong Kong. In 2019, it was selected as one of the world’s best trails by CNN Travel.
Dragon’s Back is the last section of the long-distance Hong Kong trail that crosses the island through five country parks. The topography of the trail is reminiscent of the shape of a Chinese dragon’s back, hence its name. The trail snakes its way up and down an exposed ridgeline on top of the mountains that dominate the surrounding landscape.
The hike is around 8 km long but owing to the slight incline, it only takes between two and three hours to complete. If you make a detour to Pottinger Peak at the end of the hike, you can extend the walk by another few kilometers.
Dragon’s Back is a well-marked trail suitable for families, amateur hikers, and adventure-seeking tourists alike. It’s an easy climb and there’s no need for any special trekking skills to appreciate this delightful walk. In fact, hiking is among the locals’ favorite pastimes and you’ll see plenty of fellow hikers along the way, especially if you go there on the weekends.
The Dragon’s Back viewing points offer spectacular vistas of southern Hong Kong and its shoreline. On a clear day, you will see as far as Lamma Island in the southwestern part of the island. Don’t miss the 284-meter high sightseeing platform at Shek O Peak, the highest one on the trail, for a stunning panorama of the Tai Long Wan Bay and Tung Lung Island.
Those sweeping ocean views of the beaches below and the South China Sea stretching as far as the eye can see are one of the biggest draws of the hike. And you will even be able to catch a glimpse of the city against a forested landscape in the distance.
After you have soaked up the views, you can take a rewarding dip in the warm waters of Big Wave Bay at the trail’s end, before heading home.
Getting there: Get the MTR to Shau Kei Wan and from here, take the number 9 bus to the To Tei Wan stop on Shek O Road. Alternatively, take a cab from the city (the journey takes around 20 minutes).
Getting back: Take the red minibus with the sign “Shau Kei Wan” or a taxi from Big Wave Bay to Shau Kei Wan.
Hours: Mon-Sun open 24 hours
Best time to visit: October to April