Hong Kong was a British colony for many years. No surprise, hiking trails have been established here over the decades. And the Hong Kong citizens themselves do enjoy walking, so the tradition lives on. Good news for us!
If your image of Hong Kong is one of skyscrapers only, you're biased. The fact is that, among the densely populated financial centers of Asia, Hong Kong stands out in nature. Main asset of Hong Kong, from our point of view of course, are the Country Parks. These safe havens for nature were established in the seventies by Murray MacLehose, the governor who fought corruption and obstructed democracy. Four main trails, and more smaller trails, explore these Country Parks.
You are never faraway from the large population areas, and still, nature will present itself from the wild side: “hills” up till 1000 meter, beautiful coast line with sea inlets and quiet beaches, forests and shrub lands. Attractive also are the exotic small villages (yes, not far from towering skyscrapers) where you often can find a place to sleep. Hong Kong partially consists of islands, the best known is Hong Kong Island itself, and the largest of them is Lantau.
The four main trails are the Hong Kong Trail (50 km), the MacLehose Trail (100 km), the Wilson Trail (78 km) and the Lantau Trail (70 km). Often, it is possible to divide your trail in neat portions return to your hotel and the bustling city life at night, have a good sleep, and turn back, tidy and well fed, to your last evening's trailhead by public transport. Alternatively, you might enjoy camping in the outdoor. Most villages offer some kind of overnight staying, including temples.
There are many more smaller trails, indicated on the maps. Check out Roz's website (see links section below), if you want to find out more.
Hiking is possible year round, but during the hot season - June till September - you will sweat your bones out, if not washed away already in one of those plunge sessions. Dry weather or pouring rain, do carry lots of water on your hike.
We can recommend Pete Spurrier's guide to the four main trails: “The Serious Hiker's Guide to Hong Kong”, available in the English bookshops. Maps can be purchased from the Map Publication Centers. Best are the excellent Countryside Series, showing the main trails and smaller trails. In the field, the waymarking is up to date.
So, unpack at the airport, jump on the Star Ferry, and take a break halfway your business trip. And if you liked it, pray for the survival of the Country Parks.
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