Outdoor Activities in Hong Kong

Information on the facilities in Hong Kong for outdoors activities: walks, hikes and cycling activities in the area...

Hong Kong's total land area is roughly 1,078 square kilometres and includes Hong Kong Island, Kowloon, the New Territories and about 235 outlying islands. Although it is a developed urban area cramped with skyscrapers, 40 percent of the area is classed as a country park and the territory has natural parks and place for outdoor activities which include: walking, hiking and climbing; cycling and mountain biking; and horse riding.

Situated in a subtropical zone, Hong Kong's climate is mild from the middle of September until the beginning of March. The average temperature rarely dips below 17°C during the winter months making outdoor activities accessible all year round. As with all subtropical climates, Hong Kong can be rather humid with a rainy season lasting from May until September.

Natural Parks

The government's Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department manages Hong Kong's country and marine parks, marine reserves, hiking trails, recreational facilities and camp sites.

  • At: 393 Canton Road, Kowloon
    Tel: 1823 / 2733 2235

There are 23 country parks in Hong Kong. It is recommended to take plenty of water and sun protection when walking in these areas as they are often unshaded and the humidity is high. Some of the parks have visitors' centres. The department's website provides a detailed description of each park including major attractions, ecological highlights, facilities and public transport to the parks.

Hikers and cyclists in the Hong Kong countryside might see much flora and fauna: macaques, mongoose, barking deer, the very dangerous bamboo snake (bright green) and a variety of butterflies, birds and bats including some endangered species.

It is advisable to check the weather before heading out in the countryside.

Hong Kong Wetland Park

Located in the northern part of Tin Shui Wai, New Territories, the 61-hectare park provides a look at the territory's wetland ecosystem consisting of marshes, fish ponds, mangrove beds, mudflats and some unique species of wildlife.

Marine Parks and Marine Reserve

Hong Kong has four designated marine parks and one marine reserve along the territory's harbours and coastlines:

The parks can be freely accessed as long as visitors follow the Marine Park regulations.

Walking, Hiking and Climbing

The Hong Kong Tourism Board provides information and maps on walks that are scenic and representative of the city's heritage and culture.

Visit the HK Live blog for a list of Hong Kong’s lesser-known hiking trails and entry-level hikes.

The Peak

One of the most popular tourist destinations in Hong Kong, the Peak, offers a complete view of the city, mountains and harbour. The Peak walk covers a path circling the Peak and leading back into the city. It begins along Lugard Road, across from the Peak Tower and leads to Lugard Road Lookout. Lugard Road Lookout connects to Hatton Road and Harlech Road. Hatton Road leads down the hill to the city while Harlech Road continues back to the Peak circle.

Tsim Sha Tsui

A waterfront walk follows the promenade of the shopping district in Kowloon. It has views of Victoria Harbour and Hong Kong's city lights in the evening. Start from Hillwood in Soho and proceed to Knutsford Terrace and Park Lane. From Park Lane, walk toward the Avenue of Stars and follow the road to Hong Kong Museum of Art, situated next to the Space Museum and the Cultural Centre. The walk passes the Clock Tower and ends at Harbour City.

Lantau Island – Po Lin Monastery

As the largest outlying island in Hong Kong, about half of Lantau has been designated as country park area. This walk starts from Ngong Ping and ventures up and down hills to the famous Giant Buddha. From the Buddha, the walk continues to the Po Lin Monastery and passes Wisdom Path, Lantau Peak and ends at Tung Chung Fort.

Hiking

Hong Kong provides an escape from city life with 23 country parks and four major hiking trails nestled in the mountains and hills:

  • MacLehose Trail: Stretches 100 Km from the hilltops of the New Territories
  • Lantau Trail: Named the Phoenix Trail in Chinese, this 70 Km route crosses Lantau Island from the ferry pier at Mui Wo in the east to Tai O in the west
  • Hong Kong Trail: Starts at the Peak and winds down along the southern side of Hong Kong Island for 50 Km where it ends at Big Wave Bay in the southeast of the Island
  • Wilson Trail: From Stanley, the 78 Km trail runs north and passes Hong Kong Island and Kowloon finishing at Nam Chung in the northeastern New Territories

The Hong Kong Tourism Board provides contact information for visitors' centres in country park areas. Maps and trail routes are available at some of the offices listed below:

  • Aberdeen Visitor Centre
    Tel: 2555 2179
  • Lions Nature Education Centre
    Tel: 2792 2234
  • Plover Cove Country Park Visitor Centre
    Tel: 2665 3413
  • Sai Kung Visitor Centre
    Tel: 2792 7365
  • Shing Mun Visitor Centre
    Tel
    : 2489 1362
  • Tai Mo Shan Visitor Centre
    Tel
    : 2498 9326

Hikers can find information on mobile telephone coverage in the Hong Kong countryside from the Office of the Telecommunications Industry.

There are a number of informal walking and hiking groups.

  • Hong Kong Trampers organises regular walks that are planned usually one week in advance. Details are given on their website
  • Roz's Hiking Pages gives details of organised hikes. To sign up send an email through the website
  • The Hong Kong Hikers Kiosk allows people to choose a walk or hike according to level of difficulty, length and starting point
  • The English speaking members' department of the YWCA also organises many hikes around Hong Kong
    • Tel: 3476 1340
      Fax: 3476 1346
  • Hong Kong Adventurer has information for amateur Hong Kong hikers and adventurers

Climbing

The Hong Kong SAR has much for rock climbers and bouldering. One of the most popular sites is Lion Rock near Sha Tin in the New Territories. Other climbing areas include Lantau and Lamma Island, Kowloon Peak, Waterfall Rock and Causeway Bay.

  • The Hong Kong Climbing website has information on rock climbing areas and climbing walls in the territory as well as a forum for the climbing community.

Biking permits

Mountain bikers must get a cycling permit issued by the Country and Marine Parks Authority. Submit an application in writing to the Authority and include a stamped return envelope with the application. Applicants must be over the age of 12 and those between the ages of 12 and 18 will require parental or guardian endorsement with the application. There is no fee for the cycling permit. Holders of the cycling permit must respect the Code of Mountain Biking. Under 16s must be accompanied by an adult.

Horse Riding

Managed by the Jockey Club, the Tuen Mun Public Riding School is the largest public riding facility in Hong Kong. The school has lecture rooms, a horse paddock, two pony paddocks, a stable accommodating 60 horses and ponies, changing rooms and a car park. Apart from training courses, horse riding and riding competitions are organised by the centre.

Essential equipment for outdoor activities

  • Maps of the hiking trails and country parks are readily available from the government’s Survey and Mapping Office.
  • A torch is essential for early evening and night hikes.
  • With Hong Kong’s winter’s seldom dipping below 17°, an ample supply of water is crucial, as is sun cream.

Emergency contacts

  • For accidents and emergencies, dial 999. The fire and ambulance services will respond to your call immediately.
  • While snakes are not a common sighting on the hiking trails, if you are bitten, where possible take a picture or make note of the snake’s identifiable features. If you are near a hospital, go immediately; otherwise, dial the emergency hotline 999.
  • Sending periodic text messages to the SMS Hiker Tracking Service with the distance post numbers (e.g. M010) will help rescue teams locate your party within a smaller radius.
    • Tel: 50222

Further Information