The Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) has 41 designated campsites throughout Hong Kong.
Accessibility to campsites ranges from easy to difficult to strenuous, and first-timers are not recommended to take on the more difficult hikes, which are specified in the LSCD website. Tent spaces range from five up to 40, and because campsites work under a “first-come first-served basis,” it is recommended to avoid weekends and public holidays, as these attract the largest number of visitors competing for resources and facilities.
Because campsites work under a “first-come first-served basis,” it is recommended to avoid weekends and public holidays, as these attract the largest number of visitors competing for resources and facilities.
Facilities at most campsites include barbecue pits and accompanying benches and tables, as well as pavilions. You will also find toilet facilities at a few selected sites, some of which may include sinks and showers.
The Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department website provides maps, directions and details about each campsite.
The YMCA operates a campsite on Lamma Island, across from Sok Kwu Wan Village. A number of establishments offering “glamping” experiences have also sprung up around Hong Kong in recent years, including:
With a diversity of islands and acres of lush, green country parks surrounding Hong Kong’s urban sprawl, hiking is one of the city’s most enjoyed and rewarding pastimes.
From grueling steep climbs to gentle family friendly trails, the local hiking scene offers something for people of all ages and fitness levels.
Hong Kong has four major trails: the Hong Kong Trail, stretching 50 kilometers from the Peak to Shek O; The Wilson Trail, comprising 78 kilometers from Stanley Gap Road on Hong Kong Island, through east Kowloon and up to Nam Chung in the New Territories; the 70-km Lantau Trail, a circular route around the southern half of Lantau Island; and the longest and best-known trail, the 100-km MacLehose Trail, which snakes through the New Territories from Sai Kung East to Tuen Mun.
The AFCD has a dedicated “Enjoy Hiking” website and app with information about trails, routes and attractions. An excellent resource for hikers hoping to take on the four major trails is “The Serious Hiker’s Guide to Hong Kong,” by Pete Spurrier.
Dragon’s Back, on Section 8 of the Hong Kong Trail, is one of the most accessible trails from the city, and also features a nice reward at the end: Shek O beach. The hike is moderate in difficulty and offers sweeping, panoramic views of Hong Kong, making it a firm favorite with beginner hikers and those new to the city. The undulating trail, which resembles a dragon’s back, takes about three hours if you stop frequently to take in the views, which include Stanley and Tai Tam Harbour.
Lamma Island Family Trail
As its name suggests, the Lamma Island Family Trail is an easy, family friendly walk from one end of Lamma Island to the other. The gently undulating trail offers beautiful views of the island and the South China Sea, while taking you past historical caves, temples, beaches, local fishing villages, a wind farm and a power plant. Lamma Island is also famous for its fresh seafood, which can be enjoyed either before or after completing the trail.
As the second highest peak in Hong Kong, reaching Lantau Peak is not for the faint of heart (figuratively and literally). Recommended for those who are reasonably fit, this hike mainly involves climbing three steep sections of stairs, which is tough but rewarding once you’ve reached the top. It is recommended to go on a clear day if you want to be able to see anything from the peak other than a thick layer of clouds. Those starting the trail from Pak Kung Au will be rewarded with incredible views of the Big Buddha on the way back down, as well as the option to take a cable car back down to Tung Chung station. The trail is exposed to fierce winds and often obscured by mist, which have caused the deaths of several experienced hikers.
The Morning Trail, connecting the Hong Kong University campus to the Peak, is shorter, easier and more accessible from the Mid-Levels than the famous hikes on this list, making it popular with families and beginner trail runners.
This 869-meter peak, named for its reputation as a great spot for watching the sunset, is a picturesque but challenging three-hour hike along the Lantau Trail. One interesting aspect of this hike is the eerie and deserted stone houses you will see spread across the top of the peak, built as summer retreats for missionaries and their families taking a break from spreading the Gospel in China.
Tai Tam Waterworks Heritage Trail
The 5-km-long Tai Tam Waterworks Heritage Trail is a popular way to view the Tai Tam Reservoirs, a group of four reservoirs located in the Tai Tam Country Park. Together, the reservoirs have a total storage capacity of 8.3 million cubic meters. Surrounded by the four peaks of Mount Butler, Jardine’s Lookout, Violet Hill and Mount Parker with a wonderful atmosphere of peace and quiet, these impressive historic structures make for a beautiful day out.
Violet Hill and The Twins
Violet Hill and The Twins on Section 1 of the Wilson Trail is possibly the most challenging hike on Hong Kong Island. This trail showcases diverse and contrasting landscapes, from lush mountain greenery and meadows of wildflowers, to views of pristine blue reservoirs and colorful urban developments. A great hike, but be warned, there are a lot of steps! If you start the hike from Parkview in Tai Tam, a gentle scenic descent into the seaside village of Stanley is what waits on the other side.
Nature Parks and Reserves
The flora and fauna of Hong Kong is surprisingly varied. Nature parks and reserves focus on the conservation of these natural wonders and are open to the public.
Hong Kong UNESCO Global Geopark
The Hong Kong UNESCO Global Geopark includes sites throughout Hong Kong where the oldest and youngest rock formations (ranging from 400 million to 65 million years old) are found. The Geopark offers boat tours to remote locations with unique geological features such as those on High Island and Ninepin Island near Sai Kung. The Geopark Visitor Center promotes greater interest in earth sciences, while the Volcano Discovery Center at Sai Kung Waterfront Park introduces visitors to the geological history of Hong Kong and tells the story of how ancient volcanoes shaped the landscape of the territory.
Hong Kong Wetland Park
This 61-hectare reserve in the New Territories showcases the biodiversity found within Hong Kong’s wetland ecosystem. Various wild birds and animals frequent the park, depending on the time of year, and hides equipped with binoculars have been constructed around the park to allow visitors to spy on fauna going about their everyday activities. One permanent resident is “Pui Pui,” a saltwater crocodile found abandoned in a river in Hong Kong. Her origins are unknown, but she eluded capture for seven months while swimming around in the New Territories. Then in 2006, she was finally caught, given a name and moved into the park.
Hong Kong Wetland Park is also an educational venue with a visitors’ center, exhibition galleries, a theater, an indoor play area and a resource center.
Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Gardens
Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Gardens is another conservation and education attraction sprawled across the slopes of Hong Kong’s highest mountain, Tai Mo Shan. The aim of the gardens is to educate people about sustainable living and agricultural practices as well as to conserve native animal and plant life. Visitors can wander about the “eco-garden” where organic vegetables are grown, and visit the “Da Hua Bai” — a special breed of pig — bred by the facility. Wild animals including leopard cats, macaques and birds of prey can also be seen here, as well as plenty of butterflies and dragonflies in the Butterfly Gardens. The farm also conducts educational tours and workshops, and operates a small shop selling fresh farm-grown produce and eggs to visitors.
Mai Po Marshes
Mai Po Marshes is a nature reserve managed by the WWF. Located near the Hong Kong Wetland Park and shoulder-to-shoulder with the Hong Kong-China border, the marshes are a resting and feeding place for more than 300 species of migratory birds, including the rare black-faced spoonbill.
Visitors who enjoy bird watching can join a guided tour organized by the WWF, led by a nature interpreter. These tours follow a designated trail that passes through shrimp ponds, natural wildlife habitats and bird hides, allowing visitors and photographers to observe the birds at close range.
Specialist tours are also available for members of the WWF Hong Kong, overseas naturalists and academics. Though tours are available year-round, the best time for bird watching is during spring and autumn months.