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Bucket list experience:

Last updated: 06 November, 2022
Expert travel writer: Lee Cobaj

Around 40 per cent of Hong Kong is country park, and the exhilarating MacLehose hiking trail runs between the east and west coasts of the New Territories, along the mountains that gave Kowloon its name.

Passing some stunning beaches, and with amazing urban and rural panoramas along the way, this is a part of Hong Kong many visitors miss altogether. The trail is 100km long, but can be tackled in individual stages.

If you only do one part of the trail, Section 2 – which starts at the East Dam of High Island Reservoir and ends at Indian Ocean-gorgeous Tai Long Wan beach. It covers 13.5kms of forests, coast and mountains peaks and takes around five hours to complete, but the effort is rewarded with the chance to lounge on the sands and soak up the sea views.

Price: Free
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 18+
When: All year around
Duration: 5+ hours

Getting there & doing it

To get to the start point, take the MTR to Diamond Hill and then hop on the 92 bus to Sai Kung. It’s easiest to take a taxi from here to the Pak Tam Chum Country Park Visitor Centre, but you can also take the 94 bus. The journey takes 90-120 minutes on public transport; a taxi from Centrales.

The trail has ten stages in total, each approximately 10km long. Hiking tours are available but if you want to go independently, Countryside Series maps will help you navigate the various sections; they’re published by Lands Department and are available in all main bookshops.

If you’re walking Section 2, ask the taxi to take you to the East Dam of the High Island Reservoir, rather than Pak Tam Chung). Once you’ve completed the walk, return to Hong Kong island via one of the privately-run speedboats that shuttle between neighbouring Ham Tin Beach and Sai Kung. The route takes in Hong Kong’s UNESCO geopark and can be purchased from the shack on the beach.

When to do it

The trail is accessible all year round, but the best time for walking is between September and December. The summer months are very hot and sticky, January and February can get chilly in the evenings and April showers can make hill-walking a washout in Spring.

Our writer’s picks of the best places to stay near this experience, closest first

Hyatt Centric

Hong Kong, China[17.3 miles]

A modern harbour view hotel in one of Hong Kong Island’s most atmospheric neighbourhoods, with convenient transport links to the centre of town.

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Hong Kong, China[18.3 miles]

A youthful design hotel with regal harbour views, a refreshing lack of attitude and a fantastic, harbour-facing rooftop pool.

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Eaton Hotel

Hong Kong, China[18.5 miles]

Fashionable, socially aware four-star hotel near Temple Street Night Market, with plenty of facilities and a buzzing bar.

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The Peninsula Hong Kong

Hong Kong, China[19.3 miles]

Hong Kong’s oldest and grandest hotel offers palatial surrounds, superlative service and some of the most enviable harbour views in the city.

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Destination guides including or relevant to this experience

Hong Kong


One of the world’s most extraordinary cities, where rippling mountains, a kaleidoscopic waterfront and futuristic architecture merge with fabulous food, sizzling nightlife and top shopping.

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Our writer’s recommendations of other bucket list experiences our writer says you must do in this destination, closest first

Wong Tai Sin Temple

Hong Kong, China[18.6 miles]

One of Hong Kong’s largest temples, swathed in incense and set against a backdrop of high-rises, is famous for its ranks of fortune-tellers.

Best for ages: 13+ | Free

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Chinese Opera

Hong Kong, China[19.3 miles]

Head to the landmark Xiqu Theatre to experience this uniquely Chinese performing art – either a full four-hour extravaganza or a shortened 90-minute version with dim sum.

Best for ages: 18+ | £25 | 1 or 4 hours

Aqua Luna

Hong Kong, China[19.6 miles]

This cinematic junk boat, complete with stiff fan sails, is the most stylish way to cruise Hong Kong’s mesmerising harbour.

Best for ages: 12+ | £23 | 45+ mins

Other worthwhile experiences near this experience if you have time or interest..

Chi Lin Nunnery

Chi Lin Nunnery

Hong Kong, China[13.7 miles]

This incredibly peaceful Buddhist nunnery, built in the Tang Dynasty style and surrounded by rambling gardens, is the perfect antidote to the hustle of the big city.

Best for ages: 18+ | Free

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Hong Kong Museum of Art

Hong Kong, China[19.4 miles]

Hong Kong’s premier art museum houses an outstanding collection of traditional and modern Chinese art, set against the spectacular backdrop of Victoria Harbour.

Best for ages: 18+ | £1

Hike the Dragon’s Back

Hong Kong, China[19.9 miles]

A scenic, 2-hour, relatively easy 5-mile looping hiking trail with spectacular views of the South China Sea, Lamma island and Hong Kong along the way.

Best for ages: 8+ | Free | 2 hours