A very last minute decision to spend a week off the army in Hong Kong went like this…
I realise in this day and age, nobody has the time to scroll through a 2,000 word essay on the internet and read every word of a very interesting tail that has nothing to do with them… So here are some highlights, pictures, and I’ll attach some point-form advice at the end of this page for the avid reader willing to stick around.
The MacLehose Trail
This hiking trail is Hong Kong’s first and longest, stretching for 100km and easily accessible from the city centre – making it a very popular spot among locals and tourists. The trail is broken down into 10 sections for those who don’t feel comfortable committing to a 100km walk.
Highlights from The MacLehose Trail
After wandering off onto an unmarked trail, I found the most beautiful and quiet spots surrounded by spectacular views of the lush mountainous region. I also got on a boat that brought me to some island where I pitched my tent by a cliff only thinking of the view I’d wake up to – which didn’t happen due to the foggy sky, also the torrential rain and harsh winds kept me up throughout the night…
As if it couldn’t get any worse, the second night’s storm was (I’m pretty sure) an actual typhoon – and the only shelter I could find was in a portaloo. You gotta do watcha gotta do. And I ran out of food, I was freezing, it was the only alternative besides dying.
After getting out of the portaloo at 7 in the morning (because the storm went on for forever), I stumbled through the mountains for another hour or so before finding a small village by a quiet beach where a kind old man offered me a plate of rice and some hot tea after I sign language-begged him (language is power, I was powerless).
I then continued on after refueling, but hit another storm and was drenched in my new set of clean clothes. I figured that was it, so I gave up plans to continue and headed into the city.
Hong Kong City
This beautiful city has much to offer. I am not going to go into detail on what you can do in the city as you can find HK’s top must-do’s elsewhere. I spent most of my time walking the streets at night listening to sappy songs and stuffing my face with delicious food.
This island is absolutely breathtaking! And incredibly easy to get to (well, most of HK is – given its’ size and its’ wonderful transportation system). This is also a very popular destination for tourists (tour groups may appear in the bus loads) though only some make the climb up to the peak – which any fit Harry or Sally can get through without much effort – where the view is spectacular.
As you can see, there was also a massive change in the weather which was great news for everybody. I took a bus out to the island in the morning and had time for a walk around the area after getting down from the peak and hopped back on the bus which got me back into the city for dinner and a night out at the races. All in a day’s work!
This is the easiest one to scale, and the view that awaits is more than generous; given how much you have to work to get to the top. Dragon’s Back is (also) incredibly close to the city and very accessible. It’s an easy uphill climb that should not take you more than half a day to complete.
Best thing about Dragon’s Back? If you choose to, you can end your hike coming off the trail onto a beach!
Tips & Advice
So there! You’ve got a long trail you can spend your time on (bring a tent as there are numerous designated camping spots to spend your nights), a one-day hike that’s easily achievable by any fit individual in decent shape, and a half-day hike that rewards you with a clean beach after the easy ascent.
- get the tourist SIM card available at the airport. I chose the unlimited data plan and it saved my life. Getting directions and finding things were much easier! It isn’t too expensive and I was able to get network service everywhere except certain areas on the MacLehose Trail.
- get an Octopus card (refillable travel ticket for buses and trains), makes your life easier and if I’m not wrong; you save quite a bit on it
- pack for cold, if you’re going in the winter. I was an idiot and didn’t believe Hong Kong could get that cold – I suffered and learned my lesson.
- eat street food. It is delish!
That’s all from me for Hong Kong. I had an amazing time and saw a different side to this country I never knew existed – it’s not all shopping and eating in this country!
Happy wandering and safe travels!