On Saturday Marcel Ekkel and I went for a long hike on Hong Kong Island, doing the main part of the Hong Kong Trail. We started in Big Wave Bay / Shek O, on the far eastern end of HK Island, which is officially the end of the trail. Main reason was that it would be a sunny and very hot day (up to 35 degrees) and the western part of HK Island has a lot more shade than the eastern part, so it would be better to spend the hottest part of the day on partly covered trails.
I have done a lot of hikes with Marcel over the years (among others in preparation for the Trailwalker), and I like to hike with him. We’re both in decent shape and during our hikes we talk for hours about everything, from work to private life, and from politics to social issues. Marcel came to pick me up at my hotel at 7:30 AM and after discussing some logistics we took a cab to Big Wave Bay. In the taxi I had a quick breakfast (Japanese cakes from 7 Eleven) and at 8:15 we were at the start of the trail.
I had never been to this part of the island and I was impressed by the beautiful sandy beaches and the fact that there was hardly anybody else. Partly because it was so early of course, but during the whole day on the trail we hardly met any other people. That’s the same all over the world, people tend to stay in areas that they know, and when you are more than 2 km from the nearest parking lot you hardly see anybody anymore. I think a lot of people don’t realize how beautiful Hong Kong’s nature is and what they are missing out on.
The hike was pretty tough, not only because of the distance (we hiked 35 km), but also because we had to climb several mountains. And especially because of the heat: after about 20 km we had to hike over 2 hills that had no shade whatsoever and where there was no wind either. It felt like 50 degrees (and maybe it was actually) and I kept on drinking to stay hydrated. When we took a break after 25 km I realized I had drunk 7 liters already (a mix of water, Japanese sports drink and apple juice).
After the break we came closer to urban areas but the trails were still great, and luckily a lot more covered. When we were above Wanchai we noticed that it was getting cloudy and when we hiked a bit further we felt that it might start to rain soon. So after 30 km we decided to leave the trail and hike to the top of the hill and then down on the other side to Bowen Road and Central. We ended the day at the hotel pool and hot tub with cold beer and chilled white wine, a perfect way to end a sportive day.
It was once again a great trail hike through the Hong Kong hills. Very different from the ones I do in Vancouver, but certainly as nice. I realize that because I do so many trail runs these days, hiking up mountains is now much easier for me than just a few months ago. Good to know and a a good reason to keep on running and hiking the British Columbia trails after this trip.
We spent a couple of days in Hong Kong with the family, I put more pictures of the trip in this set on Flickr.
Where to hike – The New Territories and Lantau Island provide the most isolated and remote hiking locations, but even Hong Kong Island itself has many trails, including the 50km Hong Kong Trail. It is possible to find both easy and more challenging hikes in all areas of Hong Kong and public transport is uniformly excellent.
These guided hikes and other trails are also made available in a guidebook full of practical information, from transport to elevation charts. You can download the e-guidebook below to find details of the featured hikes of the 2012/13 season, which range from easy to difficult and cover a variety of themes and landscapes. Additionally, be sure to check out all the other great outdoors events on offer in Hong Kong.