Tamz Explores

Hiking Up the Lantau Peak in Hong Kong

“Hong Kong and hiking? You must be kidding”. These is the usual response I get when I tell friends about the time I took a hike to the Lantau peak in Hong Kong. People are still unaware of the fact that Hong Kong has some wonderful natural landscapes. The vision of a swanky city with tall skyscrapers, near-perfect infrastructure, vibrant nightlife and all the characteristics of a major financial hub somehow still overshadows many of the natural attractions this city-state is gifted with.

Lantau island is mostly renowned among tourists for Disneyland and the Big Buddha however, this island has a fascinating mountainous terrain. The highest peak on this island – The Lantau peak – stands at 3000 ft and is also the second highest peak in Hong Kong. Keeping up with my admiration for the mountains in Hong Kong which I had written about earlier, I decided to take the hike up the Lantau peak. That I almost didn’t come back on my legs after the hike, is an entirely different matter. The path up the mountain and the subsequent descend, gives you some awe-inspiring views to remember. Be it the dry winter grassy banks or the majestic range of mountains, you could never get tired of those.

The Start

Lantau Start

Lantau Start2

From Pak Kung Au the start of this trail is well demarcated along with the total distance of the hike and approximate time required to complete it. Though it says 2 hours and 15 minutes, it definitely takes 3 to 4 hours for the entire hike because there will be numerous stops either to catch your breath, rest your legs or enjoy the views. The first few minutes involve climbing a few steps and walking through the forest which forms the base of the hill.

The ascent


The comfortable trail soon paved way to the path ascending up the mountain meandering through dry grassy banks. As I went up the hill, the winter air got even more cooler. This being the winter season and also a very cloudy day, I was spared from the dreaded hot sunny weather. Also, I got the first glimpse of what seemed to me like the peak of the hill covered in the moving clouds. As I continued the ascent, I could feel the normal symptoms of high altitude like a heavy head and shortness of breath. The peak which I saw a few moments back was soon conquered only to uncover a further trail up the mountain.

The mistake


Considering how easy the earlier Dragon’s Back trail was for me, I probably didn’t expect this one to be a bigger challenge. Maybe that’s why I was careless enough not to carry any water or food along with me. When I was up there sitting on the slope of the mountain out of fatigue, thirst and hunger, I realized that I had made the mistake of underestimating the might of nature. My arms and legs were cramping up as I tried to made my way up one big stone slab at a time. Yes, I did get ample opportunities to get some rest but the dark hovering clouds that threatened to pour down any time got me worried as I did not wish to get stuck on this mountain in heavy rain. Somehow gathering my strength, I went on helped by the awesome windy weather.

The summit



On a clear day, I can imagine the views would be scenic as one would get a 360 degree unobstructed look at almost all of Hong Kong. But the day was cloudy and the winter winds had gathered enough strength for me to get a shiver or two. However, surrounded by grey clouds and heavy mist created an entirely enthralling atmosphere. By now, I had forgotten about my screaming legs and arms as if to reserve my pain for later so that I could take in every moment of this experience. In just a few seconds, a bunch of passing clouds and strong winds engulfed the entire area and all I could see was white. Surreal!! Check out the below video.



The descent


This was THE most difficult part of the hike as some portions of the path become steeper than what was encountered till now. People like me who have a serious fear of heights would take some time to get down the big stone slabs. As for me, the cramps made a grand comeback with more vigor, intensity and an added feature of incisive knee pains. Every step I took down felt like me getting closer to getting my legs numb.


A couple of rest stops later, I moved on in with the pain as it was getting dark and the prospects increased of me getting stuck in darkness. Further down the way,a small stream showed up from somewhere and I gulped down the water like one would in a desert. After hundreds of more agonizing steps down the hill coming out of the woods, I finally reached the end point at the Tian Tan Buddha in Ngong Ping village where I just scrambled to the nearest shop and gulped down a bottle of water.

Big Buddha

“Do you regret it?”, a close friend of mine asked me when I narrated the experience to her. My reply,“Going on this hike? No way. Did you not see the pictures?”. Looking back at that day, the only regret I have is not carrying food and water. I remember every step I took and every stop I made on that hike. I remember me lying down on top of a big rock that was perched on the edge of a cliff while those strong cold winter winds flowed around. The pain I endured that day because of my foolishness will not take away from the most scenically surreal experience I have ever had.


Lantau Info

Hong Kong

40 thoughts on “Hiking Up the Lantau Peak in Hong Kong

  1. Chhavi

    Lovely. I went to HK couple of years back and I can only wish I knew I could hike. This makes me want to go HK again.

  2. karen278

    This post had made me feel VERY homesick! I lived in Hong Kong for 12 yrs and I have done that climb up Lantau peak, as well as camped in the island too! Thanks for this post, it has made me feel both sad that I’m not there, but hopeful that I will be back soon, and the photos and videos are FABULOUS! Thanks, Karen

  3. Marie

    Great post! I had no idea Hong Kong had such nice nature hikes! I can totally relate to being unprepared for a hike – recently went to the top of a tall mountain in shorts, though everyone else somehow knew it was going to be pretty cold and windy! I’m glad to hear you enjoyed it in the end 🙂

  4. Vyjay Rao

    Nothing like a good hike, breathing in the lovely air and smelling the fragrance of the grass. This is a different perspective of HK, far removed from the bustling metropolis that we all know of.

  5. Jaynie Wall

    I am adding this hike to my list! It sounds like you had a memorable experience and learned a lesson. 🙂 I try to eat a snack every hour I am hiking so I don’t bonk and feel miserable. 🙂

  6. ckaway

    Have been to Lantau and enjoyed it very much. We took the cable car and saw many hikers. We were quite thankful not to be hiking. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  7. woshilinda

    I’ve been to Hong Kong more times than I can count but I never made it to hike Lantau! I hope that when I go back some day that I can hike it! I will save your itinerary for sure! Thanks for sharing!

  8. Milton Coyne

    wow , it looks scary and exciting at the same time… those fog that limits the hiker’s visibility is what I am really afraid of haha but I’m sure that once you reached the summit, that’s where the rewarding feeling will take place… congratulation for making it through!

  9. gobeyondbounds

    We love hiking and travelling but if not for your post we would not know we could find abundant of nature amidst the hustle bustle of the city. Loved your pictures, looks like you had a great time!

  10. GeekGirlGoes

    Sounds like an…interesting experience! haha. Really nice and refreshing to read a true account of a hike – everyone always seems to make it sound so perfect! I’m actually thinking of taking up hiking myself. I’ve done a lot of walking around islands and up (very) small mountains before – but I’d love to do something more like this!

  11. Brooke

    forgetting food and water is a pretty big problem! But hiking is one of the most peaceful and rewarding experiences. Glad you still had a good time

  12. Liana

    Honetsly, I didn’t either though you could hike in Honk Kong. For me; as you mentioned, it’s all about skyscraper and a huge hub city. But your story is kind of amazing. Now I really want to hike there, I’m a huger lover of hiking!

  13. Subhadrika Sen

    While talking about hong Kong the first thing that comes to my mind are large skyscrapers, wild nightlife, amazing street lights. but you showed a different side of the place. Thanks.

  14. Blair Villanueva

    Hiking is one of the activities I love in Hong Kong. I enjoyed the long walks and enjoying the whole Hong Kong view from the top and it feels like heaven! Going to touristic places are sometimes exhausting, and hiking seems the best options (for semi-introverts like me). 😀

  15. Rea

    I love the posts telling me where to do some hiking in a big city. I am not a big fan of visiting cities, so I always look for a little escape out of them 🙂
    And yes, I am very familiar with underestimating those “easy city hikes”, and I learned to ALWAYS bring some water with me, even if it’s going to be just a short hike. Did you know that most of the time we get sore knees when hiking because we don’t drink enough water? 🙂

  16. Neri Ann

    When I think about Hongkong, its all about Disneyland that comes to my mind. It is really refreshing that there is still other places such as this breathtaking view of Lantau Peak. And for the pictures, it really looks like it is really hard to hike.

  17. Sheri

    Yikes! Hiking that far up and no food or water – yes a mistake. At least have water with you as you just never know (we have heard some stories). A great accomplishment for someone afraid of heights!

  18. Shounak

    Wonderful. I have done many hikes in HK. But not Lantau, so this is a great reference for me. Hk weather can change fast, so this hike looks a bit on the adventurous side. While going to the Nong Ping, I could see this hike path . So will try this the next time.

  19. Jessica Ayun

    Never been to Honkgong though it’s so close from my home country. It was never appealing for me until I saw this. Haha. I love hiking and so this increases my interest in Hongkong. 🙂 What a detailed guide you have here. 🙂

  20. Berlin

    Haha, you got me there as HongKong to me is pure leisurely walk and shopping. Havent thought one could do some hiking in Hong Kong. We hike as a family and we always bring with us jelly ace and chocolates. Yup, hiking without water and food is pretty saddening. But the nice view from above may perhaps erase all the thirst and hunger. Congrats!

  21. John Peña

    I haven’t been to HK yet but it’s in the next on my list as I have been to SG, KL, BK, CAM, VIET already and this trek would definitely be on my list because I myself love to trek 🙂

  22. Georgia

    Wow what a brave soul you are for doing this with no food or water, I think we all underestimate nature sometimes. Your photos are amazing and I can imagine on a clear day that the views would be beautiful. I would love doing this rather than solely spending time in the big city.

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