For those of you who might have read my previous post about the “Day Out In Hong Kong Island”, I had mentioned that I will be dedicating an entire post about the hikes in Hong Kong. Undoubtedly, Hong Kong offers a beautiful urban experience, but it’s amazing how you can easily find hiking spots with breathtaking views at the same time. I have touched upon various hikes (Suicide Cliff, Little Hawaii Trail, Victoria Peak, Sai Kung etc.) in my previous posts, but for this one, I plan to describe specific tips, resources, and a few miscellaneous guidelines to ensure a good hiking experience in Hong Kong.
To begin with, I would like to describe a few online (credible) resources that are really helpful while choosing the hike. As different parts of Hong Kong offer hiking spots with varying views and difficulties it’s not a good idea to arbitrarily choose a spot, especially when you have a lot of options. Therefore, the best resource that I would recommend is the official website by the HK government (https://www.hiking.gov.hk/eng/). It provides all the information you need regardless of the experience level. For example, it includes topics like introduction to hiking, description and difficulties of trails, hiking guidelines, safety instructions, equipments etc. These are the things you definitely want to be aware of before hiking in an unknown land. Obviously, there are various third-party websites, blogs, and ample of other resources that provide similar information, and it’s completely okay to choose from any one of those.
That’s all the tips about choosing a great hiking destination. Next, it’s important to research about the best navigation methods for the destination you have decided to hike. The good news is that most of the trails in Hong Kong are covered by a decent internet connection which allows you to use Google Maps and other online resources (blogs, websites) while navigating. In addition to the online resources, most of the government approved trails in Hong Kong also provide self-explanatory maps and directions at regular intervals. And in the worst case, when you are trying to hike a completely obsolete and unofficial (not approved and maintained by the government) spot, you might have to manage and rely on the traditional navigation techniques like paper maps, stones, etc.
Once the above mentioned decisions have been made, the next step is to plan, prepare, and pack smart. As unexpected rains and typhoons are common in Hong Kong, early fall isn’t the best time to hike. Regardless of the rain, the HK weather stays on a warmer side during the fall which doesn’t make it the most suitable time for a hike. In addition to the season, it’s also important to pick a right time during the day because the factors like weather, sunlight, wind, etc. might drastically impact your hiking experience. Once the trip is well-planned, it’s advisable to check the online list of items to be packed (if it’s the first time) and select accordingly. I would say the list of items one can pack is somewhat subjective and it’s not necessary to carry everything that’s listed online. For example, most of the online resources suggest carrying a hiking pole as it helps your knees while climbing down. But if you are confident about being able to do without it, I don’t see any need to buy and carry it. Regardless of all the other supplies, water is the most important thing that one should carry without fail. In fact, I would suggest carrying as many bottles of water as you can, primarily because it’s hard to find drinking water on the trails. Also, extra bottles of water might prove helpful if you spill or lose some water due to unexpected reasons. Additionally, it’s worth remembering that you might find various natural water resources on the trails, but it isn’t advisable to drink from any of those especially without using a portable water filter.
And I think that’s pretty much it. Obviously, there are a lot more things that you can research or read about before hiking to a specific destination, but these are a few general guidelines to ensure a positive hiking experience for an aspiring student.