by Rachel Au

As mercury drops in Hong Kong and you suddenly realize you’re shivering in your thin t-shirt and beach shorts, it might occur to you that the best thing to do in the coming few weeks is to cuddle up in bed with a nice, steaming mug of hot chocolate. However, we think the best thing to do before cuffing season (besides eating clay pot rice, of course) is to go on one of Hong Kong’s gorgeous hikes. Check out our roundup of our favorite Hong Kong hikes to do this winter, because the more you exercise, the more you can eat!

1. Ng Tong Chai Waterfalls

Ng Tong Chai Waterfall

Treat yourself to four sparkling clean waterfalls before the weather gets too cold for a cheeky dip in some of the purest water Hong Kong has to offer. Nestled among lush, pristine greenery in the eastern New Territories are the Ng Tung Chai waterfalls– Bottom Fall, Middle Fall, Main Fall and Scatter Fall. This trail is lollipop-shaped and once you reach Scatter Fall, you can choose to continue down the hill back to where you started to make a loop, or return the way you came. We definitely recommend the latter as it’s a much prettier route strolling past all the waterfalls again.

Distance: 6km

Duration: 4 hours

Difficulty: 7/10

Views: 8/10

Getting there: From Tai Wo MTR station, take bus 64K or minibus 25K, get off at Ng Tung Chai. After you get off, follow Ng Tung Chai Road uphill until you reach a sign that says “Ng Tung Chai Waterfall”. To reach the beginning of the trail, continue walking along the concrete path until you pass by Man Tak Monastery, and you will find a sign with the trail’s map at a nearby stream.

2. Hong Kong University to Victoria Peak (Lung Fu Shan)

Lung Fu Shan

This hike takes you straight to Victoria Peak in only an hour. No crazy slopes, no unpaved paths– this is one of the most rewarding Hong Kong hikes with stunning views for little effort, perfect for those lazy days when you want to convince yourself you’ve still been productive! Don’t be intimidated by the steps at the beginning as they’re already the most challenging bit of the hike! If you’re interested in a bit of colonial history, follow the signs towards Pinewood Battery, which was built in 1903 and became abandoned after being heavily air-raided by the Japanese in the Second World War.

Distance: 4km

Duration: 1-1.5 hours

Difficulty: 4/10

Views: 9/10

Getting there: The hike begins up the stairs next to the gas station on Pok Fu Lam Road. To get to the stairs, head from exit C1 of HKU MTR station and turn right onto Pok Fu Lam Road. Cross the road when you reach Lady Ho Tung Hall and continue walking until you see the gas station. The stairs will be on your left. Click here to see the exact location of the starting point on Google Maps. Follow the sign towards Pinewood Battery. By the time you see signs pointing to the Peak, follow them all until you reach the Peak Circle Walk, where you’ll be rewarded with the most amazing views of the Hong Kong skyline.

3. Tung O Ancient Trail (Tung Chung to Tai O)

Step into history on this ancient trail where villagers once trekked to commute between Tung Chung and Tai O. Apart from being a history buff’s paradise, photographers will also find good reason to lug their camera along on this hike– think traditional temples, sweeping sea views and even a quaint fishing village (Tai O!). If you’re worried that 15km might be a little too much for you to handle, rest assured that only the final section of the hike is an actual mountain trail, so the rest of the hike should be relatively flat and easy.

Distance: 15km

Duration: 5 hours

Difficulty: 4/10

Views: 7/10

Getting there: From Tung Chung MTR station, take bus 3M, 11, 23 or 34 and get off at Ha Ling Pei. Follow the signs to Tung Chung Fort, a declared monument and the start of the trail. Along the trail, you should pass by Hau Wong Temple (built in 1765), Hau Hok Wan, the new Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge, Yeung Hau Temple (built in 1699) and finally Tai O fishing village.

4. Yuen Tsuen Ancient Trail

Yuen Tsuen Ancient Trail

This trail was the key route for villagers to travel between Yuen Long and Tsuen Wan to trade goods before the completion of Castle Peak Road in 1933. One of the longer hikes on this list, the Yuen Tsuen Ancient Trail presents those willing to take on its seemingly-endless uphill trek with spectacular views of Tsing Yi, Kowloon and parts of Lantau. In the mood for some of the best roasted goose in Hong Kong? End your hike early at Sham Tseng, where you will find the famous Sham Tseng Chan Kee Roasted Goose.

Distance: 12.5km

Duration: 5.5 hours

Difficulty: 7/10

Views: 7/10

Getting there: Take Exit A4 of Tsuen Wan MTR station, then walk through the covered corridor to Discovery Park (a residential complex) until you reach Castle Peak Road. Continue walking until you reach Hong Kong Adventist Hospital. Find the staircase with marked “Yuen Tsuen Ancient Trail” opposite the hospital. This is where the trail begins.

Yuen Tsuen Ancient Trail

5. Pat Sin Leng Nature Trail

Pat Sin Range

Pat Sin Leng literally translates into ‘the ridge of eight immortals”. Trust us, you’ll feel like an immortal yourself once you’ve completed this absolutely breathtaking hike. Complete with panoramic views of Tolo Harbor and Plover Cove Reservoir and the Bride’s Pool waterfall at the end of the trail, this hike is one worth taking a day off for. Be warned that reaching the falls will require a bit of going off-track though– by the time you are nearing Bride’s Pool, you will have to cut through the river and trek up river boulders as the marked trail does not take you directly to the waterfall.

Distance: 4km

Duration: 2 hours

Difficulty: 5/10

Views: 9/10

Getting there: From Tai Po Market station, take green minibus 20C to Tai Mei Tuk Bus Terminus. After you get off, walk towards Bride’s Pool for around 10 minutes uphill to reach the gate to the start of the trail near Tai Mei Tuk Country Park Management Centre.

These hikes too long to fit into your crazy schedule? If you’re a busy bee, check out our list of short and scenic hiking trails for more Hong Kong hikes.