dragon back hike
hong kong, china
When I booked my trip to Hong Kong I did my typical quick google search of “things to do in Hong Kong”. I envisioned the typical city adventures; parks and squares populated with tons of people, going to the top of a skyscraper for a view of the skyline, perhaps a boat ride through the harbor, and lots of shopping and eating. I was surprised to see the number of times hiking was recommended, but right away I added it to my to-do list when in HK.
We chose the company, Walk Hong Kong, because they offered the most variety of tours and seemed to be a good fit for international travelers. Dragon’s Back is one of the more popular trails and gave us the opportunity to visit the southeast part of HK Island. Its name is pretty self-explanatory, the the trail goes up and down as if we were climbing over the undulating spine of a dragon. It has 3 distinct peaks that overlook sights like Big Wave Bay, Shek O beach and Stanley.
We met our guide, Gabi, early morning in Central (business district on HK Island). The adventure began right away with a tram and MTR(train) ride up to Shau Kei Wan. The entire time Gabi shared loads of information on the development of the city, methods of transportation, and life of locals. We strolled through the Shau Kei Wan wet market, picked up a piece of fruit (delicious dragonfruit), and took a bus the rest of the way to the tail end of the “dragon’s back”.
The hike started out relatively flat, a nice way to get warmed up since it was more strenuous going up and down the peaks. The trail is well maintained, all you need is a pair of comfortable walking shoes. Gabi explained over 40% of Hong Kong’s land is protected by the Country Parks Ordinance, which was established in 1976. Hiking has not been considered a leisure activity in China until recently so the age of these trails are somewhat unusual. She pointed out all kinds of vegetation on our walk including the five petaled Bauhinia flower, it was discovered in Hong Kong and featured on their flag. The fun facts go on and on, check out the captions below for more!
We took the tour at the end of our stay in HK, which worked out very well. At that point we’d only observed the culture from a distance, read information signs at landmarks but still had a ton of things we wanted to ask a local. Gabi has lived their for over 20 year and answered all of our questions and then some. The tour was a great ending to our trip, definitely an adventure not to miss out on when visiting this incredible city.