Hi my lovely readers!
Lantau Island is one of the many islands in Hong Kong. Each island has something different to show for and offer, but Lantau must be the most popular one amongst them.
It is well connected to Hong Kong Island and many of the popular sights and attractions such as the famous Po Lin Monastery, Tian Tan Buddha and of course Disneyland Hong Kong are situated there.
BUT, did you know that Lantau Island is also a great place for hiking? There are several trails on the island and all of them offer amazing views and scenery.
I decided to try out the Lantau Trail which ends at Ngong Ping, where you can find the Po Lin Monastery and Tian Tan Buddha. If you want to get of the beaten track, give this trail a go.
Here is all you need to know to master the Lantau Trail.
The Lantau trail from Pak Kung Au to Ngong Ping is about 5 km long and takes you across the Lantau Peak, well known for its famous views.
Lantau Peak is the second highest peak in Hong Kong and rewards you with amazing views, if the weather plays along. Unfortunately, it did not for me. It was cloudy and hazy. Still, I did enjoy the overall hike. It certainly was an experience.
GETTING TO THE TRAIL
If you are an experienced hiker and want to give the Lantau Trail a go, the best starting point would be from Pak Kung Au, if you ask me.
This way you are hiking towards the other site of the island and are rewarded in the end with views of the Po Lin Monastery and Tian Tan Buddha once you descend from the Lantau Peak and start getting closer to Ngong Ping.
To get to Pak Kung Au, take the orange MTR line towards Tung Chung, this is also the last stop of the line so you cannot miss it. Walk down the stairs to Fu Tung Plaza or square where you can see lots of bus stops. You need to cross the plaza and the road to get to the correct bus stop and take the bus 3M, 11, 11A or 35 from Fu Tung Plaza to Pak Kung Au.
Once the bus arrives tell the driver where you want to get of, just in case. The bus ride takes only around 10 min so it is not far at all. You will be dropped off, what will look like, in the middle of nowhere, but that is the correct place.
If you are new to hiking and not that experienced yet or simply do not want to conquer the full Lantau Trail, but still want to experience the views from the Lantau Peak, you can do so by just doing half the trail starting from Ngong Ping.
You can get to Ngong Ping either by taking the Ngong Ping Cable Car or bus 23, both go from Tung Chung. The cable car takes around 20 min and the bus 50 min.
The bus journey takes of course a little longer, but you will get some great views from the island. If you fancy you can take the bus going there and the cable car on the way back perhaps.
THE HIKE FROM PAK KUNG AU
The hike is quiet challenging and takes approximately three hours +/- depending on how skilled and fit you are. I thought I was in good shape, but man that hike was a killer! Do not underestimate it.
Once you get of the bus, you need to cross the road to the other side and you will find a path sign. That sign marks the beginning of the trail.
The entire hiking path is laid – out and signposted. Most of the times it is a defined trail as you can see in the pictures. Along the way, you will get great views of the airport, some small villages that are by the water and on the bottom of the peak and of course lush green landscapes.
Once you reach higher altitude and get closer to the peak, you will find more and more paved paths and lots of stairs.
During my hike, the weather was not really playing along. We got some views at the beginning of the hike and it was reasonably warm, but the closer we got to the peak the wetter, foggier and colder it got.
It even started to drizzle on the top of the peak and got super windy. It was difficult to hike as we could barely see anything and the rocks underneath were slippery.
At the beginning of the hike, the terrain is easy to navigate, mostly flat and well indicated. However, it starts to get very steep and there are lots of stairs to navigate on the top. It gets very challenging and we had to stop several times along the way to catch our breath and gather some energy.
Furthermore, the weather can change very quickly. As mentioned, it was warm at first, but got pretty windy, cold and wet the closer we got to the top. Pack accordingly. The warm weather can fool you when you leave your hotel. It is pretty chilly at the top.
You can see the beautiful view I had from the top of Lantau Peak. How I was able to look for miles and miles and admire the view 🙂 Normally, you are supposed to be able to see all the way to Macao and mainland China.
So yeah, we were not lucky in regards to the view from the top, but the descent was great. First of all you know you are not climbing up anymore and you know you have done more than half the trail, the end is in sight.
The descent is steep, too and when rainy and foggy is a bit dangerous actually. You cannot see really where you are stepping and there are no railings to prevent you from falling down.
However, saying that, once you climb down a bit, you are rewarded with a view of the Po Lin Monastery and Tian Tan Buddha, which you can visit after your hike if you fancy.
There are a few benches along the path where you can sit, perhaps take a lunch break and just relax a little and gather your strength.
If you decide to take the shorter hike from Ngong Ping to the Lantau Peak just for the view, it will take you around 30 – 40 min to reach the top.
I saw many people just going for the shorter hike in flip flops as they were originally just visiting the Buddha statue. I would not recommend to attempt the hike, even the short one, in flip flops. You need proper footwear.
WHAT TO WEAR
As you can see, I wore some hiking/walking sandals during my hike. This is not the best footwear at all. Wear proper closed hiking shoes to stay safe.
It is warm in Hong Kong so shorts are fine, but if you have hiking trousers that have a dual shorts and trouser purposed, I would recommend wearing those. This way you can convert your shorts into a long trouser if you start getting cold.
Talking about cold, definitely pack a warm jumper or even wind/waterproof jacket if you can see that the weather might turn. That white jumper I wore was not enough and I got a bit wet.
A hat is a must as there is no shade. You are in the open and the sun will shine on you for hours. You do not want to get a heat or sun stroke when hiking.
We saw some people with hiking poles for support. If you like using those, this would be a good hike to use them, but they are not required.
And most of all wear comfortable clothes.
So to recap:
- wear proper closed hiking shoes
- shorts are okay, but a trouser that can convert into shorts are better
- pack a warm jumper or even better wind/waterproof jacket
- wear a hat
- hiking poles are optional
- wear comfortable clothes
WHAT TO PACK
Along with your hat, also pack some sun cream and of course sunglasses. No one likes to get burned during the hike and wants the sun in their eyes when they need to concentrate on where they are going.
Of course, bring something to drink and some food. The hike requires energy and you definitely need to stay hydrated, especially on a very hot and sunny day.
Do not forget your camera. You will want to take lots of pictures along the way as the scenery is just so beautiful.
FINAL THOUGHTS …
I have been on a few hikes and I love going for long walks at the weekends, but this trail was the most challenging one I ever tackled.
I think I underestimated how difficult and tiring the trail can be as it is very steep in places. Still, I am so proud for completing it and the scenery was definitely worth it.
If you want to attempt this trail, pack accordingly, wear the appropriate clothes and really make sure you are fit enough and healthy to complete the trail. But otherwise, go for it!