Asia’s Best Urban Hike – Dragon’s Back Trail

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Beautiful view from the left is Shek O Peak and Tim Tam Bay

Hong Kong is a country that has a reputation for its sky scrapers and that fast-paced urban lifestyle. It is usually compared to New York being one of the busiest and most developed metropolitan financial districts in Asia. As a result, many tourists including myself, are often surprised to find out that almost half of Hong Kong’s landscapes are mountains and hills. Therefore, Hong Kong is also a great destination for hiking!

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The hustle and bustle of Hong Kong city living. View from the famous Victoria harbor

One thing great about the hiking trails is that there are all within around 1 hour of travel from the city center. The country’s very efficient transportation system could easily get you from your hotel in Tsim Tsa Tsui to the trails in no time. Hiking is also one of the favorite activities of locals so when you do get to hike on a weekend, expect to see locals along the trails.

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Very cold, gloomy, and windy at the top
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This is why its called the Dragon’s Back.  Can you see the twists and turns from the trail?

Trail Details

There are a lot of trails to choose from specially in the Sheung Lau Wan region. Named as the best urban hike by TIME magazine, the Dragon’s Back trail is also the introduction to the many peaks in Hong Kong.

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Just follow the path of the other tourists

The trail is located in Hong Kong island and with the peak of 283 MASL, it is considered an easy hike with a very scenic route that ends at a beautiful beach. You will be treated to vast ocean views and rolling hills every step of the way. Hiking the Dragon’s Back was my first hike outside of the Philippines which made it very memorable. The length of the trail is 7 kilometers which takes around 2-3 hours (one way) to complete.

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The trail is easy to follow. Hiring a guide is not necessary

It is called the “Dragon’s Back” because when you get to the peak, there is an open wide open hillside view and the trails have twists and turns just like a dragon’s spine.

How to Get There

The cheapest way to get to the trail was the route I took. Just follow these easy steps to get there.

  1. Take the Island Line MTR (Blue line) and get off at Shau Kei Wan Station.
  2. Take Exit A3 and from there head to the nearby Shau Kei Wan bus terminal and take Bus No. 9.
  3. From the bus, get off at “To Tei Wan, Dragon’s Back”, which should be 11 stops later. Make sure to count the stops and keep an eye out for the sign. Sometimes the signs are not in English.
  4. Once you get off at To Tei Wan stop, there is a sign that will lead you to the trail.
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This is the sign

What’s There to See?

  1. Bamboo trails
  2. Vast ocean views
  3. Rolling hills
  4. Green mountains

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Uphill climb

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Take Note: Tips and Reminders

  1. Best time to go to the Dragon’s back is during December to January. Average temperature is around 16C to 20C. I went last January 2015 and experienced the cold wind breeze.
  2. Taking a guided tour is NOT necessary. The trail is VERY easy and there are a lot of hikers you can follow. Going on this hike on DIY is also much cheaper. But if you are not confident with your skills, you may opt to join a tour.
  3. Start early! I would suggest to start around 7:00AM to avoid crowds.
  4. This is an easy hike. I was surprised to see kids as young as 8 years old and hikers as old as 60+ along the trails. It’s also very family friendly.

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