Dragon’s Back is a ridge that provides spectacular views of the Hong Kong Island and its shoreline. To be honest the ridge and the hike is going to be one of the most memorable hiking adventures for you. It does not take much time to reach the starting point of the trail from the busy city life and the skyscrapers of Hong Kong. This is an amazing getaway place and a great way to enjoy the nature and fresh air with beautiful scenery. It is located within a 8-kilometer hiking trail in southeastern Hong Kong Island.
This is one of the must-visit sites for tourists in Hong Kong. It is safe to go alone but if you want a guided tour and you like to enjoy company, you can also book a group tour. On weekends you will see a lot of visitors to the Dragon’s Back as this is a popular getaway spot for many residents. So, most of the time, you are not going to be alone. The hike is not very hard, and you will even see kids on the trail. At the end of the complete hiking trail, you will be welcomed by a beach and a café which is very refreshing. Total hiking time for the Dragon’s Back trail to the beach is around 2.5 hours.
Dragon’s back has been declared as one of world’s 23 best hiking trails by CNN. It has also been named as one of the best urban hikes in Asia by the Times Magazine. Hong Kong has designated a large portion almost 38% of its land to Shek-O country park which provides a beautiful contrast between the nature and the urban development. Dragon’s Back is located within the large Shek-O country park. The park and the trails have many signposts so you cannot get lost easily until you try something much more adventurous.
Tips for Dragon’s Back Hiking
- Dragon’s Back is one of the most popular hiking trails in Hong Kong so the weekends can get very busy. You might encounter a human traffic jam at the hiking trail. To avoid the crowd, start early morning or better go on weekdays.
- You will need a lot of water. The weather gets hot and humid that makes you sweat a lot. There are no shops on the trail, so you will have to rely on what you brought until you reach the end.
- As there are no shops on the trail, its better to bring some food and snacks. Please make sure not to leave any wrappers or garbage around even if you cannot see any dustbins.
- You will need proper shoes for hiking. It is an easy hike but there are some points where you will remember what I just said. Also, if it rains, which it can, so there will be lot of mud on the trail.
- You will not be able to find good shade through out the hike, so better bring a hat and a sunblock.
How to reach Dragon’s Back Trail
It is not far from Hong Kong city, so you can also take a taxi to reach here. It takes around a 20-minutes-drive to reach the starting point. You can also reach here by MRT at Shau Kei Wan station and then take bus no 9 from there. Bus will stop at the To Tei Wan village and this is the starting point of the trail where you will see a large sign and the map of Dragon’s Back.
Dragons’ Back Hike
You will start your hiking from To Tei Wan and this is the hardest part. Yes, the hardest part of the climb is in the beginning where you will need to push yourself uphill for around 200 meters on a rocky path. After 200 meters, it becomes easier. After these 200 meters, you will encounter the beautiful views of the Shek-O beach. You can rest for a while with these views take your time and then carry on along the trail.
After this, you will be enjoying the hiking along this undulating path along the ridge of the mountain. The path looks like a spine of a dragon from which the name “Dragon’s Back” has been derived. On this path, you will have beautiful views of Shek-O on your right and Tai Tam Bay on your left side. Now comes the final steep hike towards the Shek-O Peak at 284 meters. Shek-O peak is the highest point of the Dragon’s Back hiking trail. Once you are here, you will have uninterrupted and breathtaking views of the surroundings. Your steep hike will end with these magnificent panoramic views. You can sit, have lunch, take pictures and enjoy the moments as this is a wonderful viewing point.
After this, rest of the trail is all downhill. Once you start descending, you will leave all the magnificent views behind and will keep moving forward through the trees on both sides. After reaching down, you will be welcomed by signs in the direction of Big Wave Beach and Shek-O road. From here, you can choose between going to the beach or to the road from where you can take a taxi or bus back to the Hong Kong city. If you choose to continue the hike to the beach which is recommended, it will take around 40 more minutes to reach there through the forested paths. You will also pass through a village where you can see some village houses. There will be signs pointing to the The Big Wave beach, which is the end of the hiking trail.
Big Wave Beach
This is a beautiful beach which is like a reward for beach lovers like me. After a hot and sweaty hike, who would not love to jump in the ocean water and relax. There is also a small café from where you can get your refreshments. You can also hire surf boards from the nearby shops. This is a great end to a wonderful hike where you can relax for some time at the beach before you decide to leave back to the city. From here you can also visit Shek-O beach which is not very far. There is a short bus service that connects the both beaches.