Lion Rock in Hong Kong is not only famous for its peculiar shape that resembles a lion but also because of the breathtaking views it offers. Lion Rock is Hong Kong’s 140 million years old iconic peak located between Kowloon Tong of Kowloon and Tai Wai of the New territories. If you are a hiking lover, then it is a must climb for you. The shape of the rock appears like a lion from some angles in Choi Hung and San Po Kong areas in East Kowloon.
The hiking trail is pretty amazing, but if you are not a regular hiker, you should be careful and well prepared as there have been some deaths associated with the Lion Rock hiking. There are a few parts of the hiking trail which are rocky, steep and cannot have a fencing, but there are signs to warn the hikers to take precautions. Just take care when the weather is wet and try not to take daring selfies near the edges to stay safe. But the hike is worth the efforts and exercise as you are going to get mesmerizing views from the top.
This hike is also a popular night activity in Hong Kong as the night views are absolutely superb. It is suggested to either take a guide or attempt climbing in the day to understand the hike properly before you try it at night. Similarly, if you want to go in morning, better go early morning so that you can finish up before the noon to avoid extreme sun.
Tips Before Hiking Lion Rock Hong Kong
The whole hiking round-trip can take up to 3 to 4 hours depending on how many times you stop for the pictures. Some people, like me, will complete it in 6 hours because they want to absorb the atmosphere and views from every angle. The height of the Lion Rock peak is around 495 meters. I will mention some of the things you will need to have before the climb, these are some common things you need for most of your normal hiking trips.
- Take plenty of water and snacks with you, I get hungry soon, so I always take snacks, juices, and water with me.
- Most of the hiking path has no shades so take a hat, sunscreen, and a small umbrella with you. The weather can also change so it is better to go prepared both for sun and rain.
- If you plan to hike alone, it is recommended that always inform someone about your route. Have you seen 127 hours movie? There is a lesson in it for us.
- Hong Kong Government has published safety tips for hiking, and it is also recommended to read them.
How to Reach Lion Rock Hiking Track
You can reach the starting point by taking an MTR to either Diamond Hill MTR Station or Won Tai Sin PTR Station. From both stations, you can either take a 10-minute taxi or walk for an hour to reach the Lion Pavilion at Sha Tin Pass Road, which is the starting point for the Lion Rock hiking. You can also get a taxi easily on your way back, so enjoy your time and hiking without this tension. Taking taxi is recommended to save your energy as the 1 hour walk to the starting point is an inclined path and it may disturb your further experience.
Another landmark of the hiking trail is Fat Jong Temple, you can tell the taxi to take you at this temple from the station. You can start walking after the Fat Jong Temple towards the Lion Rock Country Park. There are some shortcuts to the peak from Fat Jong Temple, but they are steeper and less scenic. The longer route is more fun and has more scenic views along the way.
The Hiking Experience
From the Fat Jong Temple, you can continue walking on the Shatin Pass Road. This inclined path twists and turns for about 20 more minutes. During this walk, after some time, you will start seeing nice views of Kowloon on the right, but the real amazing views still wait for you on the top. Keep yourself smooth and steady until you the reach the Lion Rock Country Park. This is when your real hike will start, most people take a break here for some time after the 20-minutes-walk, especially those who did not take taxi and have been walking for 1.5 hour and still couldn’t start their hike yet.
Now, in the Lion Rock Country Park, you are in the wild surrounded by nature which is wonderful cause it feels and smells like hiking from this point. Now the first hard part of the climb will start, “The Steps”. That is why it is better to take rest before the steps towards the peak. It is suggested to climb the steps slowly and steadily and there are resting points along the way if you want to go slower. After climbing some stairs, you will finally start seeing the views that will make you comfortable and happy. This is where you will feel that all the effort you made was worth it. You will be more delighted as after some time, the steps will end, and the hard part of the climb is over.
Now, you will be hiking on a flat terrain which is mostly covered and has lovely views. You may also encounter some wildlife here, especially monkeys. Remember, if you start feeding them, there will be countless monkeys following you. Also do not eat in front of them, they will feel the urge to snatch the food from you. The best way is to stay calm and keep hiking towards the Lion Rock peak with beautiful views of Kowloon, Tai Wai and Shatin. Stay on the same route until you reach a small sign for Lion Rock Peak on the left side. If the day is clear, you can have undisturbed views of Hong Kong all the way up to Plover Cove Reservoir.
The final climb to the Lion Rock Peak is around 500 meters of steep steps which will take you all the way up to the peak. Again, slow and steady will win the race but the fact is that there is no race. You should climb according to your own fitness level as this is the hardest part of the hike. When you will reach up, you will be stunned by some of the most spectacular views of Hong Kong. There might not be any good words to explain the magnificent views you are going to enjoy from this point. This peak lies on a ridge that separates Kowloon from the New Territories that is why you will be able to see Hong Kong and Kowloon at one side and the new territories on the other side.
On your way back, you have two options; either you go back by the same way or take a right from the split area on the path labelled “Sha Tin Pass Estate”. This trail will bring you out just behind the Fat Jong Temple from where you started the walk. This is a shorter way, and if you come down from here, that means you can go up as well, right? But, this way has too many steps and less scenic views as I mentioned before. From Fat Jong temple, you can get a taxi or a minibus “18M” back to the station.