Guided Hikes Every Sunday Through Wilderness Near Hong Kong
(Hong Kong) - If Hong Kong and hiking seem an unlikely pair, think again. Beyond its famed street life and iconic skyline lies a less familiar Hong Kong that beckons hikers and nature lovers into the great outdoors – with mountains, valleys, coastlines and picturesque walking trails all within easy reach.
What isn’t very widely known about the region is that 70 percent of Hong Kong is undeveloped open land, 40 percent of it officially preserved in 23 Country Parks, four marine sanctuaries and four major hiking trails. Beginners and advanced hikers alike have endless options from which to craft their outdoor adventures in Asia’s world city.
This fall, adventurous hikers can discover the famed MacLehose Trail - Hong Kong’s longest and most spectacular - through guided hikes offered every Sunday starting November 7 through December 5. The MacLehose Trail stretches 100 kilometers from Sai Kung's Pak Tam Chung through the Kowloon Mountains, swinging around the Shing Mun Reservoir to end at Tuen Mun. There are stunning views of the sea and mountain ranges and contrasting terrain and rock formations in ten sections of varying difficulty (some quite challenging) 5 to 16 kilometers long. The guided hikes, graded from fairly difficult to very difficult, vary from four to eight hours in duration. Free roundtrip transportation will be provided from Tsim Sha Tsui. Advance booking is available at Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) visitor centers (The Peak, Tsim Sha Tsui, Airport and Lo Wu).
Less rigorous walks are described in small guidebooks with maps and detailed descriptions of the natural attractions and hiking conditions on Hong Kong Island, the Eastern and Western New Territories and the outlying islands, plus hiking tips. These are downloadable and offered complimentary at www.discoverhongkong.com. Also available is a detailed guide to the MacLehose Trail, open to self-guiding hikers year-round with the option of campsite stays at strategic locations along the way.
There is also the National Geopark, which features 50 square kilometers of unusual rock and other natural formations divided into the Northeast New Territories Sedimentary Rock Region and the Sai Kung Volcanic Rock Region. There are eight different geographic areas with wild landforms and natural formations distinct to Hong Kong, including such diverse features as a magnificent blue reservoir and a columnar structure of hexagonally shaped volcanic rock.
Check out the Victoria Harbour, with natural wonders that include wetlands that are rich in biodiversity.
All these attractions are easily accessible by bus, train, taxi or ferry. Hong Kong’s prime outdoor season is October through March with special travel packages/tours available for travelers who want to actively embrace more of Hong Kong's stunning environs.