Tai Mo Shan Hikes – the 5 Trails we Love

by | Jul 15, 2021 | 0 comments

As much as we love the cosmopolitan life of Hong Kong, getting into nature with a Tai Mo Shan hike at the weekend is a must, too. 

It’s the highest peak in the territory and dominates the landscape. Or, more accurately, its clouded peak is on display much of the year. 

If you’re the outdoorsy type, getting out to hike Tai Mo Shan poses a nice enough challenge that will get you feeling accomplished.

What is the best Tai Mo Shan Hike?

in our opinion, MacLehose Trail Stages 7 and 8 is the best Tai Mo Shan hike. Why? Because you go all the way to the top of Hong Kong’s highest peak, you’ll see stunning views, and importantly, you’ll see a side of Hong Kong you normally don’t get to experience. 

But if that’s not for you, there are other Tai Mo Shan hikes for you to explore. Whether you’re here looking for a completely new experience or are scouring for new ways to ascend Tai Mo Shan, we’ve got the goods. We’re going to cover:

  • The details you need to know about the peak and surrounding park
  • How to get to and from Tai Mo Shan with public transport
  • Details you need about five routes to the top
  • Your burning questions about Tai Mo Shan hikes

The essentials of Tai Mo Shan 

Tai Mo Shan hikes are simply amazing!

You’ll already know Tai Mo Shan, even if you’ve not been up on it yet. It’s the big peak that’s covered in clouds most of the time when you look kind of north. 

It’s more than just a mountain; there’s a whole government-designated country park surrounding it. 

Before you head out on one of our Tai Mo Shan hikes we’ve got for you, let’s throw our top ten facts about Tai Mo Shan at you:

  1. Tai Mo Shan is the highest peak in Hong Kong at 957 meters
  2. The mountain is an inactive volcano that’s been around since the Jurassic period
  3. Tai Mo Shan is one of only two mountains in Hong Kong over 900m above sea level
  4. The country park named after the mountain covers 1,440 hectares
  5. As well as walking, you can get to the summit driving – there’s a road all the way up
  6. At the top is a huge white-domed building belonging to the Hong Kong Observatory
  7. During the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong, most of the trees on the mountain were chopped down and then later replanted
  8. You can head to the visitor center at Rotary Park before you ascend to the peak to learn some of the ancient geology
  9. Camping is permitted around the lower levels of Tai Mo Shan, so you can be ready to ascend early
  10. Tai Mo Shan is the coldest part of Hong Kong – it’s usually around 6°C cooler than the city, so bring an extra layer of clothing!

Traveling to and from Tai Mo Shan hikes

The hikes of Tai Mo Shan are easily accessible by road and by public transport. 

Take the MTR to Tsuen Wan Station and take exit A. From there, head to the bus stop on Tai Ho Road North, where you need to jump on the 51 bus. 

Get off the bus at the Country Park stop, turn left, and you’ll come to the park entrance on Tai Mo Shan Road. 

Here, you’ll find Rotary Park, with the visitor center we mentioned a moment ago, plus the campsite and the public BBQ sites. 

Although this is the main point to start the hike direct to the top of the peak, there will be different ways to start some of these hikes. We’ll confirm each along the way. 

Tai Mo Shan Hike 1 – Ng Tung Chai Streams and Waterfall 

Seeing beautiful waterfalls might not be the first thing you think of when planning a weekend in Hong Kong, but that’s what this Tai Mo Shan offers! This hike gives you four waterfalls in one trail; each is both more challenging and more beautiful than the next. 

How to get there:

The hike starts at Ng Tung Chai village on the Lam Kam Road. There are two MTR stations you can access the start from: 

  • From Tai Wo station, take Exit A, follow the signs for McDonald’s, the bus stop is to your left – take the 64K and get off at Ng Tung Chai.
  • From Kam Sheung Road station, take Exit C and at the bus stop take the 64K towards Tai Po Market Station and get off at Ngau Len Wo.

From the bus, head along the road to Ng Tung Chai village, where you’ll see signs for the waterfalls. 

Head up the trail; you’ll pass Man Tak Yeun temple and a small waterfall – not one of the four we’re looking for, though. 

Don’t take the steps by the temple; this is how you’ll come down. Instead, keep heading up, and you’ll find the points to turn for each of the four falls on the way up. 

Once you’ve made it to Scatter Fall, at the top, you can either take the steps all the way down or take a left and head to the peak of Tai Mo Shan to finish your hike. 

Hike duration:

  • Waterfalls and straight back down – three hours
  • Waterfalls plus the hike to Tai Mo Shan – five hours

You’ll want to take some breaks to enjoy the beauty and maybe even take a dip in the rock pools at the falls, so build that time into the plan!

Difficulty rating: 

  • 4/5
  • The steps can be slippy, and going up to Scatter Falls from Main Fall can be a challenge. 

Go here for:

  • A great way to cool off in the Hong Kong heat
  • The chance to see four beautiful falls and the peak of the mountain if you want

Be prepared for:

  • Lots of other people, especially at the weekends – this is a popular Tai Mo Shan hike.

Tai Mo Shan hike 2 – Tai Shing Stream

You’ve got three options to hike this stream:

  • Hike the whole length
  • Just hike the lower part
  • Only go for the upper section

It’ll depend on how long you’ve got and how challenging you want your Tai Mo Shan hike to get. We’ll cover those details in a moment.

How to get there:

The hike starts from the Shing Mun Reservoir, so you need to take minibus number 82 from Shui Wo Street – take Exit B1 from Tsuen Wan MTR station. The last stop for the minibus is Pineapple Dam, which is exactly where you want to be!

Take the Pineapple Dam Nature Trail and turn right after you get to the steps and come to a barbecue area. From here, you’ve got some choices to make. 

To hike the lower section of Tai Shing Stream:

  • Take the road towards the bridge and take a left; get down to the stream before crossing the bridge.
  • Walking for 1 hour 45 minutes, you’ll come to a nice spot where there’ll probably be people chilling, or you’ll think it’s a good spot to chill! Then, take a small trail to the left to exit the stream.
  • Hike back down to the Pineapple Dam and pick up the 82 minibus to get back to the MTR

To hike the upper section of Tai Shing Stream:

  • At the barbecue area, head over to the toilet block and take the path going past it.
  • Walk through the woods and past the “Do not enter sign,” don’t worry, everyone does!
  • You’ll come across the stream where there’ll be people relaxing and swimming, carry on up the stream – to get down, check out the next section.

To hike the whole of Tai Shing Stream:

  • Instead of turning off as if you’re only doing the lower section, keep on going up the stream, past the waterfalls and pool – stop for a swim if you like!
  • There are some steep parts, and the rocks are slippy around the waterfalls
  • At the top, you’ll be 455 meters up, and you can take a well-marked trail to get back down to the toilet shack and back to the dam to get the minibus

Hike duration:

  • For the lower section, expect to spend about three to three and a half hours for the full trip, plus breaks and swimming time.
  • To only do the upper section, you should be hiking for four and a half to five hours to get up and down, adding time for breaks and swims.
  • To complete the whole of the Tai Shing Stream hike, budget six and a half hours of walking, plus swimming and relaxation time.

Difficulty rating:

  • The lower section is gentle and reasonably easy, 3/5 
  • The upper section has a bit of climbing and slippiness, 4/5
  • Combining it all, it’s a long day, so 4/5 

Go here for: 

  • Beautiful scenery and nature, you should get to see plenty of butterflies
  • Lots of chances to cool down – there are lots of swimming and bathing opportunities 

Be prepared for: 

  • Lots of water, you need to wear hiking shoes that are suitable for a stream hike.

Tai Mo Shan hike 3 – MacLehose Trail Stage 8

The MacLehose Trail is named after a British diplomat, and this section will take you all the way up and over the peak of Tai Mo Shan on your hike. Give yourself enough time to check out the visitor center that we mentioned a little area since you’ll be there anyway. 

How to get there:

  • You need to get yourself to Rotary Park, so follow the instructions we gave you at the start to get there. 
  • MacLehose Trail is well signed from the visitor center – if you’re on a concrete road, you’re doing it wrong!
  • Follow your nose and the signs, and don’t forget to take in the views once in a while; you’ll know you’re near the top when you see the radar station. 
  • At the other end, you’ll come down to Lead Mine Pass with a picnic area, barbecue pits, toilets, and a way to get home.
  • To get home, take the Wilson Trail from Lead Mine Pass that’ll take you to the Green Minibus stop. Hope on the 23K to Tai Po Market MTR station 

Hike duration:

  • Expect to spend about three and a half to four hours on your hike up the biggest of the mountains in Hong Kong. 

Difficulty rating:

  • It’s pretty steep at points; we’d put it at 4/5 

Go here for:

  • The joy of hiking up a mountain and getting stunning views across the city
  • To get into nature, there are some gorgeous flowers and silver grass along the route

Be prepared for:

  • The cowpats at the top of the mountain around the radar station, keep your eyes peeled!

Tai Mo Shan hike 4 – MacLehose Trail Stage 7 and 8

The fourth Tai Mo Shan hike that we’d recommend combines stages seven and eight of the MacLehose Trail. 

We’re going to look at the trail going in the opposite direction to just doing stage eight, meaning we’ll start you at a different end, and you’ll finish hiking three mountains in Hong Kong with Tai Mo Shan at the end. 

How to get there:

  • Get to Tai Po Market MTR station, take Green Minibus number 23S, and hike up the Wilson Trail to find Lead Mine Pass.
  • From here, follow the signs for the MacLehose trail, where you’ll hike over two mountains, Grassy Hill and Needle Hill.
  • You’ll eventually come to the visitor center we noted in the previous section.
  • Head on up to hike Tai Mo Shan peak and pick up on our guide just above

Hike duration:

  • This one will take most of the day; allow a good 6 hours to do all three Hong Kong mountains in a day.

Difficulty rating:

  • You’re going up three peaks, including the highest point in Hong Kong; we’re giving it a 4.5/5

Go here for:

  • Stunning views from different angles all across the city from the three peaks
  • A decent challenge and an all-day hike

Be prepared for: 

  • The weather – you’ll spend a lot of time up in the clouds unless it’s a pristine clear day.

Tai Mo Shan hike 5 – The Secret Trail 

Ok, so it’s not such a huge secret if we’re telling you about it, but it is a cool little trail that many people don’t bother with. 

You’ll pick up some great views – this Tai Mo Shan hike takes a western route to the top so you can see over Kowloon and over to Shenzhen on a good day. 

How to get there:

  • Walk or drive up Route Twisk, which is the paved road that goes up the mountain, and stop at Wo Tong Kong.
  • Find the small hill after Wo Tong Kong; it’s like a small platform that’s great for photos; across from there is the secret path.
  • Walk up to the radar station through the grasses and drink in the scenery as you go.
  • To get down, you can choose to take one of Stage 8 paths and follow our directions to get home in one of the last two sections, or go back on yourself and get there how you came. 

Hike duration:

  • If you just go from Wo Tong Kong and take the same route back, expect it to take two hours.
  • Add on time to hike up to Wo Tong Kong, or is you take a Stage 8 path down

Difficulty rating:

  • Some parts are pretty steep, but nothing majorly taxing, 3/5

Go here for:

  • A different take on the hike up Tai Mo Shan with some different views
  • The silver grass and nature, in general, it’s a little less unspoiled and untouched

Be prepared for:

  • Not much parking if you drive up, walking might be the better option unless you’re going super early

FAQs Tai Mo Shan hikes

That’s a lot of information about hiking around Tai Mo Shan, right?

It’s a great value day out, with only the cost of your food and public transport to get there, but you’ve probably still got some questions. 

Here’s what we get asked when people know we like a good hike some weekends; let us know in the comments if there’s anything we’ve missed. 

When should you visit Tai Mo Shan? 

The best time to hike Tai Mo Shan is in autumn and early winter. The weather is still warm and sunny, yet it’s not awfully humid like in the height of summer. 
If you’re going for the waterfalls, it’s worth waiting until there’s been a few days of rain to make sure you get the gorgeous gushing pics that others do. 

How long is Tai Mo Shan hike?

To hike Tai Mo Shan only, you need to walk the MacLehose Trail Stage 8, which should take you around three and a half to four hours from bus stop to bus stop. 

Where can I hike in Sai Kung?

Sai Kung is a small peninsular that’s perfect for relaxing weekends. Check out the hike to High Junk Peak for a good walk on a nice day. 

What is the highest point in Hong Kong?

Tai Mo Shan is the highest point in Hong Kong, at 957 meters above sea level. It’s topped by the Hong Kong observatory radar station, and the actual summit is fenced off because of this. 

Which trail is the shortest trail in Hong Kong?

The Victoria Park Circle Walk is only 4km and has a barely noticeable incline of 55 meters. So take the tram to the top and start walking the circuit; it’s even great for kids and dogs. 

How do you get to Tai Mo Shan Country Park?

From Tsuen Wan Station, take Exit A, head towards McDonald’s, and find the bus stop. Then, take bus 51 and get off at the Country Park stop. From here, walk to Tai Mo Shan Road, and you’ll find the entrance to the park. 

Where can you eat on Tai Mo Shan?

Once you’re in the country park, you’ll need to eat your own supplies; there aren’t any restaurants. So take healthy food and snacks that’ll give you energy, like energy bars and protein-rich munchies. You can also take advantage of barbecue areas, but you might want to do this as a separate activity to save you carrying lots of food or equipment around with you. 

 

Finally

Hiking is always a savvy way to spend the day – it doesn’t cost a whole lot and will get you good and tired. So a Tai Mo Shan hike should be on your list of activities as soon as you land in the city

There are plenty of options around the mountain. if you’re looking for a fun hike, our favorite Tai Mo Shan hike has to be the Ng Tong Chai Stream hike, the first on our list. It’s a great adventure, options to do the tough or not-so-challenging hike, and you’ll get some great selfies. 

How was your experience hiking Tai Mo Shan? Any hacks you want to share with us?

Let us know in the comments below.

Related articles

Spread Savvy's tips

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related blogs

8 Benefits of Self Care & How to Easily Improve Your Self Care Routine

Selfcare is no longer just a buzzword – the benefits are undeniable.

French Groceries in Hong Kong – The 5 Stores We Love

The complete guide to buying French groceries; from wine, cheese, croissants, soap, and more!

Prepare for IELTS – We Love Cascade Train Teach Learn

A boutique English language school that can help to support the learning of English in a holistic way.

Cosmetics Hong Kong – 7 Stores We Love in 2021

We cover well-known international brands, Italian, Japanese, Korean brands, and more!

Selfridges HK Membership – The 5 Reasons it Makes Sense

For a one-off fee, you can enjoy unlimited shipping for 12 months.

Using a Luxury Travel Advisor – The 4 Key Benefits

You can expect to save time and receive perks, all at no extra cost.

Powerlifting for Women – The Best 7 tips To Get Started

Sophia Khan, our guest blogger & professional powerlifter, guides us through the power-lifting journey for women.

Ultimate Guide to Getting Botox in Hong Kong

A complete guide to getting Botox injections in Hong Kong.

About us

Brighten Up Your Inbox

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from SavvyinHK.

You have Successfully Subscribed!