Walking the Dragon’s Back

You may be surprised to hear that hiking is a fairly major pastime here in Hong Kong. As I have mentioned before, it’s very easy and quick to get out of the city and into the surrounding hills, parks and islands. We tried a fairly short but steep hike in October up to Jardine’s Lookout, which had a great view from the top but it was far too hot and the whole thing wasn’t very enjoyable. So when the weather started cooling down in November, we started asking around about the best hikes in Hong Kong. And often the response was ‘The Dragon’s Back’.

The ‘Dragon’s Back’ is a walk along the spine of a row of hills which do look a little like the back of a dragon. It is located on the east of Hong Kong island and has views from both sides of the ‘spine’ over Stanley on one side and Shek O (with Kowloon behind) on the other. I’m still reserving judgement about whether it is the best walk or not as we haven’t done that many hikes yet, but it does have some lovely views!

To get to the start of the hike, take the MTR to Shau Kei Wan and leave by exit A2 or A3 – you should see the bus terminus very easily. Take bus number 9 to Shek O and get off at the stop ‘To Tei Wan’. There is an information board and toilets there, and steps lead up to the walk.

The walk starts fairly steeply but almost immediately is rewarding with views over the Stanley peninsular.

Stanley from beginning of Dragons Back, Hong Kong

About 5 minutes after starting, you come to a small picnic area with a right turn, signposted ‘Dragon’s Back’. Take this turn. Once you get to the top, you get the view over the other side, of the village and beach at Shek O.

Shek O from the Dragon's Back, Hong Kong

You then walk up and down, along the ‘spines’ of the dragon’s back, with further views over the Stanley Peninsular and Big Wave Bay.

Stanley from the top of the Dragon's Back, Hong Kong

Big Wave Bay from the Dragon's Back, Hong Kong

You may be able to guess how Big Wave Bay got its name. Unsurprisingly, it’s popular with surfers, although they’re a bit too small to see in this photo!

As you descend for the final time, you arrive at a T junction. Turn right. The walk then changes significantly into a fairly flat walk through the forest. Very pleasant!

Forest near Dragon's Back, Hong Kong

A couple of hours after starting, you come to another junction with some toilets. Here you have two options: turning left takes you back to the road that the number 9 bus goes down. From here you can get the bus back to Shau Kei Wan or turn right and walk down the road (no path!) for about 5 minutes to the bus stop to Stanley. The bus stop is just after the mini roundabout (take the right turn at the roundabout) – take the number 14 bus to get to Stanley.

The other option is to turn right. Follow this path, which is well signposted to Big Wave Bay. The path is more of a road for the first part and has views over the back of Chai Wan and Kowloon behind it.

Chai Wan, Hong Kong

Follow the signs to Big Wave Bay – you descend through the forest for about 20 minutes and come out into the village. Here you can go surfing, sit on the beach, have a drink or some food in the many little cafés, or walk out the other side of the village and follow the road to Shek O to catch the bus home. I believe the number 9 bus does go to Big Wave Bay as well as Shek O but less frequently. When we got there, there was a red minibus going to Shau Kei Wan so we got that instead.

Have you walked the Dragon’s Back? Is it your favourite walk or do you like another walk better? I’d love to hear your recommendations!

Thanks for reading!

Rachel

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4 thoughts on “Walking the Dragon’s Back

  1. Yes, the Dragon’s Back is a great hike! It’s the best accessible hike in HK, in my opinion. I have been on a few other stunning ones, but they were harder to get to and also more strenuous. Dragon’s Back is the place we take active visitors when they stay with us.

    Did you know that Dragon’s Back is the last stage (stage 8) of the Hong Kong trail, which starts at the Peak and finishes in Big Wave Bay, after winding all over HK Island for 50 km. Each stage is around 7 km and of varying difficulty. Like you say, it’s easy to get hiking in HK because the trail is never that far away.

    • Haha, it’s funny you should say that because my husband and a few crazy friends walked the entire Hong Kong trail in a day over Chinese New Year! I did the last half with them too – I was pretty tired by the end, but a few of the guys who had done the whole thing were totally broken!

      We’re now trying to go a little further afield with our hikes and did one in the New Territories last weekend – the countryside is so beautiful out there!

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