Jardine’s Lookout is a hill in Hong Kong with a great view from the top. It is situated near Happy Valley and Tai Hang. (Confusingly there’s also a housing estate called Jardine’s Lookout nearby, but we’re interested in the hill!) The name comes from William Jardine (founder of Jardine Matheson), who placed a watchman at the top of the hill to keep an eye out for incoming ships from Britain and India. When a ship was spotted, he was alerted and a boat was sent out to meet the ship and gain the first news of the world markets (ref).
The walk up to the top of Jardine’s Lookout was one of the first ‘hikes’ we attempted in Hong Kong. We made the mistake of doing it in September, when the temperatures were starting to fall after the summer but it was still pretty hot which made it quite hard work! I’d recommend that you leave any hikes until November at the earliest. It is very comfortable to hike in winter here but you would need to stop when the wet season starts in spring as it makes some of the less well-paved paths more slippery and some paths turn into fords.
Anyway, back to Jardine’s Lookout. I said it was a ‘hike’ but it’s actually a fairly short walk by Hong Kong hiking standards. For those who are in the mood for a proper hike, the path (which is part of the Hong Kong trail) does continue on after you get to the top and goes down the other side and then up Mount Butler. I’ve only done this once but it was pretty hard work.
To get to the walk to Jardine’s Lookout, you can take the number 6 or 66 bus (both buses start in Central and go through Admiralty and Wanchai) and get off at stop ‘Wong Nai Chung Reservoir Park’. This is right next to a petrol station with a little shop, useful for stocking up on water and snacks if needed.
On the road in front of you there is a road bridge going over it, which is the road you want to be on. Take the steps up to this road, turn left and start walking up the road. About halfway up there are some toilets, again you might find these useful! Keep going up the road (which is harder work than it looks) and on the left hand side before you get to Parkview is the entrance to the walk. It has a sign with lots of warnings about how it’s a really challenging walk and should only be attempted by experienced walkers, and also which weather conditions you should avoid (which covered most days in Hong Kong!). Looking back, these are pretty over-the-top – yes, the walk is a bit of a climb but it’s on a concrete path with steps all the way up. But Hong Kongers take their hiking very seriously, and most people you see out hiking will be in lycra with proper walking shoes and walking poles. I climbed to Jardine’s Lookout in a skirt, some normal but robust shoes and carrying a handbag! I got some strange looks! But I didn’t think these things hindered me, it’s really not that difficult a walk.
Starting at the warning sign, get walking up those steps! There are some flatter bits on the way up but it’s mostly just steps. About halfway up you are rewarded with some beautiful views out onto the south side of the island and the hills around you.
And then just keep climbing till you get to the top! I can’t really remember how long it took to climb from the sign to the top, perhaps 45 minutes? At the top there is a little open bit off the path with a bench and some amazing views over the north side of Hong Kong island and Kowloon. It really is worth the climb.
And one with me looking very hot and red-faced (it really was quite a climb and there was very little shade!):
Have you climbed to Jardine’s Lookout? How did you find it? I enjoyed it but I think it just proved that I’m really not very fit!
Thanks for reading!