MacLehose hiking trail, Sai Kung West CountryPark, New Territories, Hong Kong
Walk Hong Kong offers guided hikes to Ma On Shan mountain, which is part of Hong Kong's famous 100km MacLehose hiking trail that runs east to west in the New Territories. Our guided hiking tour takes you to one of the highest peaks in Hong Kong's New Territories, at 702 metres, and is one of the more spectacular sections of the MacLehose trail, where you can hike for a day and yet hardly see a soul.
Walking from sea level our hike takes us through lush green subtropical forest and dense exotic vegetation. We walk through an abandoned Hakka clan village where you can see fine examples of Hong Kong's ancestral graves. The farming Hakka, or ``guest people´´, settled in this area of Hong Kong about 300 years ago.
The history is fascinating: Hong Kong is a city where housing is at a premium and most people live in small high-rise apartments, yet homes in the countryside sit abandoned. When Murry MacLehose, the then governor of Hong Kong's colonial administration, established the country parks system in the 1970s, a number of villages ended up inside the border of the Sai Kung Country Park. The villagers continued to plant their rice terraces, an age-old way of life their sons and daughters wanted no part of. As the older villagers died off and their children moved away to urban areas, the villages fell into disrepair. The rice terraces disappeared beneath new overgrowth and the cows that pulled the plows were turned loose to fend for themselves, and we come across these animals as we walk the trail.
As we walk uphill, our hike encounters low shrubland, colourful with wild azaleas and rhododendrons, while the mighty Ma On Shan range rises imposingly above. Behind us, a superb coastal panorama reveals the Sai Kung Peninsula . From the saddle, with its rugged rock formations, our hike rewards us with stunning views of the New Terrritories and mainland China. Walking along these ridge lines is exhilarating.
Our hiking trail then takes us along the remote, wild and windswept ridge down to a rolling plateau. From here, we lose any sight of the lowlands and the brown grassed hillsides are dominated by the distinctive steep-sided Pyramid Hill at 536 metres.
A scenic track winds downwards to our destination, the charming fishing town of Sai Kung, where we can watch the fisherfolk selling their wares from the Sai Kung jetty, and visit the local Tin Hau temple, dedicated to our goddess of the sea. Our guided hike finishes here, and we return to Choi Hung MTR. But you may wish to stay on in Sai Kung, further exploring the back streets, or have a meal at one of the many waterfront restaurants, taking in the charming atmosphere.
We do not operate this hike for the months of July and August
Cost: HK$800 per person Total tour time 7 hours Walking distance: 10km Grade: strenuous Facilities: Toilets en route
Start time: 08.30am in Central
Refreshments/lunch: you will need to bring your own packed lunch for this. There is a bakery in Sai Kung near the start of the walk, if needed. There is nothing available once at or on the trail.
General requirements Please provide us with a contact phone number in Hong Kong, or the name of the hotel where you are staying, plus the name the booking is made in.
We need notification of any cancellation before the morning of your tour, as no-shows do inconvenience our other clients. It is also important that you ring us if you are delayed, as it may be possible to direct you to another meeting point en route.
Footwear We recommend that you wear either robust walking shoes or trainers/sneakers. Casual sandals or open shoes are not suitable for trails, which can be rocky in places.
Clothing Sun and rainfall can be intense and a hat is recommended. During the winter season (November - March) temperatures can drop with a chilling wind, so a sweater/fleece is advisable. During the wet season (April - September) a waterproof jacket is recommended. In warmer months (May - October) it is advisable to carry a spare T-shirt or other garment to change into at the end of the hike. Skin Protection Suntan lotion should be used throughout the year, and applied frequently during the hike.
Water Please carry sufficient water for your own needs. In the warmer months, this may equate to one litre for every two hours of walking. Dehydration is a real risk on hot days. Choose mineralised rather than distilled water. Consider an electrolyte replacement drink as well.
Personal needs Please notify us of any medical conditions that we should be aware of. We will assume clients have their own medications for asthma or known illnesses. Insect repellent is not obligatory, but advisable if you tend to attract insects.
Payment Payment can be made in cash at the start of the tour, or by electronic money transfer pre-tour. Prices quoted in Hong Kong dollars. HK$7.75 = US$1.00
Schedule Our tours and hikes are driven by client demand. Please consult our website for the current schedule.