Ma On Shan Hiking Tour
Ma On Shan Country Park, New Territories, Hong Kong
Walk Hong Kong offers guided hikes to the 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.
Starting at sea level our hike takes us through lush green subtropical forest and dense exotic vegetation. We walk past an abandoned Hakka village. 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 enclosed in a Country Park. The villagers continued to tend 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 into the charming fishing town of Sai Kung, where we can watch the fisher folk 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.
Highlights: Lush greens, mountain climb, ridges and views in all directions, including the bay of Sai Kung.