Lantau Peak is the second highest peak in Hong Kong, and is a very popular place to watch sunrise. Why? Even on a normal day, there are already a lot of clouds midway up the hill. In the morning, the sun nicely sits above the sea of fog and cloud. So yesterday morning, I was lucky to be driven up right to the start of the trail at Pak Kung Au, which is already around 400m above sea level. At first, I thought the hike was going to be quite flat, so I got 2 more mates to tag along. But, I was deceived by Google Maps. It was actually quite a steep ascent till the peak at around 950m above sea level. So to summarise, it was quite a tough hike. But we took a lot of breaks in between for photos, as well as playing around with my friends drone and vlogging. So the whole journey honestly was pretty fun.
Duration: 3 – 4 hours
The route begins at Pak Kung Au. To get there, you can take any bus from Tung Chung MTR Station that goes into Lantau Island (Ngong Ping, Mui Wo, Tai O etc.) The bus will first enter the restricted area and ascend this very steep hill. This is when the bus goes very slow – almost like it’s about to run out of engine. But don’t worry, that’s totally normal. All the cars around you will be just as slow. Just endure the slowness, and get off once you reach the top of the slope – Pak Kung Au station. Cross the road to the other side, and you will see the route that leads to Ngong Ping via Lantau Peak.
The beginning of the trail is well shaded. There are a few gentle steps up. But not long, you can already see the 3 peaks that you need to conquer. This is when you begin to regret your choice of hiking this hill. But don’t worry, there are quite a few nice resting stops up the hill for you to appreciate the views. For this hill, I do highly recommend you to fully appreciate the views. Because you are so high up, you can actually see the clouds move, and the whole atmosphere changes depending on how the clouds are like – quite mysterious when the hills are fully masked by the clouds, a bit heavenly when they are half covered (especially with a glimpse of sunlight), and the mountains just stand majestically when the sky is clear. It is also very nice to look beyond to the sea and spot little islands just popping out of the surface. On the other side of the hill, it’s the Chep Lap Kok International Airport, where you can see the planes flying right above this beautiful landscape. It’s honestly a sight to be viewed by the eye – no camera can capture this soothing moment.
As you go higher and higher, the clouds become more and more dense. And for most of time, besides the footpath in the front, you can’t really see anything around you. A good 2-3 hours will allow you to reach the peak. Again, what you see is really dependent on the clouds. But just find any rock to sit on and chill – it’s honestly a very relaxing place to chat or even just to think about life.
For most hikes in Hong Kong, the downhill part of the hike is not very interesting. The Lantau Peak surprisingly still continued to amaze me downhill. The clouds helped a lot. When the clouds cleared away – it was just wow. The Shek Pik Reservoir was just right in front of our eyes. The blueness of the reservoir just naturally sat in between the vast mountain range. On the right, you can just make out a statue sitting between the hills – The Big Buddha. On the far right, you can also see the bridge connecting Hong Kong to Macau and Zhuhai. The scene looks very busy, but it all somehow works together and is rather calming to watch. That’s what I really like about Lantau Island – maybe because it’s a restricted area – so it’s not heavily polluted by the buzz of the city.
Downhill is a lot less strenuous than the downhill. A quick 45 minutes will allow you to reach the end of the trail at Wisdom Path, and the Big Buddha. If your legs aren’t shaking then, it is also quite worth to walk up the steps to enter the Big Buddha. If you are hungry, there are quite a few vegetarian/Buddhist restaurants around the area, as well as Hong Kong style cafes closer to the bus stop.
To leave the area, you can take the bus or ride the Ngong Ping 360 cable car back down to Tung Chung.