My First International Hike: Dragon’s Back Trail in Hong Kong

Last Updated on April 15, 2021 by Tina

Prior to planning for my trip to Hong Kong, I have only thought of the city as famous for its skyscrapers, shopping, Disneyland, Ocean Park, and Victoria Peak. I didn’t know that it is a good hiking destination until I stumbled upon a post about the 8 best trails to hike in Hong Kong. Reading it got me so excited because I love hiking and I have no plans of going to Disneyland and the usual spots that tourists visit there. So on my first day in Hong Kong, I did my first solo hike for 2017 and my first international hike: The Dragon’s Back Trail.

The Dragon’s Back Hiking Trail is an 8.5km stretch of the 50km Hong Kong hiking trail that traverses Hong Kong Island through five country parks. It was named by TIME magazine in 2004 as the best urban hiking trail in Asia.

How to get to Dragon’s Back Hiking Trail

To get to the starting point of Dragon’s Back Trail, take the MTR Island Line to Chai Wan and alight at Shau Kei Wan Station. Take the A3 exit and go to the bus terminus at Platform J. Then take Bus No. 9 and alight at To Tei Wan bus stop. The hiking trail starts right beside the bus stop.

Hong Kong Bus No. 9
Bus No. 9

Hiking the Dragon’s Back Trail

Hiking in Hong Kong is very different from the Philippines. In Hong Kong, there are no registration fees to hike and guides are not needed because the trails are well maintained and well signposted so you won’t get lost. I hiked alone and I never encountered any problem during the entire hike. It is also interesting to note that during my hike, I encountered children and older people (around 60 to 70 years old) hiking.

Dragon's Back signs along the trail
Some of the signs along the trail of Dragon’s Back

The Dragon’s Back is a relatively easy hike with amazing views and it ends on a beach.  I hiked on a Sunday and started around 1 PM. I wasn’t too worried about starting late because I have read that the hike can be finished in two hours and it’s January so the weather is cold. The initial ascent of the trail is probably the hardest but as you get closer to the top, you get rewarded with nice views. Once you reach the top, you get to enjoy the views of Shek O and Tai Tam Bay.

Shek O Bay as viewed from the Dragon's Back
Shek O Bay as viewed from the Dragon’s Back
Tai Tam Bay
Tai Tam Bay
Tai Tam Bay
Tai Tam Bay
Dragon's Back Shek O Peak
Dragon’s Back Shek O Peak

The highest point of the Dragon’s Back hike is the Shek-O Peak which is at 284 meters. Benches are available on this site for hikers to rest. Here you can enjoy the view of the Big Wave Bay Beach where the hike ends. Near the peak is a spot where paragliders take off.

Paraglider in Dragon's Back Trail
A paraglider at the Dragon’s Back Trail

Paraglider in Dragon's Back Trail

Big Wave Bay Beach as viewed from the Shek-O Peak
Big Wave Bay Beach as viewed from the Shek-O Peak
The undulating path which gave the Dragon’s Back its name
The undulating path which gave the Dragon’s Back its name

My hike took about two and a half hours to finish (including long breaks enjoying the view and taking pictures). From the end of the Dragon’s Back section, it takes about another 45 minutes to the Big Wave Bay. Just follow the signs, first along a wide road, then along a forest path through the trees.

The end of the Dragon's Back Section
The end of the Dragon’s Back Section
View along the way to the Big Wave Bay
View along the way to the Big Wave Bay
The wide road going to the Big Wave Bay
The wide road going to the Big Wave Bay
Sign to the Big Wave Bay
Just follow the signs and you won’t get lost
Big Wave Bay
Finally, at the Big Wave Bay

Big Wave Bay

The trail finishes in Big Wave Bay Beach. Big Wave Bay is known for its large surf breaks. There are restaurants surrounding the beach that provide light refreshments. There are also shops selling T-shirts, board shorts, and flip-flops and you can also rent boogie boards and surfboards.

Going Back

To go back, just look for the bus stop and take Bus No. 9 to Shau Kei Wan Bus Terminus. When I was there, we were told that there is no Bus No. 9 arriving so we took the minibus instead. It is also going to Shau Kei Wan Bus Terminus. The fare is HKD 12 and you can’t use your Octopus card here so you have to prepare your coins. Beside the bus terminus is the MTR station.

Tips When Hiking The Dragon’s Back Trail

  • Bring water. I hiked when the weather is cold but still, I believe water is essential for hiking.
  • Bring a face towel especially during summertime as you will be perspiring a lot.
  • Wear appropriate shoes. Avoid wearing heels or flip-flops.
  • Bring an umbrella or waterproof jacket in case it rains. You can also use the umbrella when you get to the top especially during summertime as there’s very little vegetation.
  • Do slather on sunblock lotion to protect yourself from the harmful UV rays.

Enjoy your hike! Hope this post helped you in any way and inspired you to do the hike too even if you have no one to do it with. 🙂

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16 thoughts on “My First International Hike: Dragon’s Back Trail in Hong Kong”

  1. It was really nice to know the other side of not touristy site of Hong Kong especially for a nature lover. I’m so excited for my travel coming this June. YAY! Thanks for sharing and cheers!

  2. Thank you very much for the information. With this, I’ll have a peace of mind hiking alone. Thank you again!

  3. Oh wow! I’ve been a bit hesitant about doing this on my own, but your post inspired me. Will definitely do it on my own now. Thanks for your informative post. ?

        1. I think yes, I just followed the signs. From the starting point, I think it took me around 3.5 hours to get to the beach. This already includes the breaks I took. 🙂

  4. Pingback: Solo Hike to the Second Highest Peak in Hong Kong: Lantau Peak

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