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

A week before my trip to Hong Kong, two of my friends suggested that I include the Tian Tan Buddha (also known as the Big Buddha) in my itinerary. While browsing the internet for information on how to get there, I found one blog post about getting to the Big Buddha by hiking the Lantau Peak. There are actually easier ways of getting there: you can either take the Ngong Ping 360 cable car or you can take the bus but I decided to hike from Pak Kung Au to get to the Big Buddha.

Lantau Peak is the second highest peak in Hong Kong and the highest peak on Lantau Island with an elevation of 934 meters above sea level. The trail is 4.5 km long. Getting to the summit takes about two hours.

Getting there:

To get to the starting point, take the MTR to Tung Chung and Disneyland Resort Line and get off at the Tung Chung station (last station of the Tung Chung Line). Take the Exit B and take Bus No. 23 at the bus terminus beside the Ngong Ping 360 Cable Car Terminal and get off at Pak Kung Au Bus Stop. (Note: The first bus terminus you see near the Citygate outlets is a different bus terminus. From Citygate, walk towards the Ngong Ping 360 Cable Car Terminal. Follow the sign pointing to the New Lantao Bus Station.  Follow the pictures below so you won’t get lost.)

Before getting inside the bus, tell the bus driver to drop you off at Pak Kung Au. There is no LCD or broadcast to show the bus stop inside the bus so tell the driver beforehand. Bus fare is HKD 17.20. You can either pay by cash or pay using your octopus card.

Walk towards this area

Just follow the sign.

Cross the street. To your right is the New Lantao Bus Terminus. Look for Bus No. 23.

The Hike

After you get off Bus 23 at Pak Kung Au bus stop, cross the street to get to the starting point of the Lantau Trail. Pak Kung Au is a mountain pass along Tung Chung Road on Lantau Island. On the right is the starting point of Lantau Peak and on the left is the starting point of Sunset Peak. Lantau Peak and Sunset Peak are also called the Twin Peaks on Lantau Island.

Follow the sign to Lantau Peak

As I have mentioned in my post about Dragon’s Back Hiking Trail, hiking in Hong Kong does not require hiking fees and guide. I hiked Lantau Peak alone again. I was supposed to go with Katy, my roommate at the hostel but she woke up late and told me to just go on. My hike went well except I forgot to bring water. Damn, it was so hard I had to stop a lot of times just so I won’t faint. I was lucky I hiked in January when the weather in Hong Kong was cold. It would have been harder if it was summer.

One of the nice things about the hiking trails in Hong Kong is that they have distance posts along the way that they put to facilitate hikers. In case of an emergency, hikers could inform the rescue operators the number of the nearest post to indicate their location. The trail starts at Distance Post L018 and ends at Distance Post L027.

I took a picture of every distance post I passed by along the trail.

The hike starts with stairs covered with trees. Just follow the stairs, you’ll never get lost.

Stairs at the start of the trail.

Resting station a few meters away from the starting point.

As you go higher, the trees get less but the views are just amazing. I enjoy hiking alone because I get to hike at my own pace. I can stop anytime I’d like to take a rest or just to enjoy the view and also to take pictures. I don’t really talk to myself but during this hike, I did just to motivate myself. I kept telling myself “it’s okay Tina, you can do it. You’re close to the summit now. Maybe there’s a water station there.”

One of the views you get to enjoy when you hike the Lantau Trail is the Sunset Peak, the third highest peak in Hong Kong.

Not so visible in this picture because it was a bit foggy but you can actually see the airport from the trail.

That one out there looks like it is already the summit but it’s not. When you get there you find out there’s another peak. The trail actually has three exhaustive uphill sections.

The last peak is the summit of this mountain.

The last uphill section. I am so close to the summit!!

Hiking Tip: It is less tiring to walk along the sides. Just be careful with your step.

Temporary Refuge at the summit. Unfortunately, there’s no water here.

Me at the summit

After enjoying the view at the summit and some picture taking, time to go down. It was actually harder going down. The stairs are scary. One must be extra careful going down to avoid getting injured.

The stairs on the way down.

The Giant Buddha still looks small from this view which means I still have a long way to go.

Finally, the finish line!

At the end of the Lantau Trail, turn left to get to the Wisdom Path.

The Wisdom Path, a series of 38 wooden upright monuments containing verses from the centuries-old Heart Sutra — one of the world’s best-known prayers revered by Confucians, Buddhists and Taoists alike

To get to the Po Lin Monastery and the Giant Buddha, you need to walk for about 10-15 minutes more. Just follow the signs. Along the way, you will pass by the path with the scent of tea.

Going Back:

To go back, take Bus No. 23 at Ngong Ping bus terminus and get off at Tung Chung bus terminus. The journey takes about 50 minutes.

Tips on hiking Lantau Peak:

  • Don’t forget to bring water. You won’t find any store along the trail, at the summit and at the end of the trail. The closest place you can purchase water is at the Giant Buddha.
  • Wear appropriate shoes. DO NOT wear heels. It is also not advisable to wear flip-flops.
  • Bring face towel as you will be perspiring a lot. It was cold when I climbed but I still perspired because the hike is so tiring.
  • Bring 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.
  • Watch your steps. Be very careful especially when going down.
  • Don’t forget to enjoy the view and take lots of pictures. 🙂

P.S.

The day after my hike, my legs and thighs were so painful. It was a good thing I did the hike on the day before my flight back home otherwise I wouldn’t have enjoyed exploring Hong Kong and Macau.

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