Dragon's Back - Hong Kong
The best months to visit Hong Kong's trails are October to April since the northern summer means monsoon. Most pleasant temps from October to December although, the clearest months are also the coldest from December to February. Keep in mind that Hong Kong is very busy during the Western and Chinese holidays. The Dragon's Back and other parts of the Hong Kong Trail are best done during the week. Usually, weekends are crowded, especially at Shek O Beach where the trail ends.
Weather by Seasons in Hong Kong
The driest months are October to March, although rain already returns in March and temps start to rise again. The very best months especially if you come to Hong Kong for hiking are October to the beginning of December due to the pleasant temps; on average around 25°C / 77°F in October. November is already cooler and from mid- December to February daily temps are below 20°C / 68°F and nights can be chilly around 14°C / 57°F. The colder temps are the reason for fewer clouds, clear skies. However, be prepared for a shower.
The rainy season starts in April but most precipitation from May to September while June until September are the hottest months with high humidity. Thunderstorms occur frequently and be aware of typhoons in September. Temps during summer are on average around 30°C / 86°F. Bring a swimsuit and towel and go swimming at one of the many beaches around.
Crowds on the Dragons Back Trail
If you can't start early, the trail is packed with people. However, many walk until the Dragon's Back viewing point only and back. From here the trail is less frequented and makes even more fun. Visitors hike the trail in either direction, but most start at To Tei Wan. If possible avoid weekends. Hiking is pretty popular by the Hong Kong residents.
Hong Kong is not just a city with a population over 7 million people it's also the most popular city with estimated 60 million visitors in 2018. However, you can escape the crowds and experience lush vegetation on one of the four main trails in Hong Kong. The most famous is the Dragon's Back, chosen as the Best Urban Hike by Time Magazine in 2004,
Steps at the beginning of the trail
The Dragon's Back is part of the Hong Kong trail section 8. The Hong Kong Trail is 50 km long and starts at Victoria Peak. The contrast with the urban sprawl of Hong Kong says enough. Although Hong Kong has one of the highest population densities on this planet, the Hong Kong government protects the major part of the territory. So very close to the skyscrapers you can find beaches, woodland, and hills.
Big Wave Beach
How to Get to the Dragon's Back Trailhead
Situated on Hong Kong Island at the Shek O Country Park. For the Dragons Back, you take the red underground to Admiralty station. From here take the blue MTR line to Station Shau Kei Wan; Exit A to Shau Kei Wan Bus Terminal. Catch bus number 9; signs leading you to the correct bus stop. It takes some 20 minutes driving from the MTR station; bus stop To Tei Wan, Shek O Road.
Minibus at Big Wave Bay
The trailhead is next to the bus stop, and here you can find the last restrooms before you start hiking. First, you climb up to Shek O Peak with a height of 284 m. You get a spectacular 360° view of the beautiful landscape. Then continue on the mountain ridge – dragon’s back. It’s a breathtaking scenery with skyscrapers in the distance.
Some sections of the trail are constructed with steps. During the monsoon season, steep parts of the hiking trails in Hong Kong would get destroyed by the high amount of precipitation. The trail can be muddy and slippery after rainfall. Most of the path is without any shelter.
The wind can be strong and chilly in winter. The entire hiking trail is well marked and takes roughly 3-4 hours. The hike is more than 9 km / 5.6 miles long from the trailhead to Big Wave Bay. From here you can take a minibus back to the MRT station for HKD 10 or continue hiking to the nice Shek O Beach where you can swim in the sea. Add another half an hour. This is the most popular hike in Hong Kong although there are many less frequented. Avoid weekends especially at Shek O Beach.
What to Bring
- Wind jacket during winter
Tip: If staying a couple of days in Hong Kong; book a dolphin trip to spot endangered Pink Dolphins north of Lantau.