If we sat down and had a twenty minute conversation, I can almost guarantee I would talk about these five things: Jesus, Lord of the Rings, Disney, travel, and hiking. Now, obviously this post isn’t going to deal with King Theoden or Megara. Today I’m going to introduce you to one of my passions and something that will probably be a major focus on all of my travels – hiking and/or trekking. I am a wannabe mountaineer whose greatest life dream is to summit Mt. Everest, but I’m getting ahead of myself. Although I am a city gal through and through, I desperately need to get out in nature. I could honestly pull a Christopher McCandless one day and disappear into the wild. But before I go rouge I’ll satisfy myself with a couple hikes a week in the Asian countryside. Even though Hong Kong is a massive city, wilderness covers about 70% of the area of Hong Kong, meaning that there is a lot (A LOT) of areas to hike and breath fresh, oxygen filled air. I’m determined to conquer as many of the trails as I can over my year here and am starting a new series called “Grace Goes Hiking!” (ahem, get it? Grace Goes Global – Global + Hiking)?? GGH for short. Anyway, my first hike was probably the most famous hike in all of Hong Kong, The Dragon’s Back. This hike already gets a prize for probably the coolest name on the planet, but it also delivers equally some spectacular views. It was named as such because of the hilly top and how it winds around in reminiscence of the creature’s long body. The trail offers unparalleled views of ocean and city on both sides because it juts out on a peninsula. It was voted the best urban hike in the world by some publication at some point, but I really have no specifics. The day I went was unfortunately not ideal conditions. It began to rain as soon as I stepped off my bus and it was cold and windy the entire way. It added a bit of adventure, but the views were definitely tame due to the cloud cover and fog. I’m already looking forward to the follow up of the post where I show you how it compares on a beautiful, sunny afternoon. The ride there will go down in infamy as one of the most terrifying journeys I’ve ever taken. Have you ever taken a double decker bus up a mountain? No? Count yourself lucky, or if you would like to then by all means head to Dragon’s Back. I took the MTR all the way down to the Shau Kei Wan station and proceeded to bus #9. A huge double decker pulled up and a naturally ran up to the top, not knowing what peril awaited me. We quickly drove through some side streets and made out way up up up the side of a mountain, narrowly missing cars, bikes, and cliff faces. If that doesn’t get your heart racing and adrenaline pumping for some hiking then there’s no hope for you. You can disembark at the To Tei Wan stop with the entrance to the hike literally at your feet.
The trail itself is about 8.5 kl and took a little less than three hours. There is an opportunity to shorten the trek by about an hour and not go all the way to Big Wave Bay, but if you have the time, BWB is worth it. The path is very well marked and maintained which makes it easy to traverse. There are a couple of spots that would work for a picnic but there are no stops or washrooms so be prepared to bring all the snacks and water that you need. I imagine in the hot, humid Hong Kong summer that it gets quite warm on this hike. You know you’ve got about an hour left when your feet hit concrete. The trail turns to cement when it’s time to decide whether to cut the hike short or blaze on to Big Wave Bay. Big Wave Bay is a surfers paradise and offers food, washrooms, and unique, little village atmosphere. There is also a bus stop where you can grab bus #9 again to take you back to the MTR. I would suggest going on to BWB if you can. I wish I could have stayed longer and even jumped in the water if it hadn’t have been 60 degrees and rainy.
Overall, I quite enjoyed myself despite the crappy weather conditions. I’m excited to go back on a clear day when I can see for miles. If you’re looking for a relativly easy hike in order to get out of the city’s hustle and bustle then look no further than Dragon’s Back.