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The best waterfall hikes in Hong Kong

Even though Hong Kong’s F&B, fitness centres and entertainment venues have gone into new wave of temporary lockdown, it doesn’t mean you also have to venture into hibernation. Tear yourself away from the couch, queue up some TLC, and explore what the city has to offer (masks on, of course) with these amazing waterfall hikes — with each offering a refreshing reward at the end of sweaty journey.

Ma Dai Stream 

For a short but medium difficulty stream hike, look to Ma Dai Stream near Ma On Shan. The start of the route is just a short walk from Exit B of Tai Shui Hang MTR. Walking past a dam, you’ll reach the hidden waterfall after following the stream — rewarding your efforts with a secluded rock pool for those keen to beat the summer heat with a swim. Follow a well-trod route back out to end up at Hang On MTR. Though it’s relatively short at 5km, there’s some minimal rock scrambling, uneven ground and bushwhacking involved, so be sure you wear the right shoes and go with experienced friends.

Duration: 2 hours

Length: 5km

Difficulty: Intermediate

Sheung Luk Stream

Located in Sai Kung East Country Park is Sheung Luk Stream, with clear emerald river pools that tempt you for a summertime swim. Take minibus 29R from Sai Kung Town or taxi to Sai Wan Pavilion where the trail starts, and follow the route towards the beaches of Sai Wan until you meet Sheung Luk Stream underneath a stone bridge. The easy route ends here: You can opt to turn around, or for an extra challenge, follow the pools uphill to reach the 25-metre ‘Thousand Silk Falls,’ where daredevils will want to climb up from the right hand side to reach a series of four more waterfalls, with opportunities for daredevils to jump into crystal clear pools along the way.

Duration: 5 hours or more

Length: 8.8km

Difficulty: Intermediate/High, with some climbing involved

Bride’s Pool

Away from the concrete jungle in Tai Mei Tuk is Bride’s Pool, where legend has it that the spot was named in memory of a bride who had tragically drowned as she was being carried across on a sedan chair on her wedding day — it’s said that traces of her can still be seen today. While the paranormal may be a draw for thrill seekers, this trail is relatively short and easy with clearly defined signage. Board minibus 20C from Tai Po Market Station to Tai Mei Tuk and hike for an hour to the scenic spot. You’ll want to go a day after heavy rainfall to get the most impressive views of Bride’s Pool Falls, whilst its neighbouring Mirror Pool Falls offers great photo ops during any season.

Duration: 20–40 minutes

Length: 1km

Difficulty: Easy

Ng Tung Chai Waterfalls

Nestled in the Lam Tsuen Valley west of Tai Po, Ng Tung Chai Waterfalls is a great challenge for intermediate hikers, with a series of not just one, but four unspoilt waterfalls at the foot of Tai Mo Shan: Bottom Falls, Middle Fall, Main Fall and Scatter Fall. Start by heading to Tai Wo Station by MTR and hop on the 64K bus or the 25K minibus to Chai Kek Village on Lam Kam Road where the trail begins. Before you start your journey, note that it can be challenging, so sure-footedness is required as you hike up and down the steep and narrow trails with a mix of steps and inclines. However, the trip will be a rewarding one as you visit the spectacularly unspoilt waterfalls. 

Duration: 3-5 hours depending on breaks

Length: 11km

Difficulty: Intermediate

Silvermine Bay Waterfalls

The Silvermine Bay Waterfalls are one of the most accessible waterfalls in Hong Kong, so be sure to make a pitstop there during your visit to Mui Wo — before or after you’ve had your fill of seafood and local eats of course. Ride the ferry at Pier 6 from Central to Mui Wo and walk along the beach towards the Silvermine Beach Resort. Once you’ve arrived, you will see signs leading you to the waterfall. Follow the path along the Islands Nature Heritage Trail and the Olympic Trail — this should only take about 20 minutes. If you’re up for an extra challenge, take a short climb above the waterfall and explore the Silvermine Beach Cave, where silver was once produced and how the spot got its name. 

Duration: 30 minutes

Length: About 1km

Difficulty: Easy

Wong Lung Hang Stream

This secluded spot in Lantau Island is known for its three pristine waterfalls and serene pool surrounded by lush greenery. This is quite a difficult hike as it involves almost four hours of walking and stony paths, vertical wall climbs, bushwhacking and more — though thankfully there are multiple routes to get to the end result with varying degrees of challenge. The ability to skirt around multiple waterfalls and jump from boulder to boulder along the stream proves it to be a fun one, though if you don’t want to exert yourself, stop and turn back after the first waterfall. To reach the start of the trek, you can either walk for 45 minutes, or take a blue taxi from Tung Chung MTR station to the gate barrier at Tei Po New Village on Wong Lung Hang Road.

Duration: 6 hours or more

Length: 6km

Difficulty: Moderately difficult

(Header image credit: Adam Heitzman/Flickr)

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