When Is the Best Time
Hong Kong is not just a city with a population of over 7 million people; it's also the most popular city, with an estimated 60 million visitors annually. 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 best time to visit Hong Kong for hiking is from October to March. Expect the most pleasant day temperatures below 30°C/ 86°F from October to November and in March. The driest and coldest months are from December to February, on average around 20°C/68°F. Roughly 80 % of the precipitation occurs from May to September in the hot summer.
Big Wave Beach
Remember 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. The residents love to come here for a bath.
How to Get to the Dragon's Back Trailhead?
Minibus at Big Wave Bay
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 lead you to the correct bus stop. It takes some 20 minutes to drive from the MTR station; bus stop To Tei Wan, Shek O Road.
Trailhead and restrooms for Dragon's Back Google Maps
You can see Hong Kong in the distance
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 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 and Beach. You get rewarded with an awesome beach for swimming. From Big Wave, you can take a minibus back to the MRT station for HKD 10 or continue hiking for half an hour to the nice Shek O Beach, where you can swim as well.
During winter, the sea is pretty cold, the reason shark prevention nets are removed at most of the beaches. The facilities at Big Wave Beach are closed. This is the most popular hike in Hong Kong but in my point of view, not the most beautiful one. Nevertheless, if you spend a week in Hong Kong, don't miss it. Avoid weekends, especially at Shek O Beach.
Packing List for the Dragons Back Hike
- Plenty of water, there isn't any shop at the trailhead.
- Snacks are always welcome; nevertheless, at the end of the trail are little restaurants offering freshly prepared dishes for you.
- Sunscreen otherwise, you get sunburnt even with an overcast.sky
- Wind jacket during winter
Tip: If staying a few days in Hong Kong, book a dolphin trip to spot endangered pink dolphins north of Lantau.
Weather by Seasons in Hong Kong
- Dry Season
The driest months are October to March, although rain already returns in March and temperatures start to rise again. October is still warm on average, around 28°C/82°F. November and March are more pleasant with temperatures above 20°C/68°F. The very best months, especially if you come to Hong Kong for hiking are the cold winter months from December to February. The day temperatures 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 and clear skies. However, be always prepared for showers.
- Rainy Season
The rainy season starts in April, but most precipitation occurs from May to September while June until September are the hottest months with high humidity. Thunderstorms occur frequently and typhoons in September. Temperatures during summer are on average around 30°C/86°F. You should definitely go for a swim in the summer.
Crowds on the Dragons Back Trail
If you can't start early, the trail is packed with hikers. However, many walk until the Dragon's Back viewing point only and back. The trail is less frequented from here, and you can enjoy the beautiful landscape much more. Visitors hike the trail in either direction, but most start at To Tei Wan. If possible, avoid weekends. Hiking is pretty famous by Hong Kong residents.
Best Months to Visit
Location and Tips
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 central part of the territory. So close to the skyscrapers, you find beaches, woodland, and hills.