The Ap Lei Chau to Ap Lei Pai hike is a great little coastal trail that takes you out to Mount Johnston Lighthouse via a small sandbar. It’s an out-and-back hike that is just under 5-km but it will still serve up some solid incline with over 500m of ascent up and over the hills each way. This is a beautiful hike on a sunny day, so make sure you don’t forget to look out for the secret tide pool.
AP LEI CHAU TO AP LEI PAI HIKE DETAILS
Hike Distance: The total distance of the hike for me was 4.85km for the out-and-back hike. It could be a little less if you don’t wander off the trail.
Hike Duration: The total duration for the hike was 1 hour and 40-minutes of walking time but with all the time at viewpoints and waiting at the summit for the city lights to come on it was more like 3 hours. We had a swim t the tide pool, which took some time.
Hike Difficulty: The hike is not a difficult one but can be quite steep in some parts. There is a rope in the steep parts but we didn’t need it too much. The incline will have many people gasping but it is not really too dangerous if you take it slow on the way down.
Hike Incline: The total incline of the hike was 300-meters.
HOW TO GET TO THE AP LEI CHAU TO AP LEI PAI HIKE
Getting to the trailhead for the hike is quite easy as there is an MTR station right nearby. Catch the train to Lei Tung MTR station and then walk out to Lei Tung Estate Road. There you will find two small, bright yellow office buildings. You literally need to walk straight through the middle of them, hop up on the ledge and then walk through the gap to the trail. Choose the stairs on the far left and then off you set following the ribbons up the hill. I’ll add pictures below in the hike description to give you a visual for those directions.
AP LEI CHAU TO AP LEI PAI HIKE MAP
MY EXPERIENCE HIKING TO MOUNT JOHNSTON LIGHTHOUSE ON THE AP LEI CHAU TO AP LEI PAI HIKE
I arrived at the Lei Tung MTR station and then walked out to Leit Tung Estate Road in search of the two yellow office buildings. You can’t miss them. It’s quite an odd hike entrance because it seems like you are trespassing but it’s right next to an office. I don’t understand why they haven’t made it an entrance with a sign as the trail is quite popular. Anyhow, I walked through the middle of the yellow buildings and then veered to the left before taking the very left set of stairs out of a few different stairway options. Below are the series of photos to show you the route in the early stages. Once you reach the top of the stairs and push through past the sign on the left again, it is straightforward. But you may find these photos of the early stages handy.
After making your way through the stairways, signs, and fences you will finally be out of the urbanization and into the forest. The path is now dirt and rocks for the remainder of the journey and begins by winding through some thick scrub and bushes. The backdrop is quite nice with residential highrises creating a wall behind a cement soccer field in the foreground.
The climb in this early section is quite steep and slippery but nothing too crazy. It is shortlived and only lasts for 5-10 minutes before you reach the first summit. The trail is not dangerous but some may find the rocks and slippery, dusty surface hard to manage. I imagine it is quite slippery in the rainy season. At the summit, you have a pretty good view all the way out to Ap Lei Pai and to the Ocean Park on your left.
From here you now need to descend down the slippery slope to the sandbar, which connects Ap Lei Pai to the mainland. I don’t think it ever gets fully submerged unless the tide is really high but it is best not to visit at high-tide if you are unsure. This part of the trail is very steep in parts and there is a long rope installed. It can be helpful to steady your descent but it isn’t necessary and I didn’t use it at all. On the way back up it can help you climb the hill.
At the bottom of the hill, you will reach the sandbar leading you to Ap Lei Pai. The trail now becomes thick in scrub again but it’s quite unique to cross over to what feels like an island even though you are still connected to the mainland. I really enjoyed this part of the trail as it felt a bit more adventurous.
The trail continues on for a few hundred meters all the way to the far side of the hill. This is where you will find the small Mount Johnston Lighthouse. It’s just a little structure and more of a marker than a beautiful, coastal lighthouse. It was a pretty area of coastline so we set off to explore around the rocks and see what we could find.
About 100-meters to the right of the lighthouse we found a little tide-pool. It was a hot day and the water was looking enticing so we stripped down and decided to go for a swim. The water in the tide pool wasn’t too deep but just deep enough for a little cliff jump off the side.
After the rock pool, we packed up and made our way back. The big hill with the rope seems to go on forever when you return and is a real quad-burner. I suggest doing this hike in the morning and also doing it on a sunny day to make the most of the turquoise water. If it’s hot enough a refreshing swim at the midway point will be a perfect reward for your efforts.