JARDINE’S LOOKOUT HIKE IN HONG KONG
Jardine’s Lookout Hike is quite a short trail but it leads you to one of the best viewpoints over Hong Kong Central and the harbor. Seriously, I went to all the viewpoints and this was one of my favorites. So, if you are looking for an epic view of the city without having to hike for more than a few kilometers, this is your trail.
JARDINE’S LOOKOUT HIKING TRAIL DETAILS
Hike Distance: The total hike distance is 3.5km but there are options to make it a through-hike or to continue to Mt. Butler if you want to continue on.
Hike Duration: The hike will take about 1 hour of hiking time but you will want to watch the sunset at the viewpoint for sure so total adventure time could be 2 or so hours.
Hike Difficulty: This is one of the safest, simplest hikes in Hong Kong. It’s well signed and on a defined path the whole way.
Hike Incline: The total hike incline was just 240-meters.
HOW TO GET TO JARDINE’S LOOKOUT
The trail begins at ‘Wilson Trail Hong Kong Parkview’. There is a big sign from the road and it is unmissable. Simply type ‘Wilson Trail Hong Kong Parkview’ into Google and the pin will take you right there. I caught the number 6 bus from Hong Kong Central.
I actually got off at the Wong Nai Chung Reservoir Park and had a look around there before walking up the hill to the trail starting point where all of the signs face the street. I’ve pictured them below and added a map of the hiking route at the bottom of the blog post so you should be set.
MY EXPERIENCE HIKING TO JARDINE’S LOOKOUT
The hike began for me once I got off the bus near Wong Nai Chung Reservoir. After getting off the bus, you make your way up the steep road to the reservoir. It’s on the way from the bus stop to the official starting point of the Jardine’s Lookout Hike and worth a stop to look around. The reservoir has a viewing area and a pathway that wraps around parts of the perimeter for a viewing platform. The most curious part about the Wong Nai Chung Reservoir is that there are hundreds of huge fish swimming about and even lots of turtles floating and sun-bathing. It was quite fascinating to see so many turtles in an urban area!
After hanging out at Wong Nai Chung Reservoir for a few moments, it is time to continue on up the road until you reach the signs on the left of the main road, which are labeled with Jardine’s Lookout, Wilson Trail and Hong Kong Trail. I’ve pictured those above for your reference.
This wasn’t a big adventure and isn’t even tw0 kilometers each way but it still has a slight amount of incline on the way up. The trail begins with a few stairs, like most hikes in Hong Kong. The foliage on either side of the trail is often so high that you can only focus on the path ahead, with all other views blocked by the leaves. This is quite nice as it means the viewpoint is a big reveal of the view.
After about 1-kilometer into the hike, you’ll find the Osborn memorial which commemorates the soldiers who fought in this region. The story on the plaque was in English and Cantonese and was quite interesting. It’s often hard to imagine bloodshed in places like this, which are so peaceful when I’m visiting.
It took only about half an hour at a very leisurely pace to reach the viewpoint. It’s marked by a trigonometric pillar, which is found on all summits in Hong Kong. When we made it to the viewpoint, I was shocked. I was expecting a view but not quite this good. I hadn’t heard too much buzz about Jardine’s Lookout but after three weeks in Hong Kong, it turned out to be one of the best views of Hong Kong Central.
From the official viewpoint clearing area, you have views of Hong Kong Central and all the way out to Tai Mo Shan (highest peak in Hong Kong) behind Kowloon. This is a great view but can be a little obstructed by the high bushes as you can see below.
My tip is to head down one of the wild trails to the left of the official viewing area (marked by ribbons but quite rogue) and find a clearing after 50-meters. Now you will have a private viewing area, not that many others will be at the other viewpoint. However, the main reason to come down to the clearings is for an unobstructed view of the city. You also now have a great little vantage spot where you can take some photos with people standing in the foliage looking out over the city.
The sunsets to the left so you will get that beautiful golden-hour glow flowing through Hong Kong Central. It really couldn’t have been too much better (unless you removed the Hong Kong smog, of course).
The sun lowered into the smog and turned into a fiery red ball as you can see below. It was at about this time we decided to head down. You could do an out-and-back and return the same way but we decided to continue down the opposite end, which was just 1.8-kilometers till we reached our way back to civilization and jumped on the bus. You can also continue up to Mount Butler if you want more of a journey but that would mean you can’t have the sunset at Jardine’s Lookout, which is why we stayed.
I hope you enjoy this epic viewpoint as it really is one of the gems of Hong Kong.
JARDINE’S LOOKOUT MAP
TOP 4 PLACES TO STAY IN HONG KONG
Best Value Hotel: Metropark Hotel Causeway Bay – This 4-star hotel in Hong Kong Central is just $73 and looks like a luxury resort worth 4-times that amount.
Best Hostel: Alohas Hostel – For less than $12 USD, you have a great location in a clean and simple hostel.
Best Value Luxury Hotel: Hotel ICON – $140 for a 5-star hotel with an epic pool. Need I say more!
Best Hiking/Adventure Base: Hotel Stage – In Kowloon and right next to lots of epic hikes, a gateway to the hikes in the New Territories. 4-star ultra-modern and a great adventure base.
Want a more detailed breakdown? I wrote the biggest ever guide for where to stay (and why) in Hong Kong! You can check it out here: WHERE TO STAY IN HONG KONG: BEST AREAS & HOTELS
BEST TIME TO HIKE IN HONG KONG
The ‘best’ time to visit Hong Kong will depend on a few factors. The biggest factor will, of course, be the weather. All of these hikes I did were in my month-long stay during December 2019. The weather was quite chilly as it was winter but the sun was still out on at least 60% of the hikes. In the day it was warm most of the time but I always had a jacket for at the summit. The suggest months for hiking in Hong Kong are:
Winter: December to February – Mild weather and pretty comfortable for hiking. Minimal rainfall and still lots of sun during 2/3 of the days. I would suggest the winter after having experienced it myself.
Spring: March to May – Unpredictable weather with some sun and some clouds, Humidity is now rising quite high. Rainfall can happen regularly during the spring.
Summer: June to August – This is not an ideal time to hike in Hong Kong. The humidity is at it’s highest, temperatures can reach 30 degrees daily and rainstorms can be frequent. There are beaches in Hong Kong, more than you would imagine but they aren’t all necessarily close to where you will be based in Hong Kong Central or Kowloon.
Autumn/Fall: September to November – This is rated as the best time to visit Hong Kong. You have nice sunny weather but humidity is at it’s lowest for the year. Rainfall is also low during these months.
PRE-BOOK YOUR 4G SIMCARD FOR HONG KONG (AIRPORT PICKUP)
Before I arrived in Hong Kong, I pre-booked my 4G sim-card for pick-up at the airport. It gives you unlimited data for 5 days of traveling in Hong Kong at 4G speeds. As soon as I arrived at the airport, I walked to the stall, the guy put in my new sim-card and activated it and I was connected from the very first moment. You can Click Here to pre-book your 4G sim-card here and you’ll be surprised it’s actually cheaper to book it in advance.
Book yours now: Pre-Book 5-days Unlimited Data 4G Sim Card
PRE-BOOK YOUR 4G OCTOPUS CARD
You will need to purchase an ‘Octopus Card’ and then you reload it at the machine at the subway station. I pre-ordered my octopus card through Klook, which meant that when I arrived at the airport I simply picked the card up at the Klook counter and caught the train to my accommodation. It saved me from catching an expensive taxi and figuring out the Octopus card later.
You simply scan in at the station you enter and scan out where you exit and the fee is deducted from your card. On the bus, you will pay a fee depending on how much of the route is left and you only scan the card once for a fixed rate. I found moving around in Hong Kong very cheap, efficient and safe.
Click Here to pre-order your Octopus Card with 100 HKD credit loaded onto the card. Pick-up at the airport desk. 100HKD is good for 6-8 train rides and then you can top it up as you go.
Book yours now: HKD 50 Pre-loaded Octopus Card
CHEAPEST AIRPORT PRIVATE TRANSFER SERVICE
The airport in Hong Kong is on Lantau Island, which is about 40-minutes away from Hong Kong Central and 30-minutes away from Kowloon. If you don’t want to bother with public transport, you can book a private transfer that will pick you up at the airport and drop you to your hotel (or vice versa picking you up at your hotel and dropping you to the airport). It’s actually not that expensive and can save you valuable time. The cheapest option is actually the coolest and is in a Tesla car, which is pretty cool. I did this to and from the airport for less than $40.
Book yours now: Hong Kong Airport Transfer in Tesla
KEEP READING! CHECK OUT ALL THE BLOGS FROM MY HONG KONG SERIES
A complete guide to the best things to do: 27 AWESOME THINGS TO DO IN HONG KONG
My favorite hikes in Hong Kong: 21 AWESOME HIKES IN HONG KONG
How to plan your Hong Kong trip: 3-DAY HONG KONG ITINERARY FOR ADVENTURE-LOVERS
The biggest ever guide for where to stay in Hong Kong: WHERE TO STAY IN HONG KONG: BEST AREAS & HOTELS
My favorite EASY hikes: 10 EASY HIKING TRAILS IN HONG KONG
The most luxurious places to stay: THE TOP 10 LUXURY HOTELS IN HONG KONG (5-STAR LIST)
The ultimate adventure: EPIC HONG KONG HELICOPTER TOUR FROM THE PENINSULA HOTEL
The toughest overall hike: WEST DOG’S TEETH HIKE ‘HARDEST HIKE IN HONG KONG’
Best waterfall hike: TAI MO SHAN HIKE: THE HIGHEST PEAK IN HONG KONG
ARE THERE HONG KONG HIKING AND TOUR GUIDES?
While I did all of my hikes independently, there are a number of affordable tours that will either take you on a private hike or add you to a group experience. I’m comfortable organizing the route, transport, and logistics for a hike in a new region because I’ve done it hundreds of times but if you prefer to have a local lead you then I can recommend checking out the links below, which offer guided tours of some of the hikes you will find on this list. The website to book through is Klook, which is a trusted platform for booking activities and employs local hiking guides who have tons of experience.
They range from $50-$100 and all the other details can be found by clicking on the links below.
Guided Hike: Lion Rock Hiking Tour
Guided Hike: Dragon’s Back Hiking Tour
Guided Hike: Lantau Peak Sunrise Hike
Guided Hike: Tai Mo Shan Waterfall Hiking Tour