KOWLOON PEAK HIKE TO SUICIDE CLIFF IN HONG KONG
Kowloon Peak hike takes you on a journey to the Kowloon Peak viewpoint but also leads you to one of the most well-known spots in Hong Kong, which is Suicide Cliff. The total route is under 7-kilometers to see both viewpoints and is recommended for sunset. It’s not a hike for beginners but is relatively safe for the average hiker!
KOWLOON PEAK HIKE TO SUICIDE CLIFF DETAILS
Hike Distance: The total distance of this route was 6.8 kilometers. There are shorter routes directly up and down from Suicide Cliff but that doesn’t include the Kowloon Peak.
Hike Duration: The route from Choi Hung MTR Station to Kowloon Peak and then to Suicide Cliff and finally down to the bus stop took us 2 hours and 13 minutes of hiking time. However, that didn’t include the time spent at viewpoints. I would bargain for 4 hours in total if you want to watch the sunset and enjoy the views at Kowloon Peak and Suicide Cliff.
Hike Difficulty: The hike up to Kowloon Peak was a moderate difficulty. The trail started with lots of stairs and then turned into a steep rocky path in the final stages. From Kowloon Peak to Suicide Cliff the trail was okay but in parts were gravel or rocks. There was no exposure or big drop-offs near the trail. From Suicide Cliff down to the bus stop was very steep and in sections, we had to use a rope. For experienced hikers, it was not difficult at all, but many of the locals coming up were quite shocked and told us not to go down. That will probably explain to you what it is like. Scary for novice adventurers and another day on the mountains for experienced hikers. We went down it in the dark and had no issues. There is an alternate route down from Suicide Cliff that isn’t as ‘scary’ that I’ll detail below.
Hike Incline: Our total incline for the day was 695 meters.
HOW TO GET TO KOWLOON PEAK HIKE & SUICIDE CLIFF
There are several ways to reach Kowloon Peak and also several ways to reach Suicide Cliff. I create a route that allowed me to visit both viewpoints and to be at Suicide Cliff for sunset after having already viewed Kowloon Peak. It’s what you want! After I share the directions with you, I’ll also detail how you could do a shorter hike just to Suicide Cliff. I’ve also attached my GPX map below. If you want to download it for your smartwatch or device you can Click Here to download.
- Arrive at Choi Hung MTR Station.
- Head up along Ping Ting Road
- Take a right up the stairway
- Follow the stairway and signs to Jat’s Incline (road)
- Follow Jat’s Incline until you see the map deviate to the right. It’s up a ‘maintenance only’ stairway but there are ribbons and it is the trail to Kowloon Peak
- Reach Kowloon Peak
- Follow the ridge to the right of Kowloon Peak all the way to Suicide Cliff
- Follow the trail down from Suicide Cliff to the bus stop
- There is actually no bus stop, you just wait on the main road (Clear Water Bay Road) below where the trail ends and hail the 1A bus, which takes you to Choi Hung MTR Station.
Alternatively: You can retrace your steps to the Kowloon Television and Radio Tower after watching sunset at Suicide Cliff. There is a trail there on the far side that leads you down the ‘safe way’ with a stairway and wraps around to the bottom of Suicide Cliff to Clear Water Bay Road. I don’t know how safe it is compared to the other way because I took the ‘scary’ way but as mentioned earlier it wasn’t too bad in my opinion.
MY EXPERIENCE ON THE KOWLOON PEAK HIKE TO SUICIDE CLIFF
I began my journey in Tsim Sha Tsui where I was based and made it to Choi Hung MTR Station. Here we found our way out towards the Hammer Hill area and began the journey up the stairway, quickly leaving the loud noises of the city behind. The early parts of this route are dominated by steps and it was a sweaty battle amidst the humidity of Hong Kong beneath all of the trees. Despite the moisture in the air, the scenery was beautiful and we had only just left the city streets. That’s the beauty of hiking in Hong Kong.
As you follow the staircase up the hill, you are aiming for Jat’s Incline, which is a road that winds up the mountain. The staircase will spit you out, right at the road, where there is a little shelter and a sign that mentions Kowloon Peak Viewing Area. This is the first sign on the trail that mentions Kowloon Peak. Before that, it was only ever mentioning Jat’s Incline. Now you just follow the road up the hill for about 20-30 minutes.
The turn-off to head up into the trees and off the road is a little bit hidden and maybe a little bit off-limits. I was following another map and checking on Maps.me and it seemed to be right. However, the little path to the right up the hill has a slope maintenance sign and a gate. Nevertheless, head up the stairs and you will see a defined dirt path and ribbons, which in Hong Kong means you are on track. This is what the stairs up from the road looked like but just follow my map from above.
The trail now gets quite steep and is often fully exposed to the sun. The rocky and wild terrain will push you as you make several hundred meters of an incline in just one kilometer on your way to the Kowloon Peak Viewpoint. This was a great section to get your leg workout in! The city slowly reveals itself as you near the viewpoint.
It was just over an hour of hiking when we reached the Kowloon Peak Viewpoint. There were views in all directions depending on which platform you chose. I loved the grassy viewing area that looked out over the Sai Kung region. The sun was peaking through the clouds, painting streaks of light across the valley.
After enjoying the views at Kowloon Peak, we then looked towards the ridge on our right. This would lead us along the path to the Kowloon Peak Radio Tower and to Suicide Cliff.
The trail was rugged at times but for the most part very easy to follow. However, often the grass on either side of us was towering above head height. Lots of rocks throughout this section of the route made the perfect lookouts over Sai Kung or back towards Lion Rock.
It takes about 30-40 minutes to reach the Kowloon Peak Radio & Television Tower from Kowloon Peak Viewpoint. Once there, continue on past and begin the walk down the hill. Now you begin to have the epic views as the trail seems to fall off over the edge and into the city. This was my favorite part of the hike so far!
This is where the trail starts to get a little dangerous and requires you to tread carefully and slowly at times. There are a few great viewing platforms here. One of them is above suicide cliff and is a triangular runway that leads out to an almighty drop-off. I almost enjoyed this spot more than the famous Suicide Cliff itself.
After the triangular viewpoint, head down one level lower to the famous ‘Suicide Cliff’. It’s a pretty eerie spot, mostly because of the name. There seem to be few reported deaths when searching about Suicide Cliff so one begins to wonder if it is just the name of folklore because of it’s precarious nature. Either way, the drop is deadly but the view is incredible. The walk down to Suicide Cliff is a bit of a scramble as the loose gravel adds to the anxiety of the moment.
Once at Suicide Cliff, you may find it is quite a popular spot among photographers and other hikers. The photo almost seems like a setup with a higher ridge for taking the photo looking down onto the platform with the city looming in the background. The sun sets perfectly behind the entire scene making it the perfect shot.
To walk out onto the rock it is quite simple along a narrow path, but you need to be mentally switched on as you make your way out there. It’s the kind of place where one mistake can lead to an injury or worse. Enjoy the moment but take a high level of care.
We waited out here for about 30-minutes during golden hour to see if the sun could win the battle against the smog, which it did in a couple of small windows allowing us to capture some nice shots and enjoy some beautiful pinks and oranges as they gave Hong Kong a wondrous glow.
Now came the fun part, we had to make our way down the sketchy trail as darkness was approaching. It turned out to be quite okay (more details below) and I was never worried about slipping or falling off the edge. The exposure (drop-offs) was never too dangerous, which is usually my biggest concern. Falling down onto the ground and scraping a knee is one thing, falling off the edge of a mountain is another. There shouldn’t be too many worries about the latter on this trail as it is pretty wide and covered by trees most of the way.
On the way down, we stopped at one epic little rock to take a photo but the clouds battled against us, covering most of the view!
I hope you enjoy the Kowloon Peak to Suicide Cliff Hike and get a great sunset. Be careful, look out for your mates and savior the moment!
BEST TIME FOR THE KOWLOON PEAK HIKE TO SUICIDE CLIFF
If you are like me, you want to enjoy a good sunset and base everything around that. Sometimes that means descending in the dark or ascending in the hot part of the day. But the golden hour at a summit is always worth it. Therefore, I planned my day to be at Suicide Cliff around 4 pm and Kowloon Peak viewpoint around 3 pm. I arrived at the train station to begin the hike at 1:30 pm.
My timing worked out quite well and when we arrived at Kowloon Peak, the lighting was quite nice over the Sai Kung area. We then arrived at Suicide Cliff just after 4:20 and the lighting was so bright and harsh but got better and better every 10-minutes until sunset.
We did have to make the descent down the steep section in the dark but with a head torch, it was really no problem for us. You will need to evaluate what level of difficulty for yourself. I’d say for some it is far too much and overwhelming in the dark and others will enjoy the challenge. I can’t make that decision for you but always play it on the safe side. Know your limits and know when to push them.
For reference, I did the hike in the middle of December and waited for a sunny morning so that it wasn’t completely cloudy at sunset although many of the days in December were a bit cloudy. In the end, the clouds made the sunset all the much more incredible.
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