LANTAU PEAK HIKE IN HONG KONG
The Lantau Peak hike is one of the most spectacular hikes in Hong Kong taking you to the Lantau Peak summit, which is the second-highest point in Hong Kong. There are several routes to the top. One route includes a visit to the big buddha while another route is touted as the ‘hardest’ hike in Hong Kong. I will detail all of the options in this complete guide about the Lanta Peak hiking trail.
LANTAU PEAK HIKE DETAILS (West Dog’s Teeth Ridge route)
Hike Distance: The total distance of the hike for me was 8.77km. However, it will depend on whether you summit Lantau Peak via the West Dog’s Teeth Ridge Trail, via the Big Buddha or via the quick/easy route of Pak Kung Au. I suggest the West Dog’s Teeth Hike route as it is the most challenging. I’ll explain the options in the trail directions below.
Hike Duration: The total moving time was 2.5-hours for me but the total adventure time was 4-5 hours. We hung out on some of the ridges and then watched the sunset from Lantau Peak.
Hike Difficulty: This route is often referred to as the hardest hike in Hong Kong. Don’t let that scare you. There are no crazy ridge-lines or death-defying moments. The hike isn’t easy but this is what you can expect:
- Scrambling up rocks using hands but at an angle not a vertical wall like rock climbing
- Some overgrown bushes and trees to push through
- Some very steep sections of incline although total incline wasn’t even 1000-meters
Hike Incline: My total hike incline was 880m
ALTERNATE ROUTES TO LANTAU PEAK
West Dog’s Teeth Ridge Hike: Detailed above or you can read my full blog post about that hike: WEST DOG’S TEETH HIKE ‘HARDEST HIKE IN HONG KONG’
Lantau Peak via the Big Buddha: The Big Buddha can be reached by cable car or hiking. Once you enjoy the monastery and Big Buddha statue you can make the final climb up to Lantau Peak. It’s just a couple of kilometers from the Big Buddha so you can combine both to make a full-day adventure. You can then hike back down to Big Budhha or head down the easy-route to Pak Kung Au.
Lantau Peak ‘Simple’ Route out-and-back from Pak Kung Au: This route is by far the shortest and simplest but will still be a challenging climb. Jump off the bus at the Pak Kung Au bus stop and head up the trail directly to Lantau Peak. It’s only 2.5-kilometers to the summit but will be quite steep. Luckily the bus stop is already at a few hundred meters of incline so you don’t have to hike all the way from sea-level. Return the exact same way down and it will complete a 5-kilometer out-and-back route. This is a good way to go if you are keen to stay up for sunset.
MY EXPERIENCE ON THE LANTAU PEAK HIKE
So, as I mentioned above, there are multiple ways to reach the summit of Lantau Peak. My blog post will share with you the details and my experience of hiking to Lantau Peak via the West Dog’s Teeth Hike. I did go down from Lantau Peak to Pak Kung Au and can say that there isn’t much to note about that route. It is just the quickest way up and down without too much to marvel at. The other route via Big Buddha would be great also but I’ve never done that so I will not share specific details about it. So here we go, this is my hike recount of the Lantau Peak hike via West Dog’s Teeth Ridge.
The trailhead begins at the entrance for the Shek Pik Country Trail. You need to venture past the signs until you reach the man-made waterway. Cross the small bridge (pictured below) and then begin to follow the Shek Pik Country Trail.
The trail begins with a few steep stairways with full forest coverage. The first several kilometers of the trail is a combination of flat dirt paths and steep steps.
You will need to remain on the trail all the way until you are 3-kilometers into the hike. Almost exactly at the 3-kilometer mark, you will make a turn off the trail on the right. There is a path (more like a rocky ramp) with spray-painted characters, which is the start of the West Dog’s Teeth Ridge and the point when you leave the Shek Pik Country Trail.
The dirt path you enjoyed for the first few kilometers is over and the trail to Lantau Peak is now a rocky scramble up the West Dog’s Teeth Ridge. It’s never too dangerous in my opinion (you be the judge for yourself) but you will have to use your hands in a few sections.
This section of the trail is quite slow but it’s important to take it an easier pace to watch your footing and surroundings as you go. Don’t rush this part. Make sure to turn around frequently as you will be rewarded with great views back down to the reservoir where you began the trek. This initial section of the Lantau Peak Hike was probably my favorite section of trail throughout the entire trail.
These are some drone photos I took from the middle ridge looking up to Lantau Peak. It was a cloudy day but often pockets of the sun would smash through. Lantau Peak is said to be mysterious as it is often covered by clouds. When we started it was totally enveloped by clouds and I was a bit disappointed but it ending up clearing up entirely. Keep that in mind. It could change quickly so don’t delay your hike if you see clouds, just cross your fingers the clouds blow over.
After almost 5-kilometers, you will reach an intersection of three trails. The one to your right leads down to the Middle Dog’s Teeth trail, one leads back the way you just came and the other is up to Lantau Peak. It’s time to make the final ascent up to Lantau Peak.
This final section of the hike up to Lantau Peak summit is very steep. It’s maybe less than 1-kilometer in length but on multiple occasions, you will look up at the giant wall of stairs in front of you! Make sure you turn back often to take in the views because if you have decent weather like us you will be able to see the whole ridge you have just conquered.
We made it to Lantau Peak, which is the second-highest peak in Hong Kong and the highest on Lantau Island. The highest peak is Tai Mo Shan, which I hiked earlier in the month.
After the tough journey to the summit, we took a seat and enjoyed the last half an hour of the golden hour before the sunset made it’s the best effort. Hong Kong can be very smoggy as it was while I was visiting. You can see it clearly in some of the photos below, which really shows the thick layer that seems to block all of the good sunset colors. Nevertheless, it was pretty nice being up so high and having panoramic views and looking out across to Sunset Peak, which is another great hike on Lantau Island.
As you can see on the map below, I then headed down to the main road Pak Kung Au. It is the road between Sunset Peak and Lantau Peak so it’s the same way home as if you had finished Sunset Peak. This route was a nice way to go down in the dark as it was mostly paved and had a nice stairway for the majority of the route. This made it safe but we still needed our head torches.
The ridge we took down to Pak Kung Au. After completing the West Dog’s Teeth Ridge hike and the Lantau Peak Summit hike with relative ease, I would say it was one of the hardest hikes in Hong Kong but wouldn’t put it in the hard category on a relative scale to any hikes in Switzerland, etc. It’s got incline and some bushwacking but you could quite easily take adventurous children on this hike if they had successfully completed some other Hong Kong hikes first. Happy hiking and I hope you enjoy this challenge of reaching the Lantau Peak summit.
MY LANTAU PEAK HIKING TRAIL 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