PAT SIN LENG HIKE: AN EPIC RIDGE TRAIL
The Pat Sin Leng Ridge Trail is one of the most epic hikes in Hong Kong. The trail climbs hundreds of stairs before you traverse the safe but scenic ridge-line throughout the rest of the route. The hike often feels like Hawaii but is less than an hour away from Hong Kong city-center.
PAT SIN LENG RIDGE HIKE DETAILS
Hike Distance: The hike distance was 10.2km from start to finish and was a point-to-point hike rather than an out and back or loop trail.
Hike Duration: Total moving time was just under three hours but total expedition time was about five hours including viewpoint breaks and photo stops.
Hike Difficulty: The hike was relatively safe with no major exposure/drop-offs on the trail for the most part. It was very steep in parts of course but it was more a consistent climb up rocky steps. The major component of difficulty was the 856m of incline. At the final viewpoint, there is a safe way down or a shorter way down. If you take the shortcut it is quite unsafe with danger/road-closure signs. It’s not necessary but was a fun adventure to go this way.
Hike Incline: The total hike incline was 856-meters
HOW TO GET TO THE PAT SIN LENG HIKE
To reach the starting point of the Pat Sin Leng hike you will need to:
- Take the train to the Fanling MTR Station
- Catch the mini-bus 52B
- Get off at Hok Tau Wai Pavilion
- Walk to the Hok Tau Campsite and begin the hike along the trail
The hike will finish at Plover Cove Country Park. Here you can catch the 72K to Tai Po MTR Station.
Below I have attached my GPX Map so you can see the exact route I took on the hike. If you would like to download the GPX map to your smart-watch or device you can Click Here to download.
MY EXPERIENCE ON THE PAT SIN LENG RIDGE HIKE
After navigating our way to the Hok Tau Campsite, we set off on the Pat Sin Leng Ridge hike. The trail began by leading you along a paved road to the Hok Tau Reservoir, which was quite a scenic spot to take it all in before the hike really began. You will continue to follow the paved road until you reach the Hok Tau Family Walk archway. At this point, follow the Hok Tau Family Walk for a few hundred meters before diverting off onto the Wilson’s Trail. There’s lots of signs pointing to Pat Sin Leng Ride so it is all very straightforward once you pass through the arch pictured below.
After the main section of stairs, the trail turns to a flatter section of a white, dusty rock trail that contrasts perfectly against the dense green shrubs on either side. This is the section that links the stairs to the ridge and had great views of the mountain ranges to the left. I think this was almost my favorite part of the trail.
After about an hour, we reached the Pat Sin Leng Ride, which dramatically bends around the corner so you can see the entire undulating ridge-line as it arcs around the valley below. Although you are walking along the ridge, there was never a moment where we had to walk dangerously close to the edge or had drop-offs. The main path is far back from the edge despite some smaller paths leading you nearer to the cliff-edge for a better view.
The trail now undulates up several hills and viewpoints along the ridge until you reach the highest of them all along the Pat Sin Leng ridge, which is marked with the standard trigonometric marker pylon. The views by this point were cloudy for us, which is common but on a clear day expect magnificent views along the ridge. We enjoyed playing amongst the fog here that seemed to be climbing up the mountain and flowing into us.
After the main viewpoint, it would seem that most of the journey is downhill. However, the undulation of the ridge means there is still a lot of climbing left to do despite your overall net descent beginning. Each time we made it to the top of a set of stairs and reached the summit of a small hill, a new set of stairs would appear before us. This was a challenging part of the trail.
When we reached the end-point of the Pat Sin Leng Ride there was a great view out over Plover Cove and the Sai Kung region in the distance. The trail suggests going down the main trail which loops the long way around down to Tai Po. However, there is an old trail (locals were still using it) that says ‘Road Closed’. It was half the distance but much more difficult.
We decided to give the difficult way a shot. Despite our rock climbing photos below, it wasn’t too bad with just a few sections of bouldering required. The gravel was slippery and tough to navigate but the path was clearly marked and there was no need for ropes or equipment. Only go this way if you feel comfortable. It probably doesn’t save much time because despite it being half the distance it is thick scrub so it is slow going.
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