Sharp Peak Hike in Sai Kung is one of the most scenic hikes in Hong Kong. The stunning coastline of Sai Kung wraps around the dramatic ridges below you as you stand atop one of the highest points in the region. The turquoise water and white sand of the beaches will blow away your perceptions of Hong Kong as a city destination.
SHARP PEAK HIKE DETAILS
Hike Distance: The hike to Sharp Peak actually has a number of different routes. They range from just a 4-kilometer round trip to 20+ kilometers. However, the route I did and one of the most popular routes (easiest for public transport) is to start and finish at Pak Tam Au. This way you can catch the bus directly to the start point of the trail. It is a 14.5-kilometer loop that takes you all the way down to the beach and then back up to Sharp Peak before returning to Pak Tam Au. It’s the full experience. I’ll detail it more below but it’s called the Sharp Peak & Tai Wan Beach Loop.
Hike Duration: The duration (assuming you do the 14.5-kilometer Tai Wan Beach Loop) was about 6-7 hours but it depends how long you spend at the beach and the summit.
Hike Difficulty: The hike was actually not that easy, to be honest. We took a different route in as we hiked to the Sai Kung Rock Pools and the bushes destroyed our legs and the trail was often hard to follow. Other than that the hike was okay. Obviously, there were quite a few sections with steep climbs but there was never any exposure or dangerous sections. Heading down was at times slipper on the gravel but when going slowly it posed only minimal risk. Distance-wise the 14-kilometers will test most and if you aren’t sure, you might consider one of the shorter route options.
Hike Incline: The 14.5-kilometer loop had 650m of incline throughout but we actually did 1100m as we included the rock pools on our journey.
HOW TO GET TO SHARP PEAK IN SAI KUNG
Getting to Sharp Peak in Sai Kung is pretty easy but it definitely depends on the route you are taking. First I’m going to tell you how I did it with the regular but challenging, Sharp Peak & Tai Wan Beach Loop. After explaining that system, I’ll give you a few alternatives.
How I did it: The trail begins at Pak Tam Au, which has a bus stop at the trailhead as well as a restroom and vending machines with drinks. You can catch the bus from Sai Kung Pier. We caught the 94 to and from Pak Tam Au and everything was pretty seamless. The route is an out-and-back loop so you will finish where you started and reverse your transit. The public transport to Sai Kung Pier will depend on where you are based in Hong Kong. I’ve provided a map below of the route we took (more or less).
Easier option: The other option is to reach Sharp Peak is to head to Wong Shek Pier and then take a ferry to Chek Keng. From there you can head uphill along MacLehose Section 2 and ascend along Nam She Tsim route to the Sharp Peak summit. When the ferry drops you in Chek Keng, it is just a 2.2km trek up to Sharp Peak. You can then descend back down to Chek Keng. It’s not the most well-rounded or scenic way to reach Sharp Peak but it is the simplest, and least physical way compared to the 15km trek I am suggesting above. Highly consider this if you want the views but aren’t sure about your fitness!
SHARP PEAK AND TAI WAN BEACH MAP
I said above that we took this route more or less. We actually extended it by going to the Sai Kung Rockpools. We still started and finished at Pak Tam Au but our loop at the bottom was extended to the bay further south. If you plan to do that it’s not hard to add it in but for the purpose of sharing this map, most will use the regular Sharp Peak and Tai Wan Beach route.
MY EXPERIENCE HIKING SHARP PEAK IN SAI KUNG
I set off at 7 am from Tsim Sha Tsui and made my way out into the Hong Kong Hustle on a subway and then two buses to arrive at Pak Tam Au bus stop. This would be the start and the end of our hike. As I mentioned in some o the details above, we took a slightly different route to the map. We first headed through the wild, uncleared trails from Pak Tam Au to reach the Sai Kung Rockpools. If you do head along these backwoods trails, I highly advise pants as the route is a bit unruly and our shins copped a beating from the low brush.
After an hour along the undulating ridges of Sai Kung, we made our way down to the Sheung Luk Stream, which we followed as we headed towards the coast. Just before the beach came into sight, we came across the rockpools. No-one was there, which is apparently quite rare. Although it wasn’t all a perfect situation. The clouds were keeping the sun at bay and the water was damn freezing. The cliff-jumps were a guarantee but boy was it cold! We sent a few cliff jumps from a 6-7-meter high rock wall into the icy waters of the Sai Kung Rockpools.
After the rockpools, we made our way out to the Ham Tin Beach. There are two small restaurants in between Ham Tin Beach and Wai Tan Beach. They actually served uop some great food and we had a vegetarain fried rice with egg for $70HKD. After lunch, we then linked onto the Maclehose 2 section of the trail. We were now pretty much back on the route listed above, which takes you along some beautiful coastal trails. It reminded me of a lot of the Great Ocean Road or walking the boardwalks at beaches in Sydney. It was a very gloomy day so don’t judge the beauty from my dark photographs but just trust me, on a sunny day this region is a pristine paradise with white sand and turquoise water.
The trail hugs the coast for the rest of the journey now until you reach the surf beach of Tai Wan. I was just praying for the sun to come out at this point because I could tell how beautiful the beach would be with just a little bit of a golden shimmer but it wasn’t to be. I’m sure the group of surfers at Tai Wan were keen on some sun too but nothing was stopping them.
Once you reach the far end of Tai Wan Beach, you will find multiple routes that all lead you up to Sharp Peak. We decided to take the furthest route and wrap around the far side of the summit. This adds a bit of time onto your hike but also gives you a little look into the scenery to the north of Sharp Peak. Both ways are steep, there is no avoiding the incline from the beach that’s for sure. The entrance we took from the beach was not very formal but it was a defined trail most of the way.
At this point in the trek, it is time to roll up the sleeves because you are about to get climbing. Before the trek I had been reading some pretty bizarre comments about needing to use your hands a lot and it was very dangerous. This is not at all the case. We might’ve used our hands once but it was never a rock-climbing course. When I say ‘climbing’, I mean trekking up a mountain.
As you power your way up the rocky route the view slowly reveals itself. We found ourselves looking back towards the coast throughout the climb as the view became more and more impressive the higher we rose.
This part of the trail will challenge even those with good fitness. Those who are out of shape will curse their friends who dragged them on the hike. However, you are now so close. You can see the summit and there is no turning back. The trail becomes a white path of loose rock, cutting through the dead-orange grass. We’re nearly there.
The final section of the trail was rocky and almost could be called bouldering. It was possible to navigate without using your hands but as you can see below it was a section that required a bit of technical bouldering. Don’t fear this part, young and old were cruising through without a stutter.
Just before the Sharp Peak summit was a great little rocky outcrop with views over the Sai Kung peninsula. We stopped here before making the final ascent.
After an epic time at the summit watching the clouds come and go, we made the dash back to Pak Tam Au, which took us just under two hours. The slippery gravel caught us off guard a few times as I went for a couple of slips but the trail was paved for the last 3-kilometers back to Pak Tam Au bus stop.
I hope you get out and enjoy the Sharp Peak Hike and if you can make it work, I’m sure it would be an epic spot for a sunrise or a sun-set but due to its position, it may be a little tough logistically. Good luck and happy hiking.
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