SUNSET PEAK HIKE ON LANTAU ISLAND IN HONG KONG
Sunset Peak hike on Lantau Island is an epic stairway climbing challenge to one of the best viewpoints in Hong Kong. As the name suggests, it is an excellent spot to watch the sunset over the peninsula below.
SUNSET PEAK ON LANTAU ISLAND, HONG KONG HIKE DETAILS
Hike Distance: The total distance of the hike for me was 8.64km because I began the journey directly from the train station. I did a through-hike beginning at Tung Chung Station but there are ways to make the hike quite short and even less than 5km to the peak. However, the best route is to do a through-hike, which will be 5-9km depending on if you use the bus from the MTR station or now.
Hike Duration: The total duration for the hike was 2.5-hours of walking time but with all the time at viewpoints and waiting at the summit for the city lights to come on it was more like 4 hours.
Hike Difficulty: The hike was quite simple to follow the whole way and was highly trafficked as it is one of the more popular hikes in Hong Kong. The part that makes this trail difficult is the 900+ meters of incline. The stair climb of more than 400-meters in a row at the start of the hike was pretty brutal.
Hike Incline: The total incline of the hike was 932-meters but can be shortened slightly as I mentioned above.
HOW TO GET TO THE SUNSET PEAK HIKE ON LANTAU ISLAND, HONG KONG
If you plan on doing the through-hike like me these are the directions you will need. The first thing you need to do is to arrive at Tung Chung Railway Station, which is about 45-minutes transit from Hong Kong Central Station. From the Tung Chung Railway Station, you can either walk to the trailhead like I did or take a local minibus. The walk was just 2.5km. The place where the trail starts is on Google Maps and is listed as the Wong Lung Hang Picnic Site. Plug this into Google Maps and then follow it all the way there. Once you arrive at the Wong Lung Hang Picnic Site, you will see the entrance to the hike just shortly after marked by the signs I’m displaying in the photos below. From there you can follow the signs on the trail or put ‘Sunset Peak’ into your Google Maps for reference.
I’ve added my Sunset Peak hiking map for your reference and if you want to download it for your smart-watch or device you can Click Here to download.
SUNSET PEAK HIKING MAP
MY EXPERIENCE ON THE SUNSET PEAK HIKE AT LANTAU ISLAND
After the journey from Central Station took about 45-minutes, I arrived at Tung Chung MTR Station. Google Maps suggested a mini-bus but with just 2.5km to the trailhead, I decided to walk. Through the city, we went heading towards the Wong Lung Hang Picnic Site. Shortly after the picnic site is the entrance to the hike.
We saw a few trail-runners and weary-looking hikers sat at the entrance, obviously having hiked through in the opposite direction. Stairs will do that to you.
The Sunset Peak hike has a brutal start. It will break a few people early. The first 2.5-kilometers of the trail is purely stairs. In fact, you will climb non-stop up the stairs for 30-60-minutes depending on your pace. There aren’t many views, just you and the stairs in a tense battle. Once you make it through this section, there are more stairs but no sections with this level of intensity and longevity.
The trail then opens up a lot, the sun now searing down on us as we can look around and begin to appreciate the ridges that wind through Lantau Island. It’s a beautiful, natural landscape, with no cities in view for the most part. We hustle forward through more stairs, this time they are a little less brutal and surrounded by a stunning forest scene. Along the trail were some incredible, bent trees, which were my favorite part of the early stages on the Sunset Peak hike.
With the sun beginning to drop, we made it up the clearing where we found the mysterious stone cabins. The golden grassy plains up on this ridge line swayed wildly as fierce winds hit us as soon as we made it out of the forest. The stone cabins up on the ridge are a bit of a mystery because, despite their 90-year+ existence, there isn’t too much information regarding their purpose. It’s mentioned that the houses were built by British missionaries for camping purposes, which seems like a pretty bizarre story to me!
There are quite a number of rocky outcrops here, which make for great photos. The strong winds kept most away from the edges or rocks but we braved the gale to sit atop the rocks overlooking Pui O beach down below. The smog ruined the view a bit but even with poor visibility, it was a nice view.
The trail continues on along the ridge, climbing a little bit, but now on a dirt path without stairs. More rocks and viewpoints can be found scattered along the final moments of the route before you make the short climb to the summit.
As the sun began to set, the clouds would come and go in waves creating some strange moments up at Sunset Peak. At times we had the entire sky beaming and glowing and at other times the smog and clouds rolled in making the sun so faint it almost appeared to be the moon! There are lots of peaks right alongside Sunset Peak and they all connect with small paths off of the official path so the best thing to do is to explore all of the spots, enjoy finding different angles and have some fun while hoping for some sunset glow.
The walk down in the dark was quite tough as it was a heavy decline with lots of stairs. You will need a lot to be able to see your footing. The glow on Lantau Peak was superb during these moments, but a little dark to photograph. It’s only a short 2-kilometers or so to get down this side so it’s a quick and easy escape to the nearest bus stop.
At the end of the trail, you will end up at the main road at Pak Kung Au and the bus stop is directly in front of you. You can catch either the 3M, 11, 23 buses back to Tung Chung MTR station to begin your journey home.
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