TWIN PEAKS HIKE & VIOLET HILL HIKE IN HONG KONG
The Twin Peaks Hike in Hong Kong takes you up and down Violet Hill and gives incredible views over Stanley and the peninsula below. It’s up there amongst the toughest trails in Hong Kong due to the brutality of the stairs. No matter which direction you attack the trail from you will have to endure hundreds of stairs up and down the twin peaks.
TWIN PEAKS & VIOLET HILL HIKE DETAILS
Hike Distance: The total distance of the hike for me was 5.7km. You can start the hike from either direction as it is a through-hike but I started in Stanley. Either way, your distance should be the same although maybe the incline changes slightly.
Hike Duration: The total moving time was 2 hours for me but the total adventure time was 3 hours. We hung out on some of the summits and took photos along the way.
Hike Difficulty: This route is often referred to as up there with the hardest hikes in Hong Kong. Don’t let that scare you. What people are referring to is the aggressiveness of the incline. There are sections where you have to do 400+ steps in a row. It can be pretty taxing on the legs and is a real burner. However, the trail is straightforward and always well defined so other than the incline it is an easy trail to follow and manage.
Hike Incline: My total hike incline was 715m starting the hike at the Stanley end.
HOW TO GET TO THE TWIN PEAKS & VIOLET HILL TRAILHEAD
As I mentioned above this is a through-hike. That means you can start at either end. I started in Stanley because I was already down that end after visiting the Rhino Rock formation. However, I think it might be better hiking from the other direction and finishing in Stanley during sunset with a view out over the bay. It was still pretty starting in Stanley. Below are the details for the starting and finishing points on either end.
Stanley End: There is a bus stop on Stanley Gap Road. If you put ‘Stanley Gap Road Bus Stop’ into Google you will find the trail and see Wilson Trail Section 1, begins right from that bus stop. There is also a sign that says ‘Tai Tam Country Park‘ visible from the bus and the road that indicates the start of the trail. I’ve pictured that below.
Wong Nai Chung Reservoir Park: The other starting (or finishing) point of the trail is the Wong Nai Chung Reservoir Park. Again, if you drop that directly into google maps you will easily make your way to the reservoir and the start of the trail.
MY EXPERIENCE HIKING THE TWIN PEAKS & VIOLET HILL TRAIL
The Twin Peaks & Violet Hill hike is actually the first stage of the 78km Wilson Trail, which spans across Hong Kong. You can begin from Stanley Gap Road or Wong Nai Chung Reservoir Park. The hike is often known as the ‘Terrible Twins’ which is on reference to the much-feared thousand stairs that await hikers who are up for the challenge.
I began my day by exploring the Rhino Rock formation further south in Stanley. I encourage you to combine the Twin Peaks & Violet Hill hike and the Rhino Rock trail on the same day as they are both in the Stanley region. Because I visited the Rhino Rock first, I decided to start the Twin Peaks & Violet Hill hike from the Stanley Gap Road Bus Stop end. I began the hike at about 2:30 pm so it was a bit bright for any photos but the view was nice nonetheless.
So, the hike starts basically as soon as you get off the bus. You can see the Tai Tam Country Park Trail sign as pictured above and off you go up the steps. It is a brutal incline from the first step and you never really get a chance to ease into it. I found myself stopping and turning back to check out the view of Stanley partly for the scenery and partly for a rest. It’s no joke in this early section.
This trail is a bit of a funny one because there are people going in both directions. Sometimes you are dead as you crawl your way up and others are jogging down briskly. At other times you are on the way down watching others hunched over and heaving as they battle their way to the top.
The view back over Stanley is actually beautiful and I was a bit disappointed not to be at that part of the trail during sunset. That’s just how it goes sometimes. If you can start at the other end and finish coming down here during sunset it would be a real treat!
After reaching the top of the first hill you are less than 2-kilometers into the hike but it feels like you have been on a journey. You now get to enjoy a small section of flat (ish) trail before making the descent into the gap between the two peaks. This gap is called Tze Kong Bridge (Repulse Bay Gap). We descended down the stairs into the gap as lots of hikers coming the other way really struggled up. It was hundreds of consecutive stairs and some of the hikers coming up were really up against it. On the way down we had views of Violet Hill on the other side of the gap, so we could see what was to come.
We made it down to the Tze Kong Bridge (Repulse Bay Gap) and it seemed to be a bit of a meeting place and a scene of contemplation. You can exit out of the route here if you don’t want to continue up another peak. While most weren’t thinking of quitting, there were lots of chats going on complaining about heading up another steep hill. I think people just hang out here to delay the inevitable climb that is about to come.
We only had 300m of incline left so when considering the incline, we were well over halfway. This section of trail seemed a little less brutal than the initial climb but maybe our legs had just warmed up to the hills.
The next part of the trail was the ascent to Violet Hill. You will again be heading up another winding set of stairs but this time the scenery is much greener and there are no city views. It feels like you are in the middle of the mountains and I found it hard to believe this was Hong Kong.
We pushed on through and made it to Violet Hill. To be honest, the actual ‘Violet Hill’ summit wasn’t the greatest view, but there is another platform just 2-minutes further with great views into the city. The clouds foiled our view a little bit but we had a few gaps to enjoy looking down and seeing the skyscrapers in the distance. On a clear day without smog or clouds, you will see very clearly all the way into the city but I think it is quite common to have either cloud, fog or both in Hong Kong.
The final descent is now down to the Wong Nai Chung Reservoir Park, which takes less than half an hour to get down to. The trail has very few views once you leave the viewpoint as the route is surrounded by 10-ft tall bushes. It’s nice to walk through but the scenic views are definitely over. I flew the drone up out of the bushes to shoot some shots of the path heading down towards the reservoir.
I hope you enjoy this epic hike and conquer the stairs of the Twin Peaks or Terrible Twins. I guess what you decide to call them will be based on how much you enjoy the struggle!
TWIN PEAKS & VIOLET HILL 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