WEST DOG’S TEETH HIKE ‘HARDEST HIKE IN HONG KONG’
The West Dog’s Teeth Hike in Hong Kong is billed as the hardest hike in Hong Kong. The trail involves 850m of incline and requires a basic level of bouldering and scrambling to reach the end of the ridge. The ridge then connects to Lantau Peak, which is a great place to finish your climb before making the journey back down the ridge.
WEST DOG’S TEETH RIDGE HIKE DETAILS
Hike Distance: The total distance of the hike for me was 8.77km. However, it will depend on whether you summit Lantau Peak and also on which route you take down from the ridge (or Lantau Peak). 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 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
HOW TO GET TO WEST DOG’S TEETH RIDGE HIKE
To get to West Dog’s Teeth Ridge there are two options:
- Get to the Tung Chung MTR station. From there you need to get either the 11 or 23 bus.
- Catch the ferry to Mui Wo and then catch the 1 or 2 bus.
Whichever option you choose you will need to get off the bus at the ‘Shek Pik Police Station’. It doesn’t look like a police station. In fact, it looks like a tiny bus stop next to the reservoir. You will then walk back the way the bus drove for a couple of hundred meters to the trail entrance. I’ve pictured the bus stop and the trail entrance below.
MY EXPERIENCE ON THE WEST DOG’S TEETH RIDGE HIKE IN LANTAU, HONG KONG
The journey out to Lantau Island from Hong Kong Central is a bit of a mission but all three times I hiked on Lantau it was worth it! I took the bus option of the two I listed above and watched as the bus drove past the trailhead and then dropped us at the Shek Pik Police Station bus stop. We hopped off and walked back along the main road until we found the entrance gates.
The weather was looking a bit spotty but the sun was doing it’s best to pop through when it could. We were set for a great hike and I was genuinely curious to see what the ‘hardest’ hike on Hong Kong would serve up.
Once you find the entrance gates pictured above, you wander through the park until you reach an aqueduct or a man-made river I guess. Cross this bridge (pictured below) and then begin to follow the Shek Pik Country Trail.
The trail heads into the cover of the forest and as always in Hong Kong, the stairs quickly began. The first couple of kilometers switched between flat dirt paths and short but steep stairways.
Stay on the trail and never divert until you reach the 3-kilometer point. By now you will have done a few hundred meters of incline and may be thinking why people rave about this being a tough hike. The heat is about to be turned up a little. On the right-hand side of the trail, you will see a rocky ramp with spray-painted characters. This is the start of the West Dog’s Teeth Ridge and the point when you leave the Shek Pik Country Trail.
The dirt path now turns a rocky scramble. It’s never too dangerous in my opinion but you will have to use your hands in a few sections.
It’s pretty slow going in this section due to the incline and rough terrain but before too long, you will be rewarded with great views back down to the reservoir where your day began. This initial part of the climb was probably my favorite section of trail throughout the entire hike.
The trail isn’t necessarily long in distance but feels like a bit of a long journey as you are rock-hopping and dealing with uneven surfaces and bushes throughout the trail. These are some drone photos I took from the middle ridge looking up to Lantau Peak.
After about 5-kilometers, you will reach an intersection of three trails. One leads back to the Middle Dog’s Teeth trail, one leads back the way you just came and the other is up to Lantau Peak. At this point, you can either return, go on an adventure down the middle ridge or, as I did, continue up the steep ascent to Lantau Peak. You are so close, so you may as well enjoy another landmark while you are right there! Here is what the intersection looks like.
This next section of trail up to Lantau Peak is just ridiculously steep. It’s maybe 1-kilometer in length but at times you will just look up at the wall 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 hiked up.
The final push was an effort but after a few hours on the trail, we made it to the summit of 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.
Once at 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 was a smoggy place the whole month I was there and some of the photos really show 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.
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 AuAfter completing the West Dog’s Teeth Ridge 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 done others on Hong Kong first. Happy hiking and hope you enjoy this challenge.
MY WEST DOG’S TEETH RIDGE HIKING 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