Updated: Dec 4, 2019
A little off the beaten path from your daily routine, this place, roughed, wild and isolated, promises some breath-taking scenery with a good posterior workout!
Lantau Peak, aka Pheonix peak is not for the faith hearted, the elevation and switchbacks and unshaded trail would make it a behemoth task if you were to do it on a hot summer's day. #hikehongkong #鳳凰山
Starting point: Pak Kung Au get off the bus, cross the road, walk for 1 minute until you see the trail on your right; Bus 11, or 93, or blue taxi from Tung Chung
Hike Duration: Allow around 4 hours, however due to the steep elevation and descent, we took it slow on the return. Although the sign-board indicated about an hour down from the peak, but since we did it leisurely with photo, water breaks between, it took us about 80 minutes right to Ngong Ping cable car station!
End Hike: Ngong Ping cable car or take bus 11 or 93 from Ngong Ping
Hike Difficulty: 3.5/5 (the track is very well maintained)
Scenery Rewards: 4.5/5
Note: If you intend to do the return leg to Tung Chung via cable car from Ngong Ping do check on the closing times and allocate some queueing time! There is e-ticket and discount ticket price from time to time, click on link to check out latest promotion!
Most part of the hike uphill is unshaded, it can be hot so bring a cap and plenty of water.
From the sign, follow the stairs up and after about 10 minutes, Tung Chung and the airport could be seen. Continue on the undulating path towards the hilltop.
In autumn you will walk though gullies and valleys filled with golden Silver Grass and more intense in the autumn sun.
The view broadens out after about 15 minutes, and when you look back, the majestic Sunset Peak can be seen towering behind you (869m)! The picturesque scenery over the southern coasts of Lantau Island is also within sight on the right.
When you approach the first bench you may think you deserve an apple break while admiring the lovely vista from the point! From the first bench...... it will take about another 80 minute to reach the peak!
As you continue from here you will pass fields of golden grass dancing to the rhythm of the autumn winds. It simply feels like the beginning scene from the movie GLADIATOR as you gently glide your hands on them!
Ahead of you, Lantau Peak and on the right side, a small rocky tower stands out like a sore thumb known as "Lo Hon Tower".
Tip: Lantau Peak has two summits, the gap in between the two peaks known as Lantau Gate. From a distance the top seems to be broken, thus Lantau Peak 爛頭山 was named as Broken Head Hill in Chinese. But it looks more like a buttocks with the crack in between to me!
Keep walking upward and you will approach a vantage point that gives you a sweeping views of the gully known as South Heaven Gate (南天門) which is also an entrance of the advance hiking trail of South Slope of Lantau Peak.
There was something that enthralled me here. Maybe it was Heaven's Gate, or the majesty of the mountains against the depths of the valley against the deep blue sea among fields of dancing golden grass. The moment was sublime and no photos could do it any justice!
We meet a group of hikers ascending form that trail. Only attempt it if you are in a group and if familiar with the route! The rugged peaks towards the sea are named Kau Nga Ling simply translated into dog's teeth ridge.
From here it is another 45 minute up to the peak. Shek Pik reservoir reflects the afternoon sun like a mirror, adds to the drama for memorable photo shots.
Continue to follow Lantau Trail, it sharply descends along the long flight of stone steps known as 'Sky Ladder'. The view of Tian Tan Buddha and the Wisdom path is clearly visible from the top too, basically you are walking towards the Buddha, towards Ngong Ping.
Your knees may be shaking as you descend down the stone steps, so best way it is to take it slow with breaks in between. However, the downward trail towards Wisdom path is indeed a shadow of the eastern trail. Mostly greenery and bushes flanks the trail.
The journey down takes around 50-80 minutes depending on your knees!
As you exit the archway of Wisdom path, it will take another 10-15 minutes towards the cable car station. In case you are racing for the last ride home on the cable car, you should hasten your gait, otherwise, the bus or taxi is always the next option!
We manage to reach the station just about 5.10pm. There was a short queue at the ticket both but we timed the sunset on the cable car to perfection! The view of the sun setting behind us, Macau bridge, airplanes hovering in the sky almost at level with us was surreal and definitely the cherrie on the cake! Lantau peak is a tough, but truly one gratifying climb and best done in autumn when the golden grass is at it's best!
Date visited: 28th November 2019