Ma On Shan, Horse Saddle Mountain Hike

Updated: Dec 4, 2019

Ma Onn Shan is the 6th highest peak in Hong Kong, standing at 704m and it is one of those distinct mountain peaks majestically towering the landscape of Sai Kung and Shatin and Ma On Shan. #Maonshanhike #Maclehose4

The are many routes up the Ma On Shan, ranging for treacherous, challenging, difficult, fairly demanding ......You guessed correctly, we chose the easiest route up, fairly demanding!! By late October the weather in Hong Kong gets cool and is the perfect time to hike! Fairly easy route is the Maclehose 4 that starts form Kei Ling Ha Lo Wai. #hongkonghikes


Ma On Shan

Starting point: Most hikes come through Sai Kung or Ma On Shan. If you are coming from Sai Kung bus terminal, take 299X and stop at Kei Ling Ha Lo Wai or from Ma On Shan Mtr, walk to Wu Kai Sha Village, get on 807B and stop at Kei Ling Ha Lo Wai. Or take the Green taxi, it cost us 35 HKD from Sai Kung.

Hike Duration: Allow around 4 hours depending where you exit your hike

End Hike: You could exit either at Tai Sui Tseung (Sai Kung) or Ma On San. If you are still feeling energized and fresh you can continue to Buffalo Pass, or even continue all the way to Lion Rock Country park and exit at the Statin pass. We exited at Tai Sui Tseung, it took us about 3 half hours, but we did not make it all the way up to Ma On Shan, we were 30m shot of reaching the peak!

Hike Difficulty: 4/5 Medium

Scenery Rewards: 4.5/5


NOTE: This hike requires hard sole hiking shoes as there are many loose gravel and rocks. Bring at least 1l of water and 2 on hot days! The tableland is rather long and unshaded, bring a cap and a snack!!


Kei Ling Ha Lo Wai to Wong Chuk Yeung 黃竹洋

From the BBQ area up to the start point is fairly easy walk on bitumen roads and concrete step, laterite, bamboo thickets

(hence the name yellow bamboo, Wong Chuck)

Allow about 20-30 minutes to reach the climbing point!


As you walk towards the climb point you can see Ma On Shan in a distance and you will never believe that you will conquer her in an hour and half or maybe two!


Ma On Shan 704m

After about one and half hours of strenuous uphill climb of rocks steps, boulders and some scramble at certain parts, you will finally come up to the vantage point.

You will see the 3 Fantom Cove and grand view of Sai Kung from here.


Three Fantom Cove and Sai Kung Peninsular

From here, there’s a downhill stretch of MacLehose Trail. But simply continuing would mean missing the best part of Ma On Shan, the summit area – and for that you must take a right turn up the hill! That will mean ignoring this sign too!

To proceed or not!

Note: The hike to the peak is not easy. It is on a narrow ridge, single file, steep and slippery and rocky with loose gravel. If you are afraid of heights, I wouldn't recommend.

But if it makes you feel better, if you are a Hong Kong resident, your first helicopter rescue is free and your subsequent cost noting more than a regular ambulance service! After being told ot the free 1st time heli-rescue, I truly regret not going all the way up! DAMN!


The last 50m up Ma On Shan

If you chose to ignore the sign, you will pass the grassy, sliver reeds and then up the narrow ridge to the summit. From here the view gets better......the town of Ma On Shan and Shatin, appears on the left and yonder you will see Tai Po and be able to make out the silhouettes of the skyscrapers of Shenzhen. Ahead, you can see the Victoria Harbor, High Junk Peak, Hang Hau.......... the view is SUBLIME!!

We were happy enough at this point and decided not to risk the remaining 20m up the peak, as the tracks was rather loose due to rather dry weather. ( at that moment i didn't know 1st heli rescue was free)


Ma On Shan and Shatin

Anyways the hike downhill was indeed treacherous and slippery and narrow.....we manage to reach safe grounds unscathed. Do it at your own pace, don't hurry and try to get a good footing as the gravels can be loose and you can slip easily!


The view toward Clear Water Bay

From here the hike is rather easy, walking towards the saddle of the mountain. The views are sublime! The trail towards the saddle is almost level at first, skirting a hillside before dropping to a ridge with expansive views over Sai Kung to the islands of Port Shelter and High Island Reservoir. Then, down again.


Sai Kung and Hebe Haven and Marina Cove

The plateau of Nyong Ping is gives you some lovely sights of Sai Kung, Marina Cove, and Have Heaven and even High Island Reservoir.

Keep going and Pyramid Hill will be towering over you and if you take the right path...... you can exit at Tai Sui Tseng.


Pyramid Hill

Note: If your legs are tired by now, what may seem like an easy hill I heard could be strenuous and requires a clamber, and the trail on the other side is steeper still.


The easier choice is obviously to stick to the MacLehose Trail, which soon arrives at Ngong Ping with amazing scenery as you decent!


Sai Kung

After Ngong Ping, at last you will see a pavilion, turn left and head doen to Tai Sui Tseng.

Hike from Tai Sui Tseng

You could also start the hike from Tai Sui Tseng, however, both ways requires some climb and unfortunately none of the two is easier than the other either! But perhaps from Kei Ling Ha is more motivating as Ma On Shan is in sight for most of the start of the hike!


Steps down to Tai Sui Tseng

You could either catch the mini bus or hail a taxi back to Sai Kung and have your hearty seafood meal you so deserve!

We did the hike in end October and the plains were covered in reeds. They sway to the direction of the breeze and creates a nice flowing effect! #top5hongkonghikes


Date of hike: end October 2019




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