Perhaps the finest short hike in Hong Kong runs up and along the ridge known as Dragon’s Back, which forms the spine of the southeast headland of Hong Kong Island. Coupled with a visit to the eccentric coastal village of Shek O, this makes for an excellent rural outing, at once near yet far from the city.
1.5-2hrs travel; 2hrs hike; 1-3hrs in Shek O
Getting there You can reach the start of the hike by Shek O-bound bus – either bus 9 from Shau Kei Wan MTR station or (on Sundays and public holidays) bus 309 from Exchange Square, Central. After the bus leaves Shau Kei Wan, and heads up a wooded hillside, watch for a tiny roundabout at top of the slope – alight at the stop after this.
Outings Walk up the flight of steps by a signpost for SHEK O COUNTRY PARK, then up a road, and turn right onto the Hong Kong Trail. The trail is level, through woodland. Leaving the woods, take the path up to the ridge.
The ridge affords superb views, which improve as you walk south along the dragon’s undulating spine. From 284-metre Shek O Peak, you can look down on Shek O below. Then, south and down, turn right, and keep left at two junctions as the Hong Kong Trail returns you to the road. There’s a bus stop, where you can catch a bus to Shek O.
Arriving in Shek O on a hot day, you might want to head straight to the beach: it’s beside the car park beyond the roundabout. There are changing rooms and showers, and a café with a terrace where you can enjoy a chilled drink while gazing out over the beach and South China Sea. Close by are more cafés and restaurants.
To explore Shek O, turn left at the roundabout, along the narrow, winding main street. Soon, there’s an alley off to the left, where you’ll find a Tin Hau temple with painted tiles by the door. Continue, and you’ll leave village houses for grand apartments, then reach the tip of the headland – where, in easterly winds, surf crashes on rocks. From here, there’s a footbridge to an islet, which you can climb to admire Hong Kong Island’s rugged east coast.