Hokkaido: living Sakura

Hokkaido is the second largest island in Japan. The Tsugaru Strait separates it from the great island of Honshu although they remain united through the Seikan tunnel. The largest city of Hokkaido is Sapporo, its capital.

Hokkaido has several seasons for tourism: winter to enjoy its ski slopes, July to see the fields booming, or as in my case, early May to see the cherry blossom. Hokkaido is not the most popular or desired place to see the Sakura trees but I must admit it was worth it. There were hardly people, low season, pleasant temperature, sunny days, although sometimes the air rose with small rains. But it has been one of my best trips ever made alone along with my camera.
The time needed depends on how you are going to move around and if you are only going to see cities or not. In my case, were 8 days.
The chosen route was: 3 nights in Sapporo, 2 nights in Hakodate, 1 night in Sapporo (transit), 3 nights in Asahikawa. Maybe if you move by car you don’t need so much time, so it depends a lot on transportation
What places to see in Hokkaido no matter is Sakura season or not?

  1. Sapporo
    • Maruyama Park
    • Mount Moiwa
    • Nakajima Park
    • Sapporo TV Tower
  2. Otaru
    • Otaru Canal
    • Fukamizaka
    • Ryugu Shrine
    • Temiya Park 手宮公園
  3. Hakodate
    • Bay Area
    • Motomachi Park
    • Catholic Church Hakodate Motomachi
    • Hakodate Orthodox Church
    • Mount Hakodate
    • Cape Tachimach
    • Goryōkaku Park
  4. Asahikawa
    • Tokiwa Park
    • Asahikawa Forest Park
    • Furano & Biei

Sapporo

1. Walk at Maruyama Park

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/26Qk6gZSdjNipf5X6

Perfect place to walk and see its Shrines and highly recommended if you want to see Sakura trees! Great to spend a couple of hours and relax. To get here take the metro line Tozai to Maruyama Koen Station, exit 1

2. Go up to Mount Moiwa

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Location: https://goo.gl/maps/nbZex9mefAA8wpsw6

If you visited Maruyama Park before, this small mountain is about 40 minutes walking distance or also accessible by tram.
The views from the top are incredible, you can see almost all Sapporo city.
To get here, you must take the tram to Ropeway Iriguchi and follow directions to the cable car to buy the ticket to the cable car. The cable car leads to two different destinations and the price of the ticket varies depending on each one. The first stop is Moiwa Chufuku Station and the second is Moiwa Sancho Station. Sancho Station can also be accessed by walking through a small path at the top of Chufuku Station.
During this season the queue to get the ticket was quite short!

3. Walk in Nakajima Park

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/ECrxgfTwKBwiMm7EA

Another park located in the city center for a walk or boat ride.

You can get to this park by metro Namboku line to Nakajimakoen Station or get off at Susukino Station and walk to enjoy its traditional streets.

Near this park there are hundreds of restaurants. You cannot miss to try the Miso Ramen, typical dish of Sapporo!

So if you are still around and it is time for lunch, this local restaurant is really great and is about 10 minutes walking distance from the park up to the North

Recommendation: https://goo.gl/maps/c7b2zPnD9S6DBuJA8

4. Enjoy the views from the top of Sapporo TV Tower

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/33XnwJCAuJWsAVie8

Famous TV tower built in the 1950s, with an observation deck offering panoramic views of the city.

To get here you can by subway Namboku, Toho or Tozai lines to Ōdōri Station.

Opens every day from 9am to 10pm

Otaru

If you are staying in Sapporo, you can get to Otaru by train JR Hakodate Line departing from Sapporo Station. Cost: ¥740

1. Walk along Otaru Canal

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/H4J48gdA7JmrnZKd8

Perfect for a walk along its canal or boat ride. This canal runs through the entire town until almost reaching the Temiya park surrounded by bars, restaurants and shops.

From the Otaru Station you can reach here by walking

If you are looking for places to eat, there are some alleys near the canal that are quite popular! It is worth taking a look at the risk of queuing to get seated!

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/PYfdcKJMN8tXYPJC8

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2. Visit the popular street of Fukamizaka

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/nEkrmvLV1RYYBh6u9

This street is quite popular for the Love Letter movie. Highly recommended to pass through here in winter with the snowy streets. The rest of the year you don’t see anything in particular

3. Visit Ryugu Shrine

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Location: https://goo.gl/maps/wJBqi5eSdxM5MpP66

This Shrine is found only few meters away from Fukamizaka Street

4. Visit the Temiya Park 手宮公園

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/6tDD2PD2uH9vxB877

Personally, one of the pearls of Otaru and not so popular. The Sakura are incredibly beautiful in this park. To get here you have to walk along the canal and climb a hill. It takes roughly 30 minutes but it is totally worth it. From the top of the park there are views of Otaru and is full of picnic areas. Ideal place to come with family or couple or even for photography!

Hakodate

To get to Hakodate from Sapporo, you can take the JR Train from Sapporo Station or take a bus. The journey takes about 4-5 hours and reaches to Hakodate Station. The bus Station is right in front of the Train Station. You can get the train tickets directly from the vending machines or in case want to travel by bus you can book a bus ticket through this website. The buses are more affordable, provides big and comfortable seats and are individual! The seats are all separated from each other.

Once you arrive in Hakodate, is recommended to buy a ticket for 1 or 2 days for the tram. This would save us time and money when using this service, since the tram is quite traditional.

1. Stroll & eat at the Bay Area

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/8GXsE4Z8aTqAMiPY6

Popular place for food, snacking and stroll through the harbor. From here you can walk to the Midori no Shima park to have fantastic views of the Bay.

2. Walk to Motomachi Park

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/kmZQ8WK4DmJiweqKA

Popular place for its picturesque streets and houses/shops

3. Visit the Catholic Church Hakodate Motomachi

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Location: https://goo.gl/maps/ERSWS1PcvH342MZD8

Small, historic Roman Catholic church featuring Gothic architecture & a bell tower.

4. Visit the Hakodate Orthodox Church

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Location: https://goo.gl/maps/5VvmQot8VvaR9QiP9

Right next to the Catholic church is this circa-19th-century Russian Orthodox church with dramatic night lighting & a bell tower.

5. Go up to Mount Hakodate for Stunning Sunset

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Location: https://goo.gl/maps/zEneqoSvFbsXhApJ9

Place that cannot be missed if you visit Hakodate. The views of the city are stunning. Is recommended to go up an hour or even more in advance before the sunset as it is incredibly crowded and barely are free spaces. You can buy tickets from the cable car station

6. Visit Cape Tachimachi for another stunning Sunset

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/zMuLBvUFqFKmfbti6

Very unpopular place among tourists and well known among locals, a hidden pearl! The place is quite remote but easily accessible by tram. To do this, get off at Jujigai Station in case your tram has no destination Yachigashira Station
Once you arrive at Yachigashira Station, walk about 15 minutes to here as shown in the image below.

Likewise, if hunger calls you, there is a Lawson next to Yachigashira station!

Cape

7. Walk in Goryōkaku Park & Go up to its Tower for 360 Views

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/Xt4qtJqqZ1PhXtph7

100% recommended place to enjoy a beautiful day in the park. The sakura trees here are amazing and cover practically the whole park.
It is also recommended to climb the park tower, as it offers fantastic 360º views of the area

To get here, just take the tram to Goryokaku-Koen-Mae Station and walk to the park. There are indications along the way.
And in case hunger calls again, there is a fantastic restaurant right next to the park called AJISAI. Normally it is always full but the queue is quite fast. Shio Ramen is the typical dish of Hakodate! Must try!

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Asahikawa

To get to Asahikawa from Sapporo, it is possible by JR train Lilac-Kamui (express train) at about ¥ 4,810. The journey takes about 2 hours and 15 minutes and the views from the train are amazing.
The final destination is Asahikawa Station, right next to it there is an AEON mall that will be your best friend if you are here for a couple of days.

Right in front of the mall is the busiest and most popular street in the area, full of restaurants, shops, cafes … impossible not to find food here!

This city doesn’t offer many things to visit but it’s a great area to visit Furano & Biei! If you do not have a car, the train is your best transportation and Asahikawa is the best place to stay and move around

1. Relax at Tokiwa Park

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/s7kUsLwrmnRZvD1f6

This spacious, serene park with 2 large ponds, swans & cherry blossoms is a popular place to walk.

2. Walk in Asahikawa Forest Park

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Location: https://goo.gl/maps/1PoQyEbRsh4kpccC6

Ideal to spend a morning if you have no more plans to do. The sakura trees are really amazing at this park!

3. Explore Furano & Biei

If something is really worth seeing, it is Furano & Biei and their incredible fields and flowers. Although during the Sakura season the flower fields have not yet blossomed, the views and landscapes are really amazing.
To visit these two places by train, I would recommend visiting Furano first and not missing Tomita Farm. This farm offers beautiful lavender fields that bloom from June.

Furano

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/azbj2VstSSMUX1Va9

To get here, take the train and get off at Lavender-Farm Station or Naka-Furano Station. You can pay directly to the driver or buy tickets at Asahikawa and Furano station.

Biei

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/SmSQGt3J8eAdgFFCA

Once you finish watching Furano, take the train to Biei Station.
In this place there are several places to visit, such as Mild Seven Hills, Zerubu Hills or Hokusei-no-oka Observatory Park. To move around is recommended to rent electric bicycles or motorcycle/car. There is a rental shop right next to the station at this location.
If the night is not coming yet, I would recommend visiting Mild Seven Hills and Zerubu Hills. If you have lack of time as was my case, Mild Seven Hills is the perfect choice.

Along the road on the way to Mild Seven Hills there is a farm where you can taste very popular ice creams!

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Mild Seven Hills offers several points with incredible landscapes. Simply walk or move around and enjoy the nature

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Yangshuo

Yangshuo, a county and resort town in southern China’s Guangxi region, is known for its dramatic karst mountain landscape and outdoor recreation. The town is set amid pinnacles like Bilian Feng (Green Lotus Peak), which has a hiking trail to the top. Tour boats offer cruises on the Li River past picturesque countryside from the town of Guilin to the north.

What to see in Yangshuo? Endless activities. These are the ones that I have been able to enjoy so far

Before starting it should be clarified that to get here there are two train stations and can be somewhat confusing:
-Guilin train station
Xingping train station (known as Yangshuo station)
If you arrive at Guilin, you would have to take a bus to Yangshuo and it would take approximately 2 hours.
If you arrive at Xingping, just take a taxi to Yangshuo as it is 30 minutes away. The advantage of getting to Xingping is that once you arrive, you can take advantage of it and go to Li River for a bamboo ride, climb to Laozhaishan peak for an incredible view of the area and visit the old town. If you carrying a lot of stuffs, a taxi to Yangshuo is approximately 80 yuan

1. Li River boat ride

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Li River is located in Xingping on the outskirts of Yangshuo.
The boat ride is one of the most popular tourist attractions. To get a ticket it is possible from the ticket window just at the entrance of the river or in an office located in the town near the selected area in the image below. Xingping also offers countless hikes along the river

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2. Hike up to Laozhaishan

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Also located in Xingping, Laozhaishan is located next to the entrance to the river. Just go through the market on the left side facing the river to get there (follow the toilet direction but once you find the crossing, turn left).

The top of the mountain offers stunning views of Xingping
The climb is slightly hard in several sections but its duration is about 35-40 minutes

3. Stroll at Yangshuo town

Visit Yangshuo town is another of the most recommended activities. For shopping, food or just to see its old town transformed into a tourist attraction

4. Nighlife at Yangshuo town

Being increasingly popular, the nightlife in Yangshuo calls the attention in some of its bars. Nothing else to say…

5. Hike up to the TV Tower

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This is not one of the most popular hikes but it is worth its 45 minute climb. This mountain is located just at the entrance of the town about 15 minutes away walking from the old town and offers stunning views of Yangshuo. To get here is a bit confusing since there are no updated maps of this area. The entrance is right in one of the alleys that I mark in the image below (as reference, you could see the TV Tower right in front of the alley up to the mountain peak). Then just follow the streets up. As soon as you enter the alley, turn left and keep going up all the streets, always going up.

mapyangshuo

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You will have to continue walking up through the streets until you see the entrance to the hike as shows the image below

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Highly recommended to climb during sunset

6. Hike up to the Moon Hill

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This mountain is located on the outskirts of Yangshuo, at the South. To get here you have to take a taxi / didi or rent a motorcycle/bicycle. Didi/Taxi here is quite affordable and let us save a lot of time. The address here in chinese is 月亮山景区 or if using Didi english version, just type Moon Hill
Once arrived, there are two routes: Moon Palace and Dresser
-Direction to Moon Palace reaches up to the hill
-Direction Dresser reaches to a kind of picnic area that personally has better views of the hill than from any other place around, being perfect for photographs

Moon Palace

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Dresser

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If you visit the Moon Palace area, don’t forget to help the locals by buying them a drink. They hike up here daily to make a living

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There are hundreds of activities to do here. Countless hikes, bike routes, towns to see, … but it takes a lot of time to do them all!

Ma On Shan: a world away

Ma On Shan 馬鞍山 is a saddle-shaped peak in east of Tolo Harbour in the New Territories of Hong Kong. With a height of 702 metres, it stands among the ten highest mountains in Hong Kong. The mountain borders Sha Tin and Tai Po districts.

This hike is one of the most challenging and reach to the peak has a great reward: AMAZING landscapes. But actually, no need to reach to the top of the mountain to really enjoy of these panoramic views. All the trail offers stunning views of the area: Ma On, Sai Kung, Sharp Island,…so all the effort on this hike will be rewarded with different panoramic views, breathtaking panoramic views…

Recommended for this hike a comfortable shoes with good grip, sun block, a lot of water and long pants.

HOW TO GET THERE

To get there take MTR to Ma On Shan Station exit B. The fastest way is to take a taxi from there to the BBQ site. Walk up to the BBQ site from MTR will take more than an hour and is all way up. Save energy for this hike would be essential.

HIKING AROUND

From the BBQ site find the indications to the Family Walk. Below is the route chosen for this hike:mapa

Family Walk > Tiu Shau Ngam > 馬鞍山(馬鞍頭) > MacLehose Trail sec. 4 > Ngong Ping viewpoint > Ma On Shan Country trail > Tai Shui Tseng > Walk to Sai Kung Pier & take a bus back.

The beginning:

A tough section up to the first peaks before the highest. All the hike up has a steep slope and only the last part of the section is sheltered. Narrow trail full of branches and trees. A section with a climbing part & a rope attached to the rocks (easy, no need the rope unless is wet with slippery slope)

Views up to the first little peak. From here can see Ma On Shan town, the Plover Cove Reservoir (right side), Pat Sin Leng Country Park (just in front), Tai Mo  Shan (left side)

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Continuing to the highest peak:

Leaving behind these amazing views, the highest peak is visible after. There is a shortcut and the next peak can be bypassed through a bushy trail on the right side. I didn’t notice of this bypass, just once I saw other hikers taking it instead of climbing up. But worth to climb all the peaks for stunning views like these and the most important reason, we are hikers not tourists

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The highest peak:

The highest peak is not so tough as the first peaks. The views of Sai Kung on the left side encourage you to the summit.

Views ahead from the top:

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The way down is through MacLehose Trail sec. 4. The views along the trail are simply gorgeous.

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Reaching to the Ngong Ping viewpoint

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From this point to Tai Shui Tseng is all way down and just need to follow the indications.

 

Shenzhen

Shenzhen is a major city in Guangdong Province, China; it forms part of the Pearl River Delta megalopolis, bordering Hong Kong to the south, Huizhou to the northeast, and Dongguan to the northwest.

So if your a planning a short trip to Shenzhen (no need more than a week unless planning to move around), I’d recommend you visit these particular places:

1. Walk in Shenzhen Bay Park 深圳湾公园

Shenzhen Bay Park 深圳湾公园 is the longest coastal park of Shenzhen (China). If you really love cycling or long walks this place will be perfect with great views of Hong Kong New Territories on the other side of the bay and Nanshan & Futian districts. Ideal for night!

To get there take metro Line 9 at Shenzhen Bay Park station (深圳湾公园站) exit C.

2. Explore Shenzhen Central Park 深圳中心公园

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Central Park 深圳中心公园 is located in the heart of the Commercial Business District (CBD) of Futian, Shenzhen (China). It is free entry and considered one of the most underrated parks of the city

To get there take the subway to Huaqiang North Station and Exit A on the orange line and then straight ahead for almost 400 meters

3. Walk & chill at OCT Loft

OCT Loft 华侨城创意园 offers a different side of Shenzhen with its green paths, areas and parks. In additional, OCT Loft is one of the main points of interest for art and photography lovers, yet for coffee lovers as this place offers plenty of cafeshops

To get there take metro Line 1 to Windows of the World 世界之窗 and then transfer to Line 2 to Qiaocheng North Station 侨城北 and take exit B. The easiest way is following the OCT Hospital indications, since is near to the area.

4. Visit the Phoenix Mountain 凤凰山公园

Phoenix Mountain (凤凰山公园)  is located in Bao’an district of Shenzhen (China). This place is a great option for a walk and see a small nature side of Shenzhen with its lake surrounded of mountains and trees. A walk to the top you’ll have views of Bao’an district and a temple with its little pagoda

To get there can take Didi, the bus M433 or metro to 塘尾 Tangwei and walk or grab taxi from here to the mountain

5. Explore Nantou Village 南头

Nantou Ancient Village 南头 is a historical monument in Shenzhen, China. It was the former administrative centre of Xin’an County. This place is perfect if you want to see the traditional side of China within a small neighborhood despite this places has been renewed and became commercial. Stroll through its narrow streets gives you the chance to see how the locals are living here.

To get there take metro to Taoyuan exit B and walk for 10-15 minutes or grab a taxi

6. Drop by Tulip Streets 荷兰花卉小镇

Tulip streets or Netherlands Flower Town 荷兰花卉小镇 is an European-styled town located at Nanshan district in Shenzhen (China) which has been re-opened on 2011.

This little town offers a strange combination of plants, flowers, pets & cafe shops near a park, which makes it a good place to visit if you want to spend few hours of chilling

To get there you can walk for about 10 minutes from Nantou Village or by bus. The bus station is Xinghai Mingcheng (星海名城站), many buses can take you there, such as 42, 201, 223, 324, b623, b688, b699, b702, b813, m364, m370, m375.

The nearest metro station is Daxin Station at Line 1, take exit B and walk for few minutes to the north.

Alternatively, can grab a taxi/didi. By typing in Didi app (English version) “flower”, you may see that the first option is this little town to select

Address: 3008, Yueliangwan Avenue, Nanshan, Shenzhen

地址: 南山区月亮湾大道3008号

7. Walk through Shenzhen Bay Park promenade 

Shenzhen Bay Park Bridge may be an alternative to Shenzhen Bay Park. Both places are connected through the same promenade but the starting point are located in different sides. Through this walk you can see a little port in Sea World, the bridge that connects to Hong Kong and Talent Park. The walk takes roughly more than an hour

To get there take metro to Sea World and walk towards the sea passing by Nanhai Rose Garden, keep walking to Shekou Fishing Harbor and keep coasting to Shenzhen Bay Park Bridge or Talent Park farther ahead. Then you can come back by metro in Wanxia or Haiyue Stations

8. Visit Dafen Painting Village 大芬

Dafen Painting Village 大芬 is a suburb of Buji in Shenzhen, China. The area is an artist village for the production of replicas of masterworks and outsourcing of original art creation. Great place for a stroll and enjoy the traditional art of China

To get there take metro to Dafen Station exit A1 and walk straight away until finding the neighborhood

9. Hike up to Nanshan Mountain

Nanshan mountain also known as Nanshan Park, is one of the most popular mountains in Shenzhen. Great place for an amazing cityscape of Shenzhen. From the top of the mountain you will see mostly all Shenzhen. Highly recommended to visit or stay at night. The “hike” is paved with stairs and lights so is basically a walk to the top and safe to visit or back at night

To get there take metro yo Sea World exit D and head towards the mountain and then follow the indications to Nanshan Park.

10. Day/Night Hike to TanglangShan 塘朗山 郊野公园

Tanglang Mountain 塘朗山 郊野公园 is located in Nanshan District, Shenzhen (China). With an elevation of 430m, Tanglang Mountain is the third highest peak in Shenzhen.

This mountain has two routes to reach the summit: road and paved stones trail. The climbing takes about 1-2 hours in relax rate or 45 minutes in good rate.

The hike is pretty easy and safe what makes it is perfect for a night hike by following the road. The night views from the top are pretty amazing

To get there take metro to Taoyuancun Line 7 and Exit D. Walk forward until seeing the mountain in the right side. Then walk towards the mountain and will be visible the Trail starting point

11. Watch the Lights Night Show at Lianhuashan Park 莲花山公园

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Lianhuashan Park 莲花山公园 is a hill and urban park in Shenzhen, China. It is located at the northern end of the Futian Central Business District and covers an area of 150 hectares. Atop the 106-metre hill is a large bronze statue of Deng Xiaoping and views of Futian Central Business District. This park is very popular for its night lights shows, so is highly recommended to come before night and find a spot at the top to have a look to the night show. It usually starts at 8pm and last about one hour

To get there take metro to Children’s Palace exit F2, cross the park until finding the stairs up to the top

12. Hike at Yangtaishan 羊台山

Located in Bao’an district of Shenzhen (China), Yangtaishan 羊台山 is a mountain of about 587 meters in height. It’s not as high as Wutong mountain but the summit will surprise you with its stunning views of Bao’an, Nanshan & Longgang districts.

To get there take the bus 769 or 635. If you take the bus 635, you may transfer bus at Shiyan Bus General Station and grab the bus 769 to Yangtai Mountain Station.

Otherwise, you may take Didi or taxi to get there. We grabbed a taxi from Shenzhen North Station to Shiyan entrance and costs 45RMB

13. Escape to Dapeng Old Town 

is a well-preserved town located at the east of Longgang District in Shenzhen (China). Through its narrow streets can get to the Fortress and at 5-10 minutes driving distance can get easily to Dongshan temple. By walking distance should be about 30-40 minutes though

To get there:

CAR

This is the way how I got there since is the easiest and recommended way. The journey takes about one hour departing from Louhu/Longgang district. Find a friend with car or rent it totally worth it.

BUS

This is the slowest and the last alternative. Usually takes about 2 hours or more

-From Yinghu Bus Station: Bus E11 to Dapeng -> Bus B756 to Dapeng Suocheng

-From Futian Bus Station: Bus H92 to Dapeng -> Bus B756 to Dapeng Suocheng

-From Longgang: Bus 833 to Dapeng -> Bus B756 to Dapeng Suocheng

-From Longgang Bus Terminal: Bus 818 to Dapeng -> Bus B756 to Dapeng Suocheng

 

Lantau Peak II: Touching Heaven

Lantau Peak or Fung Wong Shan is the second highest peak in Hong Kong and the highest point on Lantau Island, with a height of 934 metres above sea level. It is most famous for the sunrise scenery viewed from the summit.

During my first hike to this amazing trail the skies were totally covered by layers of dense fog, clouds, winds…but this time I could experienced this hike with perfect weather. Views and photos speak for themselves

The route chosen again was the same, from Pak Kung Au to Ngong Ping. To get there you should take MTR to Tung Chung station exit B and grab the bus 3M. The bus station is passing by the cable car station. You have to get off at Pak Kung Au

The first section of the trail there are views of Hong Kong Airport and Tung Chung. Behind is visible Sunset Peak mountain

After this section, the trail becomes unsheltered. The left side of the trail there are views of Cha Kwo Chau, Shek Kwo Chau & Soko Islands, as well as Pui O Beach

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Before getting to the summit there are few sections slightly tough but short.

Arrived to the summit there will be 360° views of Lantau Island and the islands mentioned before. The path to Ngong Ping and the Big Buddha, Wisdom Path and Po Lin Monastery is also visible from the top. On the other side there are views of the airport and Tung Chung.

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There is a shelter at the top to rest under the shadow

The descent to Ngong Ping is formed by hundreds of rocky steps and sheltered sections, and it may take some time but the views are worthy.

Finished the descent and once found a paved path means the trail is already over. The path takes to the Wisdom Path and the Big Buddha. Worth to spend 15 minutes and have a look

The return can be done by taking the bus 23 to Tung Chung located at the Bus Terminus in  Ngong Ping. The journey takes about 30 minutes

DETAILS

  • Location: Lantau Peak & Ngong Ping @ Lantau Island, Hong Kong
  • Transportation: MRT to Tung Chung & bus 3M to Pak Kung Au // Return: bus 23
  • Time spent: 4-5 hours
  • Weather conditions: Sunny
  • Season: 1st April
  • Score: 9.5/10

Plover Cove Reservoir: A well-deserved Victory

ENGLISH & ESPAÑOL

Plover Cove Reservoir is located within Plover Cove Country Park in the northeastern New Territories. It’s the largest reservoir in Hong Kong in terms of area, and the second-largest in terms of volume.

Plover Cove Reservoir is a natural fish pond that supports a diverse wildlife, including many freshwater fish species. Tai Mei Tuk at the northwestern end of the main dam is a popular BBQ site in Hong Kong.

Within this reservoir there is a hiking trail that starts at Wu Kau Tang Village next to Bride’s Pool Nature Trail and ends at Tai Mei Tuk village. There are several sections within Wu Kau Tang but the longest trail is thru Ma Tau Fund > Tai Tung > Luk Wu Tung > Tai Mei with a total duration of 7-8 hours and 18km though uphills & downhills. The last 5km are on road and takes about 2 hours, so basically are 13km of uphills and downhills.

So far this is the tougher trail I have completed in Hong Kong.

For this trail is recommended a good pair of shoes with good grip. There are slippery sections along the trail. Lot of water, cap if sunny day since this hike is unsheltered, your own food, mosquitoes repellent and a nice camera

HOW TO GET THERE

Take metro to Tai Po Market and exit B to Tai Po Market Station Public Minibus Terminus. Take minibus 20R for around 20 minutes to Bride’s Pool Nature Trail on Bride’s Pool Road. It is the last stop
Also from Tai Po Market Station Bus Terminus, take 275R to Bride’s Pool Bus Terminus on Sunday and public holidays.

Return: In Tai Mei Tuk can take the minibus 20C or bus 75K to Tai Po Market

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HIKING AROUND

From Wu Kau Tang village walk towards the trail to Ma Tau Fung. Have to pass through the village but is easy to get to the trail by following the indications.

Once in the trail, follow the distance posts as reference

The first section from the village to Ma Tau Fung is full of rocky steps but once on the top, the views are amazing

From Ma Tau Fung to Tai Tung there will be stunning views of almost the whole reservoir. This part of the trail is really beautiful

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On the right side there are views of the reservoir while on the left side views of Double & Crescent Islands. The trail look almost the same for the whole journey but at the end perhaps the trail gets harder and with steeper slopes

From Tai Tung to Luk Wu Tung there will be along the trail views of the whole reservoir. Personally the most beautiful section for views

The way from Luk Wu Tung to the Reservoir Sub Dam was personally the tougher since there is a certain sense of weariness. Uphills & downhills were here steeper, yet you can see a long way ahead full of hills.

 

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However the views are amazing. Sai Kung on the left side and the path done & Tai Mei Tuk on the right side

As told, the trail is not easy on this section for its steepy hills where the breaks were more often here. This section also was full of mosquitoes, thousands of them for almost 1.5h hours of journey.

Arrived to the Reservoir Sub Dam will offer views of Sai Kung and Mao On Shan.

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From this point to Tai Mei Tuk there will be about 4-5km and 2 hours of journey ahead. Walking through the dam there is a hill with stairs right in front. To continue the journey you may bypass these hills by the road on the left side. The road takes to Tai Mei directly

Once crossed the longest ever bridge in the world, will reach to Tai Mei. The port is really beautiful and there are some restaurants on the area.

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Walking towards the Bus Terminus there is a BBQ site and was really amazing. Bring your own food and cook it right there!

DETAILS

  • Location: Plover Cove Reservoir @ Plover Cove Park, Hong Kong
  • Transportation: MRT to Tai Po Market exit B & bus 20R to Bride’s Pool Nature Trail // Return: bus 20C or 75K from Tai Mei Tuk
  • Time spent: 7.5 hours – 18km
  • Weather conditions: cloudy
  • Season: Mid of March
  • Score: 9/10

Sunset Peak: Amidst the Mist

ENGLISH & ESPAÑOL

Sunset Peak (Tai Tung Shan 大東山) is the third highest peak in Hong Kong located in Lantau Island and stands at a height of 869 metres (2,851 ft) above the sea level. The second highest peak is Lantau Peak located right in front of this peak with Pak Kung Au in between.

My route started at Pak Kung Au through Section 2 and ended at Nam Shan near the Campsite. The total distance is 7km and about 4 hours. The trail is kind similar to Lantau Peak but perhaps due to the fog I really couldn’t to enjoy as much as I did in Lantau Peak despite it was also partially cloudy.

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HOW TO GET THERE

To get there you should take MTR to Tung Chung station exit B and grab the bus 3M. The bus station is passing by the cable car station. You have to get off at Pak Kung Au after 15-20 minutes of bus ride. You will notice of the stop easily, since many people will get off right there. Continue walking further ahead and you will see Sunset Peak indications to start the trail.

HIKING AROUND

The starting is the most difficult part of this trail since everything are steps and rocks for almost 40-50 minutes but with stunning views behind of Lantau Peak. You may see during the climbing the Lantau Peak trail and its mountains.

Almost arriving to the top of this first climb the views of Soko Islands are really great.

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By looking at opposite direction of Soko Islands is easy to see Tung Chung and HK Airport. Much better with clearer weather

Continuing walking the views will be clearer of Soko Islands, the Trail behind and Shek Kwu Chao. The views are stunning!

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The views heading to Yi Tung Shan are also amazing despite it was foggy during my day

Passing by the campsite there are a lot of allegedly abandoned shelters.

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Once crossed the Campsite, the descent will starts with views of Pui O and Chi Ma Wan Peninsula. Personally, the descent was rather tougher than ascent maybe due to the weather conditions.

The latest photo is a crossing to choose or continue to Nam Shan or turn to Tung Chung. According with the map, the trail back towards Tung Chung takes about 1 hour or so.

Finishing the Trail, once you see the road on the right side, simply get to the road, then turn left and go up to the bus stop. From there can grab the bus 3M to Tung Chung Station in about 20 minutes

DETAILS

  • Location: Sunset Peak @ Lantau Island, Hong Kong
  • Transportation: MRT to Tung Chung & bus 3M to Pak Kung Au // Return: bus 3M
  • Time spent: 4 hours
  • Weather conditions: unpredictable! Cloudy, foggy, cold, windy…
  • Season: End of February
  • Score: 8.5/10

Kowloon Peak: The Uniqueness of Hong Kong in 180°

Kowloon Peak or Fei Ngo Shan 飛鵝山 is a mountain in the northeast of New Kowloon, Hong Kong. The height of the mountain is about 600 meters and it’s situated in Ma On Shan Country Park

The ascent to the summit is pretty easy and the path is rocky with steps. The ascent will take no longer than 2-3 hours, it depends on the rate of ascent, the time needed to take photos along the way and the section chosen.

For this hike I’d recommend to wear shoes with good grip, since the top is rocky and the cliff is not a joke, especially if your hike continues to Suicide Cliff located straight ahead of Kowloon Peak

HOW TO GET THERE

Take the MTR to Choi Hung Station (Kwun Tong Line) exit C1/C2. From Choi Hung Station there is a long way to the starting point of the ascent, so you can grab a taxi to Fei Ngo Shan 飛鵝山, which costs about 35HKD and 10 minutes.

Otherwise you can walk to the starting point that will take about 1 hour. Walk along Clear Water Bay road and then turn to Fei Ngo Shan road

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Reached to this point, the ascent starts. There are several indications along the way

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HIKING AROUND

From the starting point, the hike will take about 2-3 hours to Kowloon Peak. The section chosen was from Fei Ngo Shan

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During the ascent there will be beautiful views of Sai Kung, Sharp island…worth to keep looking behind for nice photos while hiking up

Views from the heliport aerea

Finally arrived to the rocky Peak, one of the best panoramic views of Hong Kong

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The way back will take about 1 hour + another hour of walking to the MTR.

DETAILS

  • Location: Kowloon Peak at Kowloon, Hong Kong
  • Transportation: MTR to Choi Hung Station (Kwun Tong Line) exit C1/C2 + Taxi
  • Time spent: 4 hours
  • Weather: Sunny with strong winds
  • Season: Mid of December
  • Score: 8/10