Hiking in Hong Kong
Side Trip: Ha Fa Shan
Time: 30 minutes
Ascent: 50 m
Date: June 2018
Start: Yuen Tsuen Ancient Trail
End: Allway Gardens, Tsuen Wan West
Do this hike if:
you're after a quick workout
you're in need of an amazing view
Avoid this hike if:
you're looking for something longer or more strenuous
you're superstitious about gravesites
A fantastic addition to the Yuen Tsuen Ancient Trail is a quick trip up Ha Fa Shan. Located at the very start of the trail, you could easily climb the small peak before or after your trek, although mornings will often give you a clearer view. The 360 degree panorama from the top is better than anything you would see from the main trail, so I highly recommend this detour.
For anyone wanting directions to the start, read this:
If you begin the Ancient Trail from Allway Gardens you will come to an intersection with a picnic table and shelter off to the left (200 metres before distance marker C6101). Behind this picnic table is an unmarked dirt track, quite narrow and in parts overgrown. Take this path.
I was a little apprehensive about the trail, wondering if my phone map had led me down another dead end trail. But I was determined to test it out, given that I have a weakness for awe-inspiring views and mountaintops are often the best places to find these. After passing through dense foliage the landscape opened up and I could see the peak directly in front of me. It was a short walk, only 340 metres off the Ancient Trail, and I crested the hill in about five minutes.
Climbing the narrow dirt track.
A large boulder marked the summit of the otherwise bare hill. Steps had been carved into the stone, so of course I ran up these to the uneven surface on top. Immediately the wind hit me in the face and threatened to send me flying off the rock, but I grounded myself and held strong.
The sight was breathtaking. Uninterrupted views in all directions, from the imposing mountains of the New Territories and the distant peaks on Lantau and Hong Kong Islands, to the never-ending skyscrapers and harbour in the foreground. I felt like I was on top of the world (figuratively, not literally - I was only about 300 metres above sea level).
The mountains of the New Territories.
The view from the top.
Although I could easily return to the Ancient Trail via the same route, my phone map told me it was possible to reach Allway Gardens (the end of the Ancient Trail) via another path starting at the back of the boulder. The descent was clear most of the time, although there were a couple of sharp turns that weren't obvious. Also there were several other paths crossing over the one I was on, resulting in frequent GPS assistance. This side of the hill was covered in the popular Chinese armchair-shaped tombs, which I have seen on other trails but not as often as here. After 800 metres I hit the Catchwater jogging trail, and could make my way down to street level again via many, many concrete steps (what else?).
Chinese burial tombs.