Hong Kong Hiking Challenge: From September to December 2022, the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department organizes the Hong Kong Hiking Challenge to encourage nature lovers and hikers to set off for the countryside and take on the challenge! There are 25 checkpoints scattered in various scenic spots in the country parks, featuring a variety of picturesque views unique to Hong Kong’s countryside. The top of Hong Kong – Tai Mo Shan, the breath-taking sunset view at Mount High West, the enchanting historic Hakka village of Lai Chi Wo, the thousand islands reflection of the Tai Lam Chung Reservoir, and many more!
Participants can plan their own routes to visit these checkpoints based on their interest, physical fitness and hiking experience. Use a smartphone to check-in at the checkpoints to collect the unique local flora and fauna badges made for each checkpoint. You will also learn about the amazing biodiversity of Hong Kong! Collect a certain number of badges and you will get different rewards! Let the challenge begins!
Background: The Tai Lam Chung Reservoir, also known as Thousand-Island Lake, was completed in 1957 as the first reservoir built in Hong Kong after the Second World War. Located in an undulating river valley, the sight of islands of various sizes magically materialized after the area was flooded with water stored. The islands are vegetated with Chinese Red Pine, Slash Pine, Swamp Mahogany and Lemon-scented Gum, creating a lush green landscape on Thousand-Island Lake.
Located on section 10 of the MacLehose Trial, there will be a road map that painted the whole Tai Lam Reservoir Islands Viewpoint, walk through the cleaned and tidied path built with woods and sands, walk up 200 meters to arrive the viewpoint, enjoy the landscape of Thousand-island Lake. On the south side is the damn of Tai Lam Village, To Hang Tung and Siu Lam, overviewing the Lantau island.
Transportation, bus schedule and costs:
- Take bus K66 from Long Ping MTR station to Tai Tong Shan Road.
- The bus runs from Monday to Sunday from 6am to 11:20pm (Highly recommend to check the bus schedule beforehand), it costs $4.8 for a one-way trip.
Reminder 1: There is a moovitapp where you can check the bus route, but the arrival time of the bus is only for reference.
Reminder 2: During the maple season, there are minibuses (Unique Hong Kong transportation – Usually a green/red colored 18-seater minibus) at the Tai Tong Shan Road, which takes you to the viewpoint, it costs around $5-6, but definitely worth taking when there are lots of people (and a long queue)
Reminder 3: Also, there is also bus 68R during weekends of the maple season that takes you straight to the location (okay, basically 80% of the whole route, you will still have to walk for a bit)
(Detailed guide at the bottom)
- Take the MTR to Long Ping station, head to Exit B and go downstairs from B1 (The stairs should be on your left-hand side).
- On the ground floor, you can either turn left or right, then walk straight.
- After walking for about two blocks, you will be able to see the bus station.
- Wait for K66! You should be able to see the bus sign too.
- Take the bus and get off at Tai Tong Shan Road, you should be able to see the bus station on your left-hand side (That’s the bus station you will be waiting to return home), walk towards the bus station. (Besides K66 bus, there are also minibuses available, just get off the bus/minibus when you see the MTR station on your way home)
- Walk past the cross walk and turn right, start walking up the hill! You should be able to see a food stall called “偉記士多”or “Wai Kee Store” on your way.
- Keep walking upwards, once you reach the fork road, keep walking on the left hand side (Which is where the bus will stop during the maple season)
- Don’t stop and keep moving, you will see Po Leung Kuk Jockey Club Tai Tong Holiday Camp, keep walking!
- Finally, you will see a huge sign of the country park, but we will still need to work a little bit harder.
- Follow the path of the mountain (don’t forget to breath in some fresh air and enjoy the gifts from tree and nature), stay on the right side and don’t turn left. Keep walking (no stairs woohoo, just follow the road) and you will reach the Tai Tong barbeque area (BBQ!).
- Tai Tong barbeque area has a wide view of the city, with wooden picnic table and seats for you to take a break (Yes you can barbeque here before, but it is now closed due to the pandemic). But you can still take a rest and head to the bathroom here (of course take some photos of the view as well). Keep walking up the hill.
- Reach the management station of the country park where you will see a fork road, take the middle road (This is where the minibus will stop during the peak maple season. Yes, you don’t have to walk at all, and you will see a huge crowd).
- At the management station, you will see a parking lot on your right side. You can drive and park here if you are not a hiker.
- Keep walking up the hill (Don’t forget that you are taking the middle road). You will walk past the Tai Tong Nursery.
- You will then see a fork road again (Don’t panic, just follow our photos). The left side is a gazebo and there is restroom on the right side, let’s keep walking.
- The Tai Tong Nature Trail sign will appear in front of you, let’s ignore it and keep following the main road.
- Fork road again! On your left side will be the Tai Tong Sweet Gum Woods and other areas (can walk around during the maple season or if you are more experienced), turn right to reach our destination for today – Reservoir Islands viewpoint.
- Don’t worry, we are finally going down the slope.
- Just follow the road (There is only one road), feel free to rest at the gazebo if needed.
- Once you reach the bottom, there will be stairs and a wooden sign that point you upwards, just 1.4 miles left!
- Let’s start with stairs (pretty stone stairs) 😊
- You will see the sign for Maclehose Trail, welcome to section 10.
- You will see a temple, follow the path (like a S shape)
- Some more stone road (Some tiny stones but still not difficult or dangerous at all), then you will see a huge high voltage tower (It’s a popular photo spot, just look up)
- There will be multiple upstairs and downstairs, some stone roads and roads with small tree branches, then you will see a fork road (ok please be careful here and make sure you pick the left side with photos of the Reservoir Islands, or else it will take you to an endless hiking path.
- The Reservoir Islands viewpoint!!!! The last wooden stairs (I promise)
- You will see the amazing (Totally worth it) Instagram-able/memoizable view of the lake. After taking enough photos, just head back (the same road) as you come.
Little feedback: Last time we headed to Tai Tong for the maple season, we were only able to finish half the path due to the lack of time, and our piglet didn’t wear the right shoes (because it is actually not needed if you are taking the minibus during the maple season). This time we have prepared and finally finish this route. The view is definitely worth going and it has been promoted by different organization in Hong Kong.
Yuen Long is also known as “Yuen Long country” in Hong Kong because of its unique location (A little bit far from the city), but Yuen Long is filled with many local foods and restaurants like Chicken Pot Hut (雞煲棧), Fei Jie Oyster Omelette (肥姐蠔餅), ASOK Thai Noodles (阿叔泰麵), The Glock (旮旯) with great Japanese dessert, Kei Kee Dessert (B仔的雞翼尖), please try the chicken wing tip that is spicy if you are brave enough, one of the best local snack ever, Sakara ichi sushi (魚一) and Tanaka Japanese Restaurant (田中壽司) that is cheap but served with fresh sashimi and sushi, Chung Kee Restaurant (松記燒鵝) with Hong Kong style barbeque pork and goose, and Both Streetfood (倆口小吃), Taiwanese cuisine (bun actually) recommended by the Michelin guide.
Yes, don’t worry we will introduce the restaurants in Yuen Long in the near future, but in short, Yuen Long is a place with countless restaurants and fun places to go, so it makes the trip to the Reservoir Islands viewpoint even more worth it!
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