Short, easy & beautiful hike: Ma On Shan Country Trail

First hike of 2018: It was probably the worst possible day and time to hike, but we ran out of bad luck somehow…

Distance: 4.5km

Duration: 1.5-2 hours

Difficulty: 2/5

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It was a particularly shitty day yesterday when my sister and I decided to do Ma On Shan Country Trail, a quick and energetic 4.5km from MTR Heng On station to Sai Kung. If you’re not arriving to the Ma On Shan Country Park Barbecue Site by taxi or car, get ready to walk some 2.5km from the MTR Heng On Station, which we did.

The weather was absolutely miserable that day, so it was the worst of times to hike – especially an unknown path far, far away from civilization. I probably made a bad call in choosing something this remote, but there we were. Baby J was nigh killing me as we hadn’t even reached the starting point by 4.30pm and her vision was getting worse by the minute in mist and fog that was only getting darker towards sundown.

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It was drizzling almost the entire time we did the trail, with a few strong gusts of wind that made my heart pound with fear of an oncoming downpour. Thank heavens our bad luck decided not to take things that far in a day that had been going wrong since the strike of midnight.

“This reminds me of the moors in The Hound of the Baskervilles,” said my sister as we finally got off the concrete path we had been on for a while.

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The map signalling the starting point of Ma On Shan Country Trail at the country park’s parking lot.

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Follow these signs through a first kilometre of paved road, and then an ascent through the woods

If you do the Ma On Shan Country Trail as we did, you will literally begin from the bottom (as in, ugliest and lowest point) – a paved road – and onto the prettiest views on the Sai Kung side of the mountain.

Let me take you through the four parts:

Firstly, a boring concrete road shared with cars from the Ma On Shan Country Park Barbecue Site.

Secondly, an uphill climb through rivers / streams in a dense forest by way of rocky steps

Thirdly, beautiful grasslands and plains up top (Ngong Ping). We couldn’t see anything through the mist but I’ll post a photo of what it looks like on a better day.

Fourthly, downhill towards Sai Kung with breathtaking views of the sea and islands to the east.

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The plains up top on a good day. Photo by by LN Joshi

There were several intersecting trails on the way, so make sure to remember your end point: Tai Shui Tseng. We saw about ZERO buses in and out of the trails, but we were so lucky to end before sundown and to find an available green taxi as soon as we got to the main road (a few hundred metres from the actual trail end).

We took the New Territories taxi up to MTR Hang Hau station and made it home to shower and change just in time for 9pm Sunday dinner at Sai Ying Pun’s modern Sri Lankan resto Black Salt. I had been lobbying to get a reservation there for ages but nobody answers their phone and they reply super erratically over Facebook Messenger.

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Salmon Nepalese Mo’s

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Baked Camambert Masala

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What’s the Mattar Paneer?

And since we’re on the topic of food, here’s what we got before actually going on the hike:

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Emack & Bolio’s ridiculously delicious and equally ridiculously priced marshmallow Froot Loops and Rice Crispies ice cream cones (~HK$130 for two)

Would I recommend this hike? 100% yes! Imagine we did it in the dreariest conditions and found it beautiful. How much more fantastic would it be on a less than terrible day?!

Happy New Year everyone!

julienne

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