There are many hikes to the Big Buddha, and most of them I’ve done, except for the The Ngong Ping 360 Rescue Trail, which follows the route of the cable car from Tung Chung. That one is quite convenient as the entry and exit points are easily reached via public transportation. HOWEVER, If you’re not quite up for 10 kilometres worth of climbing stairs, then you might want to do this fairly short and easy one: the Shek Pik Country Trail.
Distance: 5.5 km
Duration: 1.5-2 hours
I have been saving this trail for a visitor who has never seen the Big Buddha before. It took years before the occasion arose, but it happened, as I knew it would. This time I was tasked to show a friend around, Johan, who has never been to Hong Kong before. I hadn’t seen the guy in almost 10 years, and to our mutual delight, we realized that we had grown to love hiking separately during all those years apart.
- Take the MTR to Tung Chung station (or the ferry to Mui Wo)
- Take bus 1, 2, 23 or 11A to Shek Pik Police Post
- DO NOT fall asleep on the bus, pin the stop on Google Maps and get off at the east end of the reservoir!
- Walk into the country park and take the left trail once you get out of the main road
Almost 100% of the 2/4 difficulty comes right at the beginning. You’re going to ascend almost nonstop for a kilometer, more or less. Vertical stairs, going up. But once you’re over this, everything else will be an enjoyable walk.
If you’re up for a challenge, you can deviate from the country trail and head to Middle Dog Teeth Range, or Kau Nga Ling, whose “blaze-like spurs rise like fangs of a wild dog.” (Hiking.gov.hk) Take the right fork around 800m into the trail, and either loop back to West Kau Nga or continue north. West to Ngong Ping, and east to Lantau Peak – so many options!
Head to the bus terminal at Ngong Ping or take the cable car down as you wish!
It was overcast / grey the day we did this walk, so the lack of tree cover was not a problem for us. In summer, however, it might be a problem. Otherwise, sunny skies would mean unobstructed views, especially if you decide to climb the 539m Kau Nga Ling! We didn’t, but I’ve marked it for next time.