Yuk Kwai Shan (Mount Johnston) on Ap Lei Chau will have you rappelling down from ropes and scrambling on your hands, knees and butt…
Distance: 3.6 km (round trip)
Duration: 2-3 hours
Difficulty: Hard! (Read: Don’t bring your kids / grannies here!)
Just on Hong Kong Island’s backyard is this super “cute” and scenic short hike that surprised me with its rappelling and rope-climbing course. Don’t make the mistake of bringing your faint-hearted friends here, like I did (sorry Giuli!) or you might never make it to Ap Lei Pai, the “small island linking up with the short sandbank as if a child being led by a mother.”
This super conveniently-accessed hike gives you the best of many things: adventure, beach, island views, skyscraper shots, scrambling, rappelling, panoramic views… it really doesn’t get more complete than this! So if you have no time to make it to the thrilling Sharp Peak up in Sai Kung, head over to Ap Lei Chau for this quick thrill.
From MTR Lei Tung Station, take exit B and walk to the bus terminus near McDonald’s. Climb up to the start of the trail behind the wooden benches and jump the fence there. Take the stairs on the left.
At the crossroads, you can climb the mountain via the left trail, which has a rope. The right trail is the more challenging one without a rope.
On top of Yuk Kwai Shan (Mount Johnston) you’ll get amazing 360-degree views of Lamma Island, Aberdeen, and the smaller island of Ap Lei Pai, connected to Ap Lei Chau by a sandbank / beach.
Now for the fun / challenging part: an almost vertical descent down to the sandbank from Mount Johnston. You can “rappel” down with a rope backwards (as in, you go down facing the mountain) – or you can carefully pick your way / footing through the crumbling rocks.
At the end of the hike (on Ap Lei Pai), there is a lighthouse. We heard someone had fallen trying to climb it the other day and required stitches, so be careful over there.
Where to eat
After a whole weekend of hiking, tapping out!