Stream Trekking in Hong Kong: Wong Lung Hang on Lantau Island

This unbelievably beautiful stream trek on Lantau Island turned into what felt like the pilot episode of Survivor Hong Kong after we decided to keep going when the path disappeared and turned vertical…

Difficulty: Extremely difficult and dangerous

Distance: Some 10km

Duration: 5 hours

Myself and Jo after the first vertical ascent and thinking, ‘That wasn’t so bad, we can do more’…

We were a group of six reasonably fit guys and gals in our late 20s and early 30s that decided to tackle the little-known Wong Lung Hang Stream Trek that sunny day in August. I’d never heard about it until I found it on Wild Hong Kong and wondered, ‘Why have I never done this before?’

So I gathered the troops for the day – a good group of people I thought could hack the “10/10” difficulty hike – and we all met that morning at the MTR Tung Chung Station.

Why you should do it

  • Energetic and fun stream trek from the offset (fun factor: jumping from boulder to boulder, splashing around the running stream)
  • Clean waters, especially after some rains
  • Several secluded waterfalls with hardly anyone about
  • Countless freshwater pools to swim in along the way to beat the heat

When it was still fun

How to get there

There are three main routes to consider when mapping out your hike for the day. All start near the Wong Lung Hang Picnic Site, where our taxis dropped us off. Mind you, they were none too happy when Wong Lung Hang Road turned into a one lane path with jungle on either side. Our driver nearly had a temper tantrum, and I kept apologizing as we walked away.

  1. Do the stream trek until this waterfall, then turn back.
    • Recommended unless you want to do the first-aid-free version of the Spartan Super (8+ miles, 25+ obstacles).
    • 4km roundtrip, plus the walk from and back to the Tung Chung MTR station if you don’t take a taxi (3km one way)
  2. Loop: Stream trek + vertical wall climbs + bushwhacking + exhausting ascent + getting lost and following old and unreliable ribbons tied to random tree branches until you reach Sam Shan Toi (mountain). From there it’s a clearly marked trail looping back to Tung Chung.
  3. Continue from Sam Shan Toi to Nam Shan Campsite. From there you can jump on the bus or walk to Mui Wo, where you can eat and take the ferry back to Hong Kong Island.

For more detailed directions on how to get to the starting point, check out hongkonghikes.com

What we did – route #2

Of course we aimed to make it to Mui Wo, but quickly abandoned that plan some time after we scaled the edge of the 70ft waterfall (after the red stone cliff).

Some important things to keep in mind:

  • Wear sturdy footwear with good grip. Better if they’re amphibious so you can wade through water instead of trying to jump too far to the next dry rock. I wore TEVA semi hiking sandals but they weren’t fitted enough around my feet for leaping. They also started to chafe at my skin halfway through, ’till I was bleeding in the end.
  • Bring more than your usual amount of water needed while hiking. We stocked up but literally ran out of water halfway through for various reasons (dropped along the way, dehydration). I would say at least 2-3 liters PER PERSON.
  • DON’T follow signs to the Wong Lung Hang Country Trail through the country park arch. That takes you on a totally different hike altogether.
  • If you choose to do route #2 or #3, take the lefthand fork of the stream unless you want to end up in the middle of nowhere.
  • Food and snacks. It’s going to be a long journey!

Word of advice – enjoy the beautiful nature up until this point, because that 2km stretch from the beginning to this waterfall is the best part. Turn around here unless you want to actually challenge your physical limits

“That was the hardest hike in Hong Kong I’ve ever done.” — Jo, who happens to be a trail runner and rock climber

Joyce scrambling and pulling herself up using ropes, branches and rocks. DON’T wear a bikini for this hike like we did! There were giant spiders along the way and loads of thorny bushes and scratchy grass

Wong Lung Hang Stream Trek - Lantau Island 5

The bushwhacking part, climbing to the mountain’s ridge to meet the main trail

The end in sight; would be happy but too tired to celebrate

Getting out

It was a short walk from the road where we ended, but mentally we had already totally thrown in the towel and refused to take one step more. We actually took an Uber to the MTR Tung Chung Station, which must have been only 1km away max from the end of the hike!

Half of us were bleeding and probably all scratched by the end of the hike, but on hindsight I think we’re all happy we did it… except for Brad, maybe. He was visiting from California and was super happy at the beginning of the trail. I remember this one moment he was dipping his toes in the water; he beamed at me and said, “This is EXACTLY what I wanted to be doing today!”  By the end he seemed half dead, was limping, and had popped a toenail. I’m so sorry, Brad…

img_0078.jpg

Should you do this?

Do route #1 if you can run 5km comfortably. Do #2 if you can run 10km without a problem. Do route #3 if you can run a half marathon (21km). These rules aren’t hard and fast, but a good idea of how difficult this is, because clearly we didn’t heed the other warnings!

Have you done this stream trek before? Do you think I’m exaggerating?! Would you do this? Let me know in the comments below!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s