Tag Archives: Nam Shan

Rediscovering Lantau Island

28 Sep

Airport and Ngong Ping 360: two places that had become synonymous with Lantau Island. And this is what I thought Lantau was all about, up until only a few months ago when I started training for the MoonTrekker adventure race. I know… It’s a real shame. I had been to Lantau many times since my arrival in HK but only associated the island with the below:

  1. Going to and coming back from the airport;
  2. Visiting Ngong Ping 360 and its Big Buddha, a tourist attraction where I would often bring visiting friends and family members.

I deeply apologize to all the Lantau people out there. I had been an ignorant Hongkonger… But it was all about to change.

Yes, those days in the dark about Lantau are now over as I have been spending a lot of time on the island lately. No complaints. Lantau is a lovely place that offers an array of outdoor activities, especially in the hiking trails department. I have been hiking there a lot over the past months and it is nice to get a different perspective on the island. But little did I know that I would come to enjoy it so much and that it would become a regular playground and serve as a great escape from the city.

A few weeks ago, on a beautiful sunny (and very early) Saturday morning, our team, Team Moonshine, decided to train on Stage 2 of the Lantau trail (Nam Shan to Pak Kung Au), which entailed hiking from CP2 to CP3, as seen on the MoonTrekker race course map. We were not expecting something too difficult. We mostly wanted to get familiar with that 7km section of the route, which was where our team would be able to walk at a faster pace and gain some time before reaching the steepest part of the course. Therefore, it was going to be a nice Saturday morning hike, with great weather (the possibility of getting a subtle tan was definitely an incentive for us) and new areas to discover.

As we started the hike, I expected to witness similar panoramic views to what the Chi Ma Wan country trail had offered us recently. However, I was happily surprised to experience something totally different. While the Chi Ma Wan country trail looped around the peninsula, giving us the option of walking along a breathtaking coastal path, Stage 2 of Lantau trail presented us a distinct perspective of Lantau Island. The trail was higher up so we got to see all the way to Hong Kong Island which was quite something considering the smog that often clouds the city skyline. It was impressive to look at the urban scenery from so far away. The city almost looked like a mirage, as if it didn’t really existed. As I stated in a previous post, while hiking in Hong Kong, it is always intriguing to see the stark contrasts between the rapid urbanization and the natural environment.

On the other hand, when walking through the forest, we felt as if we were in a tropical jungle. With gigantic spiders, snakes and all. I repeat: gigantic spiders and snakes!

Half way through the trail, as we were resting and snapping a few pictures, we looked down and saw the town of Pui O. The sky was blue, but dark clouds were floating over the small urban area. It contrasted quite dramatically with the rest of the blue canvas. It suddenly started raining over Pui O. It was sunny everywhere else, except over the town. It was a rather odd sight. We silently wished that the cloud would follow its course opposite to where we were heading. Unfortunately, it ended up right above our heads, and for a good 20 minutes, we walked under some heavy, torrential rain. Oh well! What can we do…

After this beautiful 7km hike, we debated on whether we would keep hiking or head home. One of our teammate had a previous afternoon engagement so she caught a bus back to Mui Wo. But the rest of us decided to keep on training and headed for another section of the Lantau trail (Pak Kung Au to Ngong Ping via Lantau peak). It was a difficult section, especially under the midday sun, but it turned out to be very rewarding in the end. One who chooses this route will be richly rewarded by the experience, as while the path can be very rocky and steep, the beautiful landscape that the difficult trail passes through is undeniable. This section of the Lantau trail definitely deserves a post of its own. Coming soon on The Kina Chronicles!

Where is it?

From Central Pier 6, you must take the ferry to Mui Wo. As you can see on the schedule, there are two options: slow ferry (1 hour trip) or fast ferry (about 30 minutes trip).

It is possible to walk from Mui Wo to Nam Shan. However that morning, we got a little lazy and ended up catching a bus to the beginning of the trail. The bus station is right in front of the ferry terminal. Just look for a bus going to Pui O. Make sure you get off before reaching the top of the hill heading towards Pui O. You will see the Lantau trail sign on the right hand side of the road.

When you finish Stage 2, you will have three options:

  1. Take the bus towards Mui Wo and catch a ferry back to Hong Kong
  2. Take the bus towards Tung Chung and ride the MTR to Hong Kong
  3. But if you still have some energy left, I strongly suggest you continue the hike and hit Lantau peak.

As stated previously, I will tell you more about Lantau peak in an upcoming post. But until then, here is a little teaser of the view you will get from up there. After that first Lantau peak escapade, our team has been doing that hike at least once a week (yes, that’s what I call motivation!) and the panorama still amazes me every single time.

The good?

Stage 2 of the Lantau trail is not too difficult physically, and it rewards one with breathtaking views. It is actually a hike I will most likely do again after the MoonTrekker event, when I feel like clearing my head in HK’s natural retreat.

Anything else?

At the beginning of the trail, you have the option to head towards Pak Kung Au or hike up to Sunset peak. I have never been to Sunset peak, but this is definitely on my to-do list for the upcoming months. I will keep you posted on that as well.

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