With the mountainous terrain, hiking is a thing to do in Hong Kong. From the easy Dragon’s Back in Hong Kong Island to the Tai Long Wan in Sai Kung and highest mountain in Tai Mo Shan, how about watching the first sunrise on the mountain!
Tai Mo Shan
Tai Mo Shan is the tallest natural peak in Hong Kong, standing at 3,200 feet about sea level. The hiking trail is suitable for blue sunny summer skies or dark misty winter nights. The mountain top can get very chilly, making it a popular peak during summer.
First Sunrise on Tai Mo Shan
Tai Mo Shan is known for their sunrise, as it is located on the east side of Hong Kong.
After New Year’s Eve celebration in West Kowloon, we took the train to Tsuen Wan MTR to hike Tai Mo Shan. We were supposed to go as a group of 15 people, in the end, we only went with 8, because everyone was cold and sleepy.
Trevellers Tips: The train runs 24 hours on public holidays like New Year’s Eve. So save up to HKD$130 by taking the train instead of the cab!
At Tsuen Wan MTR, we took 2 cabs to Tai Mo Shan. The cab driver alighted us at the foot of the mountain and we started our hike up. The midnight wind carried the chilly winter breeze with it, freezing us with every step.
We huddled together and stopped for hugs, as we made our way up. From a drunk New Year’s Eve celebration to freezing temperatures on the mountain, I was feeling cold and sleepy. I rubbed my hands together to create some heat as the 3 layers of sweaters did nothing to keep me warm.
It felt like forever to reach the peak, but as I ascend, Valentin was telling me about his sunrise hike to Tai Mo Shan the other time. He hiked it on the midnight that we met, after the cycling trip in Tai Wai. I declined the invitation as the weather said it would pour. No doubt, the night was wet and cold, perfect for snuggling in bed. He continued the hike with 10 other people.
Tai Mo Shan can get extremely cold at night, dropping to as low as 1-3 degrees Celsius (33-37 Fahrenheit) in winter. With the lashing wind and hours of rain, it did nothing to help them keep warm. In the end, they went decided to ignore the cold and dance in the rain. It was so cold that their bodies were numb and felt nothing. To make matters worse, the foggy weather and constant rain hid the sun from sight. Nonetheless, it was one of his favourite hikes sometimes, things do not have to make sense to be fun.
After the story, we reached the peak, shivering in cold. Along the way to the peak, people pitched tents and brought their own cooking materials. Walking past the cooking pots, you could smell the piping hot instant noodles with spicy Tom Yam soup. My freezing body could not move, but my stomach was churning in disagreement. Imagine that hot tasty and spicy soup sliding down your throat into your stomach, warming you up from the inside.
We found a good spot to sit and wait for the sun to rise. We fell asleep as both of us squeezed into a tiny sleeping bag. Waking up to the sun radiating its heat on your face on the mountain top is like no other. The sky broke into a myriad of colors as the sun began to wake the life up on Earth. We watched the first sunrise of the year, hugging each other for more warmth. Despite the freezing and exhausting hike, watching the first sunrise of the year in someone’s arms is the best start to a wonderful year. And indeed, I had one of the best years of my life!
Great for: sunrise, midnight hikes, adventure junkies, photographers
Take the cab from Tsuen Wan MTR to Tai Mo Shan campsite. There is a parking lot near the campsite as well. You can be asked to drop off there, or drive your own car there. It costs about HKD$100.
Alternatively, take Bus 51 (to Kam Tin) from Tsuen Wan West Railway Station bus stop and get off at the Country Park stop. You can either walk or take Minibus 82 to MacLehose Trail Section 7 and 8. Get off at the final stop. There is a bathroom and campsite there.
From the visitor’s center, there is proper hiking road to get to the peak. It takes 1.5 hours to get to the top. MacLehose Trail Section 7 goes through Shing Mun Country Park to the east, and Section 8 goes to Tai Mo Shan Peak.
At the summit, you can stop at any section to watch the sunrise. The highest point is cordoned off by the government, so do not enter.
What To Do on Tai Mo Shan
Tai Mo Shan is amazing for hiking. But, there is also a campsite available. At the camping ground, you can also barbecue at the barbecue pits available. Washroom is available at the visitors’ centre, but the cleanliness level is subjective.
The best time to hike and camp is in Autumn. It has a great combination of the sunny and dry weather in summer, paired with the autumn breeze in the winter. It makes the hike less sticky and uncomfortable than in summer. Nonetheless, any time is a great time for hiking and scenery on Tai Mo Shan.
Name of Place: Tai Mo Shan
Address: North of Kowloon
Getting There: Cab from Tsuen Wan MTR (HKD$100)
Hiking Duration: 3 hours in total
Difficulty: Moderate to slightly difficult (3.5/5)
Best For: Sunrise
Activities: Camping, hiking, photography
- Layer up if you are going to watch sunrise. Temperatures can drop to as low as as 1-3 degrees Celsius (33-37 Fahrenheit) in winter
- Traveling with 4-5 people, share the cab from Tsuen Wan MTR (HKD$100). You’ll save time and it costs about the same.
- Other than hiking, the scenery is amazing and you can even camp there.