Embrace the clouds as you hike the Tai Mo Shan in Hong Kong. The Tai Mo Shan mountain gives you beautiful panoramic views of the city while you are in the midst of foggy clouds at a height of 957 meters above sea level. Tai Mo Shan is now an extinct volcano which is occupied by the military and was once the main cultivation centre for local tea merchants. Tai Mo Shan stands to be the most hiked mountain in Hong Kong.
Tai Mo Shan Height
Tai Mo Shan is the tallest peak with its highest point being 957 meters (above sea level). The mountain has a steep ascend and so the cultivation and vegetation at Tai Mo are extremely different from other parts of Hong Kong. Tai Mo Shan also receives remarkably higher levels of rainfall with about 30% more rain compared to the other parts of Hong Kong.
What to expect at Tai Mo Shan
As you walk into the jungles, you’ll feel the hustle-bustle of Hong Kong city gradually muting out and being replaced by the chirping of cicadas and the crushing of leaves as you walk through the dense forests on your hike to the mighty Tai Mo Shan mountain.
Tai Mo Shan Hike Details
You can start the hike to the Tai Mo Shan mountains from the southern side or the northern side, depending on your fitness levels and your inclination towards a rough hike.
Duration of the hike:
The hike lasts for about five hours but might vary depending on your speed and on the number of halts you take.
Moderate to high. More suitable for seasoned hikers or people with relatively good fitness levels.
Hiking from the Southern side
The hike from the Southern side begins from the Tai Mo Shan Country Park. From Country Park, you can walk a little further to go towards the Rotary Club. Continue ahead on the paved path up to Tai Mo Shan which is a relatively easy climb. The initial part of the hike from the Southern side is paved out but as you go ahead, it becomes rocky and rough.
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Hiking from the northern side
If you’re a pro at hiking and want a hardcore hiking experience, hike the mountains from the north side as it is more challenging compared to the hike from the southern side.
From the northern side, you can start the hike from the village of Ng Tung Chai and cross five beautiful waterfalls on the way. One of these four waterfalls called the Main Falls, happen to be the tallest waterfalls in all of Hong Kong. You can wash up or even swim at one of the waterfalls while you’re hiking. As you continue to walk, you’ll reach a Taoist worship site that is painted in tones of yellow ranging from a deep scarlet to a shining golden. The worship site is called Man Tak Yuen, was built as a prayer place by locals when the region was hit by a drought in 1981. It has since been known as a water temple among the locals. As you continue to go ahead on the Tai Mo Shan Road, you will reach the Tai Mo Shan Lookout. The Tai Mo Shan Lookout will give you the best views of the hill contours that surround the gargantuan Tai Mo Shan mountains. If you’re blessed with clear weather on the day of the hike, you’ll see the whole of Hong Kong and even the territory of Schenzen from here. If you happen to go hiking around the extremely cold months, you will also meet locals who scale up to the mountain’s peak to experience the first frost of the season. The entire trail is full of scenic views of Hong Kong, sounds of chirping birds and the smell of nature. Unfortunately, there is no peak access for hikers as the area is occupied by the military at the top. You’ll know you’ve almost reached the top of the mountain when you start feeling cool air brushing against your face and when you finally see the Tai Mo Shan weather radar through the foggy mountain weather. The weather radar is situated at a height of about 950 metres above mean sea level and offers aerial views of the whole region.
Tai Mo Shan hike: Places to visit
Here are the places you must make a point to visit around Tai Mo Shan if you are taking a hike all the way to the top.
1. Tai Mo Shan Country Park
Tai Mo Shan Country Park is also known as the Visitor Centre and is a preserve around the peak of Tai Mo Shan. Travellers can learn about the rich history of the mountain as well as the wildlife that resides within the confines of the mountains and jungles. Make sure you visit the Country Park before you set off on your hike as they also guide you on the weather at Tai Mo Shan and even about fire safety, especially around the summer months.Reaching the Tai Mo Shan Country Park: You can take bus number 51 from Tsuen Wan, then board off at the bus station located close to the junction of Tai Mo Shan Road and Route Twisk. From this point, the Tai Mo Shan Country Park is only a ten-minute walk away.
2. Rotary Club near the Visitor center
Once you’re done visiting the Tai Mo Shan Country Park, you can start off your hike with a steep stone-carved staircase, lying on the southern side of the mountain. These stairs take you towards the Rotary Club where you can eat, camp and relax. As you go up the staircase, you’ll see a piece of land that can accommodate up to four room tents. This is the best place to take a small break before you go ahead with your hike. The Rotary Club also has a paved path which has another spot, frequented by college students and hikers for chilled out barbecue sessions with friends. The Rotary Park also has a lot of cherry blossom trees, making it one of the best places to see cherry blossoms in the months of February and early March.
3. Tai Mo Shan Waterfalls
Tai Mo Shan is the proud home to the Ng Tung Chai waterfalls, also called the Main Falls. The Ng Tung Chai waterfalls trickle down the mountains in a series of cascades with each being more enchantingly beautiful than the other. As you hike to the top (about 3.5 kilometers), you’ll reach the Main Falls, make sure you stay here for some time to bask in the majesty of these waterfalls, to feel the light invigorating sprinkles of the water on your face as they fall from a soaring height.
Insider Tips: Tai Mo Shan Hike
- Don’t carry too much weight with you as the stairs are steep and you might feel uncomfortable while climbing the mountain with too much baggage. – Carry warm clothes or at least an extra pair of clothes. The temperature at Tai Mo Shan is a lot lower than the rest of Hong Kong so be prepared for it.
- Don’t pluck flowers or plants. – If you’re going around summer time, make sure you carry at least two bottles of water with you and a head cover (cap or hat) along with sunglasses.
- Make sure you wear appropriate footwear while hiking as the paths are rocky and slippery especially around the monsoon season.
- If you’re visiting Tai Mo Shan for a sit-down barbecue session with friends or family, avoid the summer months as there is a higher fire risk around that time.
- For a more insightful hiking experience, you can also choose to hike the mountain with a professional guide who will tell you about the flora, fauna, the temples and the villages around the Tai Mo Shan along with lots of stories about hikers. These guides can also help you select hiking routes that suit your fitness levels.
The Tai Mo Shan hike is a much-needed break from the city life that we all are constantly entangled in. One of the most exhilarating experiences that the city of Hong Kong and is an escape into the woods from the concrete jungles. When are you planning your trip to Hong Kong for a refreshing retreat at Tai Mo Shan?
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