1. The Jardine’s Lookout Hike – Hong Kong

    Earlier this year whilst looking through Instagram, I saw a photo of an amazing view over Hong Kong Island and Kowloon. It was taken from a spot called Jardine’s Lookout on Stage 2 of the Wilson Trail and immediately I knew that I wanted to go and get this photo for myself despite my only “hiking” experience at this point being the incredibly easy Lamma Island Family Trail.

    On my next visit to Hong Kong a few weeks later, I woke up early on my final morning to see blue skies outside and I immediately knew that I had to do the hike that morning. It was the end of March and as the humidity was still low, it really was the perfect day to do it – I could not imagine hiking in the summer humidity. The views are what really make this hike what it is so I would not recommend doing it unless the weather is good and the skies are clear.

    I had come to Hong Kong prepared with my water bottle, snacks and sensible walking shoes. I also had my camera ready to go as well as lots of spare batteries. As it was a clear day, I also made sure to use suntan lotion with a high SPF as there really is no shade at all during the trail. After being bitten many times by mosquitos in Lamma Island, I also had a bottle of insect repellent with me but I did not need to use it on this day but this could be different at other times of the year.

    Stage 2 of the Wilson Trail starts at Parkview close to the Wong Nai Chung Reservoir. To get here you can take either Bus 6 or 66 from Central or Admiralty to Wong Nai Chung Gap. You will then have to walk approximately fifteen minutes uphill along Tai Tam Reservoir Road to the start point of the hike which will be on your left. As I was staying in Causeway Bay, it was quicker and easier for me (albeit more expensive) to take an Uber there from my hotel which only took ten minutes and which allowed me to avoid that walk uphill from the bus stop – I just typed in “Wilson Trail” as my destination which will bring up the exact start point that you need.

    The start of the Wilson Trail is clearly signposted from the road – you cannot miss it. The Hong Kong Trail is also marked as Stage 5 of that coincides with Stage 2 of the Wilson Trail. From here, follow the sign for Jardine’s Lookout.

    The walk from Parkview to Jardine’s Lookout is just over one kilometre and is very easy and involves some steps as well as some fairly easy uphill paths. Not long after I started the hike, I was immediately rewarded with some incredible views across the south of Hong Kong Island towards Repulse Bay, Ocean Park and even Lamma Island in the distance.

    Even with stopping to take countless photographs, I reached Jardine’s Lookout just over twenty minutes after I left Parkview. If you just want an amazing view of Hong Kong, you could easily get to this point before heading back in the same direction and not continuing on the rest of the trail.

    The view across Hong Kong and Kowloon from Jardine’s Lookout was everything I wanted it to be and more. It was a clear day and I could could see so much and I could not stop taking photographs. As it was still early in the morning, I had the viewpoint to myself and the peace and quiet combined with that view was an amazing yet surreal feeling. I think the view of Hong Kong is even better from here than from the Peak – definitely less crowds too!

    As you’ve walked all that way uphill, the next section is downhill towards the base of the quarry. Again this part of the hike was not too bad – it was mainly steps – and the views of Tai Tam Reservoir and the east of Hong Kong Island were incredible.

    However the trail then goes uphill alongside the quarry towards the top of Mount Butler. It actually felt a little daunting looking up and seeing how much of a climb was ahead. However as a newcomer to hiking, I found the best way to get through it is to make sure you have plenty of water and climb it in small sections as it felt much more manageable that way.

    Despite this section being hard work, the views everywhere more than made up for any discomfort in the uphill hike. I could see Parkview in the distance where I had started the trail and I felt a real sense of accomplishment. Even the view across Hong Kong Island was constantly changing.

    The Hong Kong and Wilson Trails separate before reaching the top of Mount Butler. To continue on the Wilson Trail, you need to turn left. After another very short stretch of uphill stair walking, the views looking down to Hong Kong Island and across to Kowloon left me speechless and wondering how I had never known that this view existed until recently. You can even see what used to be the runway at Kai Tak airport which is now a cruise terminal and on the day I did this hike, the Queen Mary 2 was docked there.

    The walk is now all downhill and it was not too steep which was good. However there are many different paths you can take once you have got down the hill. I was not sure which one to take but the good news is that they will all lead to somewhere in the North Point or Quarry Bay area. From starting to finishing Stage 2 of the Wilson Trail took me just under three hours.

    Once I had left Tai Tam Country Park, I looked at Google Maps on my phone and could see that it looked like I was actually closer in distance to North Point MTR station so I decided to walk there instead of Quarry Bay as it looked quicker. However in hindsight, I should have gone to Quarry Bay as I had to walk down a lot of stairs to get to North Point station which hurt quite a lot after hiking over six kilometres that morning – my legs felt like jelly when I finally got to the bottom. Thankfully I only had to take the MTR three stops back to Causeway Bay so before I knew it I was sitting back in my hotel room relaxing after a much needed refreshing cold shower. Lunch that day had never tasted so good!

    Amazingly I felt okay for the rest of the day and my legs only started to hurt a little about half way through my flight back to London. However when I woke up from my sleep after the flight, I could barely walk let alone make it up and down the stairs at home. However this little discomfort was not bad at all considering this was my first big hike and was a small price to pay for being able to see that view of Hong Kong.

    I felt such a sense of pride and achievement after doing this hike that I now cannot wait to do my next one. Please let me know in the comments below which Hong Kong hike I should do next!

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