Episode 14 Drone and Phone – Biking Nam Sang Wai the last in the series of Hong Kong’s five best bike rides. This short flat loop is perfect for a family day out, with plenty of places to explore amongst the myriad of paths that cross the wetlands. It’s also a great place to take to spot wild birds on the rivers and ponds.
There is something here for every cyclist. A fast downhill along a paved track, a challenging off road trail with great mountain and reservoir views all the way and some spectacular waterfalls and wildlife.
Starting at the Chi Ma Wan ferry pier this ride begins with a windy road through small villages and up onto the south Lantau road. Following the coast you will cycle along Hong Kong’s longest beach and then up into the hills to the spectacular Shek Pik reservoir. From there you join section 10 of the Lantau trail which has been adapted into a mountain bike trail. The relatively flat concrete path follows the contours of the mountains all the way back to Pui O where you can return to the Chi Ma Wan ferry or choose to tackle Nam Shan mountain for a more direct route back to Mui Wo.
Starting at the far end of the Tai Mei Tuk dam, I was greeted by swarms of swallows ducking and diving across the embankment to catch green fly that you also have to negotiate as you cycle the length of the dam. On a cold wet winter’s day the dam is so long that is disappears into the fog, a truly magical start to probably Hong Kong’s most popular bike ride.
The last two sections of the Hong Kong trail are very different. The first, a long flat walk tracing the coastline of Tai Tam bay with sweeping views and a beach at the end to lunch and swim. The next section a tough climb t start, followed by a spectacular ridge walk before descending slowly through woods to Big Wave bay. It’s the longest and toughest of the walks in this series but well worth the effort.
Take a bus or ferry to the north end of Tai Tum Tuk Reservoir Dam then look for the sign to the trail on your right about 100m up the road. Follow the path with the stream on your left and the bay on your right for around 6 KM until you reach a small beach. From there you turn left at the sign post for the Dragon’s back, head up to Shek O road, then across and continue up and along the Dragon’s back. After you finish the ridge it’s a long walk through the woods to a road. Turn left and follow the signs down to Big Wave bay. From the bay go up the hill to your left where you will find transport out.
Section 5 of the Hong Kong trail boasts views that would be hard to beat anywhere in the world. It’s a steep climb, first up to Jardine’s lookout and then to Mount Butler but the path is wide open for most of the way with sweeping city panorama’s on your left and mountains and reservoirs to your right. Section six is an easy decent through the lush Tai Tam valley as you weave through the four reservoirs on your way down to Tai Tam road.
Find Tai Tam reservoir road, just past the cricket club on Wong Nai Chung Gap road and head up till you see a big sign for the Hong Kong and Wilson Trails. The two trails run together for the first part as you make your way up to Jardine’s lookout. Bear right where the two trails part and follow the signs up to Mount Butler. From there steps will take you down to a small park. From here on in the trail is not marked. Bear right down a road to Tai Tam reservoir then continue down Tai Tam reservoir road. Look out for a sign on the left (it’s not obvious) that takes you on a small path to Tai Tam road.
Hong Kong Island is split in half by a series of ridges. On the north side facing Victoria harbor lies one of the world’s most densely populated cities. On the south just over the hill lies thick forests with muddy paths that you can walk in solitude. There is nowhere where you can feel this parallel world more, than on sections three and four of the Hong Kong trail. Section three is a flat wooded walk that loops along the contours of a steep incline. Section four is more open with stunning views across the south of the island.
Start in Aberdeen along the promenade then make you way through the town to Peel Rise which takes you through a cemetery to the junction of sections two and tree. Continue up the track looking out for a sign for the Hong Kong Trail on your right. Once you find this it’s a straight walk, well signposted up until Wanchai Gap. Section four continues on a similar path but slowly opens up with views across the south of Hong Kong Island. Before you reach Wong Nai Cheng reservoir you cross Repulse Bay Road where there are buses to the City or back to Aberdeen.