Hike: Tai Mo Shan and Ng Tung Chai Waterfalls

by - May 17, 2014

The path down from Tai Mo Shan
The summit
With the clock really ticking on my time in Hong Kong, I was able to spy a free moment to get some hiking done by taking a half day out of the library to climb up Hong Kong’s tallest peak, Tai Mo Shan (literally Big Hat Mountain), which at 957m tall is about the same size as England’s largest mountain Scafell Pike.  Having had some absolutely spectacular weather almost every day that I have been out hiking in HK, my luck was bound to run out eventually and the day was unfortunately very overcast and rainy.  There is a weather station owned  by the Hong Kong Observatory at the summit, which means that while it is impossible to get to the absolute top of the mountain, there is a road all the way up - the majority of which is open to the public. My taxi driver dropped me about halfway up this access road and I made my way up through the clouds as far as I could get, with sporadic views over the New Territories to my left (looking north) and Western Kowloon to my right (looking south).  Unfortunately the latter of these views was particularly obscured, though it must be said that my previous hike to the Lion Rock provided ample chance to take in this vista.  I had never seen this part of the New Territories however, looking up the western side of Hong Kong towards the border with China.  On a clear day, I think it would be possible to see all the way to Shenzhen, the Chinese city of 8 million people which runs straight up to the Hong Kong border.  One feature of particular interest was Hong Kong’s other airport, which few people know exists.  Constructed by the RAF, this airport now mainly serves military, cargo and recreational aircraft.

Hong Kong’s other airport - Shek Kong Airfield
Jungle Terrain
After reaching the summit (or as close as I could get) relatively quickly I then began to make my way down towards the second part of the hike, which would be more jungle-based as I tried to find the largest waterfall in Hong Kong, near to the village of Ng Tung Chai.  By now the fog had cleared a little, though it was raining sporadically - while there were signs advising against hiking this area in the rain due to the risk of landslides, there were plenty of locals out enjoying a Sunday afternoon stroll and I thought that the waterfalls would be even more spectacular after a storm.  On my way down to the (well signposted) waterfalls, I passed herds of wild cows - the descendants of domesticated animals that had broken free and now live up in the hills.  The scenery changed fairly abruptly once I passed a certain altitude and I found myself in lush banana groves, following a network of streams which eventually led me to the three major waterfalls at the side of the mountain - one of which is the largest in Hong Kong.  I was right about the water level - all three of the falls were spectacular due to the recent rain and I spent a while cooling off while trying to get the perfect photo.  My hiking book suggested the road to the end of the trail was blocked by landslides and that I would have to go around to reach the end of the hike in the village - but it appears the path has been cleared since the book has been published, meaning it only took me a further half hour to get back to the village, from where buses ran to Tai Po and the nearest MTR line.  As I made my way into the village I came across a beautiful little monastery perched in the hills - even with a fortnight left here, Hong Kong is still throwing up surprises.

Photos below:

View over the New Territories 

Managed to get the ‘moving water’ picture at the first waterfall!

Hong Kong’s largest waterfall

The beautiful monastery that I found in the hills at the end of the hike

You May Also Like