The hike: Shui Hau to Shek Pik
Distance: 6km Time: 2 to 2 1/2 hours
This lovely and undemanding coastal walk is one of Hong Kong’s most under-rated. It passes a good swimming beach, picnic spots and campsites and offers spectacular views across the South China Sea.
It’s a relatively short walk and can be done either from the Shui Hau or Shek Pik ends. It could complete the day for energetic short-term visitors who have done the temples and stilt houses in Ngong Ping and Tai O in the morning.
Alight from the bus at Shui Hau Village stop and walk 50m ahead to the Shui Hau Bridge turnoff (or if coming from Tai O direction, cross the road and head in the direction you just came). Turn left here, cross the bridge and continue along the paved path up the slope toward the coast.
After 12-15 minutes you will reach the turn to the Lo Kei Wan campsite. Take that turn and head down a well-made stone path for next 300-400m.
It’s a medium-grade descent with shallow steps. About halfway down you will start to see glimpses of Lo Kei Wan Bay and beach. In a few minutes the track will offer a left fork to the beach. If it’s a swim you have in mind, turn here.
If not, continue past a brackish stream on your left and you will shortly reach a crossroads with a timber toilet cabin on the right. On the left is a path to the Lo Kei Wan campsite and beach. This is a popular swimming, camping and picnic spot on a 500-metre arc of sand. During public holidays it is perhaps a bit too popular; if you like your camping away from crowds it is best to avoid during holiday periods.
Turn right at the toilet block and head up the track. Almost immediately you will start to ascend a stone path similar to the one you’ve just walked down on. This is the longest uphill spell of the walk. Much of it is under shade, so even on warm days it is not too challenging.
After about ten minutes you will reach a crest with a sturdy rock placed handily on the left shoulder. This is a natural spot for a break and to take in the excellent views across the busy ferry and fishing routes below. Enjoy.
From here it’s quite easy walking along a gentle decline or flat coastal path. After about seven or eight minutes the sea view opens up again, with the Soko Islands due south directly on your left. There are several places along here to stop and photograph.
Continue along and after another ten to 15 minutes another view opens up, this one straight ahead of you to the west. You will see Tai Long Wan – the bay that lies the other side of Shek Pik – and Lung Wui Shan behind it.
You are now above Tong Wan, the bay just before Shek Pik (which is on the bay called Tung Wan).
In ten minutes or so the path will track away from the coast and cross the Tong Wan peninsula. Here you will meet the turnoff to the Shek Lam Chau campsite. This is a secluded spot which lacks the beach access of Lo Kei Wan but even at peak holiday periods is quiet. The campsite is watered by a nearby stream and is a short descent from the main path.
Keep going, because shortly you will reach another rise with a view, this time showing Shek Pik prison and the dam wall that towers over it. For a view of where you’ve just come from, clamber up the short track to the left.
From here it’s a comfortable descent to Shek Pik. Once a village at the foot of a valley and adjacent to one of Hong Kong’s most beautiful bays, it now holds Lantau’s main freshwater supply and a maximum security prison. On the way you will pass a small bamboo grove and the Red Cross Youth Camp before exiting onto the paved path right on the bay.
Turn right here, which will take you back to the bus stop on South Lantau Road. It’s only about a kilometre but much of it is quite a sharp incline.
If you’d like to a break from the climb, you can take a detour to the Shek Pik Rock carvings. It is not the most scintillating tourist site you will visit, but it is evidence of the earliest settlement of the island some 3,000 years ago.
To get there turn left at the junction about 400m up the path and follow the signs.
To complete the journey, return to the junction from and make the short uphill walk to South Lantau Road. The bus stop is immediately to your right opposite.
You can catch a 1 or 2 to Mui Wo or 11 or 23 to Tung Chung. The taxi fare will be approximately $100 to Mui Wo and $130 to Tung Chung, but be warned that taxis are scarce in tourist season and weekends and holidays.
For those looking for post-hike meal or drinks, the nearest option is the Gallery in Tong Fuk (opposite the taxi stand), or head to the restaurant strip at Lower Cheung Sha Beach.