Looking down on Shek O from Dragon's Back

Look­ing down on Shek O from Drag­on’s Back


Dragon’s Back

Drag­on’s Back, a por­tion of the much longer Hong Kong Trail, is an eas­i­ly acces­si­ble, not very stren­u­ous hike along a ridge­line with great views of the ocean and islands sur­round­ing the Shek O penin­su­la on Hong Kong Island. It has been rat­ed as one of the best if not THE best hike in Hong Kong as well as Time Magazine’s “Best Urban Hike in Asia” in Nov 2004. It cer­tain­ly has some amaz­ing views with a good effort to reward ratio. A per­fect half day out­ing with options to hang out at 2 dif­fer­ent beach­es after­ward. Here is your com­plete guide to the Drag­on’s Back Hike:

Shek O beach and Village from Dragon's Back

Shek O beach and Vil­lage from Drag­on’s Back

Dragon’s Back Hike::

Time Need­ed: 1.5 — 3 hours

Click here for the map of the trail locat­ed at the end of the post.

There are a few ways to do the Drag­on’s Back Hike. I will list the most direct first and then the oth­er options.

To the trailhead:
Take bus # 9 from the Shau Kei Wan Bus Ter­mi­nal on Hong Kong Island (The eas­i­est way to get to the bus ter­mi­nal is to take the Island Line MTR, Shau Kei Wan Sta­tion, exit A3. Bus #9 is right there).

Get off the bus at the To Tei Wan stop along Shek O Road. The trail­head is on your left. It’s well marked. This is labeled as “Start­ing Point” on the map below

The Drag­on’s Back Trail grad­u­al­ly ascends in and out of the trees and bush­es. At the junc­tion fol­low the signs for “Dragon’s Back” and “Hong Kong Trail”.

Soon you’ll arrive at the ridge, the back of the drag­on, as it snakes its way up to Shek O peak. The views up here are spec­tac­u­lar. To the South is the Shek O Penin­su­la and D’Aguilar Peak. Below you to the East is Shek O Beach and Shek O Vil­lage, to the West is Tai Tam Bay. It’s quite a grand view on a clear day. You might see paraglid­ers up here as they launch them­selves into the steady breeze com­ing up the ridge, play­ing in the air currents.

First view of Shek O from Dragon's Back ridge

First view of Shek O from Drag­on’s Back ridge

Con­tin­ue up the ridge, tak­ing time to appre­ci­ate the views.

Dragon's Back ridge

Drag­on’s Back ridge to Shek O Peak

There are numer­ous view­points. At the final view­ing area is Shek O Peak and the top of the drag­ons back with a sign and a bench. On the week­end it’s pos­si­ble this place will be quite crowd­ed, so you might have to wait to use your self­ie stick.

View of Tai Tam Bay, to the West

View of Tai Tam Bay, to the West from Drag­on’s Back Trail

From here you have a few options to go down, the fastest would be to return the way you came (15–20 min­utes). The next option is to con­tin­ue along the ridge descend­ing to either Tai Tam Gap 40–60 min­utes) or con­tin­u­ing on to Big Wave Bay (1.5 — 2 hours). If you have time I would rec­om­mend going all the way to Big Wave Bay. This is the route drawn on the map at the end of the post.

Returning via Tai Tam Gap or Big Wave Bay

View of Big Wave Bay from Dragon's Back.

View of Big Wave Bay from Drag­on’s Back

Dragon's Back Trail, coming down from Shek O Peak

Drag­on’s Back Trail, com­ing down from Shek O Peak

Con­tin­ue along the ridge (not turn­ing back the way you came). From here on, the views are pret­ty much over, the rest of the hike grad­u­al­ly descend­ing through the trees. At the first junc­tion turn right fol­low­ing the sign for Tai Tam Gap — Shek O Road. It’s about an hour to hike from the top down to Tai Tam Gap.

Turn right at this junction, toward Tai Tam Gap

Turn right at this junc­tion, toward Tai Tam Gap

Easy Trail through the forest to Tai Tam Gap

Easy Trail through the for­est to Tai Tam Gap

After 30–40 min­utes of walk­ing, you’ll arrive anoth­er junc­tion, which is paved. Here you have two options. To the left is Tai Tam Gap and Bus #9 back to the city (ten min­utes fur­ther). Or you can turn right and on down to Big Wave Bay (about anoth­er hour). There are 2 portable toi­lets here.

Paved Junc­tion. Left for Tai Tam Gap, Right for Big Wave Bay

Big Wave Bay:

As I men­tioned above, check out Big Wave Bay if you have time. It’s a seclud­ed sandy beach fre­quent­ed by surfers, with small stores and places to eat, a BBQ/picnic area and even some rock carv­ings thought to be about 3,000 years old. A shut­tle bus goes to and from Big Wave Bay and Shau Kei Wan.

End of Dragon’s Back Hike at Tai Tam Gap:

To Tai Tam Gap, take a left at the junc­tion and then anoth­er left a few min­utes lat­er at some signs for “Shek O Road”. Down the stairs and onto the “Cape Col­li­sion” bus stop on Shek O Road. Take bus #9 back to the city.


Dragon's Back Hiking Map to Big Wave Bay

Drag­on’s Back Hik­ing Map to Big Wave Bay

Drag­on’s Back Hik­ing Map to Big Wave Bay