Lantau Peak (Lantau Island, Hong Kong)

Lantau Peak

Have you seen the largest outdoor sitting Buddha in Hong Kong? You can take a bus, a cable car or you can hike the Lantau Trail.  It gives a view of the second highest peak in Hong Kong, which is Lantau Peak at 934 meters.  It gives you a view of the neighboring Sunset Peak and Ngong Ping. 

Lantau Peak

Heading Towards Lantau Peak

Lantau has a really developed long trails and one of the longer one is Lantau Trail, which is about 70 kilometers.  That’s good enough for those preparing for an Ultra Marathon.  Of course, not everybody can do 70 kilometers in a single run/ trek.  That’s the beauty of the Hong Kong Trail System as they’ve broken it down to manageable distance with each section having an entry and exit point. Lantau Trail is Section 3 of the Lantau Trail.

The Map and Elevation

Map is powered by Suunto Ambit 3 Sports and Movescount
Elevation Profile is Powered by Suunto Ambit 3 Sports and Movescount

The start of Lantau Trail is at Mui Wo Ferry Pier but if you want to go straight to section 3, which is Pak Kung Au to Ngong Ping, take bus 3M at Tung Chung Bus Terminal. It’s a few blocks away from Citigate, near the Cable Car Station. Advise the driver that you’re going down at Pak Kung Au since most of the passengers would be heading to Mui Wo, which is a common beach attraction. The start of the trail is on the other side of the road at Pak Kung Au. It’s an uphill climb starting at Pak Kung Au with about 600 meters ascent for the next 2.5 kilometer to reach Lantau Peak. The trail descends for the next 2 kilometers with about 500 meters worth of elevation heading to Ngong Ping Village.

Trekking Lantau Peak

Starting Point of the Trail

The more challenging part of Lantau Trail is Section 2, Sunset Peak (869MASL) and Section 3 (934 MASL).  I opted to go to Lantau Peak since it’s the higher peak and it leads to a Ngong Ping Village, which is a popular tourist attraction. Section 3 starts at Pak Kung Au and you get to see the trail marker above. The trails are properly marked and you follow a single track all throughout.

Stone Steps to start the trek.

You start to climb via stone steps and that’s a lot of stone steps as you get to go over steps like this for about 800 meters. This is the portion that’s a bit shaded so you won’t feel the heat of the sun much. It’s a pure ascent with 100-200 meters of vertical climb.  The stone steps also is a bit of a challenge since it has different sizes and some needs you to take bigger steps.  There are trail markers every 500 meters.  Stage 3 of Lantau trail is from L018-L027 so that’s about 4.5 kilometers. It’s also about 600 meters worth of ascents until Lantau Peak at 934 MASL.

See those clouds, that’s where I’m headed.

From a covered trail, the trail opens up after about 800 meters. You get to see the mountain range. At your back, you can see sunset peak and on the far end, you can see Lantau Peak. It was already hot as I started late and it was about noon already.

There were few flats and moderate inclines on some traverse along the route.

There are a few flats and moderate inclines on the traverse from one mountain area to another. You’ll barely notice them since they are short and at the same time leads to a higher incline.  The flatter part are excellent place to rest but don’t take too long as the sun’s heat can be punishing as well.  It’s just a welcome relief that there are some mountain breeze on some sections.

Sunset Peak

At your back is Sunset Peak and it’s also covered with fog. Sunset Peak is about 869 meters. The heat, humidity and the forever climb makes this a mentally challenging route.

Near the top, not really. This is around 500 meters before the peak.

Sometimes you’ll see the peak but it would turn out, it’s just a traverse to a higher peak.  The route may be short but the ascent is really long at 600 meters from the starting point. The last 500 meters to the peak feels like forever as the climb become steeper.  You can always have the mountains to refresh your eyes from all the effort.

You just have to take time and appreciate the views around you.

The last 500 meters is probably the hardest as the stone steps gets bigger and the climb gets steeper. It’s much cooler at this part though as you get to enjoy the mountain breeze and foggy surroundings.

100 meters before the Peak.

While the peak is the highlight of the climb, you can’t help but appreciate each steps that led you there. There are views from each angle. Each breathless moment is worth it’s while. It was both an appreciation of the view and effort going through the last 100 meters of the climb. It’s the journey and destination that makes the climb worth it.

934 meters above sea level.

Finally, the second highest peak in Hong Kong. I read that the highest peak is occupied by a weather station so the Lantau Peak is the highest area accessible to trekkers. It’s not as high as other mountains I’ve climb but it was a great character building climb as it’s a direct assault and I was doing this alone. It was foggy at that time so the most you can enjoy is the view. It’s about 2 kilometers away from Ngong Ping,

Time to head down.

The road down should be easier right? Well, not really as it was more technical going down as we have to navigate big uneven stone steps. It’s less taxing on the lungs as it requires less effort but it still takes its toll on the knees when you go too fast.  I always love running on ridges as the panoramic view is really worth it.

Single Track Stone Steps on the way down.

It’s a single track stone steps heading downward and there are some area covered by trees which is an excellent place to rest. It’s a bit safer than dirt tracks but navigating it is much slower as it takes longer to cover each step. It’s about 1.5 kilometers worth of continuous descent.

As you get closer, you get to see the Giant Buddha from a distance.

After 1.5 kilometer of descent, it shifts to a flatter surface and less technical route. You also get to see the Giant Buddha from a distance. It’s time to speed up on this part and finish the trail.

You also get to see the Wisdom Path towards the end of the trail.

When you see the wisdom path, you are now approaching the end of the trail. I’ve been to the wisdom path before coming from Ngong Ping so this already familiar territory. You get an option to exit at Ngong Ping or proceed to the Stage 4 of Lantau Trail at the food of the Wisdom Path. I opted to go to Ngong Ping as planned and head back to Tung Chung.

One of the site you see before exciting to the Ngong Ping area.

From the trails, you get to regular roads as you go to the more popular side of Ngong Ping. I saw the site where a tree grew into a house. Not necessary an ancient attraction like Ta Phrom in Angkor Wat but it’s such an irony seeing nature growing into a cemented area.

Giant Buddha

Finally at the site of the Giant Buddha and I can say I’ve finally reached this area by foot. I took some refreshments and ice cream to replenish lost water in my system and went home in style via the Cable Car. I had a choice to take the bus but I wanted to have a different look at the trail from the cable car ride.

Up in the Air.

I got to appreciate another part of the trail as I discovered just below the cable car was another trail called, the rescue trail. It’s basically a part wooden / part cemented path in the middle of nature that can take you back to Tung Chung in about 2-3 hours by foot. Well, some other time.

A view of the falls as seen on the cable car.

I also saw a falls beside the trail below the cable car. You get to pass by the falls when you take the rescue trail. I also saw a lot of people enjoying the trail as it’s an excellent training ground with its rolling terrain. There area is also heavily forested, which is among the things Hong Kong was able to preserve.

Cable Car Wars

After the Cable Car ride, I was back in Tung Chung to take my lunch. That was a great Tale of The Trail. I really appreciate the effort they did on the trails that makes it easy for trekkers to navigate. It’s a good way to encourage people to enjoy the outdoors.

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Post Author: Franc Ramon

Franc Ramon is a Marathoner, Mountaineer and a Duathlete. He has adopted the fitness lifestyle since mid-2010 and loves sharing them in his personal blog . While he's not on the trails, the road or on an adventure, he spends his time in the finance field.