Hiking on a dragon’s back ~ Hong Kong

Ben’s round of regional business development brings us for a short stop to Hong Kong.

We have been on quite a whirlwind these past two weeks…not our usual way of traveling, which is generally pretty slowly, but in this case, business dictates our schedule.

Our first visit to Hong Kong was about six months ago and we are looking forward to being back and continuing our exploration…..revisiting some favorite hang outs, but also we want to  discover “another” Hong Kong.  Of course, Hong Kong  cannot be separated from its hyper-metropolis persona.  But… Did you know Hong Kong also has a mountainous, nature filled dimension?

View of Hong Kong from across the bay in Kowloon.

Hong Kong is obviously a dense urban jungle of concrete.

We learn to appreciate Hong Kong by zooming in to the neighborhood level and taking time to walk the streets. It is at street level that one can appreciate the sights and smells that make Hong Kong unique.

A night time stroll reveals a park nearby which is beautifully lit up at night

Apex for Chinese foot reflexology .. and after all the airports we have been in, in the past week, we are very much in need.

A typical street scene.

Chinese medicine and herbs are readily available on almost every street. Most of the store owners do not speak English so it was difficult to find out what many of the “ingredients” might actually be helpful for.

Lots of herbs, lots of medicines.

Logan berries ~ just one of the many fresh fruits available for sale on the streets.

Some type of funghi?

Ben is excited.. roast duck is quite the treat.

Medicinal herbal teas available on the street. Pretty novel. We shared a tea which promotes energy and were glad we did as it gave us energy when we needed it later (read on)…

Expecting the tea to be hot… but it’s not. Ha ha. Hong Kong is definitely quite a temperature drop from Indonesia and Singapore.

Lots of tall skyscrapers. This particular building has an interesting design all the way up the side.

Nestled between the tall buildings is a small fire engine-red and bright green Buddhist temple which lures us in, of course.

Beams of sunlight streaming through spirals of incense.


I (Ben) get a Chinese horoscope reading. “This year will be very busy!” um yeah, Peta says “I coulda told him that…”

The pungent smell of sticks and sticks of prayer incense burning, hangs in the air. The ceramic figure of a Chinese Mandarin is cast in a red glow from the many lanterns throughout the temple.

If you know us, you know we value the culinary dimension to our travels.

Hong Kong is rich with delectables…

Green Global Trek guide to dim sum ~ Hong Kong!


Hong Kong is definitely all about the dim sum. But the sushi in the little 4 person sushi bars is quite spectacular. Note how long the slab of salmon  extends over the rice.

Classic huge dim sum hall packed with diners in a heightened frenzy of dim sum excitement.

Large puff sesame balls filled with air and pumpkin filling. A server came by and cut into these with a sharp scissors, at which point they deflated like balloons .. man, they were super yummy.

“It’s fun to be back a second time around!”

So THIS is the “traditional” Hong Kong gig.

But traditional, my girlfriend isn’t.

She looks yonder at the mountains that surround the sky-scraper-filled cityscape and says,

“There! that’s where I want to go!”

We have been on planes and in cities for a few days in a row and she is yearning for fresh air and some solid exercise. Especially as we will soon board yet another plane. Lately the refrain is “another day, another plane.”

Clickety click through fellow travel bloggers’ sites, and we’re off via Hong Kong’s modern subway system.

We are going to the edge of urban Hong Kong, to the foot of the ubiqitous mountain range.

Subway stops are differentiated by color, and of course for us, not able to read Chinese calligraphy, the signs feel like large modern art works.


We get off the bus which zigzagged at rapid speed across the mountains, at the start of the hike we intend to do. There is a map which gives us a good indication that this is going to be quite a hike! Let’s go…. The trail is described as “moderately difficult”, approximately 4 hours and is 8.5km.

ahhh love and fresh air… what more does one need?

Good way to burn up all that dim sum ~ going up and up stairs to the top of the mountain.


Dramatic views as we go up. Good places to stop and enjoy the vista across the bays.

The trail provides stunning views of the South China Sea.

Nothing quite like a good stretch in nature ~ especially after hours and hours of traveling.

The name of the hike “Dragon Tail” is now fully appreciated as we look ahead and see the top of the mountain range ~ a path which weaves along, looking just like the bumpy undulating tail of a dragon’s back bone.

The hike eventually took 5 hours,  5 hours of recharging our “batteries”, stretching our limbs and filling our lungs with fresh air.


Thanks for your comments and feedback.  Please note that there may be a delay in your comments showing up on the blog from the time you write them, to the time they appear.  As well, it appears that some of our photos show up sideways, intermittently, depending on the browsers readers use. Undoubtedly, for some of you, this will be the case.  We have yet to figure out how to rectify this problem! It is a browser-related mystery. 



60 thoughts on “Hiking on a dragon’s back ~ Hong Kong

  1. Shari Pratt

    So much fun to travel with you, experiencing places I will never get to visit in person. I love your very personal explanations. And the food – remind me next post to eat before I read.

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Shari, thanks so much for the lovely compliment about our “personal explanations”.

      Ah yes, ha ha… definitely a good idea to eat before you read us. Local cuisine is always a way of learning more about the culture. Good excuse huh?


    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Glad you enjoyed it Dahlia. We needed that relaxation in nature, even though it was quite a workout, after all the time in planes and airports. We are looking forward to our next trip too, always. Although where exactly it will be, I could not tell you…. I can’t wait to find out!


  2. Anabel Marsh

    Hong Kong is a fabulous place and I agree it’s great to get out of the city. I haven’t done this hike, but I think my husband has – he spent 6 weeks in Hong Kong on business once and went walking most weekends.

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Annabel, we did read about multiple hikes before we selected this one based on the fact that it was considered “moderately difficult”, which seemed what we were looking for. And also, based on the ocean views, which were definitely a treat.

      This second time around we really enjoyed Hong Kong more than the first time, and look forward to more trips…


  3. gabe

    Peta (and Ben), I chuckled a bit at the foot reflexology photo that you shared. I could almost feel your aching, foot-sore feet from your street-level exploration of Hong Kong. Thanks for putting in the hard work for us so we could relax comfortably with a morning tea on a rich vicarious trip through the concrete jungle.

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Oh the hardship and the dedication to our readers! Such hardship! In truth, we would bee-line to a Chinese reflexology spot anytime we are in Hong Kong, or in any Chinatown pretty much anywhere in the world, whether or not we “deserve” it, as a result of long explorations by foot.

      Glad we could deliver a vicarious trip.


  4. Amit

    Great to know about those hiking options.. for the day that I manage to have more than a brief stopover in HK 😉 Love those salmon sushis & incense spirals too!

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Thanks Amit, Yes, the incense spirals were memorable. Some where 4 feet in width and quite imposing. For a short moment, we considered whether we could physically bring one back, but quickly came to our senses and adjusted to enjoying seeing these in this particular temple.

      And as for that sushi, still dreaming of it!

  5. Liesbet

    I’m sure the hike was a very nice, distracting and welcome change from all the traveling. Thanks for taking us along. The food looks delicious! Your street scenes are bringing back memories! Happy stretching in between plane rides!

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Thanks Liesbet for reading and commenting. Today, Ben was making yet another set of flight reservations and commented on the fact that these would be going through Doha, Quatar. He pointed out that yoga poses sticking one’s butt in the air, in the Doha airport might be slightly culturally inappropriate.

  6. Dave Ply

    Mmmm – dim sum. We’re still due…

    Have you read Tai Pan by James Clavell? It is a fictionalized account of the first year of the British colony of Hong Kong (1841).

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Hi Dave,

      We have not read it, but know of it. Probably too thick and heavy for us to acquire and lug around… But thanks for the recommend.

      Dim Sum ~ this post will finally be the one that gets you to a Dim Sum hall.

  7. Alison

    I spent five weeks in HK in 1977 and loved it. Of course it was very different then, and much more “ethnic”. There were still people living on junks in Aberdeen Harbour. Still, I’d like to go back having read James’s stories, and I’d do exactly what you did – go climb those hills.

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      HI Alison, that must have been fascinating to see in 1977. Your comments remind us of the people we met, living in floating homes in Cambia’s lakes.

      It is interesting to note that the push toward “modernity” has led to the disappearance of these floating populations in Hong Kong, and yet, the leading edge of Climate Adaptation literature now tells us to prepare for a future marked by Sea Level Rise, with a thought about a return to water-borne living.



  8. Joanne Sisco

    This is the first blog post I’ve read about Hong Kong that’s taken me out of the city and up into the mountains! An 8.5km hike rated as a 4 hour climb is a little more than “moderately difficult” in my books!! … but the views look like it’s worth every minute!

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Joanne, happy to be the first blog that takes you to the outer perimeter. Going hiking was definitely an unexpected treat ~ not something we would have thought we would be doing in Hong Kong, but so glad we did.

      The hike was definitely moderately difficult.. long and with an initial climb of steps at the start (thanks to the medicinal energy tea we had in the street, a short while before we jumped in the subway, which WAS a great energy booster). For sure do-able for most people and definitely worth the views!! And apparently in summer one can swim at the beach that is in one of the views, by hiking down from the top.. thereby really making a whole day of it!


  9. Lexklein

    I had a friend living in Hong Kong, and she was always talking about and posting photos of her daily hikes … until then, I had no clue Hong Kong was so green and hilly and natural in many places outside (and above) the dense metropolis. That’s my kind of city – best of both worlds!

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      It’s always interesting,Lex, how cities accommodate urban growth and the need for green. Excited to expand our “vocabulary” re Hong Kong to include future hikes in yet to be discovered nature.


  10. Sue

    You two really are on a whirlwind! Fun to see where you will turn up next!

    The inflated sesame balls sound scrumptious. Would have loved to have seen them being popped.

    Happy and safe travels.

    Thanks for taking us to the dragon’s tail. Can definitely see the resemblance. Well in my experience with dragons. ?

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Sue, Thanks so much for your great comments. We are both chuckling at your humour.

      If you have experience with dragons, we invite you to come to Sri Lanka and meet our local living dragons, all around… the monitor lizards and their big brother, the huge water monitor. As close to a real dragon as it comes…


  11. Caroline Helbig

    It’s wonderful to see beautiful nature and hiking trails in such a big city. It’s definitely not something that comes to mind when I think of Hong Kong. It looks like an incredible hike, and that beach…wow! Cheers, Caroline

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Thanks Caroline. it is pretty fun to have a city change one’s perception. This is certainly the case with the discovery of good hiking in Hong Kong. I am now looking forward to having another opportunity to be back in Hong Kong and try another one of the hikes we read about. Luckily Hong Kong is one of those cities that is a hub to get to Sri Lanka (as are Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia and Singapore.)


    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Thanks for reading and commenting, Bespoke traveler! Yes, it is hard to read or write a blog post on Dim Sum without triggering that kind of craving! Must travel to Hong Kong again, soon!

  12. Mabel Kwong

    I so enjoyed reading this post, Peka and Ben. Love the blow by blow account and the photos, sideways, upside down or right way up. Hong Kong is not what it is without all you described. Ben really does look interested in the duck. Hope he got to have some at some point, perhaps some roast duck rice. You can never really go wrong with that 🙂 Agree that those are long strips of salmon over rice. It makes that sushi so, so, so tempting for me since I love raw salmon.

    It is so lovely to see the two of you found the time outside of the business trip to do an 8.5km hike, and uphill too. Those views are absolutely stunning, and I bet there was a lot of stopping along the way to take photos and admire those views 🙂 Traveling can wear you down. Even resting in a hotel you might not even feel fully rested. Recently I was on a work trip and it was long work hours. I did have a few hours where I could go to the beach, and that was when I felt most relaxed 😀

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Mabel thanks for your extensive comments. Oh yes, Ben did eat a plateful of crispy duck and I even had a taste of it as well and it was very delicious! The sushi in Hong Kong does not disappoint either.

      Usually we go to yoga classes at least twice a week and do a fair amount of walking. But with being in so many planes and airports and having such a hectic schedule we definitely needed some vigorous exercise before hopping in yet another plane! Nature always does the trip of restoring energy.


  13. John Robertshaw

    Nice way to make a stopover good fun. I really liked Hong Kong. Your stretch on the dragon’s back reminds me of our ferry ride to Lantai. As great as Hong Kong street life is, the nature side is a welcome relief and never that far away. Wasn’t Hong Kong one of Ian Fleming’s “Thrilling Cities”?

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Hi Johnny, nice to hear from you. Our first time that we were in Hong Kong we took the ferry ride from Kowloon to Hong Kong. This time we were focused on getting fresh air, exercise and being in nature. Oh yes and of course eating. Hong Kong’s modern and sleek subway allowed us to cover quite long distances very easily.


  14. Pamela

    Your tour of Hong Kong brought back many memories for me. I’ve only been there once-and it was interesting to hear your take on it on your second time around. What a difference from your ‘normal’ locales and blog posts! You seem to be taking in all the concrete OK. I was so turned off by all the people jostling on all of the packed city blocks, and ALL the commerce. But my guy and I did love exploring the back streets going up up up the alleys and neighborhoods for hours. And we ate up all the dim sum. ? Loved touring with you both here.

    1. Peta Kaplan

      Thanks Pamela for your interesting comments. It was definitely fun to return to Hong Kong and have a totally different experience from the first time, by doing the hike. Actually, we do both really enjoy cities, as long as they have some green spaces where one can get recharged by nature.

      The back streets and alleys in Hong Kong are fascinating and it is of course a great city for walking and taking it all in. We did enjoy using the subway and how easy it was to navigate. Ah the dim sum. Am salivating right now just thinking of it. Some of the best places we found just by walking around and seeing a small sign on the wall in the street ~ which usually meant that if you go up 3 floors inside an old industrial type of shopping “mall” you will find a huge dim sum hall!!

      So glad you enjoyed this post.

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      We look forward to discovering more of Hong Kong ~ it is one of those cities that is “growing on me” Johanna. The more time we spend there, the more I like it!

      Hopefully at least the “live and fresh air” photo is now right way up, but love has a way of making prople topsy turvy! 🙂


  15. My Inner Chick

    –Thank you, Peta, for allowing us to live vicariously thru your travels.

    Such an education! Amazingness.

    Also, you both make a beautiful couple! WOWWWW.

    xx From boring Duluth. LOL

  16. Anita @ No Particular Place To Go

    Your neighborhood approach to visiting Hong Kong sounds like a wise idea, both because of your whirlwind travel schedule and the complete contrast between your relatively quiet life in Sri Lanka and Indonesia. I know I’d have some major culture shock! ? The hike along the Dragon’s Back looks like the perfect remedy!

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Anita, usually when we travel nomadically or what we coin “consecutive living” as we did before we selected Sri Lanka as our home base, we move rather slowly, spending at least a month in a place before moving on. This last trip was definitely an aberration as we were traveling primarily motivated by Ben’s work.

      Thanks for reading and commenting.

  17. Frank

    What I love most about Hong Kong is its nature. It was the first place I ever visited in Asia way back, and I remember taking the tram up to the top of Victoria Peak and hiking up there, looking down on the harbour. Beautiful spot. I also remember numerous trips on the Star Ferry and the incredible views of Central from the Tsum Sha Tsui promenade.
    I found Singapore to be a bit boring – but just loved HK.

    Frank (bbqboy)

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Frank, wish we could have seen Hong Kong way back, as no doubt it has gone through much change. The ferry population is of course much reduced now that there are bridges between the islands. You are the first person that we have heard mention Hong Kong for it’s nature, but clearly we have discovered that is true and we have some catching up to do.

      Singapore ~ we have only spend a day here or a few hours there in between flights and have not had enough time to really make a judgement. Hong Kong does seem more interesting to us though based on our short exposure to both.


  18. Laurel

    What an amazing hike! And those views! We love visiting cities (none quite as exotic as the places you find yourselves!) but need frequent “nature fixes” and vigorous hikes—especially because we enjoy indulging in good food, too.:-)

    Your descriptions of your journeys are absolutely magical.

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Laurel thanks for all your enthusiastic feedback, which definitely makes us want to keep writing about our experiences. Our last home base was in the heart of Chicago i.e. full on city, 24/7. Neon signs, blaring fire engines, motorbike revving, drunkards staggering out of bars in the wee hours… we often sought refuge in a very small yet green park a block away. And now, we are living in the exact opposite. We only hear the sounds of nature at night with an occasional dog bark, save for the one bread truck which drives by with a maddening jingle.

      It is definitely a plus that Hong Kong has all those hike options. Now I know we can go back and eat as much dim sum as we want, because we can hike it off afterwards 🙂



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