Hiking in Hong Kong: Lion Rock and Wong Tai Sin Temple

The past few weeks in Hong Kong have been nothing but rain. Thanks to an elaborate system of skybridges and malls, I can get from my apartment into the MTR station without ever going outside, but the bad weather has really put a damper on any outdoor activities. This past weekend we finally got a sunny afternoon and took full advantage of it to hike Lion Rock.

As the name suggests, Lion Rock is a giant rock/cliff shaped like a lion (though we actually didn’t realize this until some friendly British travelers we met on the way down pointed it out to us). It rises behind Kowloon and Victoria Harbor and you can see all the way across to Hong Kong Island.

Jonathan had already done this hike three times by himself and seemed to take great pleasure in emphasizing how EXTREMELY DIFFICULT it was going to be, especially when I am so out of shape. Thanks for really selling it to me, babe.

We exited the MTR station right in front of the Wong Tai Sin Temple. There was some sort of special event going on at the temple, so we took a little detour to check it out.



After we instagrammed the shiz out of the temple complex, we headed for the road and started walking. The first (I’m gonna say 2 hours, but Jonathan insists it was only 30 minutes) we walked uphill along a paved road. After I begged him to “stop for just a minute” for the third time, Jonathan suggested that perhaps we would not be able to do the whole hike today since I was completely out of breath and we had not yet reached the trail. I will not tell you what I said back because I am a lady.

The road started out as a fairly busy street and became narrower and narrower as we started to go up the mountain. We were actually still on the road when we saw this guy.


I was both enchanted (we live in a place with wild monkeys!) and terrified (we live in a place with wild monkeys!) and immediately ran away after taking this picture. I felt completely justified in my reaction when we got to the trail head and were greeted with this (very dirty) sign detailing the dangers of FEEDING THE FERAL MONKEYS.


Then we started climbing. And climbing. And climbing. Jonathan described the hike to me this way (again, I don’t know why since he seemed to actually want me to do it). “You climb up a set of stairs for a long time until you think you’re going to die. And then it levels out for a while, and then you actually go downhill for a little bit. And then you reach another set of stairs that are unbelievably steep. And you go up those until you actually die.” Turns out, this was accurate.

The picture in no way does it justice. It was like walking straight up a wall.


But when I stumbled up that last step, legs shaking like jello, panting like an Olympic sprinter after breaking a world record, I forgot all about the pain. Actually, that’s not true, I totally remembered the pain. I was still experiencing the pain. But it was totally worth it. I’m still blown away that we live in this enormous city surrounded by water and mountains and jungle. There is something uniquely beautiful about it all.



We also made this video to share the pain and the victory with you. I’m hoping to make more videos in the future, so if you like it please subscribe to the Keep Roaming On YouTube channel!



Directions to Lion Rock:

One of the nice things about this hike is that it’s easily accessible from the MTR, so we only had to travel about 25 minutes from home to get there. It’s also a good hike because there are some beautiful views along the way and, other than transport, it’s completely free. A few weeks ago we hiked Dragon’s Back, which was also a good hike, but you spend most of it being blocked by bushes and only really get a view once you get to the top.

Here are some directions to Lion Rock if you want to check it out:

1. Take the MTR to the Wong Tai Sin station on the Kwun Tong (Green) Line.

2. Take Exit B3 and turn right at the top of the stairs.

3. Walk straight past the temple through the paved area to Shatin Pass Road (the road with all of the empty minibuses on it) and turn left. Follow Shatin Pass Road for about a mile. You will have to curve to stay on it at some points.




You will pass Our Lady of Mary Knoll Hospital on your right. And these sights.

Keep going up the hill
Keep Going!

4. Continue following this road as it gets windier and narrower. There will be a lot less traffic, but it is still a functioning road, so watch out for cars and scooters!


5. After a small eternity, you will arrive here. The road does continue on, but you can’t miss the entrance as it is very clearly marked. This is where the trail begins. Good luck!






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