Ride the Cable Car to Ngong Ping then hike back

Big Buddha cable car

Looking for something to do with the kids in Hong Kong? Take advantage of the missing tourists and become one yourself! Guarantee the kids will love the Cable car to Ngong Ping, topped off by an interesting hike back through the forest on the Rescue Trail. A 5.7km trail full of ups and downs.

Start your journey at the Ngong Ping 360 Cable Car

While you can hike this trail either way (or both ways for the die-hards!) the easiest and most scenic is to ride the Cable Car from Tung Chung one way to Ngong Ping and hike back. 

Start your day at Tung Chung, if arriving by MTR the directions are well signposted for the short walk to the Cable Car. 

Tickets

Check out the Ngong Ping 360 Cable Car website for the current ticket prices. 

If you search online, there are a few options for discounted tickets (around 10-15% off). Klook have some good package deals, however, for one-way, they only offered tickets for Crystal Cabin (glass floor). Some credit cards also offer deals on tickets. Bear in mind though that most aren’t able to be purchased on the day, need to pre-purchase.

Or take the bus

Bus #23 from the Tung Chung Bus Terminal will take you to Ngong Ping via the south side of Lantau Island in approximately 1 hour. You can find more details here.

Enjoy your glide over the mountains

Whether you choose a Crystal Cabin or regular, there is no denying the ride, and in particular, the view is superb. A unique opportunity for a birds-eye view over Hong Kong International Airport will raise many questions from the kids. From the fuel farm to the freight terminal, the maintenance hangars to the taxiways, be sure to explain to them all the facets that make an airport work.

Pay your respects to the Big Buddha

Opened in 1993, the Tian Tan Buddha, known as the Big Buddha due to its enormous size, is one of Hong Kong’s most famous landmarks. Standing at 34m tall, the bronze statue of Buddha Shakyamuni is well worth the 268 stairs to reach. 

From the cable car, walk through the Ngong Ping Village, past Starbucks and continue to the Piazza where you’ll see the huge staircase to reach the Buddha. 

A visit to the Po Lin Monastery is also a must while here.

Start your hike

After ensuring the kids are fed and watered, it’s time to hit the trails! Make your way back to the Cable Car station, down the stairs and head back towards Tung Chung. You’ll find the entrance to the Lantau Trail signposted, which leads you along a concrete path. This is the start of the Ngong Ping 360 Rescue Trail.

After a few hundred meters take a right turn to continue on the Lantau Trail.

The Lantau Trail veers up the stairs to the right. You need to continue straight ahead on the Nei Lak Shan Country trail.

Cable car hike distance posts

Along the trail, you’ll see these distance markers. Starting with 30 at Ngong Ping, they count down to 0 once you reach the bottom of the rescue trail (not Tung Chung!)

Stay on the concrete path which will lead you to a great vantage point under the Cable car tower. Once underneath the towers, you’ll notice some tracks leading to a short climb to a small hill which is a great spot for a picnic, offering superb views. It’s quite open here though, so would be quite hot in summer.

The never-ending stairs!

The only way is down from here on. Spare a thought for the masses you’ll pass going up, it’s a brutal climb for them! The trail does get more interesting though, with some great elevated wooden platforms through quite a dense forest.

* Be sure to hold onto your kids as most of the platforms don’t have barriers on the sides and the stairs can be very steep.

Expect a short climb up these stairs before making your way down a mountain of stairs over the other side. The views will make any whinging by the little ones worthwhile!

That's all the hard work done

Congratulations, you’ve now finished with the stairs! Turn right here and the trail is a flat path taking you towards Yat Tung Estate. If you still have some energy, take a detour to the Tung Chung Fort. Originating in the 12th century, the Tung Chung Fort served in various battles yet still stands today.

From here to Tung Chung MTR is a 2km walk or a short taxi ride should there be a high chance of whinge. If you are unable to find a taxi, try the Hk Taxi App.

Check out our Hiking Tips for Families page for some great tips before you set off!

 

Hike with the Monkeys at Kam Shan Country Park

Hike with the monkeys hong kong

Looking for a relatively easy hike with some cheeky wildlife to observe? Then head to Kam Shan Country Park, a relatively short drive from the heart of Kowloon. Here you’ll find a family-friendly trail packed with wild monkeys, hence earning the name Monkey Hill.

How to get to Monkey Hill

• Bus – Take the 81 KMB (double-decker) bus from Nathan Road and get off at Shek Lei Pui Reservoir. 

• Car – While you can drive your car into the park (except during holidays) I don’t recommend it. There are only a few parking spots after you cross the reservoir wall, so instead, park at one of the public metered car parking areas on Tai Po Road, just a 5-10 minute walk from the entrance to the country park.

You are can drive through the Country Park, except during holidays. I highly recommend you don’t though, as it’s much nicer walking through the park without cars on the road.

Meter parking Kam Shan Country Park
Meter parking
Curb parking past Reservoir wall

Start by crossing the Kowloon Reservoir

Leave Tai Po Road and enter the Kam Shan Country Park via Golden Hill Road. This brings you across the Kowloon Reservoir wall, providing quite a nice view and photo opportunity.

Passing the small gazebo where there are a few parking spots, you have the option of turning left for the Kam Shan Tree Walk, or continue up the road for the Family Walk. 

If you haven’t seen any monkeys by now, you certainly will as you walk up the hill. Home to around 85% of Hong Kongs population of wild monkeys (~2100), the two main species being the Rhesus Macaque and Long-Tailed Macaque. Thought to have been introduced in the 1920s initially as pets, they certainly aren’t shy!

Monkey Mountain Hike

Family-friendly trail

If you have the little ones with you, there’s an easy hike for kids that you shouldn’t miss. 

Running as.a loop off the main road, the Kam Shan Family Walk is a relatively easy trail through the bush, mostly downhill with many steps. 

You could do the trail in either direction, but I found it easier to walk up Monkey Hill on the road and down on the trail.

There are a few different types of trees through this trail that you don’t see much in Hong Kong. Such as the Australian eucalyptus and paper-bark.

How to avoid any Monkey Business

While the monkeys here are cute, you need to be alert at all times as they are very adept at stealing food (or something shiny like your glasses!) The first thing to do when starting the hike is to find a decent-sized stick to carry (or a hiking pole). You probably won’t need to use it, but it does work as a good deterrent. 

Better still, don’t carry any food unless it’s sealed air-tight in your pack. It’s illegal to feed the monkeys, however, many people have so they come to expect it. Should you drive through the park, expect them to climb onto your car hoping you’ll roll down the window and offer food.

Follow these steps if you encounter a frisky macaque –

• Don’t stare at them in the eyes
• Stay calm! 
• Open your palms showing that you don’t have any food
• Avoid smiling or showing your teeth
• Back away

For many years I avoided this hike as there were rumours that the monkeys were overly aggressive. Having now taken young kids there, I would recommend checking it out, just be sure to follow the above precautions! 

Have a look here for some more great Family-friendly hikes in Hong Kong.

Hiking Lamma Island with Kids – Whinge Free!

Lamma Island Hike
Sok Kwu Wan Lamma Island

Situated a short ferry ride from Hong Kong Island, Lamma Island is perfect for hiking with the kids. There are a couple of route options depending on your little one’s ability and sense of adventure.

Getting there

Lamma Island Ferry MapThe only way to reach Lamma Island is by ferry. You have two main Ports on the Island served by the ferries. The hike takes you from one port across the island to the other. The options are from

• Central Pier 4: Most frequent services run to Yung Shue Wan. Services also operate to Sok Kwu Wan.
Timetable from Central

• Aberdeen: Yung Shue Wan only (via Mo Tat Wan) approximately every 90 minutes.
Timetable from Aberdeen

Both options are quite cheap, with different timings during the week compared to the weekends. If boarding via Aberdeen, you could always combine the trip with a Sampan ride through the Aberdeen Marina. The kids will love it! 

Decide where you'll start and finish hiking

Kamikaze Cave
Kamikaze Cave

The walk across the island is about 5km in length. You have the option of walking either direction, however, there are far more dining options in Yung Shue Wan, so plan your hike to start or finish there based on your eating schedule. On the other side, Sok Kwu Wan is home to some fairly well-known seafood restaurants, however, expect to pay through the nose for some underwhelming options there. The only upside being some of these restaurants offer a free Ferry service back to Central.

The easiest and most popular path across the island is via the Lamma Island Family Walk trail. Leaving from Sok Kwu Wan, this mostly flat path takes you past the Kamikaze Caves, a series of caves built by the Japanese during WW2 to hide their ‘kamikaze team’ of boats.

Hung Shing Yeh Beach

Lamma Island HikeContinuing on the Family Trail, after about 20 minutes you’ll find Hung Shing Yeh beach, a perfect spot to cool off. Quite a nice beach by Hong Kong standards, with change facilities and bathrooms. The outlook is over the Lamma Island Power Station. Take the opportunity to cool off before continuing back on the trail.

Almost there

From here it’s an easy stroll past the Lamma Power Station, which has its own little beach, into the village at Yung Shue Wan. Here you have plenty of restaurant options, many of which less ‘touristy’ than those at Sok Kwu Wan.

For the older or more adventurous kids, check out the Lamma Island hike in the ‘Little bit whingy’ section. This trail takes you off the concrete and through the middle of the island, past the wind turbine. It’s a little steeper in sections but feels much more like a hike than a path.

Should the little ones Whinge...

Geocaching Hong KongHiking Lamma Island with kids, while generally quite easy is not exempt from wandering minds and short attention spans. Now you may or may not have discovered Geocaching in Hong Kong, but for those that have, I’m sure it’s saved your bacon when things get whingy. Download the Geocaching App and turn your little ones into detectives! It’s amazing how distraction can take little minds away from the aches of their tired legs. Geocaching involves searching for little notes hidden around Hong Kong. The App will give you clues on where to locate them. Once found, add your details and be sure to re-hide them in the same location. Remember to bring a pen with you on your hikes!

Rhino Rock Hike from Stanley – The kids will love it!

Rhino Rock family hike featured

I can’t believe it’s taken me 15 years to visit Rhino Rock in Stanley! What started as a last-minute, let’s get out of the house decision, proved to be such a fun hike for our family here in Hong Kong. Highly recommended!

Rhino rock family hike - where do i start?

I have classified this hike as easy, as it’s relatively short. It is, however, not without its challenges which I’ll describe a little later.

The starting point to the Rhino rock hike is at the Stanley Fort, about 2 kilometres from Stanley Plaza. Established in 1841 by the British, Stanley Fort was once a coastal artillery designed to protect Victoria Harbour. During the fall of Hong Kong to the Japenese in December 1941, this is where to last of the British and Canadian troops were captured. Today it’s controlled by the Chinese PLA.

Stanley is well serviced by public buses, the majority of which running from Central and Admiralty. Once arriving in Stanley, you then have three options on how to get to the Fort –

• Walk – reasonable flat, but I wouldn’t recommend it in summer
• Bus – take bus #14 from the main bus terminal in Stanley. It runs every 10-20 minutes
• Taxi – quick and certainly affordable, especially if there are a few of you ($25)

* There is no parking here, so don’t plan on driving

Arriving at the Fort, which happens to be the end of the road so you can’t miss it, the hike starts at a set of stairs leading up the hill. It’s right next to the gated entrance to the Fort.

Start the Climb

Make your way up the stairs, climbing for about 10 minutes. There’s a reasonable chance of a whinge developing towards the top, but assure the little ones it’ll get really fun soon! The path changes from stairs to a flat path, bringing you to a communications tower and marker point.

Family Hike Hong Kong
Communications tower family hike hk

Turn right and follow the trail downhill. There are ribbons tied to trees all along this trail, so pay attention as further down there are a couple of different routes.

Even though this is a really popular hike, especially for families, the trail is quite narrow and overgrown. Expect to be walking single-file for a good part of it.

As you make your way down the hill, the trail gets sandy and quite slippery in sections. Best to take your time and help the little ones through as I guarantee they will be sliding on their bums at some point! On that note, expect to come home dirty, which is always a sign of a fun day out!

Take in the view!

From here it starts to get rocky, with some quite narrow gaps to pass through. This will be the highlight for the kids. Let’s be honest, who doesn’t enjoy a bit of climbing? 

There are a few good spots here to park up on a rock for a rest with awesome views.

Continue down the hill and along the slope to the right. Be sure to follow the markers (ribbons) as there are a few different trails. After a few minutes, you will arrive at Rhino Rock! There is no confusion as to how it got its name, quite impressive.

If you walk around the back you can climb onto its head. Be careful up there though, it’s a big drop! 

While overall this is an easy hike, there isn’t much shade around the rock, so bring your sun protection. Check out our Hiking Tips for Families page for some handy tips when hiking with kids.

General Hiking Tips for Families in Hong Kong

Hiking Hong Kong
Hiking Hong Kong
Before arriving in Hong Kong, I had visions of a concrete jungle with very little nature. Whilst there is no shortage of concrete, there is plenty of jungle! Hiking could almost be considered a religion in Hong Kong, it brings families together and is a great escape from the rat race.

It never ceases to amaze me how fit and healthy the population of Hong Kong is. You can pick a Honkie by their calf muscles, conditioned from years of climbing mountains. It’s not uncommon to see elderly folks in their 90’s climbing slowly up to the peak – impressive!

There are a few considerations when planning a hike here with kids –

Best Hiking Weather

Prime hiking season is in the cooler months from November to early May. Winter is quite mild, rarely dipping below 10 degrees Celsius. From May onwards hiking isn’t for the faint-hearted. Temperatures in the low 30’s with humidity levels off the charts. Best then to pick a hike with a reward at the end, ideally a beach or swimming hole!

Big Wave Bay Dragons back

Essential Supplies

Don’t underestimate the amount of water you’ll consume, especially during the summer months. 500ml per hour per person is a good starting point. Snacks for the kids is a must, the whinge factor increases exponentially if the sugar levels get low. The summer months tend to bring out the bugs, so some decent mosquito spray is handy. Suncream is a must, along with hats. During winter it can get a bit cooler at elevation, so a light jacket isn’t a bad idea.

Entertainment

No, I’m not suggesting phones/ipads here. However, Geocaches have literally saved our day. When the whinging starts, pull out the app and find that next target! The app is called Geocaching, it involves finding small notes hidden with cryptic clues. Once found the kids can sign the note and hide it for the next little (or not so little) adventurers.

Geocaching Hong Kong

Get out there and Hike!

Feel free to add in the comments below your own Hiking Tips for Families in Hong Kong.

 For a good starter, whinge free hike with the kids, check out Hiking Lamma Island with Kids.

mountain view hong kong

Lamma Wind Turbine Hike – take the Adventurous Route!

Lamma Island Power Station
Lamma Island wind turbine

For those looking to go off the beaten path, the Lamma Wind Turbine hike, while slightly more difficult than the Family Trail, is still quite an easy day out. This was our 5-year-olds first proper hike in Kong Kong, whist a little bit whingy was certainly achievable.

Getting to Lamma Island

Lamma Island Ferry MapThe only way to reach Lamma Island is by ferry. You have two main Ports on the Island served by the ferries. The hike takes you from one port across the island to the other. The options are from

• Central Pier 4: Most frequent services run to Yung Shue Wan. Services also operate to Sok Kwu Wan.
Timetable from Central

• Aberdeen: Yung Shue Wan only (via Mo Tat Wan) approximately every 90 minutes.
Timetable from Aberdeen

Both options are quite cheap, with different timings during the week compared to the weekends. If boarding via Aberdeen, you could always combine the trip with a Sampan ride through the Aberdeen Marina. The kids will love it! 

Choose your Starting and finishing locations

This walk across the island is about 5km in length. You have the option of walking in either direction, however, there are far more dining options in Yung Shue Wan, so plan your hike to either start or finish there based on your eating schedule. On the other side, Sok Kwu Wan is home to some fairly well-known seafood restaurants, however, expect to pay through the nose for some underwhelming options there. The only upside being some of these restaurants offer a free Ferry service back to Central.

Get off the concrete and onto the Trail

Kamikaze Cave
Kamikaze Cave

We chose to start from Sok Kwu Wan, should you start from Yung Shue Wan just reverse the directions.
Make your way along the Lamma Island Family Trail. The first point of interest is the Kamikaze Caves. A series of caves built by the Japanese during WW2 to hide their ‘kamikaze team’ of boats.

Lamma trail directions
Find the thin bush trail

After passing the Lookout Pavillion, take the next trail to the right. Head up along this concrete path up the hill for 200m. Keep your eyes peeled at this point for a thin trail cutting through the bush on the left. From here you’ll make your way along this fairly thin track traversing across the center of the Island. You’ll find great views of both sides of Lamma, with fish farms on one side and the Power Station on the other. Due to being a bush track, and having a few steep sections I’ve categorized this one in the ‘Little bit Whingy’ section. 

Lamma island hike Fish Farms
Fish Farms
Lamma Island Power Station
Lamma Power Station

After approximately 1 hour you will reach the Lamma Wind Power Station. Constructed in 2006, this single Wind Turbine was the first of its kind in Hong Kong. Generating enough electricity to power 250 homes, the kids will love getting up close to these massive 50m long blades.

Time for a swim?

From here you are back on the concrete, following the signs downhill to Yung Shue Wan. If the kids are screaming for a swim, it’s not far to backtrack to the Hung Shing Ye or Lamma Power Station beaches for a swim and ice-cream.

Should the little ones whinge? Be sure to arm yourself with the Geocaching App. Find out more here.

Hope you enjoyed the Lamma Wind Turbine hike, leave your comments or tips below.

Lamma Island hiking map