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.
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!
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.