The Chi Ma Wan Peninsula on the southeastern side of Lantau Island has roughly 18 km of hiking trails on it and provides a nice escape from Hong Kong Island. Though some could probably hike that in one day, we chose to hike a shorter loop trail instead.
In this hiking guide, I'll be sharing the ~6.5 km (4 mi) loop hike that we'd planned to take on the Chi Ma Wan Peninsula. As it turns out, we took a wrong turn and ended up with a slightly longer hike. So I'll also tell you how to avoid our mistake!
Preparing to Hike the Chi Ma Wan Peninsula
The Chi Ma Wan Country Trail starts just off Chi Ma Wan Road, midway between Pui O Beach and the Chi Ma Wan public pier. The hike is 6.5 km (4 mi) long and takes 2.5-3 hours to complete. Unless, of course, you take a wrong turn!
Tip: If you're taking public transportation to get to the trailhead, be aware that you'll have to walk an additional ~1.5 km (~1 mi) from either a bus stop in Pui O or the Chi Ma Wan Public Pier to get up to the trailhead. You'll also have to do this on the way back.
So the total walking distance is more like 9.5 km (~6 mi).
Who Should Hike the Chi Ma Wan Peninsula?
This hike includes steep uphill and downhill sections with a lot of stairs - some of which have been partially washed away due to erosion. The trail is dusty with loose gravel in certain parts and smooth rocky surfaces in others. So you may have to do some occasional scrambling.
Due to steepness and ruggedness of the trail, I'd classify this Chi Ma Wan Peninsula Hike as a moderate hike. Although beginner hikers could do it, they might have difficulty in certain sections.
When to Hike on the Chi Ma Wan Peninsula?
The Chi Ma Wan Peninsula trail offers incredible views of the South China Sea and the outlying islands, plus stunning views of Pui O Beach. So you want to have a clear day (little to no smog) to hike it.
And though you could hike this trail in any season, having just completed this loop trail in April during a not-so-hot but VERY sunny, humid day, I'd say hiking this trail in summer would bump up the level of difficulty considerably. Parts of the trail are in shade, but the section at the top of the ridge is mostly in the sun and gets HOT.
In the summer, I'd recommend getting an early start to avoid the heat of the day as you climb.
Items for Your Hike
Getting To Chi Ma Wan Peninsula
You can get to the Chi Ma Wan Peninsula several different ways from Central Hong Kong. I've included two ways to get there by ferry.
You could also get to Chi Ma Wan by bus or car over land if that is more convenient to where you're starting the day.
1) Ferry from Central to Mui Wo -> Bus to Pui O
In my opinion, the easiest way to get to the Chi Ma Wan Peninsula from Central Hong Kong is to take the ferry from Central (Pier no. 6) to Mui Wo. Then take a bus from the Mui Wo Public Pier to Pui O.
Several buses run between Mui Wo and Pui O. We found that the number 1 bus lined up perfectly with the arrival of the ferry on our last visit.
Get off the bus in Pui O at the Lo Wai Tsuen stop. You'll have to pay attention on the map and push the stop button when you're close since the stops are not announced on the bus.
Then follow the trail through Pui O and up Chi Ma Wan Road to get to the trailhead.
PRO TIP: If you want to extend your route, you could hike from Mui Wo to the Chi Ma Wan Peninsula by way of Tai Ngau Wu Peak.
Follow my Mui Wo to Pui O Beach hiking guide for directions. After descending from Tai Ngau Wu Peak and reaching Chi Ma Wan Road, you'll cross the street to begin the Chi Ma Wan Peninsula hike.
2) Ferry from Central to Cheung Chau -> Inter Islands Ferry to Chi Ma Wan
The inter islands ferry runs infrequently to Chi Ma Wan. So be sure to check the schedule before attempting this route or you might be hiking around Cheung Chau instead!
Once you arrive at the Chi Ma Wan Public Pier, walk ~1.5 km up Chi Ma Wan Road towards Pui O until you reach the Chi Ma Wan Country Trail.
NWFF - Schedules
PRO TIP: If you’re going on a ferry on a Sunday or public holiday, be sure to click on the Sunday tab of the scheduling chart to find the right time. The times vary slightly from the Monday-Saturday schedule.
New to Hong Kong? Check out this Guide to Public Transportation in Hong Kong.
Overview of Our Chi Ma Wan Peninsula Short Loop Hike
The loop trail on which I'll be guiding you begins at the Chi Ma Wan Country Trail.
This route takes you on a trail which passes Shap Long Campsite and the Shap Long Irrigation Reservoir to reach Lung Mei. From there, you'll climb up to Lo Yan Shan - the highest point of the hike.
Then, you'll descend several meters, only to climb back up again to reach the Temple Crag - the other peak. This one has the best views - including an epic one of Pui O Beach!
Once past the Temple Crag, it's a short, but steep descent back to Pui O Beach.
Since it's a loop trail, you could hike this route in either direction. We chose the way with the more gradual uphill.
If you hike directly up to the Temple Crag from the starting point, be aware you'll have a steep ~250 meter (820 ft) climb in ~1 km (0.6 mi).
Starting the Hike towards Shap Long Campsite
You'll know you've arrived at the start of the hike when you reach the Chi Ma Wan Country Trail archway.
Once you're in the park, take the path on the left to head towards the Shap Long Campsite and begin the hike.
Flat + Shady Trail to Reservoir - DON'T TAKE A WRONG TURN!
The first part of the hike was nicely forested and pleasantly flat - a great way to start a hike. As we discovered later, it should have stayed this way until we reached Shap Long Irrigation Reservoir. But...
After hiking for about 15 minutes, we reached what looked like a fork in the trail. Despite consulting Google Maps, we didn't see a fork in the trail. So we decided to go right because that direction "looked like a well-maintained trail", so we figured that must be the correct trail.
THAT WAS A MISTAKE!!!
We should have gone left to continue on the more overgrown-looking, forested trail which resembled the path we'd been hiking on up until that point.
We Ended up on a Bike Trail!
After nearly being run over and realizing that there were no stairs on the trail, we realized that we were probably on a bike trail. Having no stairs on a trail is highly unusual for Hong Kong!
I believe the trail is relatively new and that is why signs hadn't been posted at that fork in the trail yet. Hopefully they'll put them up soon so this won't be an issue in the future.
For us, this meant that instead of taking a flat, shady path, we ended up on a sunny, loosely-graveled, switchback-heavy path that must be really fun on a bike. But for hikers, it's less than ideal.
Eventually we met up with the hiking trail again near the reservoir. However, we added several kilometers to our hike and definitely ran our water supply low!
Shap Long Irrigation Reservoir to Lung Mei
After what seemed like forever to us, we arrived at the Shap Long Irrigation Reservoir! If you stay on the correct path though, you should be there in no time!
Once you cross the dam at the reservoir, you'll gradually begin climbing to Lung Mei - the Dragon Tail.
Throughout the remainder of this hike, I noticed several nice, new signs which helped us easily find our way.
Arriving at Lung Mei is a bit underwhelming. The Dragon Tail is pretty though not overly impressive.
The intersection at Lung Mei is where many trails cross on the Chi Ma Wan Peninsula.
Follow the signs for Shap Long via Lo Yan Shan to continue on this loop hike. This is where it starts to get steeper!
Climbing to Lo Yan Shan
Lo Yan Shan - Old Man Mountain - is the steepest point on Chi Ma Wan Peninsula at ~300 m (985 ft).
Since you've been climbing up gradually, you're already a third of the way up when you reach Lung Mei!
This may not be comforting though when you reach the sunny part of the trail. Stop to enjoy the vistas of the surrounding islands and the mountains on your way up.
And remember to keep hydrating! These humid days can be a killer if you get dehydrated.
Once you see the little hut ahead, you're almost to the top of Lo Yan Shan!
From Lo Yan Shan, you'll have views of the islands Hei Ling Chau and Peng Chau.
You'll also be able to see Hong Kong Island off in the distance as long as it isn't too hazy. On a clearer day, I bet I could've see my apartment building!
Hilly Path to Temple Crag
During the next part of the trail, you'll climb down ~70 m (230 ft) into a small valley before heading back up towards the Temple Crag.
Since I was already pretty beat from the sun and having taken the wrong path, this section was harder for me than I'd like to admit!
I also regretted not wearing sunscreen by this point. Thank goodness for aloe vera, which I used on my burn for several days following this hike!
Incredible Views at the Temple Crag
After pushing to make it up the final hill, we were rewarded by spectacular views of Pui O Beach and the impressive mountains behind it!
This is by far the most amazing view of the entire hike and well worth the effort!
Another way to appreciate these epic views could be through rock climbing!
Several companies, like the Hong Kong Rock Climbing Adventures, offer rock climbing packages for the Temple Crag.
(I've never tried rock climbing. If I had upper body strength, I might give it a go!)
Final Descent from Temple Crag
After resting and admiring the views at the Temple Crag, head down the steep, rocky path to complete the loop trail.
This part of the trail was the rockiest section. Also, some of the dirt was washed away around the wooden steps. Watch out for loose rocks and wooden boards as you descend.
In my opinion, this last part was one of the more difficult sections of the trail.
Once you reach the Chi Ma Wan Country Trail archway where you started, you could return to either Pui O or to Chi Ma Wan Public Pier.
Looking for another hike with great views? Check out this hike to Mount High West!
Walking Back to Pui O Beach
Since our goal was to spend some time on the beach, we turned left towards Pui O.
If you look at map directions to get to Pui O Beach, it will tell you to walk all the way through the town to get to the beach.
Too tired to walk that far? That was me.
Instead, just hop down to the beach in front of the Tin Hau Temple, take off your shoes, and wade through the stream across to the beach.
Although the stream is a bit murky and questionable further inland, as the tide comes in, it's probably not so bad.
Relaxing on Pui O Beach
Spend the rest of your day relaxing on the beach and letting your sore muscles recover! From the beach, you'll have an excellent view of the Temple Crag.
Like hikes that end at a beach? Check out this Hike to Ham Tin Beach in Sai Kung!