A challenging trail with stunning views, the hike from Discovery Bay to Mui Wo on the Lo Fu Tau Country Trail is a Lantau Island gem. Connecting two of Lantau's eastern towns, this trail takes you up into the mountains and provides 360-degree views of the South China Sea and Hong Kong. In this guide, I'll show you the route we took for this amazing Hong Kong hike.
Preparing to Hike from Discovery Bay to Mui Wo
The trek from Discovery Bay to Mui Wo on the Lo Fu Tau Country Trail is a fairly difficult hike. This is due mostly to the conditions and terrain of certain sections of the trail which can be steep, rocky, uneven, and slippery.
The entire hike is approximately ~10 km (6.2 miles) in length and climbs ~465 m (1,525 ft). It took us around 4 hours to complete the route in this guide, including the walks through the towns.
Keep in mind that I stop frequently to take photos, so you might be able to do it faster!
Pro Tip: Although you could hike the Lo Fu Tau Country Trail in either direction, the section of the trail between the Discovery Bay Lookout and Lo Fu Tau is VERY STEEP. In either direction, it's going to be difficult. But it seems more likely that one would slip coming down it rather than climbing up it.
So, I recommend hiking the direction we did - starting at Discovery Bay and finishing in Mui Wo.
Who Should Hike the Lo Fu Tau Trail?
Due to the trail itself, I'd classify the hike up to Lo Fu Tau as one of the more difficult hikes I've done in Hong Kong. As a result, I'd recommend this trail for more experienced hikers and those with a good level of fitness.
In reality, only the first third of the hike is difficult, the remainder is easy-moderate. This is because the trail starts by going straight uphill on steep, uneven, and washed-away concrete steps. Next, it turns into a steep, rocky, and dusty trail that at times seems like a riverbed.
Then, the final ascent to Lo Fu Tau is a sheer, slippery rockface. This is physically demanding for not only for climbing but for balance!
Even if you choose to hike the other direction - from Mui Wo to Discovery Bay - coming down this part of the trail will still be quite difficult. It seems like it would be easy to slip and slide down in certain sections of the trail.
Once you reach the top, the downhill sections are much easier, though the trail continues to be worn for a while.
When to Hike to Lo Fu Tau
From the top of Lo Fu Tau, you'll be able to see almost all of Hong Kong - 360-degree views! As a result, be sure to hike this trail on a clear (unpolluted) day. The day we hiked it, it was still a bit hazier than I would've liked.
Since there isn't much shade and it's a physically demanding hike, I do not recommend hiking it during the hottest or most humid time of year. But if you do, be sure to bring loads of water!
Fall is the ideal time to hike it, in my opinion. Even though it was a bit overcast when we went, the cool breezes and low humidity felt wonderful as we hiked.
Items for This Hike
Getting to Discovery Bay
Discovery Bay is a primarily residential community on the northeastern side of Lantau Island. It's a particularly popular neighborhood among English-speaking expats, which is probably why it felt like a western suburb to me.
The best way to get to Discovery Bay from Central Hong Kong is on the ferry. It takes roughly ~30 minutes and departs from Central Ferry Pier 3.
New to Hong Kong? Check out this Guide to Using Public Transportation in Hong Kong!
Overview of the Discovery Bay to Mui Wo Hike via the Lo Fu Tau Country Trail
In this hiking guide, I'll take you on the route that we hiked from Discovery Bay to Mui Wo. You can click on the map below to open it in Google maps while you hike.
This hike has three main sections. First, you'll climb up to a ridge overlooking Discovery Bay. Next you'll continue onto the Lo Fu Tau Country Trail for a steep ascent to Lo Fu Tau or Tiger's Head, in English.
After rounding Lo Fu Tau, you'll begin a gradual descent in the green hillside. Finally, you'll wrap up the hike on the paved Islands Nature Heritage Trail which will take you into the town of Mui Wo.
Section 1 - Discovery Bay Lookout
Discovery Bay Ferry Pier to Trail
For the first section of the hike from the Discovery Bay ferry pier to the Discovery Bay Lookout, you have a couple different route choices. We chose the path shown in the map above because it looked like a trail as opposed to a road.
To get there from the ferry, head past the shopping plaza towards Tai Pak Beach. Continue inland to the main road - Discovery Bay Road - and turn right. Walk for a few blocks, then when you come to Seabee Lane, you'll see the start of your trail across the main road.
Beginning the Trail
Although this path is a "trail," it's mostly steep, uneven stairs. Some have even been washed away completely. Despite the steep climb, I'm glad we chose this route instead of the road. At the top, the ridge trail had incredible views of Discovery Bay below.
On the opposite side, we got a good look at the next challenge that awaited us on the hike - the Lo Fu Tau peak and mountain range leading towards Mui Wo.
At the end of the ridge, the trail descends a bit back to the road. This is one reason why you might choose to hike up to the Lo Fu Tau Country Trail on the road instead of the route we took. But I think the views we had on the ridge trail were worth the extra effort!
Becky's Quick Look - Section 1
Distance: 1.7 km / ~1 mile
Elevation: 210 m / 689 ft (up)
Start Time: 12:45 pm
End Time: 1:30 pm
Section 2 - Lo Fu Tau Country Trail
As you walk on the short section of paved road from the ridge trail to the Lo Fu Tau Country Trail, it's easy to miss the entrance to the trail. The plants are overgrown and cover the trail so be sure to look out for it on the right. Luckily someone was hiking out just as we passed because we almost missed it!
Steep Climb to Lo Fu Tau (Tiger's Head)
Almost immediately after setting out on the Lo Fu Tau Country Trail, you'll begin to climb. And right from the start, the trail isn't easy. It's a bit of a rock scramble and is very dusty. Alternatively, I imagine it would be muddy and treacherous after it rains.
The further we climbed, the worse the trail seems to get. The rock scramble gave way to dusty rockface which was slippery in certain sections. At least to me, the trail appears to look like a landslide instead of an actual planned trail.
Pro Tip: You might be tempted to hike this trail in the direction of Mui Wo to Discovery Bay to avoid the steep uphill climb. But be aware that coming down these sheer sections on the Discovery Bay side will be tricky and hard on the knees! We passed several people hiking towards Discovery Bay that said they wished they'd hiked it towards Mui Wo instead.
Despite the treacherous trail, the views revealed as we climbed continued to be more breathtaking! I used the views as an excuse to stop and catch my breath while taking approximately a million photos.
For another peak hike with a gorgeous view, consider hiking Mount High West!
Top of Lo Fu Tau
Once you reach the top of Lo Fu Tau, you'll be able to see in all directions. Although it was hazier than I would've liked on the day we hiked it, we could still see all the way to Hong Kong Island, Kowloon, Tsing Yi, the airport, and the surrounding islands. We could even make out the outline of buildings across the border in Shenzhen!
Another reason I'm glad we hiked this during a cooler, overcast fall day is that there's practically NO SHADE on this hike - not as you climb, nor at the top. Luckily it was a windy day so we were cooled down by the breezes. On a hot and sunny summer day, I think this hike would be rough.
Gradual Descent on Lo Fu Tau Country Trail
After admiring the views at the top, we continued on the Lo Fu Tau Country Trail into what looks like a meadow. It was a very different landscape than I'm used to seeing in Hong Kong.
Along the way, we encountered several large rock formations and tried to figure out what they might be. I swear one of them looks like a turtle. The other one is known as the Sword Testing Stone and I can see now where that gets its name.
As we made our way down the hillside, it was apparent that the trail's incline is much more gradual on this side of Lo Fu Tau. The trail, however, is still tricky as it has sections that have been eroded down the middle of it.
After a bit, we entered more forested terrain which felt more like Hong Kong. The trail was still not cleared as well as most. At times I felt like I was hacking through the jungle instead of hiking on a designated path!
Becky's Quick Look - Section 2
Distance: 4.7 km / 2.9 miles total
- 1.4 km / 0.9 mi uphill to peak
- 3.3 km / 2 mi downhill
- 275 m / 902 ft uphill
- 261 m / 856 ft downhill
Start Time: 1:30 pm
Reached the Peak: 2:30 pm
End Time: 3:50 pm
Section 3 - Islands Nature Heritage Trail - Mui Wo Section
After a pleasant downhill, we met up with the Islands Nature Heritage Trail - Mui Wo section. Following the signs, we turned left to head towards Mui Wo.
This pathway is nicely paved and feels very different from the earlier part of the hike. We picked up our pace significantly on this trail since it's mostly forested and doesn't have many views.
As you reach Mui Wo, you'll come to the Silvermine Cave and Silvermine Waterfall. Take a few minutes to explore them before continuing into Mui Wo.
The Silvermine Cave on the outskirts of Mui Wo is a remnant of the previous silver mining industry from the late 1800s-early 1900s. Since you can only walk a few feet into the cave because it's blocked off, it's not an overly impressive cave. It shouldn't take much time to pop in for a look as you pass by.
After glancing into the cave, be sure to walk over to see the Silvermine Waterfall. It's a surprisingly large waterfall which is easily accessible from the paved trail. Because it's so close to Mui Wo and is easily to get to, it can get pretty crowded. There's also a garden, rest pavilion, and public toilet at the waterfall.
We spent about 20 minutes at the cave and waterfall snapping a few photos. I'd like to go back when it's less crowded so I could appreciate the waterfall better.
Becky's Quick Look - Section 3
Distance: 1.7 km / 1 mi
Elevation: 153 m / 500 ft (downhill)
Start Time: 3:50 pm
Arrived at Silvermine Cave & Waterfall: 4:12 pm
Arriving in Mui Wo
After the Silvermine Waterfall, you'll pretty much be in Mui Wo. However, it's still another ~20 minute walk (1.7 km /1 mi) to reach the Silvermine Bay Beach or the Mui Wo Ferry Pier.
We took the village route through the old gate to reach the beach. I love walking through these smaller villages and towns in Hong Kong. It makes me feel like I'm in a totally different world from where I live on Hong Kong Island.
Once you meander your way through the village, you'll eventually arrive in downtown Mui Wo and at Silvermine Bay Beach. If the beaches aren't closed for coronavirus (here's hoping they open soon!), then have a swim!
Want to continue hiking? Check out this hike from Mui Wo to Pui O Beach!
Relaxing in Mui Wo
As with most of my hiking posts, Jeremy and I ended with a beer. Strolling along the beach boardwalk, we found The Cobra Beach Club, which serves a lot of local craft beers (bottles & cans only). It's a great place to sit and have a drink overlooking Silvermine Bay.
Then we headed to dinner at The Kitchen - a western restaurant on the other side of Mui Wo Ferry Pier. After a long hike, the pizza and handmade pasta hit the spot! Highly recommend the Puttanesca Pasta!
When you're ready to head back to Central, catch the ferry at the Mui Wo ferry pier. Be sure to check the Mui Wo ferry schedule to plan your trip back!
Need ideas for other Hong Kong hikes? Check out these 10 Gorgeous Hikes!
The hike from Discovery Bay to Mui Wo on the Lo Fu Tau Country Trail is a beautiful and challenging adventure on Lantau Island. With sweeping views and breathtaking landscapes, it's one that every experienced hiker in Hong Kong has to try!
Have you tried this hike? Let me know what you thought!