The Tai Tan Country Trail in Sai Kung's West Country Park is a gorgeous, easy hike that's perfect for summer. With stunning views of turquoise waters and the verdant green hills of Sai Kung, this hike highlights Hong Kong's incredible natural beauty. Although best enjoyed on a sunny day, we hiked it during our recent rainy staycation in Sai Kung. In spite of the rain, it was a beautiful hike that I'll share with you, plus provide tips for hiking it in wet conditions.
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Overview of the Tai Tan Country Trail Hike
The Tai Tan Country Trail is a relatively easy hike in Sai Kung West Country Park which runs between Tai Tan and Hoi Ha. It's 6.7-km (4.2-mi) long and takes ~2.5 to complete at a relaxed pace.
The trail is rugged and rocky with giant boulders in certain parts. When it rains, the dirt path turns into slick mud and the rocks are slippery. These conditions add a bit of difficulty you won't encounter on a sunny day.
Along the trail, you'll pass 2 secluded beaches and plenty of incredibly scenic views. Due to its low elevation gain, this hike is a great one for summer months. Just remember the mosquito spray!
Who Should Hike It?
Since this is a relatively easy hike, I think the Tai Tan Country Trail is a great for any level of hiker.
However, due to the large boulders on the trail, there will be some areas with steep steps for which you should be prepared.
When to Hike It?
Although the turquoise hues of the sea shine vividly on a sunny day, this hike was beautiful on a rainy day as well. And honestly, I'd rather do the hike on a rainy day with low pollution than on a sunny, hazy day with low visibility.
With low elevation gain, this is a hike I'd recommend tackling during the summer months. That way, you can fully appreciate the beaches along the trail and snorkeling opportunities once you arrive in Hoi Ha.
Items for Your Hike
The following items are ones that I specifically recommend you bring on the Tai Tan Country Trail hike in addition to other supplies you normally take on your hikes.
Getting To Trailhead in Tai Tan
The trailhead for the Tai Tan Country trail begins just before the Tai Tan Campsite in Sai Kung West Country Park. To reach it, take the 94 bus from Sai Kung towards Wong Shek Pier and disembark at the Tai Tan stop.
After getting off the bus, you'll see a road ahead on the left side - this is the start of your trail.
Pro Tip: If you need to answer nature's call before beginning the trail, walk ~140 m / 150 yards past the turnoff for the trail and you'll find some public toilets along Pak Tam Road.
Since the buses run infrequently, we took a taxi from our hotel in Hebe Haven to the trailhead. It cost HK $120 and took ~25 minutes.
Our Route on the Tai Tan Country Trail
Click on the Google Map below to follow for our route on the Tai Tan Country Trail. We started this ~6.7-km (4.2-mi) hike in Tai Tan near the Wong Shek Pier and ended in Hoi Ha, but you could hike it the reverse direction as well.
Although Google estimates 1 hr 36 min, the hike took us more like 2.5 hours. We hiked it slowly due in part to the rain, which had us occasionally sheltering under trees to keep from getting soaked. Also because it's summer, which in Hong Kong means high heat + humidity, our pace is slower than in cooler months.
Starting the Hike in Tai Tan
So let's begin the hike, shall we? After you turn left onto the smaller road from Pak Tam Road, you'll start with an easy stroll along the narrow road.
As we walked, I was surprised that several cars passed us. But then we came upon a construction site where they're building new houses. Personally I can't imagine living all the way out there, although it would certainly be peaceful. And the houses looked really nice! But I digress....
After crossing a bridge over a small stream (called 'Hau Tong Kai' on the map), you'll pass the final houses in the village - practically walking through their backyards.
At this point, the Tai Tan Country Trail turns into a lovely coastal walk around Long Harbour. Although it's mostly flat, there are a few gradual ups and downs.
As we made our way around the harbor, we found ourselves ducking under the cover of various trees as rain showers passed us.
In the sunshine, the sea would shine with a gorgeous turquoise color. Despite the clouds which dim its brilliance, you can still catch a glimmer of how clear and beautiful the water is.
Trail Crosses Secluded Beach
After 2.8 km (1.75 mi), the Tai Tan Country Trail crosses the first secluded beach on the hike. It's a peaceful spot to sit and relax or have a snack. As you leave the beach, you'll have excellent views of Sharp Peak across the harbor.
On the opposite side of the beach from the way you entered, you'll pick up the trail which turns inland and upward.
The next ~1 km/0.8 mi after the first beach, is the steepest and longest uphill section of the Tai Tan Country Trail hike. Despite the elevation gain being only ~120 m (394 ft) - not bad for a Hong Kong hike - when it's hot and muggy, the climb can feel higher than it is.
Since the trail is rocky and rugged, you'll have to scramble up in certain sections. When it's wet, things get slippery so be extra cautious to avoid ankle turns.
In order to avoid overheating, we took this section at a relaxed pace. Especially because I was already dripping with sweat just walking around the flat sections. That's what 86°F (30°C ) + 95% humidity will do to you.
Looking for another easy Sai Kung hike? Check out the Hike to Ham Tin Beach!
Downhill towards the Coastline
Once you reach the highest point on the trail, you'll enjoy a short and sharp downhill section, immediately followed by another small uphill climb. Don't worry - it's not too far up this time!
By this point in our hike, the rain showers mostly stopped. And through the swiftly-moving clouds, we caught glimpses of beautiful blue sky.
As the trail leads back towards the coast, you'll make your way downhill until you reach the second secluded beach. In front of you, you'll see the Wan Tsai Extension of the Sai Kung West Country Park which is home to several campsites and toilet facilities.
Beyond Wan Tsai, you'll be able to see Grass Island (Tap Mun) which you can reach via a ferry from Wong Shek Pier or Ma Liu Shui Ferry Pier at the University MTR station.
Small Trail to Second Secluded Beach
Just before you reach the intersection for the trail to the Wan Tsai Extension, you'll see a small trail through the trees leading down to a second secluded beach.
Honestly, this wasn't my favorite beach as it seemed quite dirty on the day we visited plus the sand was on the rocky side. But I have a feeling the water and the views would be stunning on a sunny day.
Final Leg to Hoi Ha
Shortly after passing the second beach, you'll arrive at an intersection of trails. Turn left and follow signs to Hoi Ha which is ~1.3 km (0.8 mi) away.
Although I was not happy to see stairs again, especially as we started to hear thunder, it wasn't a bad climb up these gradual stone steps. And as you get closer to Hoi Ha, the trail is paved and easy to navigate.
Hoi Ha Marine Life Centre
Along the last section of the trail, you'll pass the Hoi Ha Marine Life Centre. This centre has a variety of education activities for students to help them understand issues related to marine environment and fisheries. Visitors can also book an eco-visit on a glass-bottomed boat to view the diversity of corals and fish in Hoi Ha.
Hoi Ha Lime Kiln Ruins
Just outside of Hoi Ha Wan, don't miss the old lime kiln ruins. These kilns were used by villagers in the early 20th century to make lime by burning corals and shells that they collected from the sea.
Although lime was once a prosperous industry for villages in Sai Kung, it was replaced by cement after WWII.
Arriving in Hoi Ha Wan
After passing the lime kilns, you're pretty much in Hoi Ha Wan. Arriving in Hoi Ha was the first time we'd seen people during our entire hike! This solitude was certainly a perk to hiking on a rainy weekday.
Things to Do in Hoi Ha Wan
Hoi Ha Wan is a small village with only a few houses and facilities. We ate lunch at a small local restaurant that we passed as we entered the town - those spicy 'Singapore-style noodles' as they're called on the menu always hit the spot for me after a hike.
However, the main reason to visit Hoi Ha Wan is the pristine, clear water which offers the best snorkeling conditions in Hong Kong.
In the village, you can rent snorkeling gear in order to check out the diversity of corals and fish in the area. If you're feeling adventurous, rent a kayak and head out to the snorkeling locations further away as well.
Because it was rainy when we arrived in Hoi Ha, we decided to save the snorkeling for another day. Though we did stand in the water to cool off for a bit and were tickled by little fish that decided our feet were tasty! So I guess we experienced some marine life after all!
Returning to Sai Kung from Hoi Ha
Once you're finished exploring the beauty of Hoi Ha, return to Sai Kung Town by catching the number 7 minibus. The minibus comes roughly every half hour up at the main road in Hoi Ha.
Planning a Sai Kung Getaway?
Whether you live in Hong Kong or are visiting and love exploring the outdoors, Sai Kung is a great place to plan a getaway. This charming seaside town has great restaurants, cute shops, and plenty of beautiful hikes nearby.
Since we haven't been traveling internationally, we decided to plan a Hong Kong staycation in Sai Kung for our anniversary. Obviously the weather decided not to cooperate, but we made the most of it!
Check out my post on our fun-filled 3 days in Sai Kung here to get ideas for what you could do on a Sai Kung getaway.
During our staycation in Sai Kung, we stayed at The Pier Hotel and I'd highly recommend it. Although not in Sai Kung Town, it's only a few minutes south in Hebe Haven, or Pak Sha Wan - a tranquil harbor which is home to several yacht clubs. Its spot right on the waterfront provides beautiful views from the chic and modern guest rooms.
This hotel is a great jumping off point for exploring Sai Kung's many excellent restaurants, local hikes, and beautiful beaches. If you're looking to relax at the hotel, the rooftop pool (summer only) and on-site fitness center are excellent amenities to enhance your stay.
Other Hikes in Sai Kung You Might Enjoy
Despite the rain, the Tai Tan Country Trail turned out to be an awesome adventure for us. The cloudy skies added a moody beauty to the hike. Plus, since it was so hot and muggy, it was nice to be cooled off by the occasional rain shower!
If you're looking for a relatively easy and gorgeous summer hike in Sai Kung, I highly recommend the Tai Tan Country Trail.