Journeying down the Dragon’s Back, Hong Kong

Photo by Photo by L_e C_y

The mythical Dragon Back is located in the eastern part of Hong Kong Island, which has tempted countless travelers and locals. Everyone testifies to its beauty and splendor. Dragon’s Back is one of the well-known hiking paths in Hong Kong and even in Asia.

The pleasant walk around the southern tip of Hong Kong Island offers an unobstructed view of the city and sea to the sky. Dragon’s Back is simple to travel on your own, thanks to easy access and a well-marked track.

Whether you prefer hiking alone or with a group, Dragons Back is definitely for you as it is easy to hike, and it takes less than five hours to hike it from start to finish depending on your speed. Those who prefer hiking with a company and wish to learn more about the trail and Hiking in Hong Kong can go on a guided hike.

Brief History of Dragon’s Back

Dragon Back can be traced back to the ancient paths and trails the locals have used for centuries. These routes connected different communities on Hong Kong Island and were frequently created for trade, daily life, and communication.

 The Hong Kong Trail Stage 8—officially known as the Dragon Back Trail—became well-known in the early 2000s as one of the area’s most well-known and iconic hiking paths. The walk, which is 8.5 kilometers (5.3 miles) long and winds through the park’s undulating slope, provides spectacular panoramic views of both sides of Hong Kong Island, including the city skyline on one side and the unspoiled coastline on the other.

 As Hong Kong became more urbanized, a growing passion for outdoor recreation and natural exploration developed. The local population started to re-discover the old trails and routes in the 1980s and 1990s, which sparked a resurgence in Hiking and trail running.

 The popularity of Hong Kong’s hiking routes, including Dragon Back, has made environmental awareness and conservation more of a priority. The trail’s natural beauty is preserved, and good outdoor behavior is encouraged among trail users. Beyond its recreational and sporting significance, Dragon Back is significant culturally as a representation of Hong Kong’s peaceful cohabitation of urban growth and natural beauty. It links to the area’s past, providing a window into the past while embracing the spirit of exploration and adventure.

Description of the Sight

You may enjoy breathtaking panoramic views from the route on both sides of Hong Kong Island. You’ll see the lively cityscape with recognizable buildings and busy streets on one side, which contrasts sharply with the tranquility of the trail. The South China Sea’s emerald seas meet the coastline on the opposite side, providing a tranquil and beautiful scene.

Signs point the way to the Dragon’s Back | Photo by Hong Kong Tourism Board

When climbing Shek O Peak, you’ll receive a wide-ranging view encompassing the surrounding regions. The expansive perspective lets you take in Hong Kong’s natural beauty as you see the lush hills, rocky shorelines, and far-off islands dotting the water.

The trail offers a welcome respite from the bustle of the city as it winds through luxuriant greenery and thick vegetation. You will be completely enveloped in the tranquility of the natural environment as you walk among towering bamboo groves, native trees, and bright wildflowers.

The sparkling sands and calm seas can be seen as you go down to Shek O Beach. A fantastic place to rest and take in the seaside atmosphere, this picturesque seashore contrasts the rough landscape you’ve traveled through.

The exposed ridges that the Dragon’s Back trail follows give you the impression of walking above the earth. These open areas allow you to experience the calm sea wind and provide unimpeded views extending as far as the eye can see.

You might encounter artifacts from the trail’s past, such as aged stone markings or conventional walkways. These historical cues remind us of the trail’s importance in bridging communities and preserving a connection to Hong Kong’s past.

Ways to Get There


The leading international entry point for the city is Hong Kong International Airport (HKG), where you would need to fly. You can then travel to Dragon’s Back from the airport using various means of transportation because it is on Chek Lap Kok Island.

The Mass Transit Railway

MTR, Hong Kong’s most well-known public transportation system, can serve you when you visit Hong Kong to hike the Dragon Back. Take the MTR to Shau Kei Wan Station (Island Line) to reach this destination. You can then take a taxi or a public bus to the trailhead.

Public Bus

Numerous public buses run between Hong Kong Island locations and Dragon’s Back trailhead; they are dependable and affordable. From Shau Kei Wan Bus Terminus, take bus number 9 or 9A to Shek O Road (To Tei Wan), where the trailhead is located. Alternatively, you can travel to To Tei Wan by taking bus number 309 from Quarry Bay MTR Station or Chai Wan MTR Station.

Rental cars and taxis

Rental cars and Taxis are a practical choice for a direct and pleasant commute. In Hong Kong, cabs are simple to come by, and you can ask the driver to take you to the To Tei Wan trailhead for the Dragon’s Back hike.

Guided Tours

if you’re looking for a more structured experience, many local tour organizations provide guided hikes to Dragon’s Back. While the Dragon Back isn’t difficult to hike, you can still consider Guided tours since they give a pleasant experience and provide group vehicles that will take you throughout the journey. These tours frequently include transportation, a guide, and perhaps even more activities.

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When to Go: Weather and Season

The most significant times to visit Hong Kong are in the winter and spring when the weather is pleasant and primarily dry when trekking is most enjoyable. The hike is enjoyable because of the cool, comfortable daytime temperatures rather than the oppressive summer heat. Packaging a light jacket or layers is a good idea because the evenings can turn chilly.

Wildflowers of all hues bloom on the hillsides as the weather begins to warm up in spring. March and April can be pretty pleasant, but the humidity levels rise as May approaches, making the hike a little more challenging.

Hikers should be ready for sudden weather changes, though it’s crucial to remember that the weather on Hong Kong Island can be unpredictable. Before your excursion, check the weather and be ready for unforeseen events; this will assist you in enjoying your hike more safely and comfortably.


Shek O is an excellent option if you’re looking for a beachfront getaway where you can wake up to the sound of lapping waves. Shek O is a charming community with a relaxed atmosphere, with several boutique hotels and guesthouses with quick access to the trail. Imagine leaving your lodging and starting your hike in a matter of minutes. Shek O is a great place to start your adventure because it is convenient.

Consider staying in one of the beautiful guesthouses that dot the area for a more personal experience. These lodgings provide a homey setting, attentive service, and a window into the way of life in the area. It’s a chance to become involved in the neighborhood, enjoy regional cuisine, and converse with welcoming hosts who can provide insights.

Those looking for a home away from home can look through the Airbnb listings in Shek O and the surrounding area. To accommodate your group size and interests, Airbnb offers many possibilities, from adorable apartments to roomy mansions. Choose a location with a balcony to enjoy the lovely views or a quaint hideaway to unwind and recharge.

Affordable hostels can be found nearby in places like Shau Kei Wan if you’re traveling alone or on a tight budget. Although not exactly on the beach, these hostels offer a handy place to start your hike and a lively environment to meet other tourists.

Food and Water

Based on the anticipated length of your trek, pack enough food and drink before you go. Consider elements like the climate, your hydration requirements, and the presence of refill locations. There may not be many water sources along the Dragon’s Back route. However, there are water fountains and restrooms at the Shek O Road gate, where you may fill your water bottles. It is advisable to have a portable water filter or purification tablets on hand so that, in an emergency, you can use natural water sources like streams. Remember that access to safe drinking water is essential to maintaining your health and avoiding dehydration.

In addition, Basic amenities like benches and rest spots can be found along the trail. These locations are excellent for quick breaks and eating snacks or small meals. Bring non-perishable, energizing items like trail mix, granola bars, dried fruit, and almonds. These snacks provide an immediate energy boost without adding much weight to your pack.

You will eventually arrive in Shek O Village near the trail’s end. Local restaurants and convenience stores where you can buy food and drinks are located here. Before finishing the hike or continuing to explore the area, it’s the ideal time to refuel.

However, Portion control is crucial to maintain energy levels while avoiding overeating. Uncomfortability and sluggishness can result from excessive intake. Choose modest, regular snacks over large meals to stabilize your energy level during the trip.

Tips to know when hiking Dragon’s Back

  • Hiking Permit: Although the Dragon’s Back trail often does not require a hiking permit, checking the most recent rules before your hike is a good idea, as regulations sometimes change.
  • Begin Early: Start your hike early in the morning to escape the midday heat, take advantage of the peace as there won’t be many people, and give yourself enough time to complete the trail. You can always start early and end early to obtain enough sleep at your lodge.
  • Protect yourself from the sun’s rays by wearing a wide-brimmed hat, sunscreen, and sunglasses. The exposed portions of the trail put you at risk for sunburn and glare.
  • Mosquitoes and Insects may be present depending on the season. To prevent itchy bites and protect yourself, ensure you have a protective net and always keep an efficient bug repellent.

Potential Dangers

Steep Terrain

The Dragon’s Backtrack has severe ascents and descents. Uneven ground, loose rocks, and steep parts increase the slips, trips, and falls risk. It’s essential to move carefully and wear proper, traction-enhancing footwear. Choose sturdy hiking footwear that offers good traction and ankle support. To prevent slips and injuries on the uneven terrain of the trail, you must wear strong footwear.


Although dangerous wildlife interactions are uncommon, you can encounter insects, snakes, or other species. Take care not to disturb any wildlife. Learn about the local wildlife and how to respond if you come into contact with it.

Conditions of Crowding

On weekends and holidays, the Dragon’s Back trail can become crowded. Crowds might hinder your progress and harm your experience. To avoid the busiest hours, think about trekking during the workweek or in the early morning.

Exposure and restricted walkways

Some sections of the trail include exposed ridges and restricted walkways. Although these areas have beautiful views, they can also be frightening, especially for people afraid of heights. Be cautious and abstain from taking unwarranted chances.

Limited Resources

There aren’t many amenities along the trail, such as garbage cans and restrooms. Plan your bathroom breaks and pack out all your rubbish. Bring along necessities like Kleenex, hand sanitizer, and trash bags.

While there are certain dangers to look out for, it is still possible to enjoy the beautiful scenery and


The numerous advantages of hiking Dragon’s Back make it a remarkable outdoor activity. Its breathtaking natural beauty and expansive views offer a visual feast and a chance for renewal and reconnection with nature. Beyond its attractive aesthetics, Dragon’s Back has health benefits, enhancing muscular strength, cardiovascular fitness, and general fitness.

The climb also promotes mental health since it provides a meditative break from the stresses of daily life, promoting reflection and mental clarity.

Additionally, the social aspect of hiking Dragon’s Back fosters relationships and possibilities for shared experiences, making it an excellent activity for groups of friends, families, and single travelers. In the end, the significance of hiking Dragon’s Back encompasses holistic benefits that go well beyond its picturesque routes.

Remember that Hiking has its challenges, but the advantages are much more than the challenges, take care to apply the tips mentioned earlier, and your hike will not only be eventful and enjoyable, but it will also be without harm.

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