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MacLehose trail 1 & 2 and Dragon's back trail

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MacLehose trail 1 & 2 and Dragon's back trail

Hello Hong Kong experts,

I'm interested to hike MacLehose trail 1 & 2 and Dragon's back. I'm relatively fit, have done hikes, but only when traveling (once/twice a year). Not looking for something too easy or too difficult, just somewhere in between, with great ocean views. Read and saw images of these two hikes, so decided to go for it. I've just recently started doing research on both trails, so there are still a lot more for me to find out.

I have a few questions:

- What buses/MTR should I take from To Kwa Wan area? I plan to stay at The Mahjong Hostel. To both MacLehose and Dragon's back trails.

- Possible to hike both MacLehose trail 1 & 2 on the same day? If I start at the trail head (1), say at 9am, is it possible to reach the end of trail 2 by 4pm? Wanted to know, if I can handle it, especially trail 2, I've read that trail 1 is easy.

- Also, how easy/hard is it to get a bus back from both MacLehose and Dragon's back after the hike in late afternoon on a weekday?

- Are the trail head (for both MacLehose and Dragon's back easy to find from the bus drop off point?

- What is Machehose and Dragon's back called in Cantonese? As in the Cantonese pronunciation, written in roman letters, I can speak Cantonese, but can't read the Chinese characters and Google Translate don't have an English > Cantonese (pronunciation) translation.

Thanks in advance! :)

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1. Re: MacLehose trail 1 & 2 and Dragon's back trail

Dragon's Back trail: You can take MTR to Shau Kei Wan Station and take bus #9. The Hong Kong Tourism Board has good instructions:

discoverhongkong.com/us/…dragons-back.jsp

Yes you can do MacLehose trail 1 & 2 on the same day. Section 1 is mostly flat on a paved road. Couldn't be easier. No brainer. Section 2 starts to use dirt/cemented trails going up/down hills. Starts to be a bit challenging but no major difficulties. The general estate is 3 hours for Sec 1 (which I don't think it will take that long), and 5 hours for Sec 2. Starting at 9 am and ending at 4 pm is a bit pushing it. You would need to do fast walk.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MacLehose_Trail

It also take time to take transportation around Sai Kung. Takes time to get to Sai Kung. Takes time to get to Pak Tam Au.

Bus back from Dragon's Back. Not a problem. Bus 9 again, the one and only that goes to Shek O. About 1 every 10 to 15 minutes. There are also minibuses along Shek O Road, and occasionally empty taxi.

Sign post to Dragon's Back Trail is there. If you get off at the right bus stop, should be easy to find.

Cantonese:

MacLehose Trail:

麥理浩徑

Pronounciation: Muk Lai Ho Geng

Dragon's Back trails

龍脊

Pronounciation: Lon Zhek

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2. Re: MacLehose trail 1 & 2 and Dragon's back trail

RE: The Maclehose Trail. You don't say at what time of year you are thinking of doing this. Be aware that Stage One in particular can be a killer (figuratively, one hopes) on a hot day. It is long and mostly flat and fully exposed to the sun. You MUST take lots and lots of water with you.

The Trail Head for Stage One is very near the Sai Kung East Country Park HQ and visitor centre at Pak Tam Chung. It is served by regular buses from Sai Kung (No. 94, every 20-30 mins) and on Sundays and holidays, No. 96R direct from the Diamond Hill MTR Station (every 18-20 minutes).

The trail end after Stage Two is at Pak Tam Au, and buses to Sai Kung (again No. 94) pass right along the main road where the trail crosses it.

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3. Re: MacLehose trail 1 & 2 and Dragon's back trail

Sections 1+2 would be about 7 hours at a normal reasonably brisk hiking pace, so long as you are OK with climbing the hills. The first one (and biggest one on these sections) of 314m up from Long Ke Wan can be quite tough on a hot day.

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4. Re: MacLehose trail 1 & 2 and Dragon's back trail

In order to go Sai Kung Tai Long Wan (Maclehose stage 2, assume you skip stage 1), you first need to go to Sai Kung city center. Two ways to get to Sai Kung City center:

1. Bus 92 from Diamond Hill MTR exit C2

2. Exit B from Hang Hau MTR station, then take mini bus 101M

3. Fastest option by far is red mini bus: they depart from causeway bay, kwun tong, or mong kok. Check out below:

http://www.16seats.net/eng/rmb/r_sak.html

Once you get to Sai Kung city center, you need to connect to another transportation to get to start of trail:

1. (Fast option) White mini bus number 29R, you board in front of Sai Kung McDonald. Schedule as below:

http://www.oasistrek.com/29R_timetable_e.php

2. (Slower option) Bus 94 from Sai Kung bus terminal. Schedule should should run on a 30 minutes.

If you get to Tai Long Wan using option 1:

As soon as you get off, you will see a small pavilion and a trail next to it. Follow that trail then it will become Maclehose stage 2. Make sure you download maclehose stage 2 map on your Google map so you can follow the trail for the hike. There should be two places where you can stop and have some food etc.

A good tips is always look out for trail mark label as "Mxx". M stands for Maclehose to indicate you are on the right trail, and xx is number mark. Between each number mark is 500 meters in distance. End of stage 2 is about M48 to M49. Stick with the mark to make sure you are on the right path.

You should finish the trail at a public toilet. Look to your left should be a bus stop. Bus 94 will get you back to Sai Kung city center.

- end of option 1 -

If you go with option 2:

Get off at a stop called Pak Tam Au.

As soon as you get off the bus, you will see a public toilet near by, there should be a path right next to the public toilet. The beginning of your hike should start from M48. Follow that path and walk for maybe 30-60 minutes, you will get to a small village with two small restaurants facing the beach. This beach is called Ham Tin Wan, relax there.

Basically you are now going the reverse way from option 1 above and start walking up hill. At the end you will reach Sai Wan Pavilion and you can catch a white mini bus to get back to Sai Kung city center. Please check the schedule to make sure you can catch the last mini bus at 16:45.

If you finish the trail too early or you think you can not make it to the last mini bus, you can walk back to the starting point and take bus 94 back to Sai Kung city center.

- end of option 2 -

Timing is critical because transportation does not run as efficiently as in the city. If you go back to the bus stop where you get off, I recommend getting there no later than 5pm. For going to Sai Wan Pavilion, last mini bus is 16:45.

Have fun and enjoy!

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5. Re: MacLehose trail 1 & 2 and Dragon's back trail

Just to be clear, minibus 29R takes you to the Sai Wan pavilion, which is part way through Mac 2 (avoiding the big hill). I guess you may be able to jump off it at the start of Stage 1, but I've never done that and don't know anyone who has. Trying to hit the infrequent minibus 29R at the end of the hike, and hoping that there isn't a bus full of people in front of you in the queue is not a good plan in my opinion. If you get your timings wrong, or there are too many people waiting then you have no choice but a rather long and boring walk out along the minor road (or trying to get a taxi to come and pick you up - good luck with that, especially if you don't speak Cantonese!).

Also, from Choi Hung Exit C2, green minibus 1A is far faster than big bus 92.

And the red minibus between Causeway Bay and Sai Kung is only in the evenings, so not much use for most hikers.

Edited: 9:41 am, July 21, 2017
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6. Re: MacLehose trail 1 & 2 and Dragon's back trail

If you are tight on time, you can always cheat and just take a green taxi from Sai Kung or from Pak Tam Chung to ride to the end of MacLehose Trail Stage 1, which is the High Island Reservoir East Dam. The East Dam is impressive and you can spend a few minutes there. The Stage 1 Trail itself is basically the access road built to go around the reservoir to reach east dam. Really not that "hike worthy". Just a paved road. The saves you 2 to 3 hours.

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7. Re: MacLehose trail 1 & 2 and Dragon's back trail

We just did the Dragon's Back on our HK trip.

The moment we got to the top of the stairs for the Shau Kei Wan MTR someone from a minibus company asked us if we needed a minibus anywhere.

We said "the Dragon's Back" and that was it. The four of us took a $HK 20 #9 minibus ride to the Dragon's Back's southern trailhead. The minibus left in about 5-6 minutes. You can get off at either trailhead. (the $20 HKD was for all four of us)

Yes, there are many minibusses that stop by at the trailheads, but we hiked down to Shek O. From there you can catch a full-size bus, a minibus, or a taxi. We took a taxi from Shek O back to Shau Kei Wan for $98 HK.

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8. Re: MacLehose trail 1 & 2 and Dragon's back trail

http://www.walkonhill.com/hktrail_en.php

www.walkonhill.com/route_en.php?area=1&seq=2

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9. Re: MacLehose trail 1 & 2 and Dragon's back trail

Hello Hong Kong experts,

Thank you so much for all the valuable information and tips. Really appreciate it. I plan to do the hike on a weekday on the fourth week of November. Hopefully by then it's cooler to hike, will start as early as possible.

After reading all the feed backs, I think I'll skip stage 1, don't want to be rushing the hike and possibly missing the bus back. Will take HappyFeets' advice to take the green taxi from Pak Tam Chung. Any idea on the rough estimate for the taxi fare from Pak Tam Chung to High Island Reservoir East Dam? Also, are there different coloured taxis? Do I have to take the green taxi and not any other?

Is it too ambitious to do both MacLehose and Dragon's back hikes on two consecutive days? I want to do the hikes on weekdays to avoid crowds, but only have 2 weekdays during my trip (land on Wed, leaving the following Monday). If I'm too tired to do the Dragon's back hike the next day, which day during the weekend is better? Sat or Sun? Will be travelling alone, so I can be flexible.

So much information here, will take the time to read and digest all these. Will come back if I have more questions.

Thanks again! :)

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10. Re: MacLehose trail 1 & 2 and Dragon's back trail

Taxi fare from Pak Tam Chung to East Dam, 10km, about HKD $80. If take taxi directly from Sai Kung, 18 km, about $130. Sai Kung is in the New Territories. Only green taxis serve that area.

You will be fine doing them on 2 consecutive days. Dragon's Back trail is tame. Piece of cake. There are ways to cheat too! ;) Don't need to walk the entire trail. The most scenic part is the Dragon's Back (the trail follows the ridge), overlooking Shek O. The climb from Big Wave Bay Beach is not as scenic. Instead of starting from To Tei Wan, you can take bus #9 to the bus stop "Cape Collinson Road / Shek O Road". You shall find the Dragon Back's trail (a series of steps from Shek O Road). Only a very short climb. For the rest, you walk along the contour of the hills until you reach the "Dragon's Back". Then up/down the ridge a bit. At the end you descend to To Tei Wan. This is the lazy boy's version of doing Dragon's Back, shall you want it.

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