The most popular and well-known hiking route in Hong Kong is without a doubt the Dragon’s Back. This stunning hiking route promises incredible views of mountain, ocean and beach, and isn’t even that hard to do. Thankfully, it doesn’t even require any special hiking or trekking skills.

Located in Shek O, in the south-east of Hong Kong Island, the Dragon’s Back is Section 8 of the Hong Kong Trail, which meanders through Shek O Country Park, with gorgeous vistas of the beaches below and the South China Sea.

How to get there

The recommended starting point is To Tei Wan Village, which is at the southern tip of the peninsula. To get there, you can either take a taxi from Chai Wan MTR Station to To Tei Wan Village, or if you know your way around public transport, can catch Bus #9 to Shek O from Shau Kei Wan MTR Station and get off at To Tei Wan Village. The entrance to the hiking path is right outside the bus stop, with lots of signs, so you won’t get lost.

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

Getting up to the ridge from the bus stop will have you huffing and puffing, but rest assured, this is actually the hardest part, so it only gets better. From the ridge you have fantastic views of Shek O Beach on your right, and Tai Tam Bay on your left. Be sure to enjoy the scenery, because this is the most beautiful part of the trail.

Dragon's back
Photo by Hong Kong Tourism Board

Next you follow the gently undulating ‘backbone’ of the ridge which gave the hike its well-known name. You’ll then make a steep ascent to Shek O Peak, at a height of 284 metres, where you can see the gorgeous Big Wave Bay below, where many hikers end their day.

Keep following the signs for the Hong Kong Trail Section 8 to Big Wave Bay, and you’ll descend into the small Tai Long Wan village behind the beach, where there are a few cafes, shops, and restaurants where you can relax and rehydrate.

How to get back

To get back to the city from Big Wave Bay, hope on Bus #9 going back to Shau Kei Wan MTR Station, or grab a taxi, if you can find one. The taxi ride to Shau Kei Wan takes about 15 minutes.

Tips for a successful hike up the Dragon’s Back

  • Always wear good running shoes or hiking boots because the trail is mostly dirt and stone. That means no flip flops, slippers, or cute tap shoes.
  • Carry LOTS and LOTS of water with you, as there are no shops on the trail, and you won’t be able to buy anything until you reach Big Wave Bay
  • The Dragon’s Back is very, very busy on weekends, so either get there early, or even better, go on a weekday to avoid the crowds
  • Wear sunblock and a hat, and if you must hike in the hot, humid months of summer, wear loose, comfortable clothes to avoid overheating
  • Have you conquered The Peak? Read our guide for hiking up HK’s iconic mountain.