The Chi Ma Wan Peninsula is located on the southeastern side of Lantau Island between two bays, Pui O Wan and Chi Ma Wan (芝麻灣, literally Sesame Bay).
If you’ve ever visited Pui O Beach, you might recall the towering crag on the south side of the bay. The crag is part of the peninsula that faces the beach.
Although Chi Ma Wan Peninsula is often associated with Sea Ranch, the abandoned luxury property, it also has numerous hiking and biking trails, a campsite, a reservoir, hidden beaches, a prison, a drug rehab, and even a school for troubled teens!
And the best way to explore the peninsula is to hike on the Chi Ma Wan Country Trail to Miu Tsai Tun and Lo Yan Shan, the highest point on the Chi Ma Wan Peninsula.
Chi Ma Wan Hike
At almost 18 km, the Chi Ma Wan Country Trail is the longest country trail in Hong Kong. And although it passes all the major sights on the peninsula, it would take over 8 hours to complete the entire loop.
Thankfully, there are multiple shorter breakaway options more suitable for day hikes. Our recommended route for the Chi Ma Wan Peninsula Hike is just over 5 km, covers the two highest points (Lo Yan Shan and Miu Tsai Tun) and passes the Shap Long Irrigation Reservoir.
Unfortunately, this route does not pass Sea Ranch or Lung Mei (Dragon Tail), which is a junction of eight trails on the peninsula with a statue of a Dragon’s Tail.
The entrance for the Chi Ma Wan Country Trail is located at Chi Ma Wan Road, opposite the entrance to Lantau Trail Section 12. To start the Chi Ma Wan Peninsula Hike, first, make your way to Pui O.
- Pui O is connected to the Mui Wo Ferry Pier via bus numbers 1, 2, 3M, and 4. The Central to Mui Wo ferry schedule is available on the operator’s website.
- Pui O can be reached from Tung Chung via bus number 3M.
If you’re familiar with reaching Pui O Beach, then the quickest way to reach the starting point is to walk across the beach and cross the estuary to the Tin Hau Temple.
From the temple, walk uphill on Chi Ma Wan Road for approximately 750 metres to the entrance of the trail.
However, if you don’t want your shoes to get wet, there’s a shortcut from the bus stop to the Chi Ma Wan Country Trail.
South Lantau Road to Chi Ma Wan Country Trail Shortcut
If you’re getting off the bus on South Lantau Road, there is a shortcut to the Chi Ma Wan Country Trail that saves almost 1 km as opposed to walking on Chi Ma Wan Road.
First, alight at the Lo Wai Tsuen bus stop, next to the Garden Plus nursery, and walk towards Tap Tap restaurant.
Opposite Tap Tap is the path to the villages (Ham Tin, Shap Long, Tai Long, and Mong Tung Wan). Take the path through the grass field (with the water buffaloes) to the pedestrian bridge, and on to Chi Ma Wan Road.
Walk on Chi Ma Wan Road and take the left turn for Ham Tin Kau Tsuen. Stay on this back lane to Ham Tin Kau Tsuen.
Once at the village, walk ahead for about 180 metres, and then turn left onto an uphill path.
At the end of the path, walk for another 50 metres on Chi Ma Wan Road and take the steps uphill on the left.
After the steps, follow the trail through the cemetery and then uphill to a pavilion. Continue past the pavilion till the trail merges (again) with Chi Ma Wan Road. This is where the shortcut ends.
And for the final stretch, continue walking on Chi Ma Wan Road for another 300 metres to the entrance of the Chi Ma Wan Country Trail, just past the steps for Lantau Trail Section 12 (Mui Wo to Pui O).
To Miu Tsai Tun
There are three options to choose from as you walk under the Chi Ma Wan Country Trail gate – trails on the left and right, and steps straight ahead. To begin our recommended route of the Chi Ma Wan Peninsula Hike, follow the steps with the sign for Lung Mei via Lo Yan Shan.
The initial section of the steps is relatively steep but short. At the end of the steps is a flat, dry trail that lets you catch up on your breath.
I’m not sure if buffalos can climb steps, but don’t be alarmed if you see one at this point. Even if you don’t spot buffalos, watch your step for their dung.
After a brisk walk on the flat trail, the steps resume. In fact, what follows is the toughest section of the entire hike.
From these steps, Miu Tsai Tun is still a moderately challenging 1 km climb.
The climb is a combination of gentle and steep steps, and some flat sections.
We hiked on a cloudy day with no sun. But it’s good to know that the trail is mostly shaded. Unfortunately, the clouds also took away our views of Sunset Peak and Lantau Peak, which would ordinarily be visible from the steps.
As you approach the first summit, the vegetation starts to thin, the wooden steps turn to stone steps, and the terrain becomes rocky.
The rocky terrain is a fantastic spot to appreciate the views and take some stunning photos! In fact, the views of Chi Ma Wan are the best from here!
And the good news is that the rocks are just below Miu Tsai Tun, the first summit on the Chi Ma Wan hike.
Miu Tsai Tun (Lo Yan Shan West)
At 302 metres, Miu Tsai Tun (not to be confused with a hill with the same name on the High Junk Peak Country Trail) is the first of two summits on the Chi Ma Wan Peninsula Hike.
The rock face hill (crag) is also sometimes referred to as Lo Yan Shan West and is quite popular with rock climbers.
The rock climbing route is popularly referred to as Temple Crag. The crag gets its name from the temple located on the summit, adjacent to the triangulation station.
Names aside, this hill offers the best panoramic views of southeast Lantau!
Sadly, most of the views were hidden on the day we hiked thanks to the cloud cover. So, enjoy the views for as long as you can because this is as good as it gets.
Also, as there is no shade or cover on the top of Miu Tsai Tun, be careful on a sunny day.
Cross the gap
After admiring the views from Miu Tsai Tun, the trail continues to Lo Yan Shan. The distance between the two summits, which are separated by a gap, is approximately 800 metres.
The Chi Ma Wan Country Trail begins its descent from behind Miu Tsai Tun. From the steps, you can admire the views of the sea to the south and Lo Yan Shan in front.
As the trail approaches the bottom of the gap, it regains its tree cover and shade.
The flat trail at the bottom of the gap is short-lived as the uphill climb starts almost immediately.
Fortunately, the climb to Lo Yan Shan isn’t as bad as it was to Miu Tsai Tun. For starters, it’s not as steep and it’s not that long.
However, I found the climb to be very deceiving. There were three distinct times that we thought we’d reached the summit only to realise we hadn’t really.
So, till the time you don’t see a small structure, don’t get your hopes up.
Lo Yan Shan
At 303 metres, Lo Yan Shan is the highest point on the Chi Ma Wan Peninsula. It may be higher than Miu Tsai Tun by only a metre but unfortunately doesn’t share the same amazing views.
The structure on Lo Yan Shan is a fire lookout station. There are supposed to be officers on duty, but we saw none.
Unlike many of the tallest hills on Lantau Island, such as Lantau Peak, which are formed by volcanic rocks, Lo Yan Shan is formed by granitic rocks.
Also, Lo Yan Shan literally translates to “Old Man Mountain”. So, if the old man on the sign didn’t make that obvious, now you know!
Up till Lo Yan Shan, it’s only 2 km, which is less than half the length of the hike. And from this point onwards, it’s all downhill!
To continue to Shap Long Irrigation Reservoir, the next stop on this hike, follow the sign for Lung Mei.
After about 170 metres is a fork in the trail. Although Shap Long Reservoir can be reached via both paths, one is longer than the other.
The path on the right first heads to Lung Mei (Dragon Tail), which is an intersection of 8 trails with a statue of a Dragon’s Tail. And from Lung Mei, there is a trail to Shap Long Irrigation Reservoir. However, the path on the left heads directly to Shap Long Irrigation Reservoir.
Naturally, the route via Lung Mei is longer. So, which route to head down on is your choice. For this guide, we’ll take the shorter route on the left.
To Shap Long Irrigational Reservoir
As you head down the path on the left, the initial descent is on steps.
And from the steps, there are occasional glimpses of the reservoir below.
When the steps end the trail continues downhill on a gentle, shaded decline.
As the trail progresses, the trees clear up, making this section of the hike a pleasant walk. The trail at this point also becomes drier, with more sand and gravel.
This is perhaps is the easiest section of the hike. Also, it’s difficult to lose your way because there aren’t any intersections on this path.
When the trail reenters the woods, it reaches a four-point intersection next to the reservoir.
The path to the left returns to the start of Chi Ma Wan Country Trail via the Shap Long Campsite. The path to the right goes around the reservoir and connects with the section of Chi Ma Wan Country Trail from Lung Mei.
However to admire the beauty of Shap Long Irrigation Reservoir, go straight.
To the main dam
The change in scenery as you cross the intersection is quite drastic. Or at least, it felt like that to me.
It feels like you’ve been suddenly transported to a tropical jungle from an arid trail.
This lush area with tall trees, large leaves, and streams is a reminder of the large water body to the right.
Continue following the trail till you see the main dam of the Shap Long Irrigation Reservoir.
However, just before the main dam, there is a short path, with ropes for support, to the reservoir’s shore.
You can take a quick detour to admire the reservoir from the shores before returning to the trail, and continuing to the main dam.
Shap Long Irrigational Reservoir
The Shap Long Irrigation Reservoir (also known as Chi Ma Wan Reservoir or Shap Long Reservoir) was built in 1955.
This beautiful secluded reservoir felt like a perfect end to a hike that itself was so peaceful and secluded.
From the dam, you can admire the trees and woodlands surrounding this Shap Long Irrigational Reservoir.
While we were there in the evening, the sun decided to peek through the clouds, lighting the reservoir momentarily. This was also the time when the egrets returned home to the trees on the shore.
The way out
Although the hike is technically over at this point, there’s still a relatively long walk to return to Pui O from the Shap Long Irrigation Reservoir.
But first, there are a few options to return to the starting point of Chi Ma Wan Country Trail to complete the loop. The route I recommend is via the Chi Ma Wan Correctional Institution and the hamlets of Sap Long.
Alternatively, you can also catch a ferry to Mui Wo from Chi Ma Wan Public Pier.
Lantau Forest Track – Chi Ma Wan Section
To complete the Chi Ma Wan Peninsula hike loop, take the Lantau Forest Track – Chi Ma Wan Section from behind the main dam. Follow the sign for the Chi Ma Wan Road.
The Lantau Forest Track – Chi Ma Wan Section is a 300 metres cemented track to Chi Ma Wan Road.
At the end of the track, turn left to take the shortcut behind the prison.
Around the Chi Ma Wan Correctional Institution
As you turn left, the road runs behind the Chi Ma Wan Correctional Institution and to one of the gates of the prison.
Take the steps going uphill before the gate, and follow the path along the prison fence.
The path then descends and returns to Chi Ma Wan Road, in front of the main entrance of the Chi Ma Wan Correctional Institution.
Continue walking on Chi Ma Wan Road as it loops around the Chi Sun Correctional Institution. You can look inside the institution and its grounds from the road.
From what I’ve read, the Chi Sun Correctional Institution is one of the largest drug addiction treatment centres in Hong Kong.
Exit option – Ferry to Mui Wo
Around the Chi Sun Correctional Institution, the road splits in two again. The road on the right heads down to the Chi Ma Wan Public Pier. And if you’re lucky with the timing or are willing to wait, you can catch a ferry to Mui Wo or Cheung Chau.
But if there are no ferries arriving during your hike, turn left and continue on Chi Ma Wan Road.
Sap Long Village
The next section of Chi Ma Wan Road passes along Chi Ma Wan (the bay) and is quite picturesque. And along the way are quite a few hamlets in the Sap Long Village area.
As you turn left, and away from Chi Ma Wan Correctional Institution, the road initially climbs up and splits again. Make sure you turn left again.
As the road turns left and descends into Chi Ma Wan, it passes by a few houses at Sap Long Chung Hau.
Continue walking on the road towards the bay. The village around the bay and the beach is Sap Long San Tsuen.
Just after the beach, stay left on Chi Ma Wan Road because the right turn heads down to the village. But if the beach and the bay look inviting, feel free to explore the area first.
As the road moves further away from Chi Ma Wan, it reaches the final hamlet, Sap Long Kau Tsuen.
After the beautiful houses, the road follows a short uphill section before finally returning where we started this hike.
Return to Pui O
And finally, from the entrance to the Chi Ma Wan Country Trail, trace your steps back to Pui O Beach or South Lantau Road.
You can finish this hike on Pui O Beach and unwind at Treasure Island. Or head to Tong Fuk to our favourite restaurant, The Gallery.
Chi Ma Wan Peninsula Hike
We hope you enjoyed our recommended hiking trail on the Chi Ma Wan Peninsula. Keep in mind that although the loop is 5.1 km, the distance to and fro from South Lantau Road adds another 2.6 km.
As mentioned earlier, you can modify our recommended route to include Lung Mei, Sea Ranch, or Tai Long Wan (the bay next to Sea Ranch and not the one in Sai Kung). After all, there is a lot to discover on the longest country trail in Hong Kong!
One final tip is that you can coordinate your hike timing with the ferry from the Chi Ma Wan Public Pier. It is perhaps the fastest way to return to Mui Wo from the hike.
So as always, feel free to share this post on the social media channel of your choice or drop us a comment below.