Are you interested in a short, easy hike with the best views of the Hong Kong wetlands and the Shenzhen skyline? If yes, then look no further than the Kai Shan (髻山 in Chinese)!
Kai Shan is a short hill in the Wang Chau area of Yuen Long in the New Territories that overlooks the wetlands and the bay across to Shenzhen.
Kai Shan Hike
The Kai Shan Hike is a short 2 km hike from one end of the hill to the other end. This does not take into consideration the extra walking to reach the closest mode of public transportation.
A few pointers about the hike. Although the hike is short and easy, there are a couple of sections on the hill that are steep and rocky. The trail is also mostly unshaded, except for a couple of trees and benches along the way. Also, the foot of the hill is a cemetery area.
So, it is advisable to wear proper hiking shoes and carry an umbrella and sunscreen on a sunny day.
And here’s a quick video of the hike.
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The Kai Shan Hike is best completed from south to north, which ensures the views of the wetlands and Shenzhen are always up ahead. And the easiest way to reach the southern starting point is via a 1 km walk from Tin Shui Wai.
So, make your way to Tin Shui Wai by bus or MTR (Tuen Ma Line) and take Exit C or D onto Tin Fuk Road. Once on Tin Fuk Road, walk towards Long Tin Road. Or you could also follow the signs for Ha Mei San Tsuen, which are more visible on the pedestrian path.
Walk under the overhead Long Tin Road and turn left at the sign for Ha Mei San Tsuen.
Continue walking on the Ha Mei San Tsuen Road to the public toilet. The public toilet is the starting point for the Kai Shan Hike.
The initial easy section
Opposite the car park, next to the Ha Mei San Tsuen public toilet, is an unmarked trail. Enter and follow the trail as it cuts through the trees and onto a large open space.
Walk up the steps to the cemetery at the foot of Kai Shan, turn left and continue walking uphill.
After the cemetery, the trail flattens and continues on the top of the knoll. You probably can’t tell from here, but Kai Shan consists of multiple grassy knolls.
From the first knoll, Kai Shan should be visible up ahead. Continue on the trail as it crosses the grassy patch and onto the path behind the trees.
After the trees, turn left and walk up the steps and the incline that follows.
At the end of the climb, the trail splits into two. Take the trail on the left, and at this point, Kai Shan should be directly up ahead.
I’m not sure if it was the greenery or the clear, crisp day, but this section of the hike was stunning when we visited! The lush grass, blue skies, open spaces, and a skyline in the distance, felt oddly utopian!
As the trail gets closer to Kai Shan, the views become more impressive. And at the foot of the hill, there is a bench under a few trees. Take a break here, if needed, or simply enjoy the grassy views. This is one of the few spots with shade on the trail.
The steep climb to the summit
The following is the toughest section of the hike, so be prepared. The trail becomes a steep uphill climb almost immediately after the shaded bench.
There is a very steep section right at the start that fortunately eases as it reaches the area with the shrubs and tall grass. Go easy and slow, as the steepness is short-lived.
At this section of the trail, you can finally look behind to admire the rolling, grassy knolls of Kai Shan.
At the clearing ahead, there are many visible trails that make their way to the summit. Refrain from the trail on the right. The trail in the middle is the shortest, but also the steepest. We recommend taking the trail on the left. It’s less steep and almost the same length as the trail in the centre.
Go easy as you climb this section. Fortunately, this is the last bit of climbing on the hike and it’s relatively very short.
So, before you know it, you’ll arrive at another shaded bench right before the summit. Make sure to take another moment to admire the grassy knolls and views of Yuen Long from here.
You can take another break at the bench, or power on to the summit, which is right beside the bench. Just keep in mind that there is no shade on the summit.
Views from Kai Shan
Needless to say, this hike is best undertaken on a clear day to appreciate these views!
We’re so used to admiring the Hong Kong skyline during our hikes that viewing the Shenzhen skyline for a change felt kind of refreshing.
The skyline stands across the wetlands, the fish farms, and a bay from the Hong Kong side. And on a clear day, the views are stunningly spectacular because it’s so close to Kai Shan. It feels like you’re standing on the last hill in Hong Kong.
We spent a great amount of time admiring the views from on top of this short hill. And not just of Shenzhen but also the scenery behind.
To the stone paintings
The downhill trail continues from the right side of the triangulation station on Kai Shan. It quickly approaches a small garden patch with another bench facing Kai Kung Leng.
After the bench, there’s a short, flat distance to cover before arriving at an area that has many paintings on rocks.
Rock paintings on Kai Shan
I’m not entirely sure of the origins or story of the outdoor paintings on rocks on Kai Shan. But there are many of them visible on the trail, and some hidden behind the mound.
The paintings are of different scenes, some depicting beautiful villages with waterfalls and others of explorers.
What I loved most about some of these paintings is that they use the natural contours of the rocks to create a somewhat 3D effect.
Nothing like encountering an outdoor art gallery on a hike!
To Shing Uk Tsuen
The rock painting area marks the beginning of the end of the hike. From here on out, it’s all downhill and the knolls on the other side also become visible.
Fortunately, the Shenzhen skyline becomes more prominent making the descent very picturesque! In fact, while we descending, the evening sun lit up the fish ponds and Shenzhen. It was quite a spectacular sight!
However, be warned that there are a couple of very steep slopes after the rock paintings and closer to the end. Descend carefully and with caution.
There are also plenty of vantage points along the way to admire the views from. So, given that this is a short hike, why not take it slow to enjoy the views?
Once again you probably will notice plenty of trails to choose from for the descent. My advice is to take the trails either on the left or centre and not the ones on the right.
The trails on the left and centre offer the best views of the village and Shenzhen, whereas these views are mostly hidden from the trail on the right.
Regardless of which trail you take, they all merge just before the exit, which is right next to houses in the Shing Uk Tsuen village.
Finish the hike
From where the trail exits, walk down the road past all the houses. After the last house, this road merges with Fuk Shun Street.
Turn right and walk down Fuk Shun Street till you reach the green minibus stop for bus number 74. The minibus stops at the Long Ping MTR Station.
Kai Shan Hike Guide
We spotted Kai Shan while visiting the Ping Shan Heritage Trail and were glad that we returned to hike across it. In fact, Kai Shan is a private property owned by the Tang Clan.
Just remember, if you’re hiking Kai Shan on a sunny day, carry sunscreen and an umbrella as there is practically no shade on the trail.
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