Lantau Peak, or Fung Wong Shan (鳳凰山, literally “Phoenix Mountain” in Cantonese), is the highest peak on Lantau Island, and the second-highest in all of Hong Kong.
The hike up to Lantau Peak is as challenging as it is scenic. At 934 metres above sea level, Lantau Peak offers some of the most breathtaking views of Lantau Island and its surroundings! But then again, you may be out of breath hiking up this peak.
How Difficult is the Lantau Peak Hike?
The short answer is that it depends. There are a few hiking trails to the summit of Lantau Peak, the easiest of which is the one on Lantau Trail Section 3, between Pak Kung Au to Ngong Ping. The other more difficult trails include the ones from West Dog Teeth, and Middle Dog Teeth, collectively known as the Dog Teeth Range (“Kau Nga Ling”).
But keep in mind that when I say “easiest”, I mean relatively speaking. After all, Lantau Peak is 934 metres above sea level, and even though the hike doesn’t start at sea level, you’ll still be gaining over 600 metres in elevation in a short distance.
Here’s a quick walkthrough video of the Lantau Peak Hike.
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Lantau Peak Hike Starting Point
So, you can start the Lantau Peak Hike from Pak Kung Au or Ngong Ping, the two ends of Lantau Trail Section 3. But Pak Kung Au (also known as Tung Chung Gap) is our recommended starting point. Why? Because although the climb to Lantau Peak from Pak Kung Au is slightly longer, it’s less steep.
If you hike up to Lantau Peak from Ngong Ping, it might be shorter but it’s a constant and steep uphill climb.
Lantau Peak Trail Map
Here’s a quick look at the Lantau Peak trail map along with the elevation profile. It’s fairly evident looking at the elevation profile that one side is much steeper than the other.
Although Section 3 of the Lantau Trail is only 4.5 km, we added the 1.5 km from the Wisdom Path to Ngong Ping Village because that’s where the hike technically ends.
So, with that out of the way, let’s find out how to get to the Lantau Peak Hike starting point – Pak Kung Au.
Pak Kung Au
Pak Kung Au is located at the end of Stage 2 and the start of Stage 3 of the Lantau Trail, between Sunset Peak and Lantau Peak. You can get to Pak Kung Au bus stop either from Mui Wo Ferry Pier, or Tung Chung.
From Mui Wo Ferry Pier
- Make your way to Mui Wo Ferry Pier from Central by catching the Mui Wo ferry from Central Pier Number 6. The ferry schedule can be found on the operator’s website.
- Once you reach Mui Wo Ferry Pier, walk towards the bus terminus and catch bus number 3M to Tung Chung.
- Ride the bus to Pak Kung Au bus stop.
From Tung Chung
- From Tung Chung Station Bus Terminus, you can catch either bus number 3M (to Mui Wo Ferry Pier) or 11 (to Tai O). Or you can catch bus number 23 from Tat Tung Road Bus Terminus towards Ngong Ping.
- Ride the bus to Pak Kung Au bus stop, and once you alight, cross the road to the other side.
This is the starting point for the Lantau Peak Hike.
To Shui Hau Intersection
The starting elevation at Pak Kung Au is 325 metres above sea level. With 609 metres to climb in 2.5 km, there is no time to waste.
The trail starts immediately with steps. Fortunately, the steps at this stage aren’t too steep and are shaded.
Within a couple of minutes into the trail, you’ll reach an outdoor sitting area that pays tribute to a helicopter that crashed at this location in 2003. If you’re already out of breath, take a quick break at one of the benches.
As the steps continue, the trail becomes less steep. Shortly, you’ll arrive at a flat terrain, that is followed by a gentle incline. At the end of this incline, the trees disappear and the vegetation changes more to the silver grass.
From here you also get your first look at Lantau Peak in the distance. Looking at the peak can be a bit daunting.
Continue along the flat, unshaded trail till you reach the intersection with the trail for Shui Hau. The trail on the left heads down towards Tong Fuk and Shui Hau Wan. But the trail to Lantau Peak continues straight, and that’s where you need to head.
The First Stairway
From this point onward, the trail to Lantau Peak can be best described as – a flat terrain, followed by steep steps, and repeat that three times till you reach the summit. Or in other words, it’s climbing three consecutive hills before reaching Lantau Peak.
As you walk past the Shui Hau intersection, the trail dips and reveals the first flight of steep steps ahead. I will admit, the climb ahead looks very intimidating!
As you approach the base of the steps, take a deep breath as you mentally prepare for the climb. And then, start climbing!
Our advice as always is to take your time and go at a pace that you’re comfortable with. Appreciate the views on either side as you make your way to the top of the first hill.
When the steps finally end, take a well-earned break on one of the rocks. But for even better views, walk another few metres ahead to the viewpoint with the benches.
The Flat Terrain
Fortunately, the next section of the trail is flat and easy terrain. As you walk past the viewpoint with the benches, after having caught your breath, the trail runs along the top of the hill. From here you can see Tong Fuk to your left, and the airport to your right.
The trail runs along the top of the hill (which I believe is called 牛塘 山, I could be wrong) before revealing another flight of steps up the next hill.
The Second Stairway
So you just walked up a daunting flight of steps, and here’s another one staring at you!
Once again, take it easy and go slow as you conquer these steep steps. Fortunately, the views only get better as you gain elevation.
Climbing this hill did feel shorter than climbing the first hill. Either way, once you reach the top of the steps, the trail flattens out.
However, the flat trail this time doesn’t last too long. And before you know it, the third hill and stairway are staring at you! It feels like déjà vu at this point!
The Final Climb to Lantau Peak
The third and final climb is the longest and toughest. But it’s also the most scenic!
From the base of the hill, which is now Lantau Peak, you have beautiful views of Shui Hau Wan and Middle Dog Teeth on the left, and Tung Chung and the airport on the right. You might also notice that the trail splits into two here – one runs up to Lantau Peak, and the other goes to the right. The one on the right is Pak Ngok Ha Trail.
As you begin climbing the third stairway, the views behind you keep getting better and better! You can see the road along with Pak Kung Au, where you started, and the section of Lantau Trail that you’ve covered. And in the distance, Sunset Peak looking majestic!
We took plenty of stops along this section of the hike to take photos. The views are stunning, and there are plenty of photogenic spots along the way.
Also, stopping to take photos of the hike forces you to take a break. Otherwise, this would be one constant and difficult uphill climb.
You can tell you’re getting close to the summit of Lantau Peak when the terrain becomes rockier. In fact, the final stretch of the trail involves walking in-between these rocks before emerging at the peak!
Although it only took us 1.5 hours to reach the top of Lantau Peak, it felt like an eternity! But of course, we were thrilled to be standing on top of this majestic, volcanic hill!
The first thing that stands out on the peak is the temporary refuge shelter. The weather on top of Lantau Peak can change suddenly, or become extreme without much notice. So, to protect hikers from the elements of nature, there is a temporary refuge shelter on top of Lantau Peak.
Fortunately, we hiked up on a very calm but very sunny day. So, all we just needed to be cautious of was not getting a heatstroke.
Views from Lantau Peak
Needless to say, the views from Lantau Peak are some of the best that any hike in Hong Kong has to offer! Naturally, when you’re standing at the highest point on the island, there are no obstructions to the views.
Towards the north, you can see Lantau Trail, along with Sunset Peak in the background. And on a clear day, you can also see Hong Kong Island.
The airport and Tung Chung are visible to the west. What’s also standing right in front is the Lantau Subpeak.
Lantau Peak is made up of a pair of peaks, “Fung Shan” (male phoenix mountain), and “Wong Shan” (female phoenix mountain). Together they form “Fung Wong Shan”, Phoenix Mountain. I’m fairly certain that Lantau Subpeak (918 metres) is Wong Shan. And this subpeak can be reached from Lantau Peak via a short walk through the Lantau Pass.
To the southwest, you can see Shek Pik Reservoir, Ngong Ping with the Tian Tan Buddha and Po Lin Monastery, and the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge.
To Tsam Chai Au
Once you’re done admiring the views from Lantau Peak and have taken all the pictures, it’s time to head down.
The trail continues downhill from the south, from where you can see Shek Pik Reservoir. This segment of Lantau Trail Section 3 is the most picturesque in my opinion.
The trail now essentially runs down a narrow ridge, with incredible views all around. As we were descending, I must have stopped countless times to take pictures of the ridge, reservoir, hills and the glowing sea.
And because the trail does get quite narrow at some points, there are measures to prevent accidents.
This picturesque section finally ends at Tsam Chai Au, which is where the trail for West Dog Teeth and Middle Dog Teeth meet Lantau Trail.
To Wisdom Path
The next section of the hike is a simple but very steep descent downhill. For the most part, this section is covered, with the occasional view of Ngong Ping and the Giant Buddha below.
Make sure you descend cautiously as the initial steps are very steep. Truth be told, we found this section of the descent tougher on the knees than the climb to Lantau Peak. And although this section is just over 1 km, it once again felt much longer.
Wisdom Path to Ngong Ping Village
Also, worth seeing here is the statue of the phoenix next to the Lantau Trail gate. The phoenix of course is a reminder of the Cantonese name for Lantau Peak – Fung Wong Shan, quite literally “Phoenix Mountain”.
From Wisdom Path, Ngong Ping Village is another 1.5 km. Fortunately, the trail is paved, flat, and shaded. Simply follow the signs for Ngong Ping and the Tian Tan Buddha, as you don’t want to take the wrong turn.
Once you reach Ngong Ping, you’ll first pass the Po Lin Monastery, followed by the Big Buddha. When you reach the Ngong Ping Piazza, turn around and admire Lantau Peak from this location. Take a moment to appreciate the view.
And finally, to end the hike, follow the path till it reaches Ngong Ping Village, which is where the souvenir shops, restaurants, and cafes are located.
How to end Lantau Peak Hike?
From Ngong Ping Village, there are a couple of options to return to Mui Wo or Tung Chung.
The Ngong Ping bus terminus is right behind the shops and restaurants, and from here you can catch bus number 2 to Mui Wo Ferry Pier, or bus number 23 to Tung Chung.
However, we decided to end our hike with a bit more style and opted to take the Ngong Ping 360 cable car to Tung Chung!
We hadn’t been on the cable car ride in over 8 years and decided it might be a fun option as there were no tourists thanks to the pandemic. Little did we know that it would turn out to be an excellent option because we got a free upgrade to the Crystal Cabin, and got to appreciate the sunset on our ride!
If you do plan to take the cable car option, you should book your Ngong Ping 360 tickets online. You could save money, and even get exclusive deals online.
Best time for the hike?
At the very onset, I think it’s worth mentioning that you shouldn’t attempt the Lantau Peak Hike on a hot, sunny day. There is no shade along the hike, and there is a high chance of heatstroke with the level of exertion.
If you do plan to hike during the day, make sure you carry an umbrella, sunscreen, and 1-2 litres of water.
Having said that, the Lantau Peak hike is widely regarded as an amazing sunrise hike. The views of the rising sun from the summit are (apparently) awe-inspiring! Many attempt this hike, at the crack of dawn, from the Ngong Ping Campsite.
In fact, there’s a fantastic glamping option available at the YHA Ngong Ping SG Davis Youth Hostel. So, if you’re considering a sunrise hike to Lantau Peak, and need a good option to spend the night nearby, we highly recommend the Bell Tent Glamping Experience in YHA Ngong Ping SG Davis Youth Hostel.
You can also join a guided group for the Lantau Peak sunrise hike if you’re looking for some company.
Other than the sunrise, you can also catch the sunset from Lantau Peak. But isn’t that what Sunset Peak is known for?
Lantau Peak vs Sunset Peak
Sunset Peak (or Tai Tung Shan) is the third-highest peak in Hong Kong and is located right next to Lantau Peak. In fact, the hill is visible throughout the hike to Lantau Peak. Sunset Peak is known for its spectacular views of Lantau Island, sunsets, silvergrass, and the Lantau Mountain Camp.
In terms of difficulty, I find the Lantau Peak Hike to be more challenging than the Sunset Peak Hike. The Sunset Peak might be longer, but a large section of the trail is shaded. Also, the Sunset Peak Hike is less strenuous to climb.
Your Lantau Peak Hike Guide
We hope you found our detailed guide to the Lantau Peak Hike helpful! Like I said earlier, the route from Pak Kung Au to Ngong Ping is the simplest trail for this hike. If you’re a more experienced hiker, why not give Middle Dog Teeth or West Dog Teeth a try?
Difficult or not, there’s no denying that this is one of the most scenic hikes in Hong Kong. From the summit, one can see the two very different sides of Lantau Island – one developed, and the other that always makes me feel like I’m on vacation!
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