Lau Shui Heung Reservoir and Hok Tau Reservoir are two small and beautiful reservoirs located along the eastern edge of Pat Sin Leng Country Park.
Of the two, Lau Shui Heung Reservoir is more popular thanks to the rows of paperbark and cypress trees along its shores. Other than the Sweet Gum Woods, Lau Shui Heung Reservoir is the other location where you catch autumn foliage (changing of the leaf colour) in Hong Kong!
The neighbouring Hok Tau Reservoir may not see the same number of visitors. But thanks to the surrounding hills and lush forest, it feels very peaceful and zen!
And what’s even better is that the two reservoirs are connected via a short, scenic hike.
Spend a day at Pat Sin Leng Country Park
Lau Shui Heung Reservoir and Hok Tau Reservoir offer a great way to spend a day amidst nature. You can sit by the reservoir and admire its beauty, or hike between them or around either one of them.
Here is a list of activities to help you plan your visit.
- Visit Lau Shui Heung Reservoir
- Hike the Lau Shui Heung Reservoir Country Trail
- Visit Hok Tau Reservoir
- Hike the Hok Tau Reservoir Family Walk
- Hike from Lau Shui Heung Reservoir to Hok Tau Reservoir
How to make the most of your visit
At the very least, we recommend visiting Lau Shui Heung Reservoir. But to make the most of your day, hiking from Lau Shui Heung Reservoir to Hok Tau Reservoir ensures that you get to visit both reservoirs.
How to get to Lau Shui Heung Reservoir
Public transport to Lau Shui Heung Reservoir is limited. Only the green minibus number 52B plies between Fanling and Hok Tau Village.
If you have a car, parking is available at the entrance of either of the reservoirs.
So, to reach Lau Shui Heung Reservoir by public transport, make your way to Fanling MTR. Look for the exit to the Fanling Station PLB Terminus and find the stop for green minibus 52B.
Once on the bus, ride it to the Pat Sin Leng Country Park (fork) (八仙嶺郊野公園(分叉路口)). This is the junction of Hok Tau Road and Lau Shui Heung Road. It’s difficult to miss the roundabout thanks to the large sign for the reservoirs.
Walk to Lau Shui Heung Reservoir
Once you alight at the junction of Hok Tau Road and Lau Shui Heung Road, follow the signs for Lau Shui Heung Reservoir. If you plan to go to the Hok Tau Reservoir first, ride the bus to Hok Tau Wai.
From the roundabout. Lau Shui Heung Reservoir is a 650 metre walk on Lau Shui Heung Road. The road is relatively flat with some moderate incline.
The first sight when you reach the reservoir is a public toilet. At this point, there’s another fork in the road.
If you turn right, you’ll walk onto the north shore and dam of the reservoir. And if you turn left, you’ll reach the Lau Shui Heung Reservoir Country Trail.
Lau Shui Heung Reservoir
Popularly referred to as the “mirror of the sky” in Hong Kong, Lau Shui Heung Reservoir was completed in 1968 as part of the Plover Cove Reservoir engineering programme.
Standing on the north shore you can admire how quaint and beautiful this reservoir is really. And it may not look like it, but the reservoir is quite deep, which lends the water a dark green colour.
Also, because it’s situated in a deep valley, the water remains still, giving it the appearance of a mirror (hence the name).
The surrounding hills are covered in beautiful lush trees, mostly paperbark (similar to the Paperback Forest at Shing Mun Reservoir).
The best time to visit the Lau Shui Heung Reservoir is during the rainy season when it looks wonderfully lush, or in the winter months when the cypress trees change colour.
Autumn foliage at Lau Shui Heung Reservoir
During the winter months (December and January), the foliage of the cypress trees on the southern shore of the Lau Shui Heung Reservoir changes colour from yellow to burnt orange.
The autumn foliage is reminiscent of the red leaves in Sweet Gum Woods, Tai Tong. However, because the trees here are situated on the shores of a water body, there’s an added charm to their beauty!
Where are the red leaves at Lau Shui Heung Reservoir?
The short line of cypress trees is located on the southern shore of the Lau Shui Heung Reservoir.
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To get there, turn left from the public toilet. Up ahead, Lau Shui Heung Road becomes Lau Shui Heung Reservoir Country Trail. Walk straight under the gate and onto the trail along the reservoir.
On the trail, there are a few lookout points, opposite the trees, from where you can truly admire the red foliage against the reservoir, with the paperbark trees in the background.
When you reach the southern end of the reservoir, turn right onto the small bridge (marked 流水橋) that breaks away from the Lau Shui Heung Reservoir Country Trail.
Continue walking on the trail after the bridge till you reach the shore with cypress trees.
Feel free to walk around the shore to admire the foliage.
Other than the red leaves, you can also see fish swimming in the reservoir from the shores. Because the bottom of the reservoir is covered with sand and rocks, it provides a diverse habitat for the fish.
The red leaves and the still waters, in my opinion, make this the most beautiful and picturesque reservoir in Hong Kong!
Lau Shui Heung Reservoir Country Trail
At the end of Lau Shui Heung Road, there are two entrances to Lau Shui Heung Reservoir Country Trail. The one on the left goes up the steps and the other runs along the shores of the reservoir.
This is because the Lau Shui Heung Reservoir Country Trail is a 4.4 km hiking loop on the southeast side of the Lau Shui Heung Reservoir. And the two gates are the entry or exit points of that loop.
You can pick which side to start from and which side to end. There are signs along the trail to help hikers stay on Lau Shui Heung Reservoir Country Trail as there are many intersecting trails on these hills.
We didn’t hike the Lau Shui Heung Reservoir Country Trail because we were more interested in hiking to the Hok Tau Reservoir.
Lau Shui Heung Reservoir to Hok Tau Reservoir Hike
The best way to visit both reservoirs is to hike from one to the other. The hike from Lau Shui Heung Reservoir to Hok Tau Reservoir is just over 2 km and is relatively easy if you start from Lau Shui Heung Reservoir.
The hike is roughly split into two equal parts – the ascent on Lau Shui Heung Reservoir Country Trail, and the descent on the Wilson Trail Section 9.
The hike starts from the entrance with the steps of the Lau Shui Heung Reservoir Country Trail.
Ascend on Lau Shui Heung Reservoir Country Trail
The first part of the hike is a steady 1 km climb on the Lau Shui Heung Reservoir Country Trail.
As you walk through the entrance and onto the initial steps, the trail may seem a bit steep. But fortunately, it becomes gentler as continues to climb.
The steps remain shaded and fairly uneventful till the start of the flat trail. However, at the end of the steps is a small lookout point with views of Lau Shui Heung Reservoir below and Shenzhen in the distance. Make sure you soak in the views before proceeding further.
Continue walking on Lau Shui Heung Reservoir Country Trail as it transitions to a flatter trail. This part of the climb is very easy.
As the trail moves away from Lau Shui Heung Reservoir, it enters the woods and becomes shaded.
There are a few other trails in the vicinity but fortunately, there are signposts along the way to prevent you from getting lost.
In the shaded section, the trail is a mix of flat terrain and easy steps.
Keep following the trail till it reaches a four-point intersection after the trail marker C2202.
Descend on Wilson Trail Section 9
At this intersection of trails, turn left and follow the sign for Wilson Trail. If you go straight, the trail returns to Lau Shui Heung Reservoir or towards Cloudy Hill.
As you turn onto Wilson Trail, the trail remains relatively flat and open, with views of the hills of Pat Sing Leng Country Park, including the 8 Immortals, ahead and on the right.
After a couple of hundred metres, the trail returns to the shade as it passes under Shek Au Shan.
After about 500 metres, you’ll reach another lookout point.
Set against Ping Fung Shan and Wong Leng, the deep valley in which the reservoir is situated can be admired from here. Needless to say, the views from this lookout point are stunning!
After the lookout point, the trail begins its decline (visible on the elevation profile). Because some parts of the descent are quite steep, be careful and watch your step.
The descent remains relatively steep till it reaches Hok Tau Reservoir and ends at the Hok Tau Reservoir Family Walk.
To reach the main dam of the reservoir from this point, turn left and walk along Hok Tau Reservoir. At the end of the trail are steep steps that bring you down on the main dam.
Hok Tau Reservoir
Unlike its neighbour, Hok Tau Reservoir doesn’t get nearly the same number of visitors. Which is a good thing.
The reservoir is cradled by lush hills on either side, making it feel peaceful and secluded in this valley.
Although the Lau Shui Heung Reservoir is referred to as the “mirror of the sky”, I don’t see any reason why the name couldn’t apply to Hok Tau Reservoir too. I found the water in this reservoir to be far more still.
The area near Hok Tau Reservoir is wonderfully lush because it is a designated tree-planting site. And the valley along the Tan Shan River is home to many species of dragonflies and butterflies.
I simply loved the tranquillity and calm surrounding Hok Tau Reservoir.
Hok Tau Reservoir Family Walk
Much like the Lau Shui Heung Reservoir Country Trail, the Hok Tau Reservoir Family Walk offers visitors the opportunity to explore the area around the reservoir.
The Hok Tau Reservoir Family Walk is a 2.1 km flat loop around the Hok Tau Reservoir. Unfortunately, we didn’t get a chance to hike on the trail. But given how peaceful and beautiful the reservoir is, I can’t imagine the walk to be any different.
Finish your day
If you plan to finish your visit at the Hok Tau Reservoir, you’ll need to head to Hok Tau Wai to board the green minibus 52B.
The walk to Hok Tau Wai’s bus stop is approximately 1.6 km from the reservoir and starts from Hok Tau Road, behind the main dam.
The first half of the walk is mostly on a gentle downhill road. The towering hills on the right-hand side add to the scenery of the walk.
At the halfway mark is the entrance to the Hok Tau Campsite. Walk past it and cross the barrier gate.
With the valley behind, this area is the fertile plain along the Tan Shan River. You can observe the number of farms along the road and might also come across villagers selling locally grown produce, such as vegetables and flowers. We ended up buying some delicious, farm-fresh radishes!
As you approach Hok Tau Pavilion, take a left turn to Hok Tau Wai. And walk for approximately 150 metres to reach the bus stop.
If you’re here on a busy weekend, be prepared to wait for 30-60 minutes to catch the number 52B minibus. Alternatively, you might be better off trying your luck with Uber or the HKTaxi apps.
Fun, Family, Fanling
We hope you enjoyed our guide to the Lau Shui Heung Reservoir and Hok Tau Reservoir.
Both reservoirs offer a great way to explore a part of Pat Sing Leng Country Park. The reservoir walks and the hike between them are also relatively easy and fun, making them perfect for a family outing.
And if you happen to visit Fanling again, be sure to check out the abandoned Hindu Temple near Queen’s Hill. It’s one of the most unique temples in Hong Kong!
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