There are a couple of routes to hike between Mui Wo and Discovery Bay. One is the relatively easy and shorter route via the Trappist Haven Monastery, and the other is the more challenging and scenic hike along Lo Fu Tau Country Trail (Tiger’s Head).
The Lo Fu Tau Country Trail technically doesn’t connect the two neighbourhoods on Lantau Island but is a 3.4 km section of the trail between them. At one end of the trail is Lo Fu Tau, also known as Tiger’s Head, the tallest hill in Discovery Bay. And on the other end is the Hong Kong Olympic Trail.
For me, the Lo Fu Tau Country Trail is another quintessential example of hiking in Hong Kong – a rugged country trail, with glimpses of a world-class city on either side.
Mui Wo to Discovery Bay via Lo Fu Tau Country Trail
A quick note about the route in the map below. I ended up taking a longer, scenic route up to Mong To Au Shelter Pavilion, which I wouldn’t advise. Hence, the distance shown on the map is slightly longer than the recommended route.
You can complete this hike in either direction – from Mui Wo to Discovery Bay, or from Discovery Bay to Mui Wo. Personally, I prefer the route from Mui Wo to Discovery Bay for a couple of reasons.
The most important of which is that the hike up to Lo Fu Tau (Tiger Head) is quite treacherous from Discovery Bay. It’s rugged, steep, and full of loose gravel and rocks. If given a choice, I would rather come down this way, than go up.
But of course, many love the challenge of climbing up to Tiger Head from Discovery Bay. So, it’s your choice where to start this hike. However, for the sake of this guide, we will hike from Mui Wo to Discovery Bay, which I believe will be more suitable for the vast majority.
To start this hike, make your way to Mui Wo. If you’re coming from Central, catch the ferry from Central Pier Number 6. The ferries run quite frequently as you can see from their schedule.
Or if you’re coming from Tung Chung, you can catch bus 3M to Mui Wo.
Mui Wo Ferry Pier to Silvermine Waterfall
Once you exit the ferry pier, walk along the Mui Wo Waterfront Promenade till you reach the bridge on the River Silver. Turn right, and cross the bridge towards Silvermine Beach and Silvermine Beach Resort.
Immediately after Silvermine Beach Resort, turn left and walk alongside the resort’s wall till you reach the lane at the back. Once at the lane, turn right and walk beside the village houses.
Soon you’ll come across a fork in the path. Here, turn left onto the trail that leads you to Silvermine Cave (follow the sign). The path cuts through the back of the village and merges with the Hong Kong Olympic Trail, next to Silvermine Waterfall.
Once you reach Silvermine Waterfall, feel free to take a break. The waterfall is quite lush and beautiful, especially after the rainy season. You can follow our guide to the Silvermine Waterfalls if you ever want to return to this scenic spot.
Towards Mong To Au Shelter Pavilion
From the Silvermine Waterfall, continue on the Hong Kong Olympic Trail towards Silvermine Cave.
The Hong Kong Olympic Trail, or the “Islands Nature Heritage Trail”, is a 6.5 km trail between Mui Wo and Tai Ho Wan, a large bay next to the airport.
The trail begins its uphill climb from next to the waterfall. And just above the waterfall is the Silvermine Cave. You can learn all about the Silvermine Cave and its history in our post about discovering Mui Wo. But if you’re curious, take a quick peek at the cave and then return to the trail.
Stay on the Hong Kong Olympic Trail for the next 900 metres till you arrive at the Mong To Au Shelter Pavilion.
Mong To Au Shelter Pavilion to Lo Fu Tau Country Trail
So, there are two routes to get to Lo Fu Tau Country Trail from Mong To Au Shelter Pavilion. You can continue along the Hong Kong Olympic Trail for another 600 metres till the start of the Lo Fu Tau Country Trail. Or you could take a shortcut through the woods that will save you 800 metres of walking.
For now, continue past Mong To Au Shelter Pavilion for another 150 metres till the trail curves left. If you continue on the trail for another 600 metres, you will reach the start of Lo Fu Tau Country Trail. But to take the shortcut, turn right and walk through the grass. Once you reach the trees at the end of the grassy patch, turn left.
From this point, continue along the unmarked trail, and keep an eye out for colourful ribbons that act as markers. You’ll know if you’re on the right track if you cross a small stream.
Continue on the trail as it cuts through the bushes before merging with Lo Fu Tau Country Trail. Once you reach Lo Fu Tau Country Trail, you should be able to see Tai Ho Wan and the North Lantau Highway straight ahead.
If you had taken the Hong Kong Olympic Trail route, it would have been a 1.2 km hike to arrive here. But the shortcut cuts it down to 400 metres, thereby saving you approximately 800 metres.
Lo Fu Tau Country Trail
The hike from here on is relatively straightforward. It’s a gradual incline all the way, with a few steep sections.
To me, Lo Fu Tau Country Trail feels like an urban oasis in Hong Kong! Here you are on a rugged hiking trail in the wilderness but surrounded by an urban metropolis on either side.
To begin the hike on Lo Fu Tau Country Trail, turn right from where the shortcut meets the trail. The trail initially runs alongside the Discovery Bay Golf Club. Needless to say there is a stark difference between the lush grass below and the path that you’re walking on.
After the golf club, the trail continues at a gentle incline before reaching a steep flight of uphill steps. Fortunately, this climb is relatively short. And once you reach the top, the trail returns to a relatively flat surface again.
The Standing Rock
For me, the next section of the trail is characterised by interesting-looking rock formations and boulders that are quite picturesque.
A few hundred metres ahead is your first rocky encounter – a massive boulder right in the middle of the trail. It’s hard to miss it!
After this roadblocking boulder, the trail continues around the hill and then up a flight of steps. At the end of the steps is the Standing Rock, an obvious name for a large rock that stands upright.
And opposite the Standing Rock, about 50 metres ahead, is another group of rocks in the form of a ledge. The ledge rock makes for a very Insta-worthy shot!
To Lo Fu Tau (Tiger’s Head)
The next section of the trail is the most scenic in my opinion. From Standing Rock, the Lo Fu Tau Country Trail continues along the Discovery Bay Reservoir.
From the trail, you can see the reservoir, the Discovery Bay Golf Club, and even the Hong Kong skyline on a clear day. And on the other side, you can catch a glimpse of Hong Kong Airport.
As the trail continues its uphill climb, the airport becomes more clearly visible. Although this section of the trail is very scenic, it’s not shaded at all.
After another few hundred metres, the trail finally arrives at the hilltop plateau. From here you can finally see Lo Fu Tau just up ahead.
At 465 metres, Lo Fu Tau is the tallest hill in the Discovery Bay area. The top of the hill resembles a tiger’s head, hence its name.
From the Lo Fu Tau viewing point, you get sweeping panoramic views of the surrounding areas! At the back, you can see Castle Peak, Tuen Mun, and aeroplanes landing or taking off from Hong Kong Airport. And ahead Discovery Bay, the golf course, and reservoir. Also if it’s a clear day, you can see the Hong Kong skyline!
To the Discovery Bay Lookout Point
Warning: The next section of the trail is extremely treacherous. Even if it’s downhill, it’s not easy. It’s steep and slippery, full of loose gravel and rocks. Descend slowly and with caution.
The trail from Tiger’s Head to the Discovery Bay Lookout Point is an unmarked, unmaintained trail. There are numerous routes that all eventually lead to some part of Discovery Bay. But I’ll stick to the one that ends closest to the Discovery Bay Plaza.
As you begin your descent, there is an extremely photogenic cliff, approximately 300 metres below Lo Fu Tau Viewing Point. The cliff is slightly off-track from where the trail turns left and heads downhill.
I wonder if this cliff is what resembles a tiger’s head.
Anyway, after you’re done taking pictures and admiring the view, return to the trail. From here on, the trail becomes extremely rugged and rocky. So, it does help if you sit down and descend.
I found the section just before the trail curves right to be very slippery thanks to all the loose gravel. Fortunately, it becomes less steep after the curve, but it’s still not a flat surface.
After the trail curves and runs parallel to Discovery Bay, you’ll notice a few paths towards the left. However, I would advise that you continue straight. At the end of the slope, the trail finally descends into a flat, bushy area. And once you cross this area, it exits onto a paved road.
Turn left once on the paved road, and walk till the end where you’ll see the Discovery Bay Lookout Point.
The final descent to Discovery Bay Plaza
Once you’re done admiring the views from the lookout point, turn right and walk down the steps. At the end of the steps, continue downhill along the bumpy dirt trail.
The dirt trail soon transforms into a paved trail, as the residential towers of Parkvale Village get closer. Walk down the paved trail and the final flight of steps towards the grassy patch behind Parkvale Village.
Now at this point, you could turn right, and take the shortcut through the trees to Discovery Valley Road. But I wouldn’t advise that you do this unless you’re confident that you can go down a 7-foot drop, without any support.
Be safe and turn left into Parkvale Village. Once inside the residential area, turn right and exit onto Parkvale Drive. Follow Parkvale Drive downhill till it merges with Discovery Valley Road.
Finally, here’s a shortcut you can take. Walk down Discovery Valley Road till it meets Discovery Bay Road. Cross at the intersection, and walk through the car park onto Plaza Lane. At the end of the lane, you’ll finally arrive at Discovery Bay Beach and Discovery Bay Plaza.
Mui Wo to Discovery Bay via Lo Fu Tau Country Trail
After reading this guide to the Lo Fu Tau Country Trail, I hope you understand why I think most would prefer starting the hike from Mui Wo instead of Discovery Bay.
Also, if you want to hike between the two townships on Lantau Island during the summer months, I would recommend the shorter and shaded route via the Trappist Haven Monastery. Lo Fu Tau is best saved for the cooler months.
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