The Lovers’ Rock (Yan Yuen Sek) is a 10-metre high granite monolith on the hills of Wan Chai.
Situated above the Bowen Road Fitness Trail, this phallus-shaped rock is shrouded in superstitions that attracts romantic hopefuls, single women seeking a husband, or couples looking to solve their fertility problems. But it’s also an equally popular urban hike in Wan Chai, that’s easy, fun, and has amazing views of the city!
About the Lovers’ Rock Hike
Superstitions and innuendos aside, the Lover’s Rock Hike is an easy 2.7 km urban hike/walk in the Wan Chai district.
The rock is situated above Bowen Road Fitness Trail, a 3 km flat walking/jogging track. Other than the steep climb, if approached from Wan Chai Gap Road (Wan Chai Green Trail), the rest of the hike is on a flat surface. It is also possible to reach the fitness trail from Mid Levels via Bowen Drive or from Stubbs Road, both of which don’t involve any climbing.
The hike/walk also offers some of the best views of the city. So, even if you don’t come here for the rock, come for the brilliant views!
It is possible to reach the Lovers’ Rock from Bowen Drive, Stubbs Road, or Wan Chai Gap Road. But if you don’t cover Wan Chai Gap Road (Wan Chai Green Trail), it’s unfair to call it a hike.
So, for the sake of classifying it as a “hike”, this guide will start from Hopewell Centre in Wan Chai.
There are many ways to reach Hopewell Centre but the easiest is via the MTR. From the Wan Chai MTR station, take Exit D to reach Hopewell Centre.
To Wan Chai Gap Road
From Hopewell Centre, you need to get to Kennedy Road above.
You could either take the elevator at Hopewell to the 17th floor, exit onto Kennedy Road and turn left. Or take the steps behind Hopewell Centre to Kennedy Road.
Once on Kennedy Road, turn left and walk until the pedestrian crossing.
Cross the road, and turn left till you reach the start of Wan Chai Gap Road (Wan Chai Green Trail).
To Bowen Road
Welcome to the only challenging section of the Lovers’ Rock Hike!
From Wan Chai Gap Road to Bowen Road Fitness Trail is a short, a little over 350 metres, steep climb. For first-timers, this incline might prove to be a challenge. So, go slow and easy.
Although the road is paved and shaded, it doesn’t make it any less challenging! The last few metres become steeper before Wan Chai Gap Road merges with Bowen Road.
Thankfully there are plenty of benches and seating spaces at Bowen Road to take a break.
To the Lovers’ Stone Garden Steps
To continue to Lovers’ Rock, turn left on Bowen Road. From Wan Chai Gap Road, it’s a 600-metre walk to the steps to the Lovers’ Stone Garden. The Lovers’ Rock is situated at the top of this garden.
Along the way, you’ll see plenty of outdoor seating spaces, workout equipment, and even a scenic playground with a badminton court.
The views of the city from here are good, but they get much up ahead.
The steps to the Lovers’ Stone Garden are hard to miss. Adorned by idols and painted red, you’ll know when you arrive. Now, follow the sign to walk up the steps.
To The Lovers’ Rock
The 168 steps to the top can be challenging, especially on a hot and humid summer’s day.
But there are plenty of benches and spots to take a break if needed. Notice the small shrines and idols scattered around the steps.
At the halfway point, is the ancient rock temple, right below the Lovers’ Rock. But because of the tree cover, the rock isn’t visible from here.
Continue climbing the steps till you’re finally above the trees, and the massive monolith is standing right in front of you!
About the Lover’s Rock – Myths and Legends
According to various online sources, the phallus-shaped rock goes by many names, including Lovers’ Rock (Lover’s Rock sometimes), Lovers’ Stone, Destiny’s Rock, The Rock of Predestined Lot in Marriage, and Maiden’s Rock.
Painted red on the sides, the Lovers’ Rock is mired in superstitions and like Amah Rock in Sha Tin, it is a natural landmark, shrine and source of legends.
The rock attracts single female worshippers to pray for luck and good husbands and couples to solve any fertility issues. And is believed to have been worshipped since ancient times.
One legend tells of a girl who was abandoned by her lover. She then followed a fortune-teller’s advice to offer prayers to the rock, which led to her lover returning to her.
These days it is believed that the power of the rock is invoked on its strongest days – the 6th, 16th and 26th days of each lunar month. And it’s believed to be the most potent on the 7th day of the 7th moon when the Maidens’ Festival is celebrated around the boulder.
While at Lovers’ Rock, be sure to walk behind the monolith to get to the ledge with the best views of the city.
From the ledge, you can admire views of Wan Chai and Happy Valley, and if the day is clear, all the way across to Kowloon!
Finish it off
Once you’re done admiring the Lovers’ Rock, it’s time to finish the hike. And there are several options available at this point.
The first is to retrace your steps back to Wan Chai. Another option is to walk towards Bowen Drive and eventually finish in Admiralty or Central/Mid-Levels.
But personally, I prefer ending the hike at Stubbs Road. So, once you’ve walked down the steps and returned to Bowen Road, turn right.
From here on out, the next (and last) 1.5 km walk is a pleasure!
The paved and shaded road twists and turns above Mid-Levels East, sometimes bordering on housing properties.
Fortunately, the fitness trail is more or less shaded all the way, which makes it bearable even in the summer months.
Depending on the season, you might come across a few streams and mini-waterfalls on the side of the hill.
And not to mention outdoor workout equipment, after all, this is a fitness trail! Fancy some pull-ups or sit-ups?
But most of all, the views keep getting better. From overlooking Wan Chai to Happy Valley, the views along Bowen Road are fantastic!
It’s hard not to admire the Happy Valley Race Course from up here.
As the trail gets closer to Stubbs Road, the towering presence of Highcliff and The Summit becomes hard to ignore.
And finally, Bowen Road Fitness Trail finally ends at Stubbs Road, next to Adventist Hospital.
From here, you could take a bus back to Wan Chai or Causeway Bay. Alternatively, you can also catch a bus towards The Peak, Repulse Bay, or Stanley.
Lovers’ Rock in Hong Kong
We hope you find this guide to the Lovers’ Rock helpful. If you’re looking for a more challenging hike from Wan Chai, I do recommend the Wan Chai to Aberdeen Hike. Or why not hike to Victoria Peak from Wan Chai?
And if phallic-shaped rocks aren’t your cup of tea, you can find rocks that resemble all sorts of things in Hong Kong! My favourites include Amah Rock (rock in the shape of a mother holding her child), Rhino Rock, and of course, Lion Rock!
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