At 353m, Mount Stenhouse (Shan Tei Tong) is the highest point on Lamma Island. But don’t let the height of the peak fool you into believing that it’s an easy hike. The reality is far from it.
When you get off the ferry at Lamma Island and take a look at the map of attractions, you’ll notice Mt Stenhouse marked on the map but without a path to get to it. That should be your first hint that this isn’t your average hike.
About The Mt Stenhouse Hike
Usually, this is where I place the map and elevation profile of the hike. But unfortunately, my fitness tracker decided not to cooperate with me on this hike. So sadly, I don’t have a visual representation of the elevation profile, but I’ll do my best to describe it.
As for the map, there is no marked trail on Google Maps. But you can navigate your way using the Hiking Trail HK app. I’ve marked the trail, with points of interest, in the map below.
As you can see, there are a few unmarked trails that run around the south side of Lamma Island and Mt Stenhouse. However, the path that we recommend is about 2.5 km one way and perhaps the easiest way up and back down.
And finally, because this hike doesn’t have a proper, maintained trail, please:
- Cover your arms and legs. Do not wear shorts. Gloves are recommended.
- The bushes and shrubs on the trail are thorny when dry, and slippery when wet.
- Do not attempt this hike alone. There is a possibility of getting lost.
- Watch out for spider webs. We ran into a total of six spider webs on this hike. Spiders on Lamma Island are not to be messed with, and their webs are extremely sticky!
- Do not attempt this hike if you’re a beginner or aren’t too confident of hiking in Hong Kong.
With that out of the way, here’s our guide to the Mt Stenhouse Hike.
Once you arrive at Sok Kwu Wan, turn right and walk past all the restaurants along the pier till you arrive at the beautiful Tin Hau Temple. Adjacent to the temple is the entrance to the circular hiking trail on Sok Kwu Wan.
This is the starting point of the Mt Stenhouse Hike.
To the Lookout Pavilion
The walk from the Tin Hau Temple to the Lookout Pavilion is relatively very easy. The whole path is shaded and paved. It’s at a slight incline, with some steps along the way, but nothing too hard.
Depending on your speed, it should take anywhere between 10-15 minutes to get to the three-way intersection. The path going left heads up Ling Kok Shan. The path going straight goes down to Tung O village and its beautiful beaches. And the path going right goes to the lookout pavilion.
Turn right, walk up to the pavilion and take a well-earned break.
And don’t forget to enjoy the views of Lamma from up here. They are really beautiful!
Lookout Pavilion to the Phallic Shaped Rock
Up till this point, it’s a very easy hike. The paved trail ends at the lookout pavilion, and what starts is the uncharted, neglected trail up the hill behind the pavilion. If you look at the hill with all the rocks behind the pavilion, that’s where our next checkpoint is going to be. And no, that’s not Mt Stenhouse! In the picture below, Mt Stenhouse is the peak on the left of the hill that is in the centre of the frame.
Take the beaten-up path behind the pavilion as it dips before reaching the foot of the hill.
From here on out, the hike is a very steep climb up to the rocks above. It’s fairly evident if you look up.
Use your hands to hoist yourself up if needed. And there is at least one small section that requires you to pull yourself up with the help of a rope.
It’s hard not miss it but when you see the phallic-shaped rock sticking out of the hill, it’s time to take a break. There is a flat rocky surface on the opposite side of the rock to sit and enjoy the view.
To the rocks below Mt Stenhouse
The good news at this point is that the rest of the hike isn’t as steep. However, the bad news is that you’ve only covered about 40% of the climb since you set out from the pavilion.
So, continue along the same trail. After the phallic rock it turns left and the views below really open up! It’s a short climb till the next highest point, which again isn’t Mt Stenhouse.
You will probably need to bushwhack a little to reach the other side of the thickets. Proceed slowly as there is a three-point junction that can be easily missed. If you continue straight from there, you’ll end up going down towards Lo So Shing Beach. You need to take the left turn that looks like it’s going down.
When you emerge from the other side of the thickets, you will finally be able to see Mount Stenhouse and the rocks below it. And to the right, the Lamma Power Plant is clearly visible.
Point yourself in the direction of the rocks and walk uphill till you get to them.
The Japanese Tunnel near Mt Stenhouse
The view from these scattered rocks is perhaps the most unique and beautiful view of Lamma Island. These rocks are just below the highest point on the island, and pretty much on its southern end. From here you can see the entire island below you, and it’s glorious!
In fact, I’d say that if your sole purpose of hiking to Mt Stenhouse is to get amazing views, you can end your hike here. The views don’t get any better from further above.
Something interesting that I noticed about these rocks is that they’re labelled as Japanese Tunnels on the hiking map.
For those of you wondering, there are countless tunnels that the Japanese dug on Lamma Island during their occupation of Hong Kong from December 1941 to 1945. These tunnels were used to hide in during air raids. The most famous and visible hideout of the Japanese is the Kamikaze Cave located just around the corner from Sok Kwu Wan.
Personally, I couldn’t find any tunnels under Mt Stenhouse. So, if you happen to know where the Japanese Tunnel up there is located, let me know in the comments below. In the meantime, it’s time for the final push to the top.
Lamma Island’s Highest Point
From the Japanese Tunnel to the top of Mt Stenhouse is a short section to cover. But funnily enough, I got lost in the thickets twice.
Like I mentioned, the top of Mt Stenhouse isn’t very exciting. The bushes around the triangulation station are overgrown, preventing the amazing views.
To end the hike, trace your steps back. There’s also a neglected trail that runs down to Lo So Shing Beach that you can take to complete the Mt Stenhouse hike loop. But because we didn’t take that route, we can’t comment on it.
Mt Stenhouse – Closing thoughts
What we’ve highlighted is perhaps the shortest and easiest trail to the top of Mt Stenhouse. There are other similar neglected trails from Lo So Shing Beach, and Sham Wan Beach (the turtle nesting beach). Try them at your own risk.
If you’re looking to hike around the south side of Lamma Island, the circular trail via Ling Kok Shan would be my recommendation. It’s a great way to explore the secluded side of Lamma with its beaches and villages. Or you could hike from one end of the island to the other on the Lamma Family Walk.
Compared to those hikes Mt Stenhouse feels raw, unchartered, and quite challenging. But it does offer those very unique views of Lamma Island, even if it from those rocks below the peak.
Make sure you read our Complete Guide to Lamma Island to learn more about the island. And as always, feel free to share this post on the social media channel of your choice.