Red Incense Burner Hill, on Braemar Hill, has been my favourite go-to spot for the best views of Hong Kong for years! It’s also my top recommendation for the best sunset spot in Hong Kong.
The views of Hong Kong’s skyline from on top of Red Incense Burner Hill (Hung Heung Lo Fung in Cantonese) are incredibly stunning! You get to see a 360-degree view of Hong Kong Island and Kowloon, separated by the harbour.
There are a few ways to get to Red Incense Burner Hill, the easiest of course is via a 10-minute hike from the Braemar Hill bus terminus. However this time, I decided to mix it up a bit and hike to the summit from Tai Hang.
Although Braemar Hill and Red Incense Burner Hill are often used interchangeably, it might be helpful to clear things up.
Braemar Hill (the actual hill) is a 200-metre tall hill located south of North Point and right next to Braemar Hill Mansions. However, Braemar Hill is mostly used to refer to the residential neighbourhood on top of this hill.
Red Incense Burner Hill (or Hung Heung Lo Fung) is a 228-metre hill located to the west of Braemar Hill (the neighbourhood), behind Tai Hang and Tin Hau. When you hear the term “Braemar Hill Hike”, it’s almost always referring to a hike to Red Incense Burner Hill (Hung Heung Lo Fung).
Tai Hang to Red Incense Burner Hill (Hung Heung Lo Fung)
I’ve always known there is a hiking trail from Tai Hang to Red Incense Burner Hill but not much else about it. After having completed it, I can say that this hike isn’t for everyone.
Although the distance between Tai Hang and Red Incense Burner Hill (Hung Heung Lo Fung) is less than 1 km, the trail is a deserted mess. But if you love a challenge, or are curious to explore this route to Braemar Hill, then by all means give it a go. However, be prepared to get lost a couple of times.
To start this hike, make your way to the end of Lin Fa Kung Street West in Tai Hang.
The easiest option to arrive here is via the Tin Hau MTR Station. From the MTR station, take Exit B onto King’s Road. Cross the road and walk towards the right till you reach Tung Lo Wan Road. Walk down Tung Lo Wan Road for about 250 metres till you arrive at Lin Fa Kung Street West on your left. Walk down to the end of the street towards Lin Fa Kung Temple.
Next to the temple is the Lin Fa Kung Garden, and at the end of the garden are the steps. The steps mark the starting point.
To Yee King Road
Walk up the steps till you emerge in the middle of the Lai Tak Tsuen bus terminus, a relatively small bus terminus.
Turn around and walk towards Yee King Road and the Lai Tak Tsuen housing estate, a public housing estate known for its unique circular design.
Cross Yee King Road and turn left. Walk ahead a couple of metres till you arrive at the steps on the side of the hill. Walk up the first flight of steps and then immediately turn left to walk parallel to Yee King Road. Do not walk on the steps going uphill at this point.
Walk along the catchwater path as it turns right to reveal the next flight of steps going uphill.
To Sir Cecil’s Ride
The next section of the hike is, in my opinion, a challenge to navigate. It’s a deserted mess where the trail is often difficult to follow. It’s also full of mosquitoes in the summer.
As you begin climbing up the steps, the first creepy sight is a moss-covered, stuffed bear hanging from the tree. Not something you want to see on a hike!
As you continue to climb the steps, one thing becomes very apparent. Fallen trees and moss have hidden many parts of the step, making it difficult to follow. Fortunately, there are colourful ribbons left as trail markers. But in many sections, even they become difficult to spot. There is a very high chance of getting lost. I did, multiple times!
Try your best to keep track of the steps and the ribbons. If you cannot spot them, keep climbing uphill towards the left. The initial section of the trail also has a few abandoned structures, which I think were part of the old village on the hill.
At one point, the trail cuts through the hanging roots of a massive tree. It’s hauntingly beautiful!
After the hanging roots, the steps reappear. But I found this part of the trail filled with discarded trash.
Remember to stay on the steps, as much as possible, and follow the ribbons. After about 350 metres, the steps end and there’s a slightly more visible trail.
Although the trail is easier to navigate, it still requires a lot of crouching under branches and some bushwacking. Stay on the trail till you emerge at a clearing marked by plenty of ribbons. You can finally breathe a sigh of relief that you made it to Sir Cecil’s Ride!
To Red Incense Burner Hill (Hung Heung Lo Fung)
The moment you emerge from the trail onto Sir Cecil’s Ride, turn left. There is a trail, marked again by colourful ribbons, leading you to the top of Red Incense Burner Hill (Hung Heung Lo Fung).
Fortunately, this last section of the trail is short but slightly steep.
Just as you’re getting close to the top, the route becomes confusing again. My advice is to stay to the left and look for a narrow opening between two large rocks.
Once you squeeze through the rocks, you’ll notice that you can climb up the rock on the left to enjoy the views.
However, keep walking on the trail, through the bushes and trees. At numerous spots on this hill, the trees give way to reveal the most stunning and close-up view of the Hong Kong skyline. But to get the clearest views, look for the triangulation station on the Red Incense Burner Hill Summit.
Getting to the triangulation station is slightly tricky and requires a bit of clambering on the rocks and identifying your approach path. But once you reach the top, the 360-degree views are some of the best in the city!
Head back down
Given the incredible views, it’s no surprise that Red Incense Burner Hill (Hung Heung Lo Fung) can get very crowded. It’s also a very popular spot to observe any fireworks display in the harbour.
Once you’re done admiring the views from the hill, trace your steps back down the hill back to Sir Cecil’s Ride. Be careful as you descend, as some sections can get slippery.
Once you emerge on Sir Cecil’s Ride again, you have two options.
- End the hike, or
- Take a quick detour to another lookout point
Detour to the lookout point on Sir Cecil’s Ride (Optional)
A short detour (600 metres back and forth) takes you to another lookout point along Sir Cecil’s Ride.
As you arrive on Sir Cecil’s Ride from Red Incense Burner Hill, go straight on the cemented pathway.
The path is at a slight incline but feels relatively flat as you walk on it. Keep walking on this pathway for about 300 metres till you see another path between trees going off-trail towards a clearing.
I love this lookout point, which usually remains less crowded than Red Incense Burner Hill.
Once you’re done admiring the views from this lookout point, trace your steps back to the foot of Red Incense Burner Hill.
End the hike
To end the hike, turn left on Sir Cecil’s Ride as you descend from Red Incense Burner Hill. If you’re returning from the detour, that means continue walking on Sir Cecil’s Ride.
The trail quickly bends around the hill to reveal views of the Braemar Hill neighbourhood. Walk a few metres ahead on the cemented pathway till you notice a small gate with a “no trespassing” sign.
To take a shortcut, hop over the gate and walk down the steps till you reach the fence.
Walk around the fence and hop across the steps to reach the guardrails along Braemar Hill Road. Jump over the guardrails and walk past the Chinese International School. Right after the school building is the Braemar Hill bus terminus.
From here you can catch the green minibus 25 to Causeway Bay MTR station, or any other bus that gets you to your destination.
The easy hike to Red Incense Burner Hill
I would imagine that most people wouldn’t want to venture up Braemar Hill from Tai Hang. However, as you’ve probably noticed, the easiest option to reach Red Incense Burner Hill (Hung Heung Lo Fung) is via the short hike from the Braemar Hill bus terminus.
Simply take minibus 25 from Causeway Bay MTR station (opposite H&M) to the Braemar Hill bus terminus. Then to reach Red Incense Burner Hill, follow the directions above in reverse.
Best time for the Braemar Hill Hike
Given its ease of access (via the easy hike) and stunning views, Red Incense Burner Hill on Braemar Hill is always busy.
However, it’s the busiest during sunsets. Needless to say, the views of the sunset from here are spectacular. Braemar Hill is a must-do sunset hike!
Having said that, it’s also popular during sunrises and other times of the day when it’s not too hot.
Red Incense Burner Summit Hike from Tai Hang
I’m glad that I hiked up from Tai Hang to Braemar Hill but honestly wouldn’t advise this trail to everyone. Only undertake it if you’re adventurous or don’t mind getting lost.
For most, the short 10-minute hike from the Braemar Hill bus terminus is perhaps the most convenient way to reach Red Incense Burner Hill for its views.
And finally, there’s another relatively popular route from Mount Butler to Braemar Hill. But whichever route you take to this hill, you won’t be disappointed by the views!