Tai Lam Chung Reservoir, commonly referred to as the “Thousand Islands Lake”, is perhaps the most photographed and recognizable reservoir in Hong Kong. Located in the Tai Lam Country Park, Tuen Mun, the Thousand Islands Lake is named after a similar reservoir in Zhejiang Province, China.
The islands in the reservoir were once hills before the Tai Lam Chung Valley was flooded. Today, these islands make this one of the most popular and Instagrammed reservoirs in the city.
Although there are plenty of trails around the Tai Lam Chung Reservoir, there is one that takes you to the “Reservoir Islands Viewpoint“. And it’s from here that you get the best views of the Thousand Islands.
Here’s our video of the hike with the walk-through and highlights.
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Thousand Islands HK – Map & Elevation
The hike to the “Reservoir Islands Viewpoint” is along Section 10 of the MacLehose Trail and is relatively easy. For the most part, it’s shaded, paved, and flat. However, the mid-section of the trail involves an incline, which fortunately isn’t too steep.
To start the Thousand Islands Lake hike, make your way to So Kwun Wat Tsuen, a village at the southern end of Tai Lam Chung Country Park.
How to get to Tai Lam Chung Reservoir
The easiest way to access the viewing point for Tai Lam Chung Reservoir is from So Kwun Wat village. Unfortunately, there is only one green minibus 43 that goes to the village.
To catch the number 43 GMB, make your way to Tuen Mun. For most of you, the West Rail Line is the easiest way to get here. At the MTR station, take Exit B and locate the stop for the minibus (read Irene’s comment below). Alternatively, you could take an express bus to Tuen Mun and interchange next to a bus stop for GMB 43.
Ride the minibus till the last stop on So Kwun Wat Tsuen Road, next to the Tin Hau Temple. This is the starting point for the hike.
If you happen to live in Gold Coast or want to start from Gold Coast, you can do that too. Just keep in mind that the starting point (Tin Hau Temple) is a 2 km walk from Castle Peak Road, next to Golden Beach.
So Kwun Wat Tsuen Road to MacLehose Trail Section 10
The first section of the hike is extremely easy! It’s essentially a flat, paved road. But it’s a narrow road, so watch out for cars and the occasional truck.
The only highlight along this road for us was the small honey farm and lots of goats running around. In fact, this is the only time we’ve seen goats in Hong Kong.
You’ll know when you arrive at the end of this section when you reach the car park. From the car park, continue straight, past the boom barrier along MacLehose Trail Section 10.
Paved incline till the first viewing point
From this point, we enter the trail the runs along Tai Lam Chung Reservoir. This trail is very popular for walks around the reservoir and with mountain bikers. But to get to the viewing point for the Thousand Islands we need to go uphill, a slight detour from the trail that runs alongside the reservoir.
A couple of hundred metres after the barrier, you’ll arrive at the Tai Lam Chung Reservoir Small Dam. There are no views from here, so you can choose to skip it and continue uphill along MacLehose Trail.
As the trail twists and turns around the hill, the Thousand Islands slowly become visible. However, as the trail then moves away from the reservoir, the views also disappear. But if you have a keen eye, you might be able to spot the viewpoint, and the people on it, towards your right.
It’s worth noting that this 2 km section of the trail is the only part that is on a continuous incline. This section of the trail ends at a pretty nice viewing point. Although the views from here are slightly restricted, you can still get a glimpse of the reservoir islands below.
Dirt trail to the Reservoir Islands Viewpoint
From this viewing point, the Thousand Islands Lake lookout is another kilometre away.
Take the dirt trail from behind the viewing point that continues along MacLehose Trail Section 10. This section is shaded and mostly flat, except for a few steps.
Continue on the trail for about 800 metres till you see the sign for the Reservoir Islands Viewpoint. From here all you need to do is climb up the steps, and walk around the hill. And as you do, you will be greeted by incredible views of the Tai Lam Chung Reservoir, and its Thousand Islands below!
Thousand Islands Lake Viewpoint
If you happen to come to the reservoir on a busy weekend, you might be in for a shock to see the number of people that come to this viewpoint.
To get the best views, you need to walk towards the edge of the cliff. From here you’ll get unobstructed views of all islands in the reservoir and Tai Lam Chung Country Park. It’s hard to imagine that these islands were once hilltops.
Late afternoons or early evenings are the best time to view the Thousand Islands Lake, as this is the time when the sun is setting behind you.
To end the hike, simply trace your steps back from where you came from. And if it’s a clear day, you can see the Shenzhen skyline on your way back.
Tai Lam Chung
The Tai Lam Chung Country Park is the second-largest country park in Hong Kong. In fact, the Tai Tong Sweet Gum Woods is located at the other end of the reservoir. So, if you plan to visit the Thousand Islands in the winter, you may want to consider combining it with a trip to see the red leaves of the Sweet Gum Woods.
We hope you found this guide to the Thousand Islands Lake, Tai Lam Chung Reservoir, helpful. As always, drop us a comment below or feel free to share this post on the social media channel of your choice.Also, come join us on Instagram 🙂.