If you’re looking for a relatively easy hike with incredible views of Hong Kong, then Temple Hill (Tsz Wan Shan) is definitely worth considering!
From Kowloon Peak to Eagle’s Nest, there are plenty of trails with amazing views of Hong Kong below. Of course, the most iconic of them is Lion Rock. However, Temple Hill, which is located right next to Lion Rock, offers very similar views, with less crowds, and less climbing!
If this sounds enticing, then read on.
Temple Hill – Map & Elevation
Temple Hill is also called Tsz Wan Shan, but Tsz Wan Shan usually refers to the residential area below the hill. In fact, we started and ended our Temple Hill Hike from Tsz Wan Shan, and the distance and timing figures are representive of this route.
Temple Hill is easily recognizable from a distance because of the large, white TVB transmission station that sits on top of the peak.
Personally, I found this hike to be relatively easy except for the flight of endless steps that brings you to the gorgeous views just before the peak.
Although there are many starting points for the Temple Hill Hike, we will focus on the two most popular options (In fact, given their proximity, these are also the starting points for the Lion Rock Hike):
- Tsz Wan Shan North Bus Terminus (Tsz Wan Shan Road)
- Wong Tai Sin MTR
Pick a starting point based on which mode of transport is more convenient for you. However, I will point out that if you plan to start and end this hike from Wong Tai Sin MTR, it will be slightly longer with an additional 4 km.
As we were coming from Hong Kong Island, it was more convenient for us to take bus 116 to Tsz Wan Shan Road. But we’ll also summarise the directions from Wong Tai Sin MTR.
Tsz Wan Shan North Bus Terminus to Tsz Chuk Pavillion
The Tsz Wan Shan North Bus Terminus is located next to Tsz Ching Estate, right beside the Tsz Oi Court car park. There are plenty of buses that can get you to the terminus, or within walking distance from it. The easiest option is to Google Map a bus to Tsz Wan Shan from your location.
Once you arrive at the bus terminus, walk towards the rear where there is a flight of steps. From on top of the steps, walk up the incline and stick to your left. Shortly thereafter, you’ll arrive at the next flight of steps going uphill to your left.
From here on out, there are a few flights of steps all the way to the Shatin Pass Road. The last flight of steps is the longest, so walk up at a comfortable pace.
However, what’s beautiful about the steps are the small temples (including the Temple Hill Kwun Yam Buddhist Temple) and hidden deity statues along the way. I assume that’s why the hill was named Temple Hill? I would love to learn about the origin of the name.
Anyway, at the end of the last flight of steps, you’ll emerge at Shatin Pass Road. There are cars on this road, so be careful. Walk another 10 metres till the bend, and you’ll arrive at Tsz Chuk Pavilion.
If you want, take a break here.
Wong Tai Sin MTR to Tsz Chuk Pavillion
If you’re starting this hike from Wong Tai Sin MTR, take exit E towards Shatin Pass Road. Walk up along Shatin Pass Road for 2 km to Tsz Chuk Pavillion. You’ll pass by Fat Chong Temple at the halfway mark. Go slow, as the incline can be brutal on a hot day.
If you want, you can also take a taxi from the MTR station to Fat Jong Temple and then walk up from there.
Tsz Chuk Pavillion to Shatin Pass
From Tsz Chuk Pavillion, Shatin Pass is just a couple of minutes. At the bend, there’s a flight of beautiful steps that brings you out at Lion’s Pavilion (earmarked by the letter L). Although the views from Lion’s Pavilion are nice, there are better views up ahead.
Behind Lion’s Pavilion is Shatin Pass. And if you walk straight, you’ll arrive at Shatin via the Tsz Sha Ancient Trail.
There’s a toilet and a canteen-style restaurant located here. Take a toilet break, fuel up, and get ready to scale Temple Hill next!
Shatin Pass to Temple Hill
The trail to Temple Hill from Shatin Pass is neither marked nor easy to spot. But right opposite the Lion’s Pavilion are the unmarked steps that go up to Temple Hill (see picture below). After the initial steps, turn right immediately and follow the steps with the rails uphill.
The hike from this point is fairly simple – climb up the steps! However, there are two things to note.
Like most hikes, the steps feel never-ending. Fortunately, there are plenty of seating areas on the side of the steps, with nice views of Shatin.
Also, the steps are comically narrow! I’m a size 44 and my feet could barely fit onto a single step. I was mostly climbing on my toes, or sideways!
But these gripes end the moment you approach the end of the steps. From here, the views open up and you can marvel at the sights of Hong Kong below!
At the end of the steps is a flat trail with a viewing platform. This is the spot with the best views!
Hidden spot for the best views
We only saw this when we reviewed the aerial photos that there is a hidden spot right above the viewing platform. I am fairly certain that the views from here are even better! Unfortunately, we didn’t know about this, but now that we do, we must share it with you.
Take your time admiring the views from here. Although this isn’t the peak of Temple Hill, it is the spot with the best views.
After the viewing platform, continue along the trail till the TVB transmission station ahead. The TV transmission station actually sits on Temple Hill peak.
Once at the transmission station, walk around the fence till you come out on the other side, next to the main entrance for the TVB transmission station.
From this north-facing side, you’ll get panoramic views of Kowloon Peak, Tate’s Cairn, Shatin and even Plover Cove Reservoir.
Back to Shatin Pass Road
After soaking in the views from on top of Temple Hill for a good 10 minutes, we decided to walk downhill.
To return to Shatin Pass Road, simply walk down the paved road from behind Temple Hill. Along the way, you’ll get lovely views of Shatin from in-between the tree branches.
Once you merge with Kwun Ping Road, turn right and you’ll be back at Shatin Pass Road.
- If you want to return to Wong Tai Sin MTR Station, turn right on Shatin Pass Road and follow it back to Fat Jong Temple, and the MTR station.
- However, if you want to return to Tsz Wan Shan Road, there is a shortcut. Simply cross Shatin Pass Road, and onto the trail going downhill.
Finish at Tsz Wan Shan Road
Obviously, if you returned to Wong Tai Sin MTR Station, then this section doesn’t apply to you. But if you, like us, need to catch a bus from Tsz Wan Shan Road, walk down this scenic trail.
Although the trail is mostly covered, it does have the occasional amazing view of Kowloon below. The trail is fairly easy to navigate and fortunately isn’t too steep.
However, there is a juncture that might confuse you. When you arrive at it, should you go straight or turn right?
Although both paths eventually lead you to Tsz Ching Estate, turn right as it’s a much shorter path. You’ll know you’re on the correct path as there is a beautiful tree with hanging roots just as you turn right.
From here on out, simply follow the trail back to Tsz Ching Estate. You’ll finally end the hike at the flight of steps behind the estate.
Temple Hill Hike
Truth be told, Temple Hill is quite an underrated hike. It’s completely overshadowed by the hill next to it – Lion Rock, for obvious reasons!
So, the bottom line is the Temple Hill Hike is completely worth it! Especially, if you’re looking for a relatively easy hike with incredible views of Hong Kong. And the best part is that it’s far less crowded. In fact, we probably saw five other hikers on Temple Hill while we were there.
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