The Dragon’s Back is possibly the most popular hike in Hong Kong. It’s easy to access, easy to complete, very scenic and ends at a beautiful beach (if you want it to).
For many people, the Dragon’s Back Hike is their induction to hiking in Hong Kong. It’s also a great way to see the other side of Hong Kong – the side with no skyscrapers, lush trees, sandy beaches, and the sea.
The Dragon’s Back Hike is located in the Shek O Country Park, in the southeast corner of Hong Kong Island. This means that the trail is easy to access by public transport.
Getting to the start of the hike involves a ride on the MTR, followed by a ride on the bus or taxi. From there on, a short hike gives you a bird’s eye view of the beautiful southeast side of Hong Kong Island. From on top of Shek O Peak (the highest point on the hike), you can see Shek O Beach, Big Wave Bay Beach, and the Shek O Golf Course.
So, how does one get to this hike?
Dragon’s Back Starting Point
The starting point of the Dragon’s Back Hike is located at the To Tei Wan bus stop on Shek O Road. There are a couple of options to get here.
From Shau Kei Wan
Take the Island Line to Shau Kei Wan MTR station.
- Take Exit A3 and look for bus number 9 to Shek O at the Shau Kei Wan Bus Terminus.
- Hop onto the bus and wait for your stop “To Tei Wan, Dragon’s Back”, which should be 11 stops ahead. Keep an eye on the name of the stop in the bus, or watch for other hikers alighting together. Thankfully, the bus added “Dragon’s Back” to the name of the stop.
- Once you alight at To Tei Wan, follow the sign for the Dragon’s Back.
Alternatively, you can take the red minibus from Exit A2. Make sure you request the driver to stop when To Tei Wan approaches. (If it’s your first time, we recommend taking bus number 9 as it displays the names of the stops.)
From Central (only on Sat, Sun, and public holidays)
You can also take the express bus X9 from Central (next to Star Ferry or Central Exchange Square) towards Shek O only on Saturdays, Sundays, and public holidays in the evenings. The bus only has 7 stops, and To Tei Wan is the 5th stop.
The Dragon’s Back Hike
The hiking route from the bus stop is fairly straightforward. Given that this is such a popular hike, there are signs for Dragon’s Back along the trail.
After a 20-minute hike, you’ll arrive at a scenic spot overlooking the breathtaking scenery of Shek O Beach in the east and the magnificent Dragon’s Back in the northwest. You can also walk right from here, towards the rocky area for unencumbered views of Shek O.
Continue on the undulating spinal ridge of the Dragon’s Back (yes, that’s where the name originates from) till you reach Shek O Peak. At 284 metres high, the view from Shek O Peak is the perfect place to take a break and enjoy the views of Shek O, and Big Wave Bay.
Another 30 metres ahead of Shek O Peak is the Dragon’s Back Viewing Point. From here you can get views of Tai Tam Harbour too.
If photos don’t do justice, here’s a quick tour of the hike to show you how scenic the views are from Shek O Peak.
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By now, you’re probably wondering – how long is the Dragon’s Back Hike? The answer to that question is that it’s between 3 km and 8 km, depending on how you choose to end it.
And to end your hike, you essentially have a couple of options.
Option 1: The Dragon’s Back Short Hike
Dragon’s Back to Shek O
The first option involves making a loop back to the bus stop. This loop is about 5 km long and will take about 2 hours to complete (with stops).
Or you could skip the loop, and trace your steps back after you reach Shek O Peak. This route is the shortest at only 3 km.
Once you return to the bus stop, board the number 9 bus again and this time ride it to Shek O Beach, the final destination. Everything that you need to know about Shek O village and the beach can be found in this blog post.
Option 2: The Dragon’s Back Long Hike
Dragon’s Back to Big Wave Bay
The second option involves continuing the hike and ending it at Big Wave Bay. The path will eventually meet the route that many hikers take from Chai Wan to Big Wave Bay. Big Wave Bay, as the name implies is a popular spot for surfers.
This route is about 8 km long and should take about 2.5 hours to complete (with stops).
I would opt for option 2. I enjoy the feeling of ending my hike on a beach. There’s an added feeling of accomplishment. It also helps to know that the path from Dragon’s Back to Big Wave Bay is an easy hike. In fact, it’s more of a stroll on a flat surface, followed by a descent into Big Wave Bay.
But keep in mind that Shek O is a bigger village with more restaurants and a more extensive beach.
What’s the Best Time To Start The Hike?
I would say the earlier, the better. You can start the hike around in the morning (around 9 or 10 AM) when it’s not too hot. And when you finish at either Shek O or Big Wave Bay, it’s time for lunch.
But if you’re not a morning person, I’d recommend doing the hike in the evening. You’ll end up getting better photos too at this time as the sun sets behind your back and you’re looking down towards Shek O. And then you can finish at Shek O or Big Wave for dinner.
Keep in mind, that the Dragon’s Back is one of the most popular hikes in Hong Kong. So, it can get crowded, especially on weekends.
Dragon’s Back – A Must-Do Hike In HK
The Dragon’s Back Hike is easily one of the most memorable hikes in Hong Kong. For me, it was the first time that I got to see a very different side of Hong Kong. After having spent all my time in the city, this hike was like a breath of fresh air and scenery.
We’ve often taken so many of our friends, who’ve visited Hong Kong for the first time, on this hike. And it’s no surprise that they loved it too!
If you’re a tourist or first-timer in Hong Kong, and don’t want to go alone for this hike, I’d highly recommend booking a Dragon’s Back Hike group tour. The group tour includes a guide and the guarantee of not getting lost 😉