The Dragon’s Back Hike is possibly the most popular hike in Hong Kong. Why? 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 on Hong Kong Island, which means that it’s easy to get to, and is well connected. Getting to the start of the hike involves a ride on the MTR, followed by a ride on the bus. From there on, a short hike gives you a bird’s eye view of the beautiful south-west 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 To Tei Wan bus stop on Shek O Road. The easiest way to get there is:
- Take the Island Line MTR to Shau Kei Wan 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.
Alternately, you could take the Red Minibus from Exit A2. However, you’ll need to request the driver to stop when To Tei Wan approaches. If this is your first time, we recommend taking bus number 9.
The Views From The Dragon’s Back
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 north-west. 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.
Subscribe to my YouTube channel
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 kms and 8 kms, 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 taking a loop back to the bus stop. This loop is about 5 kms long, and will take you 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 kms.
Once you return to the bus stop, board the number 9 bus again and this time take it all the way to Shek O Beach. Everything that you need to know about Shek O village and beach can be found on 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 kms long, and should take you about 2.5 hours to complete (with stops).
Personally, 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 a 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 bigger beach.
Best Time To Start The Hike?
Personally, I would say 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. In fact, you’ll end up getting better photos too at this time as the sun sets behind your back as you’re looking down towards Shek O. And then you can finish at Shek O or Big Wave for dinner.
Keep in mind, 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 visit Hong Kong for the first time, on this hike. And it’s no surprise that they loved the hike 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 😉
And once you’re more confident hiking, why not hike up Lion Rock, Hong Kong’s iconic peak?