For the culmination of our hiking in Hong Kong trip, we successfully hiked Dragon’s Back. We were supposed to hike this during our last visit, May 2009, but we’re pressed for time so we chose Lantau Peak on our previous hike. And to end our unfinished business, we hiked Dragon’s Back via the To Tei Wan to Big Wave Bay route.
Dragon’s Back is the most popular hike among locals and tourists alike due to its accessibility and spectacular bilateral views of the Clear Water Bay Peninsula in the east and Stanley Peninsula and South China Sea in the west. At the end of the trail, one can freshen up at Tai Long Wan (Chinese name of Big Wave Bay) with its big waves (hence the name) and fine sand.
There are two options in going to Dragon’s Back, the easier and shorter trail that will only take an hour to get to the ridge. But we took the longer route which is the Stage 8 of the Hong Kong Trail, this trail starts from To Tei Wan bus stop along Shek O road and ends at Big Wave Bay (Tai Long Wan).
From Tsim Sha Tsui MTR station, we went to Admiralty interchange station to transfer from the red line to the blue line going to Chai Wan. We then alighted at Shau Kei Wan MTR Station Exit A3. There is a bus terminus just outside the station along Aldrich St., we looked for Citybus No. 9 going to Shek O. We asked the driver to drop us at To Tei Wan bus stop, Jeff and I had to repeat it twice and uttered “To Tei Wan” clearly as we don’t want to get lost in the suburbs of Hong Kong. Thankfully, bus stops along Shek O road have been labelled so aside from waiting from the driver’s heads up, we’re also vigilant about the bus stops.
Spotting the To Tei Wan bus stop is easy, it’s clearly marked with a wooden signboard and a map of the Hong Kong trail, there’s also a portable toilet at the site.
Following the signboard “Dragon’s Back”, the trail starts with wooden stairs surrounded by shades of trees and bamboos. After a few minutes, the trail begins to show rays of light and cool breeze from the wind. The grass sways according to the wind’s movement, as we go along, the air became colder and the howling became louder.
Upon reaching the ridge, our eyes feasted on the panoramic views of the sea, the outlying islands and the nearby village surrounding the mountain. This panoramic vista starts from the first peak, Shek O Peak, then along the slopes of Dragon’s Back, and ends at Pottinger’s Peak.
The trail slowly goes downhill, there’s a wooden signboard going to Shek O Road and Tai Tam Gap. Choosing Shek O Road will obviously shorten our hike and won’t let us visit Big Wave Bay so we headed for the longer route, Tai Tam Gap.
The walk is fairly easy, just passing through a dirt path and some rocks but despite the long walk, we’re sheltered with the shades of the trees.
After passing through Big Wave village and a large parking lot, we then saw a small gem between rocky parts, a short stretch of sand disturbed slowly by the waves from the beach. There are some surfers despite the chilly weather, 15-degree Celsius. We momentarily explored and savoured the beach before heading to the bus stop along Shek O road.
While waiting for bus no. 9, a mini-bus kept honking at us and signalling us to ride. Puzzled at the bus’s signboards which is in Chinese, Jeff asked the driver if he’s going to the MTR Station, the driver nodded so puzzled as we were if the driver really understood our English, we rode the bus. The driver was a charming old man, he counted from 1 to 9 just to tell us that the fare is 9 HKD (Octopus Card is not valid here), so we paid him 20 HKD and gave us 2 HKD change, reminds me of the Philippines’ jeepney style. Though we can’t comprehend his English very well, he still dropped us at the Shau Kei Wan MTR Station, which means the end of our hike in Hong Kong island.
Now I know why this is the most popular hike, aside from the spectacular views, one can seek refuge in just 30 minutes away from the city. How I wish it’s like this in Manila, unfortunately, to be able to escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, it will take a 2 to 3-hour drive just for a quick escape, not to mention the pricey bus fare…