You have probably seen the hillside above Ocean Park which bears the image of a seahorse sculpted into the greenery. That hillside is the north slope of Nam Long Shan, known in English as Brick Hill. You can climb this small mountain without entering Ocean Park, and the views in good weather are outstanding.
This walk does rise from sea level to a height of 284 metres, but it is a steady climb and reasonably easy. Walking time: 2 hours.
Take the new South Island MTR line to Wong Chuk Hang station, and descend to street level by way of Exit B. You need to bear left, uphill on Nam Long Shan Road, past the cooked food market. Take the third right turn, which is still Nam Long Shan Road, and walk up past the Singapore International School.
This is a quiet road, and through gaps in the buildings you get glimpses of boats moored in Aberdeen Harbour. Pass the Wong Chuk Hang Service Reservoir Rest Garden and carry on until you reach a roadside shrine with dozens of ceramic gods and goddesses sharing a shelter. The road narrows a little further on, and then your steps uphill appear on the left, marked with a sign saying “WP 12”.
As soon as you reach the garden at the top of the steps, you can hear fairgoers at Ocean Park shouting and screaming as they ride the rollercoaster, even though it is a fair distance away across the hillside. From here you can also see the southern end of Lamma Island, and if the weather is clear, the Lema Islands of Guangdong Province on the horizon.
Carry on uphill, past another morning walkers’ garden full of figurines and flowers, to the next rest pavilion. You have views of Mount Kellett and the Peak. From here on up, the steps give way to a stony path. It reaches a rubbly plateau where gardeners have also been at work, and then arrives at a paved helipad with sudden views over Deepwater Bay, Repulse Bay and across to Stanley. You can watch pleasure boats speed through the water far below.
The last section to the peak is once again on a set of stairs. After this, retrace your steps to finish the hike. On our way back down, we found a vantage point overlooking Aberdeen Harbour was busy with a crowd of photographers waiting for the “golden hour” before dusk.
When you get back to Wong Chuk Hang, the cooked food market is a possible destination for dinner. It serves Thai as well as Chinese dishes.