Kai Kung Leng

Hong Kong hiking: Kai Kung Leng

A little-visited peak in the northwest New Territories is a true wilderness which offers wonderful views in all directions.

This hike is not signposted at all, and it has some tricky slopes to negotiate on the way down. It should only be attempted by people with a reasonable level of fitness and good directional skills. Take a map and wear shoes with good grip. Time required: 5 hours.

Take the East Rail all the way up to Sheung Shui, and walk the short distance to the bus station underneath Landmark North. Board bus 77K. This double-decker swiftly leaves Sheung Shui for the rural Fan Kam Road, and the greens of the Fanling golfcourse extend on both sides. Sit upstairs for a view, and hope a flying golf ball doesn’t strike your window.

Soon the golfers are left behind and you are driving through a valley of farming villages. Alight at Kiu Tau, just before the bus goes over a narrow bridge. Walk back in the direction you have come from for a minute or two, and then cross the road to find steps which lead down to a wide stream. A bridge leads across to a farmhouse on the far side, and steps then lead immediately up the hillside. Your hike has started.

At the top of the steps, the path bends to the left, and then soon afterwards you must take care not to miss an important turning: when the path is about to cease its climb and start a descent, turn immediately right onto a track which heads into the trees. This turning is marked with orange and red ribbons, and you will know you have missed it if you start descending.

The path doesn’t stay amid trees for long. Soon you are climbing the open hillside, and you can see the trail extending over slopes ahead of you. Behind and below, you can see the village where you got off the bus, and the foothills of Tai To Yan above it.

More views await. As you reach a rise, suddenly you can see everything to the north: a plain of villages and fields, the towers of Fanling and Sheung Shui, a further line of hills, and then the megalopolis of Shenzhen behind them.

As you climb, your panorama of far-off hills and valleys is made even nicer by tall, slender grasses which wave in the wind and catch the sunlight. It’s quite easy to follow the path, as it sticks closely to the ridgeline most of the time. To the south, you have views of the Pat Heung plain, and the peak of Tai Mo Shan overlooks it. As you approach the 585-metre summit of Kai Kung Leng, your view opens up to the west too, and you can see the placid waters of Deep Bay and the fishponds which still extend up to the border.

A little further on, you reach a trig point which is the second-highest point on the ridge. Carry on westwards. At the following fork in the trail – a clump of large rocks – you have a choice: carry on straight ahead and finish near Yuen Long, or turn left and finish near Kam Tin. We choose the latter, so we turn left and follow the trail down the hillside.

Keep an eye on your route ahead: it keeps to the line of the ridge which stretches to the southwest all the way. This descent is rather steep and has plenty of loose earth and pebbles, so take care as you walk. (This is not a hike to attempt in wet weather).

When you reach the valley, you meet a complex network of footpaths and village roads, but if you bear generally left or straight ahead, you will eventually find your way to Kam Tin, where there are restaurants; or you will cross the path of a green minibus which will help you along. Buses from Kam Tin go to Tsuen Wan, Tai Po or to the Kam Sheung Road West Rail station.

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