Up the Lotus Mountain

This weekends trek takes us from once again from Lantau Island’s northern shore to the southeastern bays, but this time via a mountain ridge that skirts two of the islands highest peaks – Lin Fa Shan (literally Lotus Mountain 蓮花山 ) and Yi Tung Shan.

The hike promises spectacular views of Tung Chung and the airport on the north, and Silvemine Bay towards the east. The weather was fine with lots of sunshine and a bit of haze, and a light breeze. If you attempt this hike (as for any hike in Hong Kong), bring lots of water and a hat as there is very little shade and no refreshment stands on this route. The highlight is reaching the peak of Lin Fa Shan at an altitude of 766m above sea level.

The route as tracked by RunKeeper.

The route as tracked by RunKeeper.

The path, in contrast to the paved cement trail to Mui Wo earlier in the week, is entirely stone steps, gravel, and overgrown grass. The trail, starting with a strenuous climb from Pak Mong village to the north, winds its way south through rolling grassy hills in a gradual ascent to the the Lotus Mountain, eventually connecting to Section Two of the Lantau Trail at the base of Yi Tung Shan. Total distance is around 6km with an elevation climb of over 650m, and another 3km down Section Two. The climb to the actual peak is a side trip from the main trail and an additional 100m higher, but well worth the effort. At the top of the mountain, you’re pretty much making your own trail through six-foot grass… A machete would come in handy here! The reward is a great view in all directions.

This hike was very different from the other ones I’ve tried here so far, mainly due the lack of dense forests that is typical of Hong Kong mountains. Here there were rolling, windswept grass meadows dotted with shrubs and huge boulders of all shapes and sizes. It felt like I was somewhere in Europe. No villages or signs of civilization, and there were only a few fellow hikers on the trail this weekend. An immensely satisfying hike, especially when you reach the top! This is the highest I’ve trekked in Hong Kong so far.

Once connected to the Lantau Trail, it’s a gradual descent towards Mui Wo with great views of Silvermine Bay in the distance. Or, if feeling particularly energetic, you could continue west towards Sunset Peak for a spectacular sunset vista. Maybe next time… I was beat after 6 hours, and so grabbed the bus at the bottom of the trail back to Tung Chung.

Click on the photos for larger versions. All were taken with the 14mm f2.8 wideangle lens and finished in LR5.

The start of the trail at Tai Ho Wan.

The start of the trail at Tai Ho Wan.

Up the first section, a fairly steep climb. Looking back at Pak Mong village below.

Up the first section, a fairly steep climb. Looking back at Tai Ho Wan and Pak Mong village below.

Big boulder overlooking Tai Ho Wan.

Big boulder overlooking Tai Ho Wan.

Long trail ahead... The Lotus Mountain beckons!

Long trail ahead… The Lotus Mountain beckons!

Looking north west down at Tung Chung and the Caribbean Coast residences.

Looking north west down at Tung Chung and the Caribbean Coast residences. The airport just beyond.

Looking back. The trail is well-maintained in most sections.

Continuing the climb, looking back. The trail is well-maintained in most sections.

Here the trail leveled off a little.

Here the trail leveled off a little.

Apparently someone didn't need shoes!?

Apparently someone didn’t need shoes!?

Onwards on the rocky trail. Lin Fa Shan on the left, and Yi Tung Shan in the distance.

Onwards on the rocky trail. Lin Fa Shan on the left, and Yi Tung Shan in the distance.

Looking down the valley, you can just make out Tung Chung through the haze.

Looking down the valley, you can just make out Tung Chung through the haze.

A tricky section...

A tricky section… and finally some real blue sky.

At the base of the mountain. You can just make out the peak in the distance.

At the base of Lin Fa Shan. You can just make out the peak in the distance.

Making the climb up to the peak through the tall grass.

Making the climb up to the peak through the tall grass.

Almost there...!

Almost there…!

At the top. Woohoo!

At the top. Woohoo!

Stunning views of Mui Wo town and Silvermine Bay down below.

Stunning views of Mui Wo town and Silvermine Bay down below.

Other hikers celebrate reaching the peak.

Other hikers celebrate reaching the peak.

Further down the trail, the Lantau Trail at the base of Yi Tung Shan.

Further down the trail, the Lantau Trail at the base of Yi Tung Shan.

Descending on the Lantau Trail, great view of the bay below.

Descending on the Lantau Trail, great view of the bay below.

At the end of the hike. I never thought I'd be so happy to see a bus stop!

At the end of the hike. I never thought I’d be so happy to see a bus stop!

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