The year’s first hike is one I’ve wanted to do for a long time but for various reasons never got around to. At 869m Sunset Peak (大東山) is Lantau Island’s second highest mountain, and the third tallest in Hong Kong.
The famous sunset view would unfortunately have to wait for another time, as the overcast skies and heavy mist threatened rain at a moment’s notice. Being the first weekend of the new year, the trails were busier than usual, despite the less than ideal weather.
Our route mostly follows Section 2 of the Lantau Trail, starting at Nam Shan picnic area near Mui Wo town. The first few kilometres are a non-stop ascent up the trail, eventually reaching the base of Yi Tung Shan (二東山) mountain. Here we took a detour through the grass to the top, before heading further west to adjacent Sunset Peak.
In the valley between the two mountains is a curious cluster of old cement block bungalows, some 20 buildings spread across the trail. These cabins, with no electricity or running water, were built by the British in the 1930s as holiday homes and missionary retreats. Now largely abandoned (though some can still be rented), they are popular spots for unofficial campsites.
As we reach the top Sunset Peak, there was no sunset to speak of, but we were treated to a great view of Lantau Peak surrounded by low clouds. After a well-deserved snack and cup of tea (I brought my camp stove) we rejoined the main trail for the long hike down. By the time we reached our destination at Pak Kung Au it was pitch black and raining.