The Tung Chung Peaks: Por Kai Shan and Pok To Yan

This weekend trek was literally close to home in Tung Chung on Lautau Island. Adjacent to the new town development are a number of hills and trails rarely visited by Hong Kong hikers, who instead prefer the well-established sections of the Lantau Trail. As it turns out, some of these less popular routes offer some very challenging alternatives to the usual hikes. Add to this a stagnant air mass, a winter monsoon, and record-level pollution from the mainland, and you’ve got a memorable weekend in store.

Por Kai Shan

Hazy views of Coastal Skyline and Caribbean Coast apartment complexes in Tung Chung.

The two peaks tackled on this hike are Por Kai Shan (婆髻山) and Pok To Yan (泊刀屻) mountains at 482m and 529m, respectively. These relatively benign-looking hills are visible from anywhere in Tung Chung, and are actually quite steep as we quickly found out. Starting out in from the town, we made our way along an access road to a water catchment structure where we start the ascent up the northern face of Por Kai Shan. After climbing a flight of concrete steps, the route became a dirt trail that was increasingly steep and rocky. The unusually warm weather combined with the poor air quality made this a challenging climb.

Por Kai Shan

On the rocky path to Por Kai Shan with Tung Chung behind us.

Por Kai Shan

About half way up the mountain, the peak of Por Kai Shan becomes visible (right).

Por Kai Shan

Fellow hikers descending the mountain through the bushes.

The last section of the climb to Por Kai Shan was through some very dense growth that basically turned it into a steep bushwacking exercise, with portions requiring clambering on your hands and knees. Finally reaching the peak, we took a well-deserved break and enjoyed the hazy views of Tung Chung and the surrounding hillsides below. In contrast to the heavy brush on the northern slope, the opposite southern side is weathered and rocky with little vegetation. With a steep 60-degree gradient, this is not a section for the faint-hearted or anyone afraid of heights. The descent requires your full concentration, as one wrong step could easily result in disaster… On more than one occasion the “on-your-bum” technique was the only way to go!

Por Kai Shan

Taking a break at the summit of Por Kai Shan.

Por Kai Shan

Heading down the northern face. Very steep and tricky.

Por Kai Shan

It’s a long way to go and requires your full concentration.

Por Kai Shan

A look back at the southern face, and the steep incline at the top is apparent.

In contrast, the ascent to Pok To Yan was relatively easy with a gradual climb through some waist-level vegetation. The peak is the start of a ridge hike that extends westward towards our final destination at Wong Lung Hang. Most of the trail is well-defined and often marked with ribbons, but as you progress along the ridge the vegetation gets increasingly dense.

Por Kai Shan

The valley adjacent to the Pok To Yan mountain ridge.

Por Kai Shan

Edwin headed up Pok To Yan peak.

Por Kai Shan

Yvonne taking a break after reaching Pok To Yan peak.

Por Kai Shan

A look back at Por Kai Shan mountain. Hikers can bypass the peak by hiking the trail along the base.

Por Kai Shan

Starting on the Pok To Yan ridge hike.

Por Kai Shan

Passing one of many peaks, this one with an old trig column.

Por Kai Shan

One more peak on the ridge before heading down.

Por Kai Shan

More bushwacking as we go.

At about two-thirds along the ridge, we begin our descent down towards Wong Lung Hang on a ribboned sidetrail. Once again this is a very steep and tricky path, so great care must be taken clambering down. The trail follows an undulating mountain ridge that starts off bare but becomes increasingly dense with bushes and trees, so some bushwacking is required here too. We found ourselves hanging on the branches for support in some of the steeper inclines. By the time we reach the water catchment and basin at Wong Lung Hang, we’ve descended over 400m and it’s well past sunset. This is one trail you don’t want to do in the dark.

Por Kai Shan

Beginning another steep section on a side trail.

Por Kai Shan

The sun setting behind Lantau Peak as we are halfway down trail.

Por Kai Shan

The water catchment plant visible ahead in the thick forest.

Por Kai Shan

Finally reaching the bottom, and not a moment too soon.

Por Kai Shan

Our final destination at Wong Lung Hang. From here it’s an easy 45-min walk back to Tung Chung town.

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Route Map

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