Among the many benefits of living on Lantau Island, the great selection of local hiking trails has got to be one of the top perks for both casual trekkers and seasoned hikers. Easily accessible while still retaining some measure of wilderness, these trails range from effortless family-style walks to challenging climbs on some of Hong Kong’s most beautiful hills. A simple yet scenic route is the path between the towns of Mui Wo and Discovery Bay, on the north-eastern coast of Lantau. Both towns have direct buses from Tung Chung as well as ferry connections to Central Pier, so transportation to and from the hike is very convenient.
Nestled in the heart of Silvermine Bay, there are actually two different routes from Mui Wo to Discovery Bay. The more challenging one is via a portion of the Tung Mui Ancient Trail (also known as the Olympic Trail) that involves heading up Lo Fu Tau Country Trail and a steep descent to Discovery Bay. An alternate, easier one is the coastal hike via Nam Shue Wan and Our Lady of Joy Abbey, a route that has great views of the surrounding area while also being fully paved – the one undertaken here.
You can start at either end of the trail, but going in a northerly direction from Mui Wo and finishing in Discovery Bay has the advantage of keeping the sun at your back for most of the hike (during winter months); there are also more dining options in DBay, which is something to consider as well. From Mui Wo pier, follow the path along sandy Silver Mine Beach past the resorts and hotels, and signage will soon direct you towards Discovery Bay. Here you’ll start climbing the steps for a great view of Mui Wo and Silvermine Bay below.
The trail eventually levels off and at a juncture you can opt to head up to a viewpoint area with a pavilion and expansive views of the coastline below. To the east, the islands of Peng Chau and Hei Ling Chau are visible; to the north, Nim Shue Wan bay and our final destination, Discovery Bay.
Formerly known as the Trappist Haven Monastery, the Our Lady of Joy Abbey is the only Catholic monastery in Hong Kong built in the medieval style. The small garden and Virgin Mary pavilion is a curious mix of Western and traditional Chinese influences. Due to COVID-19 restrictions the abbey was closed, but we could still visit the monastery grounds.
Continuing our descent we reach Nim Shue Wan, a small village and sleepy hamlet just south of Discovery Bay. Lots of small farms and fresh produce here with a feel of local life in this isolated bay. Further along the coast, the many apartment highrises of Discovery Bay come into view, and we soon arrive at the heart of the bustling expat community that is Discovery Bay Plaza. Finishing the hike with a tea set or early dinner is a great way to spend a lazy weekend afternoon.