Key information: Central Ridge
- A walk of literally two halves, along the central ridge of Hong Kong Island: to the north the glamour of Hong Kong harbour, penned in by monumental towers beneath encircling hills, and the rugged, bosky, empty hills of Tai Tam country park to the south.
- Amazing views, beautiful azaleas and sub-tropical woodlands, surprising birdsong and wildlife.
- Pity about the concrete and crowds in places.
- Walkopedia rating83
- Natural interest15
- Human interest12
- Negative points5
- Total rating83
- Note: Negs: popularity; concreting; pollution.
- Length: 2.5 hours
- Level of Difficulty: Strenuous
An excellent circuit along Hong Kong Island's central spine, then down to Upper Tai Tam Reservoir.
Starting at the irredeemably sited Parkview development, you will climb steeply for half an hour through shrub azaleas, with their varied flowers produced over a long season, fine views gradually opening out: from Jardine's lookout, at the top, they are magnificent: to the north, the peerless Hong Kong harbour, sandwiched between the hills and vast towers of the island and Kowloon, seen from an interesting angle, the spires of Central silhouetted against an afternoon sky; to the south, in stark contrast, the steep, rocky, hirsute hillsides of the country park (marred only by Parkview come friendly bombs.), the South China Sea a hazy blue in the distance. Some of the bitterest fighting of the WWII Japanese invasion was played out around this fabulous spot.
A steep, tough descent and climb take you up to the sharp peak of Mount Butler, with the best view of the whole walk, south over Upper Tai Tam Reservoir. Some 500 steps get you down to a junction, where you turn down a (concrete) access track that meanders through delightful woodland to Tai Tam reservoir with its population of turtles. Alternatively, you can contour through more beautiful woodland under Mount Parker, then join another access track to wind enjoying fine views back to Upper Tai Tam Reservoir. You are likely to hear lovely birdsong as you enjoy the varied trees and shrubs.
A steep and over-popular - trudge gets you back to the roadhead at Parkview.
As with other Hong Kong walks, the concreting on the paths is regrettable (although much of this trail is steep and does need some reinforcement).
Other accounts: share your experiences
Your comments on this walk, your experiences and suggestions, and your photos are very welcome. Where appropriate, you will be credited for your contribution.
Hong Kong - Lonely Planet City Guide
A History of Hong Kong – Frank Welsh
Hong Kong – Jan Morris
Prisoner of the Turnip-Heads – George Wright-Nooth with Mark Adkin
An Insular Possession - Timothy Mo
Myself a Mandarin – Austin Gates
Good maps are easily bought in Hong Kong.
Best times to walk/weather
Best times to walk
October to March. Azaleas in spring.
Excellent (warm, sunny) October-January. Cool and cloudy Feb-March. Increasingly humid and hot April-May. Very hot and humid June – September. Can be wet from January onward.
Taxi or bus to/from the start at Parkview (15 minutes from Central)
As described above.
Possible problems, health, other warnings
- Heat, humidity and strong sun at some times of year. Carry enough water and protect yourself.
See also the websites in our useful links page for more detailed, and up-to-date, information.
Safety and problems: All walks have inherent risks and potential problems, and many of the walks featured on this website involve significant risks, dangers and problems. Problems of any sort can arise on any walk. This website does not purport to identify any (or all) actual or potential risks, dangers and problems that may relate to any particular walk. Any person who is considering undertaking this walk should do careful research and make their own assessment of the risks, dangers and possible problems involved. They should also go to “Important information” for further important information.
Guided or independent?
You can do this walk independently.
It is in theory possible to find guides, and there are companies that organize walks in Hong Kong, especially themed walks – e.g. WW2 history, which can be fascinating.
Community help requested: please let us know of any guides who do this walk.
Expedition organisers include:
Ramblers Holidays – do a Hong Kong focused walking holiday.
Explore! - reputable and experienced organisers.] (potential affiliate)
Have a look at Infohub to see if they have any good deals for this expedition.
Check TripAdvisor for some reviews of this walk and walk organisers which may prove helpful.
PLEASE HELP Walkopedia by recommending any reputable tour organizers that you know of – local or otherwise
A huge range, from luxury hotels to hostels. Serviced apartments are also to be found.
Luxury – some wonderful hotels, including:
Conrad Hong Kong (Central)
Grand Hyatt (Wanchai)
Cheaper – a profusion of good (but seldom particularly cheap) accommodation includes:
Bishop Lei International House (mid-levels)
Newton (in North Point)
YMCA/YWCA (Kowloon and Central)
Other information and tips
Useful websites and information
There are many websites with information on this walk. Here are some that we think are useful or have been recommended to us.
· Hong Kong Tourism Board – www.hkta.org - for accommodation, eating
Other things to do in the area
A large number of excellent walks (many listed on this site), including parts of the Maclehose Trail, Hong Kong Island Trail, Wilson Trail and others.
Some lesser, but delightful, walks can be found in Derek Kemp’s Twelve Hong Kong Walks (possibly now out of print). See also Magic Walks by Kaarlo Schepel, which has charm (if a basic layout) and some great walks.
Hong Kong is a fascinating place with a huge amount to do. The Peak for its views; a ferry to an outer island or Macau. The Peak Tram is horribly crowded (queues can be endless) but hugely romantic. The Star Ferry still has atmosphere, but its new location in the wastelands of the Central Reclamation, a classic piece of Hong Kong planning stupidity, has reduced the magic.
Food – Hong Kong is one of the world’s great centres. Chinese food (obviously), but all Asian food is fantastic here.
Shopping, if you must
Endless. Getting clothes made well but reasonably cheaply (Tsim Sha Tsui backstreets). A profusion of fun tourist tat. Fascinating antiques (beware, majority are fakes) around Hollywood Road and Cat Street.
share your experiences
Add your experiences, suggestions and photos. We would be delighted to receive your writing and ideas (which will be attributed appropriately where published).
Anyone planning an expedition to this place should see further important information about this walk.
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