Buffalo Hill/Ma On Shan, Sai Kung

  • Ma On Shan (Hong Kong)  - © flickr user- Michael McDonough
  • Buffalo Hill - © William Mackesy
  • A view of Sai Kung  - © flickr user- Michael Chu
  • Sai Kung from Ma On Shan Country Trail  - © flickr user- Sam Lee

Key information: Buffalo Hill/Ma On Shan, Sai Kung

  • A memorable walk: trek up through exuberant sub-tropical vegetation to this fine grassy ridge with outstanding views over the island-dotted, sparkling bay of Sai Kung.
  • Stumble on the remnants of rural southern China: old houses, fields and rice terraces.

Walkopedia rating

  • Walkopedia rating78
  • Beauty30
  • Natural interest14
  • Human interest5
  • Charisma31
  • Negative points2
  • Total rating78
  • Note: Negs: popularity; pollution.

Vital Statistics

  • Length: 3-5 hours
  • Level of Difficulty: Moderate
Buffalo Hill - © William Mackesy


Sai Kung Bay is a jewel of Hong Kongs marvellous New Territories: a large expanse of sheltered water, dotted with islands and surrounded by verdant hills although the eponymous fishing village has been heavily developed and there is a golf course on the largest island.


Behind the bay is a long ridge between the rocky peak of Ma On Shan (Hong Kongs second highest at 702m) and Buffalo Pass at the back of the Kowloon ridge that provides the dramtic backdrop Hong Kong harbour.


You climb up to the Buffalo Ridge (our name) on old paths that wind up from surprisingly characterful villages on the hillside above Sai Kung (the best for circular walks is Tai Shui Tseng), through lush sub-tropical vegetation and long-abandoned fields. Or you can slog up the Maclehose Trail from Shui Long Wo to the high shoulder of Ma On Shan itself.


All along Buffalo Ridge, you can sit with your picnic and savour the wide views over Sai Kung bay. Behind the ridge is rolling plateau, with some old fields and collapsed crofts amid the dry coarse grass and patches of woodland. The Maclehose Trail winds for some 8km along this ridge; if you are here at night during the famous annual 100km Trailwalker march, you become part of a living, coiling serpent of head-torches.

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.


See also expedition planning, including our universal expedition checklist. Walkopedia encourages responsible travel.

Guidebooks/maps/background reading

Suggest books and maps



Hong Kong - Lonely Planet City Guide

Other books

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 (Countryside series – Sai Kung and Clear Water Bay).



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.


Getting there/transport/permits


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Bus to Sai Kung town, then taxi to the start; or taxi, direct to the start (45 mins from Central).





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As described above.


Possible problems, health, other warnings

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  • 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?

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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.


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 (if sometimes unintentionally hilarious) hotels, including:

Mandarin Oriental

The Peninsula

Island Shangri-La

Kowloon Shangri-La

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)



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Other information and tips



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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


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Other things to do in the area

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Other walks

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.

Other activities

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.


Sai Kung from Ma On Shan Country Trail  - © flickr user- Sam Lee

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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