MacLehose Trail (Stages 1 & 2)

MacLehose Trail (Stages 1 & 2)

By National Geographic

The ‘sounds’ of the MacLehose Trail

Cited by National Geographic as one of the world’s 20 dream trails, this 100 km trekking route, known as the MacLehose Trail, showcases the impressive coastline of the eastern peninsula in Sai Kung. Along the trail you’ll see sea caves, sea stacks, and hexagonal rock columns. Toward the end of the trail’s Sai Kung section, you can listen to the sound of breaking waves on the beautiful beaches.

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High Island Reservoir East Dam
High Island Reservoir East Dam

High Island Reservoir was built in the 1970s across a narrow channel. It‘s worth taking a look: although it’s a man-made structure, it still blends in with the impressive geology of its surroundings. The area near the East Dam is also the gateway to the many treasures of the Hong Kong UNESCO Global Geopark.

Hexagonal Rock Columns
Hexagonal Rock Columns

Walking along the High Island Geo Trail, you’ll pass by the magnificent 100-metre-tall hexagonal rock columns that dominate the area near the East Dam. You shouldn’t miss these geological wonders up close, and the trail offers some of the best vantage points. We also recommend checking out the large sea cave and Po Pin Chau, which is a sea stack further down the coast. As an interesting side note:  ‘Po Pin' means 'riven' or 'split' in Cantonese.

Long Ke, Sai Wan Shan & Chui Tung Au
Long Ke, Sai Wan Shan & Chui Tung Au

Take the trail to Long Ke, a white sand beach with emerald waters. Next, there is a challenging climb up Sai Wan Shan. At 314 metres, it offers photo-perfect beach vistas. You can exit the trail at Chui Tung Au by heading for Sai Wan Pavilion, where you can take minibus NR29 back to Sai Kung Town.

Sai Wan, Ham Tin & Chek Keng
Sai Wan, Ham Tin & Chek Keng

Along the trail, you’ll soon reach the scenic beaches of Sai Wan and Ham Tin. Further along, you’ll pass through the hidden 200-year-old village of Chek Keng on a serene inlet. Keep going until you reach Pak Tam Au, where you can see Ko Tong Hau and Wong Shek Pier in the distance. This is the end of Section Two of the MacLehose Trail.

Trip ideas:

  • Avoid climbing rocks and keep away from eroded surfaces.
  • For more information on Hong Kong’s geological history, visit the Geopark Visitor Centre in Sai Kung Town.
Sai Kung District
Starting point:
High Island Reservoir
End point:
Pak Tam Au
Average hiking time:
About 5 hours
About 16 km
There are village stores in Sai Wan and Ham Tin, but their opening hours are irregular.
Very Difficult

Long route without much shelter; with much uphill and downhill trekking over varied terrain.
How to get there
To the starting point:
  • From MTR Diamond Hill Station Exit C2, take bus 92 to Sai Kung Town, then taxi to East Dam.
  • From Sha Tin New Town Plaza Bus Terminus, take bus 299X to Sai Kung Town, then taxi to East Dam.
  • From MTR Hang Hau Station Exit B1, take green minibus 101M to Sai Kung Town, then taxi to East Dam.
From the end point:
  • From Sai Wan Pavilion, take village minibus NR29 to Sai Kung Town (Mondays to Fridays: 4 services a day; Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays: 6 services a day).
    • From Pak Tam Au, call a taxi (Mondays to Saturdays).
      • From Pak Tam Au, take bus 96R to MTR Diamond Hill Station (Sundays and public holidays only).
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