After my hike over Lantau Peak on the previous day, I’m tackling what is supposed to be an even tougher mountain. At 468m above sea level, Sharp Peak is almost exactly half the height of Lantau Peak – but is a much more demanding hike. It’s one of the “Three Sharp Peaks” of Hong Kong, a collection of mountains that are deemed as very challenging to summit because of their steep gradients and loose rocks: Castle Peak (583m) in Tuen Mun, Sharp Peak (468m) in Sai Kung and High Junk Peak (344m) in Clear Water Bay.
The hike officially starts from Chek Keng in the Hong Kong New Territories, which is serviced by a very infrequent ferry (weekends and public holidays only). However, it’s quicker and more practical to take a bus to Pak Tam Au, initially following the same route as the 100km long MacLehose Trail (Stage 3). The hiking trail descends for 2.5km from Pak Tam Au to the villlage of Chek Keng: although largely abandoned in the 1970s, Chek Keng is the hub of the hiking trail network in Sai Kung East. A paved hiking path crosses the village and passes the pebbly beach at Chek Keng, where there is the unexpected sight of a cow munching on grass next to the trail.
The trail soon starts to ascend, past the first of a few signs warning of the dangers ahead…
After passing a mobile phone tower and another warning sign, you can see the trail stretching up the steep ridge-line to Sharp Peak in the distance.
The effort of the steep climb is offset by increasingly expansive views. To the south is Ham Tin, and the uninhabited islands of Tai Chau and Tsim Chau (a popular diving site, which has underwater caves). To the north is the Sai Kung peninsula, a relatively undeveloped area. Beyond the peninsula is Tap Mun (Grass Island).
As the trail nears the summit, there’s a nice view back along the trail over Ham Tin Beach and Tai Wan Beach (or Tai Long Wan Beach) . Both of these these isolated beaches are part of Tai Long Wan, four beaches that are inside the Hong Kong UNESCO Geopark. The small “hump” below is Nam She Au; the steepest part of the trail is between Nam She Au and the Shark Peak summit.
To the east, beyond Sharp Peak, is Tung Wan Shan (298m) and Tai Long Tau at the end of the peninsula. Another remote beach, Tung Wan Beach (“east bay beach”) is the furthest and most secluded of the Tai Long Wan beaches.
The trail finally reaches the summit, where there’s quite a few people enjoying the stunning views. There’s a pillar marking the highest point (468m) and plenty of spots to enjoy the outlook.
Although there are many easily accessible mountain peaks around Hong Kong, it’s a little surreal to be so close to this major city and yet see only mountains and undeveloped coastline in every direction.
I return the same away, after enjoying the view. You can also do a loop, returning via Mai Fan Teng and Tai Wan beach, which makes it slightly longer hike but takes you past two beautiful beaches. Whether you do the loop or an “out and back” route, this hike deserves its reputation for being both challenging, but also offering some of the most spectacular views of all the Hong Kong hiking trails.
Getting to Sharp Peak
The easiest option is to take Bus 94 from Sai Kung Bus Terminal or Bus 96R from the Diamond Hill MTR Bus Terminal (on Sundays and public holidays) to Wong Shek, which goes past the the Pak Tam Au stop and runs every 12-20 minutes. You can also take the Minibus 7 (Hoi Ha) from the Sai Kung minibus terminus.
An alternative is take a ferry from the Ma Liu Shui ferry pier (the nearest MTR station is University) to Check Keng which operates daily but has only one morning, one afternoon and one evening service. If you want to avoid the crowds, take the ferry on a Saturday (or weekday) – but don’t miss the last ferry!
More information on Sharp Peak
You’ll want to some good hiking shoes for this hike, as some sections of the trail are very steep with a loose surface, and plenty of water. Some people recommend gloves, although I don’t think they are necessary.
- yogawinetravel – Tai Long Wan in Sai Kung: A Guide to Hong Kong’s Secret Beaches
- laughtraveleat – Sharp Peak: conquering one of the toughest trail in Hong Kong
- HK Transport – Tsui Wah Ferry timetable