Urban Hike: Skyscrapers of Kowloon East (Wilson Trail Section 4)

Once upon a polluted day, I ventured to the villages of Clearwater Bay and the eastern peaks of Kowloon with Czarina… and for the first time in my life, as we began our ascent from the bottom of the hill, a random hiker stopped me – a Chinese woman on her way down, looking at my face, said: “Hi, I recognise you.” I just look at her with a question mark on my face, and she says, “you have a blog, I read it.” I laughed a bit embarrassed and happy, “oh, yes that’s me!” And she says: “I like your writing, very good.” I thanked her profusely and wished her a good day… but wow, that felt nice 🙂

Distance: 8 kilometres (plus 2km more to get out of there)

Duration: 3 hours (we did 3.5hours because we were so slow and shitty…)

Difficulty: 3/4

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Starting Point: Tseng Lan Shue (Clearwater Bay Road)

End Point: Sha Tin Pass (that intersection of so many trails including Lion Rock, Amah Rock, etc etc… don’t know how many times I’ve been here but a lot)

Highlights of Wilson Trail Section 4

  • The endless but rewarding uphill to Tung Shan (542metres)
  • Tate’s Cairn Ridge (Tai Lo Shan) — but if you want to go up the actual peak at 577masl, you have to veer off the main trail
  • If you’re not trying to cross Wilson 4 off your list like I was, go up Temple Hill (Tsz Wan Shan) rather than sticking to the concrete road. I regret not doing this! (See below)
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That last bit from east to west is nothing but a boring paved road for cars. Try and get off it and reroute via Temple Hill.

Click here for the full map

Nobody ever says anything about Wilson 4, and for good reason. It’s far from my favourite hike, but if you change the route a little bit as I just mentioned, it has the potential to improve by 30%.

Another factor that detracted from my enjoyment was how polluted it was that day. The urban views are probably beautiful on a clearer day…

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Finally getting comfortable in The North Face hiking boots after several wears!

Get there

If you’re doing this trail the traditional direction (from east to west) as we did, then take the MTR to Choi Hung Station. At Exit C1, take any of the following minibuses:

  • 11 to Hang Hau
  • 1A/1S to Sai Kung Pier
  • 11S to Po Lam

It’s best to ask the driver / other passengers to alert you when to get off (Tseng Lan Shue), and check your GPS as well to see if you’re approaching your stop. This part is a bit tricky, but we got lucky that people understood us when we asked at a bus stop.

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Tseng Lan Shue Village ‘bonsai plantation’

Alternatively, you can do the trail from west to east to avoid the extra walk via concrete road from Sha Tin Pass. There were no ubers nor taxis available when we were trying to get out.

If take this trail from the west, though, you will do a huge downhill from the mountain towards the east. But at least you’ll end at a bus stop.

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We were relying on the blue dot on Google Maps to navigate at first. Until we saw this sign.

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Obscure signage can make for a slow start, getting lost in the village with no clear path to follow

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We passed by small farms / garden patches before getting into the actual hills

Walking the trail

After going through the village from the road, the path went downhill into the forest. This worried me because it meant we would have more to climb later on… and I was right.

It was easygoing for the first 2 kilometres or so…

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Passed by abandoned house, then a bit of a concrete road

Unfortunately, if you religiously follow Wilson 4 you will be walking on 40% concrete road. However, it did have its good parts:

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This was the most difficult part: seemingly endless steps uphill for the 500+m ascent

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Tung Shan area circling the edge of the mountain

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When we got to this point (2/3 + into the hike), we found several cars parked for the viewing platform. Too bad there wasn’t much of a view. Otherwise it would have been nice to even have a picnic up here.

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This part of the trail is popular amongst HK locals because it’s easy to drive up from Kowloon, park, and enjoy the view. Unfortunately, they leave trails of their visit such as an empty box of condoms, and then empty condom wrappers (what’s next, right?!), I was scared to look at the bits of litter on the ground afterwards. And as if I hadn’t been visually raped enough, a half-buried dead cat.

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For more inspiration, follow me on Instagram and like my Facebook Page!

xx

julienne

 

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