Updated: Sep 7, 2021
The Ap Lei Chau Hike is a very popular out and and back route that will make you work up a sweat whilst providing great panoramic views of the concrete-jungle seascape divide, typical of Hong Kong. This is one of the few hikes in Hong Kong that involves ropes, giving it a more adventurous kinda feel despite being so close to the city rush. The hike also offers an opportunity to cool off when you cross the sand-spit that takes you from Ap Lei Chau (aka Mount Johnston) to Ap Lei Pai.
Hike Location: Hong Kong Island, Ap Lei Chau
Hike Difficulty: Easy-Moderate (4/10)
Hike Length: 4 hours
High Distance: 4-5km
Elevation Gain: ~150m
TIPS: Bring a small amount of cash incase you decide to catch a Sampan (small boat) back to Aberdeen Harbour at the end of the hike.
The closest MTR station to the Ap Lei Chau Hike is Lei Tung, from which you need to leave EXIT B. Exit B is only a 30 second walk from the very start of this trail whereas Exit A takes you far from where you want to be. After leaving Exit B, head towards the double decker buses and look out for the two yellow booths. They are almost impossible to miss and mark the start of the trail.
Although it may seem odd, the trail begins by walking between these yellow booths. The path will take you along a set of water pipes and lead you to the bottom of some steep steps. These steps are the first hurdle in reaching the top of Mount Johnston.
The trail to the top of Mount Johnston is pretty straight forward. There is one intersection before you reach the ropes (photo 7), however both paths run parallel to the top. The ropes take you up above the city rush and the concrete jungle quickly reveals itself.
At the top of Mount Johnston is a trigonometric point, followed by a maze of trails that take you to an equally steep descent to Ap Lei Pai.
I'd recommend cooling off at the sand-spit that connects the two islands on your return route, although if you're hiking during the summer months a quick dip at this point might be irresistible.
After crossing over to Ap Lei Pai the vegetation becomes thicker and more overgrown, but the path is still easy to follow.
You'll eventually reach the end of Ap Lei Pai, marked by the Mount Johnston Lighthouse. This is a great spot to have a beer and watch the container ships pass by on the South China Sea.
If you're lucky there will be a small boat, known as a Sampan, that will take you back to Aberdeen Harbour for a cheap price. Otherwise, you simply retrace your steps to get back to Lei Tung MTR.
If you enjoyed this hike but fancy something more adventurous, then check out my Ap Lei Chau Coasteering and Rock Pool blog. Once again you will finish up at the Mount Johnston Lighthouse, however the thrilling seawall route you take to get there consists of ropes, ladders, wooden planks and a large rock pool. Enjoy!
See the route I took on the MAP below (green dot is the starting point) and download the KML file to see the route in Google Earth 3D. Watch my KML tutorials for downloading the map on both laptop and mobile.
Below is a screenshot from the Google Earth KML file.