Updated: Sep 7, 2021
Most Hong Kong hikers will be familiar with the simple out and back route from Ap Lei Chau to Ap Lei Pai. However, less will know about the more thrilling seawall coasteering route. Ropes, makeshift ladders and wooden planks aid in the manoeuvring of the island's rocky coastline, finishing off at the Mount Johnston Lighthouse. To top off this short adventure there's a rock pool deep enough for a small cliff jump, an ideal spot to cool off during most times of the year in Hong Kong.
Hike Location: Hong Kong Island, Ap Lei Chau
Hike Difficulty: Moderate (4/10)
Hike Length: 4 hours
High Distance: 4-5km
Elevation Gain: 50-250m (dependent on how you finish the hike)
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.
Now if you were doing the more popular Ap Lei Chau Hike, you would begin by climbing in between the two yellow booths and by following the pipes and stairs up towards the summit of Mount Johnston. HOWEVER, for this alternative seawall version you need to walk past the booths following the road in a westward direction.
Shortly you'll notice a small path on the left. This takes you to a paved road which eventually connects with Lee Nam Road. The end of Lee Nam Road is where you are aiming for as this is where the coastal route begins. Climb onto the wall at the end of the road and begin to make your way around the island's rocky coastline.
En route to the sand spit that joins Ap Lei Chau to Ap Lei Pai you'll come across rope climbs, makeshift ladders and wooden-plank walkways, some more precarious than others, so take care.
Once you reach the sand spit you can continue the wall climb on the same westward facing side of Ap Lei Pai. Again you'll find ropes and aids in place along the wall and a lightly trodden path continues to wrap its way around the coastline.
Finally, you will stumble across the rock pool just short of the Mount Johnston Lighthouse. The lighthouse itself makes for a fun climb and good photos but the rock pool is certainly the point of interest here.
It's deep enough for a small cliff jump and as long as the tide is high enough, the water shouldn't be stagnant as there is an overlap where the waves regularly replenish the pool. This spot on the edge of the sea is an ideal place to cool off with a beer during the summer months, especially when the humidity hits.
For getting back you have three options:
1) 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.
2) You can take the central trail up and over the two islands to get back to Lei Tung MTR (+200m elevation gain). The trail is located directly behind the lighthouse.
3) You can simply retrace your steps along the coastal route.
If you'd prefer to reach the rock pool and the Mount Johnston Lighthouse via a tamer route with no sketchy sea wall drop-offs, then check out my alternative Ap Lei Chau Hike, 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.