Updated: Sep 7, 2021
This off-piste trail from Kowloon Peak to Suicide Cliff is a great orientation adventure to Hong Kong. As soon as you gain elevation you become overwhelmed by the diversity of views that surround you. To the North-East you have Shenzhen, Plover Cove and Sai Kung, to the South - Hong Kong Island and Lantau Island, and to the West - the New Territories. To top off this incredibly scenic hike you finish at the infamous Suicide Cliff where you can simply admire from afar, or cautiously venture onto the rock for a closer peek over the edge.
Hike Location: Kowloon, Ma On Shan Country Park
Hike Difficulty: Moderate (5/10)
Hike Length: 4-5hours
High Distance: 7km
Elevation Gain: ~600m
TIPS: Bring a torch for the descent.
The closest MTR station to the beginning of this hike is Choi Hung, Kowloon side of Victoria Harbour. Leave Choi Hung MTR from exit C2 and head towards Ping Ting Road. You're aiming to start at the bottom of the concrete steps found half way along the road.
These steps take you up a couple hundred meters towards the mountain road called Jat's Incline. Continue to follow the signposts for Jat's Incline until you're eventually on it. The thick forest cover causes the humidity to hit hard on this section of the trail so I'd suggest taking it slow at first. As soon as you make elevation the breeze kicks in.
Once you come out onto Jat's Incline (photo 5) you need to follow it up for roughly 30 minutes until you reach the maintenance access steps in photos 6 and 7. Photo 8 is what the road looks like behind you when you turn off. You can also refer to the route I took below on the Google Earth 3D map, if still unsure.
This steep off-piste section will take you through dense vegetation and requires some very basic scrambling.
Views of Kowloon and Lion Rock Country Park will appear behind you as you reach the electricity pylons. At this point you'll be nearing a popular view point on the mountain and if you're lucky there will be a man at the top selling cold drinks from his cooler.
Follow the trail head in photo 13 to reach the panoramic view point that overlooks Sai Kung.
When ready, continue over the small fence, through the bush and head towards the large hill on your right (aka Elephant Hill). The trail here is lined with the occasional blue ribbon.
Carry on over Elephant Hill and along the ridge line to the Kowloon Peak Radio Tower. The flora can get quite wild and overgrown here, giving the trail a very adventurous feel to it.
Once you reach the radio tower and helipad, head up the steps and then down the back of the mountain towards SUICIDE CLIFF. This part of the hike really reminded me of Hawaii's 'Stairway to Heaven Hike' on Oahu.
The first set of large rocks you come across are often mistaken for Suicide Cliff (photos 22 + 23). This sharp outcrop has a steep drop-off similar to the famed rock formation, however, to the left of this outcrop is a narrow path that will lead you down to the real Suicide Cliff.
If you're eager for a closer look and not quaking at the legs, then TAKE CARE when walking out onto Suicide Cliff. Although many do it, there have been reported fatalities over the years. If it's not for you then no stress, there is an ideal viewing point just before the path that leads out to the rock formation.
The best thing to do here is wait until the sun drops below the skyline. Once dark we began our descent down the short steep trail to Clear Water Bay Road, guided by the glow of the building lights. We rarely needed our torches, although I'd still recommend bringing one as it will prove handy during the last section of the descent where the vegetation is thickest.
Don't let the idea of descending in the dark put you off. It was safe and relatively straight forward. After approx. 1 hour you'll reach the main road. Once at the side of the road you can try and flag down a taxi or minibus. Taxi's were passing quite frequently when we reached the bottom of the trail and we managed to grab one within 5 minutes.
The nearest MTR is still Choi Hung, which is also where most minibuses are likely to be heading, but check first. Stay safe on Suicide Cliff and enjoy the trail!
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.