Updated: Sep 7, 2021
The Ng Tung Chai Waterfalls cascade down the north side of Hong Kong's tallest peak (Tai Mo Shan) within a dense subtropical setting. This 15km adventure will take you up past multiple falls, along the ridge line of Tai Mo Shan and down to Shing Mun Reservoir. Visiting Shing Mun Reservoir is another unique Hong Kong experience. The path winds around vivid turquoise water and is scattered with wild Macaques, making for a very memorable hike.
Hike Location: New Territories, Tai Mo Shan Area
Hike Difficulty: Moderate (5/10)
Hike Length: 6 hours
High Distance: 15km
Elevation Gain: ~800m
To reach the start of the hike, head to Ng Tung Chai Village in the New Territories. The nearest MTR station is Kam Sheung Road, from there you can catch a taxi or 64K double decker bus. Photo 1 is the main square within the village and is easy to find on google maps once you arrive at the Ng Tung Chai Bus Stop. From the square, head between the two houses and you'll see a signpost for the waterfalls.
Follow the concrete path and you can't get lost. It'll take you under an archway and past a temple before you reach a map and more sign posts. The map outlines the loop trail that most people will be doing, but not you.
It doesn't take long before the concrete path turns into a dense jungle trail and leads you to the first waterfalls. These lower falls are definitely my favourite. The best thing to do here is climb around the first one to reach the hidden pool of the second (photo 10).
When you're ready to carry on, walk back up the steps and continue with the steep trail. There are at least three other main falls that are signposted for hikers.
HOWEVER, there are additional falls that aren't signposted but are equally as impressive, my other favourite being the one in photos 14 + 15, which is found AFTER 'Scatter Falls' (the last signposted waterfall) along a narrow off-piste track.
After passing all the waterfalls (I counted at least 5 big ones) the path curves around the mountain through thick canopy and leads you to a large crossroad of trails (photo 17). This is where you turn left and head up towards the peak of Tai Mo Shan.
After more tough incline, the path will open up to a wooden shelter with panoramic views over the New Territories of Hong Kong.
At this point you have two options:
1) turn right along the road to reach the actual highest point of Tai Mo Shan (photo 23), before doubling back on yourself to continue down to Shing Mun Reservoir.
2) skip the highest point and continue left towards the reservoir (photo 22) - I would suggest this option since the views on route to the reservoir are just as awesome and skipping the the highest point will save you time and energy.
The super scenic ridge line will eventually lead you into a dense forest. The forest steps will then take you under the Maclehose Trail Head (Stage Seven), after which you need to follow the sign posts to Tsuen Wan.
The road to Tsuen Wan lines Shing Mun Reservoir and continues for another 5km but is relatively flat.
I managed to take the drone up through the trees to capture the vivid turquoise colours of the water.
This is where you need to keep an eye out for Hong Kong's notorious Macaque monkeys. They'll have your camera if you're too close! Also, please do not feed them. The food in the photo was not given by us and feeding can cause them to behave aggressively.
The road will finally bring you to a small car park, taxi rank and bus stop. From here Tsuen Wan MTR is the nearest station, although catching a taxi the entire way home will seem very tempting after this long undulating trail. 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.