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First Day of Freedom.

Hiking a Dragon's Back.

sunny

This is the first day when I should have been at work, but wasn't, as I have resigned, so I decided to spend my first free morning walking The Dragon's Back.

The Dragon's Back is the most famous and popular hike in Hong Kong. For these reasons I have not done it before. When would I do it? On a weekend with half the population of Hong Kong!!! But today is a weekday and I'm not working and most other people are, so there is nothing to hold me back.

I actually left my alarm set to 5.50am. This was when I used to have to get up to go to school. Admittedly when the alarm went off, I initially declared " Sod it, I'm going back to sleep." But in the end I actually got up and started getting ready at 6.10am.

It's a long way to the Dragon's Back from where I live. I had to take a bus to Sunny Bay, then a train to Hong Kong Station. From there I had to walk across the concourse to Central, then take a train to Shau Kei Wan. At that point I had to catch the number 9 bus to To Tei Wan. This is stop number 12 on the number 9 bus route to Shek O. The bus was quite busy and I initially thought even on a Monday this hike will be crowded, but it actually wasn't too bad at all. Most people continued on the bus either to Big Wave Bay, Shek O or Cape D'Aguilar.

The start of the hike is right next to the bus-stop. Across the road from here there are beautiful views. I had a look at these, then made use of one of the many portaloo cabins next to the trailhead before I started walking. The Dragon's Back hike has cute little dragon signs. The hike is called The Dragon's Back because it undulates up and down like this mythical creature's spine. This walk was featured as the eighth best walk in the world on a CNN list of twenty-three of the world's best walks.

The walk starts right next to this bus-stop.

The walk starts right next to this bus-stop.

Dragon's Back Sign Post.

Dragon's Back Sign Post.

View from across the road from the bus-stop.

View from across the road from the bus-stop.

The start of this hike is the hardest part as it involves climbing quite a few stairs, but there are viewing points along the way and these distract from any wear and tear on the legs. There are also beautiful polyspora axillaris shrubs everywhere. These are more commonly known as fried egg plants due to their large white flowers with their bright yellow centres. This plant is found all over Southern China, including Hong Kong and Hainan Island.

Stairway.

Stairway.

Stairway and Rocks.

Stairway and Rocks.

Interesting plant along the way. It's called a necklace fern.

Interesting plant along the way. It's called a necklace fern.

I just liked the look of this tree.

I just liked the look of this tree.

Fried Egg Plant.

Fried Egg Plant.

Fried Egg Plant.

Fried Egg Plant.

Dragon's Back the first viewing point.

Dragon's Back the first viewing point.

Looking over Tai Tam Harbour from the viewpoint.

Looking over Tai Tam Harbour from the viewpoint.

Looking over Tai Tam Harbour from the viewpoint.

Looking over Tai Tam Harbour from the viewpoint.

After this viewpoint there's a fairly long steep staircase and then there's a viewpoint looking out over Shek O. I left the trail and headed right here to go to a large rocky area with great views over Shek O and its surroundings.

Me at the viewpoint.

Me at the viewpoint.

Shek O Peninsula from the rocky area off to the right.

Shek O Peninsula from the rocky area off to the right.

Shek O Peninsula from the rocky area off to the right.

Shek O Peninsula from the rocky area off to the right.

Shek O Bay.

Shek O Bay.

Interesting rock formations.

Interesting rock formations.

Interesting rock formations.

Interesting rock formations.

Summit of rocky area to the right.

Summit of rocky area to the right.

Summit of rocky area to the right.

Summit of rocky area to the right.

Shek O Country Park and Golf Course.

Shek O Country Park and Golf Course.

Views.

Views.

After this stage the hike starts to go up and down the dragon's spine which sounds hard but really isn't as the ups and downs are fairly small and not too difficult. Eventually the trail climbs up to the highest point known as Shek O Peak. Again there are beautiful views and lots of colourful flowers.

It's possible to see why it's called the Dragon's Back in this picture.

It's possible to see why it's called the Dragon's Back in this picture.

The Dragon's Back.

The Dragon's Back.

On the Dragon's Back.

On the Dragon's Back.

Walking along the ridge.

Walking along the ridge.

Walking along the ridge.

Walking along the ridge.

Mountain Scenery.

Mountain Scenery.

Typical stairway.

Typical stairway.

Mountain view.

Mountain view.

Lookout point near Shek O Summit.

Lookout point near Shek O Summit.

This marker shows the highest point on the trail at Shek O Peak.

This marker shows the highest point on the trail at Shek O Peak.

Signpost at the Summit.

Signpost at the Summit.

Smiley Selfie at the summit.

Smiley Selfie at the summit.

Tall grass and Views.

Tall grass and Views.

Lovely Flowers. I think it is a daisy plant.

Lovely Flowers. I think it is a daisy plant.

I think this might be Smilax zeylanica, which can be used in the treatment of ulcers.

I think this might be Smilax zeylanica, which can be used in the treatment of ulcers.

I think this is Millettia. This or one of its close relatives is being investigated for use as a biofuel.

I think this is Millettia. This or one of its close relatives is being investigated for use as a biofuel.

Beautiful Flowers.

Beautiful Flowers.

From Shek O Summit and beyond there are lovely views over Big Wave Bay, too. Behind Shek O Summit there's another smaller summit with a huge information board to tell people what they are looking at.

Looking at Big Wave Bay.

Looking at Big Wave Bay.

Beautiful coastal scenery.

Beautiful coastal scenery.

Big Wave Bay.

Big Wave Bay.

Big Wave Bay.

Big Wave Bay.

The other summit with the viewpoint.

The other summit with the viewpoint.

When I came down off the ridge, I reached a signpost and this is where I made a mistake. I had intended to walk all the way to Big Wave Bay, which would have begun by following the sign to Tai Tam Gap, but I followed the direction marked To Tei Wan and this meant I actually did a loop back to where I started. I realized my mistake very quickly but by then I was entranced by the views on the loop walk, so I decided to keep going and redo the whole walk ending at Big Wave Bay on a later date. I have done most of the final stretch into Big Wave Bay earlier anyway when I walked from Sai Wan to Big Wave Bay which I wrote about in my blog 'Making Waves'.

The Marker where I went the wrong way.

The Marker where I went the wrong way.

The reason I loved the loop back to the start of the walk was that it had superb views over Tai Tam Harbour and Tai Tam Reservoir and D'Aguilar Point. Like the other parts of the walk it also had beautiful flowers everywhere.

The Way Through the Woods.

The Way Through the Woods.

In the distance lies Tai Tam Reservoir and dam.

In the distance lies Tai Tam Reservoir and dam.

Tai Tam Harbour and Red Hill.

Tai Tam Harbour and Red Hill.

Tai Tam Harbour and Red Hill.

Tai Tam Harbour and Red Hill.

Looking towards D'Aguilar Point.

Looking towards D'Aguilar Point.

Blue Skies above the scene.

Blue Skies above the scene.

More fried egg plants.

More fried egg plants.

Fried Egg Plants at my feet.

Fried Egg Plants at my feet.

Beautiful Flowers.

Beautiful Flowers.

Beautiful Flowers.

Beautiful Flowers.

Lovely red berries.

Lovely red berries.

Beautiful Purple Flower. It's Sticky Adenosma, which has medicinal properties.

Beautiful Purple Flower. It's Sticky Adenosma, which has medicinal properties.

Bright Green Ferns.

Bright Green Ferns.

Hiking the trail. These people were just starting out. I was glad I started early as it was getting hot.

Hiking the trail. These people were just starting out. I was glad I started early as it was getting hot.

Final view before descending.

Final view before descending.

Finally, I arrived back at the bus-stop where I had started. The whole walk was around 5km. I caught a passing red minibus - always available when you need one - then started my journey back home. When I got there I took Peter out for a lovely, cold water swim.

Posted by irenevt 02:17 Archived in Hong Kong

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Comments

But a what difference 20 minutes make, specially when you know that you don't need to get up, and if you do, you are not in a real hurry! :)

Those rock formations looks little bit like seals or sealions in one of the pictures :)

I enjoyed "taking" this walk (too) with you! :)

by hennaonthetrek

Hi Henna, you are definitely right about those 20 minutes. Glad you enjoyed the walk.

by irenevt

Very interesting plants indeed... Congratulations, Irene! Thanks for sharing!

by Vic_IV

Hi Victor, thanks for visiting.

by irenevt

I think I will do a hike in a few days.

Hugs from Italy!

by Maurizioagos

What a beautiful walk. I loved the fried egg plant. We still get up at the same time as when we worked and we've been retired nearly 20 years. We just wake up then, probably force of long habit. It gives you a lovely long day to do things though.

by Beausoleil

Hi Maurizio, I hope you enjoy your hike.

by irenevt

Hi Sally, I will try to maintain the early morning habit. It really does mean I can fit a lot into my day.

by irenevt

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