This trail is one of the most adventurous and riveting hikes Hong Kong has to offer! It involves climbing over Mount Johnston, walking across a sandbar to Ap Lei Pai Island, hiking over to the other end of Ap Lei Pai, then taking a Sampan back to Aberdeen. The climb is not necessarily easy, but it's a lot of fun as there are ropes to support you throughout, and you're constantly surrounded by stellar ocean views.
Difficulty rating: 8/10 (The hike is quite steep and slippery at times with loose rocks, and requires you to rely on a rope)
Duration: 1.5 hours not including rest stops (Although the hike is steep, it is not too long so it's quite manageable)
Cell Service: 5/5
Instagrammability: 5/5 (Great panoramic ocean views throughout, you almost feel as if you're island-hopping!)
How to get there:
Once you get out of exit B, spot the McDonald's across from you and walk to the right of it. The start of the trail is hidden behind a yellow structure (image 1).
Follow that path until you see steps going up. You will have to jump over a divider and past the warning sign board.
From then on, begin your climb up Mount Johnston. Make sure to take advantage of the rope and be careful as there are many loose rocks (image 2).
As you're climbing up the ropes, take a few moments to look back at the gorgeous panoramic view of the city. Before you know it, you'll be way above all the buildings!
Within 20 minutes, you will be on top of Mount Johnston with 360 degree views. On one side, you'll be able to spot the Aberdeen marina, with the yachts lined up, and on the other end you'll see Lamma Island.
Continue walking across the top to the opposite side of Mount Johnston, and begin your descent to the sand bar. You'll be able to have a clear view of Ap Lei Pai island as you climb down.
Once you've completed this descent, the hardest part of the hike is over. You can spend some time relaxing at the sand bar and take in the views. The water is extremely clear, and it would make for a great cool-off spot on a hot day!
Then, you can continue towards the Ap Lei Pai lighthouse. The trail from here is quite straightforward, you simply have to walk to the opposite end of the island, which is where you can catch a Sampan back to Aberdeen.
Just by the lighthouse, there is a small rock pool which is a great spot to cool off as well!
While you can retrace your steps and do the same hike to get back, we would recommend taking a sampan from the Ap Lei Pai pier, which is just by the lighthouse. The Sampans have a 20-30 minute frequency, and cost $40 per person.
We did this hike on a sunny winter morning, which was absolutely gorgeous, but we think it could be even better at sunset because of the panoramic views it has to offer. Also, while the hike is a bit strenuous, it could also be a great one to do in the summer as there are various spots where you can take a dip to cool off, which would feel phenomenal in Hong Kong's heat!