Escaping from week-long exposure to the urban jungle toward HK’s nature trails is our weekend modus. The photo above was snapped on one such excursion at Shing Mun Reservoir. So I thought about marrying our national pastime with my other great passion, yoga. Nothing beats Mother Nature’s scale and majesty. Pair that with an asana – well – sometimes, the imagery can become even more inspiring as embodied by some of my fellow yogis below.
Now, it has to be said that yoga practice rarely happens at these locations. Striking a yoga pose against a magnificent backdrop is pure expression – a manifestation of practice. If you’re curious about yoga or are an experienced yogi, from studio drop-in classes to private sessions, check out the 50% off offers on the ENTERTAINER App. Otherwise, remember to stay mindful. This means not placing yourself in danger when attempting any yoga pose. Put your ego aside. No “Instagram moment” is ever worth getting hurt over.
Finally – please don’t litter! Leave only footprints. Take only memories.
Yoga on HK’s Trails
Ngong Ping 360 Rescue Trail
The hike up to world’s largest outdoor seated bronze Buddha can take 4 or more hours. When you’re tempted to take the 30-minute cable car ride, instead, ask yourself – would you rather be observing nature from a great distance up above, or be immersed within it?
This is called the “rescue trail” because that’s its exact purpose. It was built as part of the cable car infrastructure in case, you know, something goes wrong with the cable cars. LOL. Along the way, you’ll be walking past a little stream, some seriously impressive wooden staircases, cable car towers… The views are spectacular.
Bring at least a 1L water bottle per person, sunscreen, snacks (lots) and a change of clothes.
This is one of HK’s most scenic and gentlest coastal hikes. Can you just imagine the sea breeze kissing your skin throughout the entire walk? If that’s not enough of an incentive, you’ll also spot a photogenic lighthouse along the way. You’re welcome to Insta your little heart out.
Further down the trail, you’ll see a big, white building. That’s the Swire Institute of Marine Science. Just before you get there (about 150m away), you’ll see a dirt path to the left. Take it. It leads down to a “secret” cave with interesting rock formations and light/shadow play. Then retrace your steps and finally head toward the Marine Institute to meet the bones of “Miss Milly,” the whale. It’s fake but no less dramatic. Explore the surroundings. Take a moment to breathe and appreciate it all in.
This trail takes about 3 hours and requires 1L of water per person.
Sai Kung East Country Park
Although Sai Kung is only 20km from Kowloon, it looks like a world away. For your bucket list, here’s Sheung Luk Stream, which features waterfalls and natural rock pools. It’s unbelievable. Yes, you’re still in Hong Kong! This is usually a detour on the famous Sai Kung “deserted beaches hike,” among which are Sai Wan, Tai Long Wan, Tai Wai and Ham Tin. Along the way, you’ll see lush tropical vegetation and incredible geological ridges.
The stream is about a 10-minute walk from Sai Wan Beach. The upper pool with a 40-feet-high vertical cliff is the deepest, which is a popular cliff jumping spot. I’m scared of heights, myself, so I’ll tell you now – take great care!
Pinewood Battery Heritage Trail
Get yourself up to The Peak which, of and by itself, is a timeless treat. From there, go into Harlech Road. After about 20 minutes in, the path branches out into Hatton Road – take it. That’s the start of the heritage trail. The battery’s just a few hundred steps from there.
Pinewood Battery sits within Lung Fu Shan Country Park, 307 metres above sea level. This historic military site was constructed in 1903 for the defense of Victoria Harbour. During the Battle of Hong Kong in December 1941, the Battery was air-raided and heavily shelled by the Japanese. Eventually evacuated, it has remained abandoned after the War. Today, it’s a picnic site. But the scars of war are still visible.
From there you may return to The Peak or keep walking down Hatton Road toward Hong Kong University. The latter option makes the whole trail 3.5km-long and should take around 1.5 hours max.
Hiking + history + yoga all-in-one = win!
Sai Wan Swimming Shed
This is not technically a trail, but I couldn’t resist including it because just look how beautiful it is! The Sai Wan Swimming Shed is a photographer’s dream. The views are jaw dropping, particularly at sunset.
Although it is called a swimming shed, you’re actually discouraged from taking a dip because of the crashing waves, unpredictable conditions and the absence of a lifeguard. It’s Mother Nature at her most volatile. Hard to believe this is the same body of water as Victoria Harbour.
Yoga offers on the ENTERTAINER App range from private, semi-private to group classes – all at 50% off. Browse them all HERE.