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Ma on Shan, which can be directly translated as saddle mountain due to its shape, it’s the most prominent feature view from the city with the same name. While there are many routes to reach the top, one of the most popular route is through Tiu Shau Ngam. Tiu Shau Ngam’s name comes from the resemblance of the five consecutively higher peaks that resembles the knuckles of a hand.
Duration: dependent on the end route and rest time, likely 3-5 hours
While this isn’t one of the toughest hikes around, there are a lot of uphills and can be daunting for first-time or beginner hikers.
Ma On Shan hike trail start
The starting point of the hike is from Ma On Shan Country Park, and the fastest and easiest way to get there is by taking a taxi.
A taxi from Ma On Shan town center to the Country Park costs just under 40 HKD, although you can definitely hike up from Heng On along the road. It is a single lane on the last stretch for both up and down traffic, so you need to be careful when walking along it.
There is also a minibus service to the village nearby, but the priority is given to the inhabitants and the schedule sparse. The driver can kick off any passenger in favour of elderly inhabitants, so bear that in mind. The minibus number is NR84, running from Sunshine City in Ma On Shan and departs at 8:00, 9:30, 10:30, 13:00, 16:00, 17:30.
The reverse runs from Ma On Shan Villag eat 7:00, 8:30, 10:00, 11:30, 13:30, 17:00, 18:00.
Start at the trail from the Ma On Shan Family Walk sign
Once you reach the country park, head towards the Ma On Shan Family Walk sign at the back, to the right of the toilets behind the carpark. From there, it’s a pretty straightforward path until you reach the observation area.
At this stage, it’s still mostly stairs. I recommend downloading OSMAnd App (an offline map app) to make sure that you are on the right track.
From the observation area, the path starts to incline more steeply. I don’t recommend trying this hike after (or during) rain, as the muddy terrain would be too slippery. There are warning signs along the way as well, but as long as you are careful, it’s okay.
Tiu Shau Ngam
The first viewpoint is the first peak of Tiu Shau Ngam. It is a large rock outcrop to the left of the path with an uninterrupted vista Ma On Shan and Wu Kai Sha, as well as Tai Po area across the Shing Mun River and the bay.
It is a great place for photos, though the rocks are pretty sturdy, be careful of your footing as you walk around.
The trail continues to go up, then down a little and up again as you go from one ‘knuckle’ to the other. One section even has rope installed to aid coming up – and you are likely to have to use your hands to aid your ascent.
Once the path starts veering to the right, Ma On Shan is near! But first, you must get through The Hunch Backs (677m).
Ma On Shan
It is easy to miss the highest point on Ma On Shan as it is relatively flat, unlike how you see it from the ground. It stands at 702m and gives a clear view of Tiu Shau Ngam’s knuckles form.
To continue the trail that leads down to merge with MacLehose Trail Stage 4, but not before some more walking and stairs, as well as a small hill.
MacLehose Stage 4
Once the path is merged to MacLehose Stage 4, you can either continue on through the Pyramid Hill or around it to the junction (it’s well signposted).
See details on hiking MacLehose Stage 4 here
There are a few ways you can end the trek:
Go down back to Country Park
Back to Country Park
Take the Ma On Shan Country Trail which will bring you back to the Country Park
Go down to Sai Kung
Follow the sign that reads Tai Shui Tseung which will take you to the Wong Chuk Shan New Village near Sai Kung, and it did take about half an hour. From there, it’s only a 20 minutes walk to the city center. The path is relatively uneven.
See my Sai Kung guide for some places to eat after the hike!