Checkerboard Hill: a Hidden Kowloon hike


Checkerboard Hill is just like its name, a checkerboard of red and white square along its cliff face. Located between the extensive Kowloon Tsai Park and Lok Fu Park, it’s a relic from the old Kai Tuk Airport so the planes flying in will see the hill. It’s a nice little hike that makes it to the top easy hikes in Hong Kong hall of fame with a grass field nearby perfect for a picnic after.


Checkerboard Hill Hike Summary

Drone shot of Checkerboard Hill between Kowloon Tsai Park and Lok Fu Park.
Lion Rock looks so good behind!

To be fair, I wouldn’t call this much of a hike, and it’s definitely doable even in street clothes. That said, one must give it a rating!

Difficulty: 1/5 – it does not get easier than this whether to reach or to hike

Time taken: 1 hour or less – unless you want to camp out there for the sunset

Pros: easy to reach, easy to hike, and has red and white checker!

Cons: the trail to the red and white checker is a bit roughly paved and tends to be crowded.

How to get to Checkerboard Hill

We actually took the long way to get there, but either way the nearest MTR is Lok Fu Station.

Take exit B and cross the car park minibus station area and through the small park there. You can just use google map and aim for the small staircase across from Bishop Walsh Primary School on Junction Road.

junction road stairs to go to checkerboard hill kowloon hong kong - laugh travel eat

Note: there is an easier way which I’ll talk about at the bottom.

Hiking up to Checkerboard Hill

The hike up is just a lot of stairs, so be prepared for it. It’s the most difficult part!

We decided to go up to the reservoir park, which is a huge open space. The park has a great view of Lion Rock – which is always a huge plus.

The Checkerboard Hill is actually just behind, but to get there, we have to go towards the other end of the hill to find the trail start.

There are some interesting dam structures from the early 20th century along the way which I really enjoy. The few concrete steps that lead to the trail for Checkerboard Hill are across from the public bathroom, making it easier to find.

lok fu park trail to checkerboard hill kowloon hong kong - laugh travel eat

I wouldn’t really call this a proper trail, but at least it’s easy to follow. Just walk along the fence and up the stairs. After the stairs, we emerge to a path that goes parallel to the fence by the big open garden.

checkerboard hill top pillarkowloon hong kong - laugh travel eat

The highest point of Checkerboard Hill is there, marked by a pillar. There isn’t much of a view, but you can see the top of the checkered cliff face across. But it’s on the other side of the fence.

checkerboard hill top view kowloon hong kong - laugh travel eat

To get there, take the trail perpendicular from the pillar which leads us straight to the cliff front behind the open grass patch.

The top has a stunning panorama of Kowloon and we can see all the way to Hong Kong Island. There were also tons of people waiting for the sunset with their tripods.

checkboard hill top panorama kowloon hong kong - laugh travel eat

There is a side gate next to the hill that can get you down to the checkered walkways for some photos. Personally, I think the spot close to the first flight of stairs by the hill is just as good as the walkway.

No need to go climbing up the entire slope – safety first!

Getting out of Checkerboard Hill

The easiest way to get in and out of Checkerboard Hill is to just go down Fu On Street right by the public bathroom. This takes you back to Junction Road but much further north. It’s across from Lok Fu Public Library which is right next to the Lok Fu Mall.

Written by Nam Cheah

Hi, my name is Nam. I am 24 and spent half my life in Hong Kong and the other half in UK. I believe there's endless experience and beauty in the world and this is me chronicling how to experience the best at the best price.

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