Mau Ping Ancient Trail: seeking the Vine King and Bamboo Tunnels
Mau Ping Ancient Trail extends from Mui Tsz Lam Village all the way to the center of mountains that straddle Ma On Shan and Sai Kung, connecting to the Pak Kong Ancient Trail that ends in Sai Kung. Once home to a smattering of villages whose inhabitants built this stone paved trail, nowadays it’s a leisurely trail famous for the abandoned houses. Another attraction is the Vine King and the bamboo tunnels along the connecting Pak Kong Ancient Trail.
Summary of Mau Ping Ancient Trail and Pak Kong Ancient Trail
Time taken: 2.5 – 3 hours
Difficulty: 2/5, with some stairs that can prove slippery after rain
Pros: see the old house and Box Bean Kong of Mau Ping and the bamboo tunnel of Pak Kong
Cons: not much of a view along both ancient trails except for the viewpoints
How to get to Mau Ping Ancient Trail
While you can do the hike both ways, I prefer to start at Tai Shui Hang, where you can exit the MTR to Chevalier Garden and hike up the entire Mui Tsz Lam Road.
Aside from the MOS line, you can also take the following busses:
84 M from Lok Fu
289 K to University Station
43 X Tsuen Wan West-Yiu On
85K Hang On – Shatin
89C Hang On – Kwun Tong
805S minibus: Ma On Shan – Mong Kok
299X between Sai Kung and Shatin also stops nearby.
If you want to save yourself some walking, you can get a taxi to take you to Mui Tsz Lam Village (at the end of Mui Tsz Lam Road) to cut the road section of the hike.
Note: at the end of Mui Tsz Lam Road, you can also hike to Luk Chau Stone Forest to the left and also to see the Phallic Rock (Penis Rock) to the right.
Mui Tsz Lam Road
Make you way up the Mui Tsz Lam Road – which is about a half an hour (2.5 km) walk from Tai Shui Hang Station.
When you reach the junction, head towards the village but look out for the paved trail to the left, which is right along the river, that is the start of the Mau Ping Ancient Trail.
Mau Ping Ancient Trail
The Mau Ping Ancient Trail is a stone paved trail that was built by villagers who settled there around three hundred years ago, who chiefly sell firewoods and grains. They built it to make their journeys to and from other villages and markets easier, which is why the trail connects to Shatin, Sai Kung, and Ma On Shan. But the villages have been abandoned after WWII due to poor yield, and now it is just a hiking trail.
From the start towards the end of Mui Tsz Lam Road, continue on and there will be a long flight of stairs and then a sign telling you that this is Mau Ping.
You’ll pass a family mountain grave shrine, too, in case you are not sure.
The trail is lovely to walk on and shaded, sloping up gently with another sign pointing us in the right direction. Do try not to go on the dirt as that promotes erosion and damages the trail!
Mau Ping Old House
The first attraction we find is the Mau Ping Old House, which is right next to the trail. Do not go in as it is an abandoned structure and carry the risk of collapsing. You can get a good photo of it from the trail.
The trail then turns left out of the forest for a little bit with the family shrine of the Ngs who settled here before going back on the stone paved trail.
The hike up to Mau Ping Au is the steepest of the trail, taking us pass some abandoned farmland.
Mau Ping Au
Mau Ping Au is along the MacLehose Trail Stage 5, too, and a surprisingly spacious field with a small pavilion. This used to be a school for the surrounding villages, now it is but a pit stop. To see the Vine King – the box bean – there is a small offshoot when facing the pavilion to its right.
Note: You can also hike to Ngong Ping in Ma On Shan Country Trail, which is just a little further than ending it at Sai Kung. You can also end Buffalo Hills via this route if you continue on MacLehose Trail.
The Vine King – Box Bean 藤皇
Called the Vine King in Chinese, it is known as Box Bean in English or the St Thomas’ Bean. Its scientific name is Entada phaseoloides, and it is a liana (vine) in the bean family.
It is known for sprawling over numerous trees and blooms between March and June. This particular one at Mau Ping has wraps itself around a house stunningly, as well as extending behind it.
This is actually the MacLehose trail and you can continue down towards the Buffalo Hills.
Note: DO NOT climb on the vine – let’s protect nature together!
Pak Kong Ancient Trail
Go back to the field and you’ll see the crossroad of the trail, which points you towards Ma On Shan and Sai Kung.
Continue right to the Pak Kong Ancient Trail which offers a glimpse of High Junk Peak and the Port Shelter as we go down.
The stairs here are also stone paved but comparatively steeper than those of Mau Ping Ancient Trail. But it does lead to the Bamboo Tunnels.
The first bamboo tunnel is right after the stairs, the bamboos on both sides of the wide trail sloping towards each other in a perfect arch. It is a beautiful sight, and please do avoid going into the bamboo and damaging it.
The trail continues down and first onto a concrete section with signpost, then it loops down towards several stretches with bamboo on one side that forms a more wave like structure.
This one is more photogenic, if not a little smaller. It might be worth getting here earlier in the day for some sunlight!
After that, it’s a short walk to the main road, where you can go left at the junction to Sai Kung!
Getting out: Sai Kung
The road takes you pass the village of Pak Kong, then onto the Hiram’s Highway that leads to Sai Kung.
The total journey takes around half an hour to Sai Kung town center, but you can also hop on a bus to get there, or take buses out to Diamond Hill etc from the bus stop across the road. It can be more difficult during rush hours and weekends.
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.