Last updated on September 18th, 2020 at 09:38 am
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Tai Shing Stream is the river that runs from Tai Mo Shan, the highest mountain in Hong Kong, down to Shing Mun Reservoir. In fact, back before the reservoir was built, it flowed straight into the Shatin bay. The name reflects its status as the main stream to flow into Shing Mun Reservoir: Big Shing.
Famous for the Little Bird Rock and the Wong Mo Waterfall (Dragon Waterfall), it is a more difficult stream to trek. There are more stretches that need you to criss-cross the river, and should not be attempted without proper water shoes (not wet shoes).
Summary for Tai Shing Stream hike
Difficulty: 4/5 as it is stream trekking
Time taken: ~3-4 hours for the trek up the river but likely 5-6 hours as you get in and out of Shing Mun Reservoir
Pros: there are some offshoot trails you can leave on, and the main attractions are pretty
Cons: aside from the famous points, the other waterfalls isn’t as spectacular, and the stream is popular with many groups hiking on weekends
Note: we did not make it up to the planned end point due to sudden rain (not forecast), and had to leave from Dragon Waterfall. The blog post will reflect that and won’t go up to Maple Leaf Pool
How to get to Tai Shing Stream trail start – Pineapple Dam
The trail starts at the northern edge of Shing Mun Reservoir, therefore you need to get to Shing Mun Reservoir first.
The minibus 82 goes to Pineapple Dam from Tsuen Wan, and it’s best to get it at Shiu Wo St where it starts. You’re likely to have to wait for a few minibuses if you go during the weekends. That said, it’s pretty fast.
An alternative is to take a bus that gets you to Ho Fung College – you can see the full list here (sorry the website is only in Chinese, so use google translate).
From there, it’s a 15 minutes walk uphill to the Pineapple Dam.
From Pineapple Dam to Tai Shing Stream Trail Start
From the minibus stop, take the stairs to the left and hike the Pineapple Dam Nature Trail.
This takes you straight by the Shing Mun Reservoir and eventually back up to concrete road. Keep going until you reach the Barbeque site 6, which will take around 40 minutes from the Pineapple Dam.
There are plenty of beautiful spots along the way, so if you start early enough, you can take some time to go down and get photos by the reservoir. Watch out for monkeys that frequently loiter and will steal any loose items hanging out.
Once you get to the Barbeque site 6, go up to the public bathroom to the left. This is the last toilet stop! From there, take the trail parallel to it into the forest and follow it all the way up.
It is the easier way to go straight to the more interesting section of Tai Shing Stream.
The trail to the forest is mostly dirt with some stone steps, and it takes us across a stream first. When you reach a metal fence, go in the trail that it is in front of that will then emerge on the wide Tai Shing Stream.
Hiking the Tai Shing Stream
Stick to the left side to continue the trail parallel to the river unless you want to take a dip into the pool.
We didn’t do that and hopped around a bit, which, though fun, was challenging. There are some beautiful waterfalls and pools immediately, and a great place to stop for lunch or a snack.
The rocks are quite slippery, so watch your footing.
There is a particular stretch that needed us to jump and climb over large boulders, so bear that in mind.
Big Bird Rock
The animal cracker like Little Bird Rock is not so little – in fact, we were too busy admiring the wide, scattered waterfall in front of it to notice at first!
From there up, it’s a little easier with rocks on the right side offering a good place to continue up.
There are a few more waterfalls, and eventually, we reach the Dragon Stream~
The Dragon Waterfall is a stream that joins the Tai Shing Stream, going down a steep cliff. Ths narrow flow of the water gives it a dragonesque look with a small pool at the bottom. Stick to the trail left of the waterfall and you can find a small rock that overlooks the waterfall.
Getting out from Tai Shing Stream
We left from a trail left of the river facing upstream to Shing Mun Reservoir. That is due to unexpected rain – which makes it unsafe to continue hiking the stream.
It is a very steep, muddy path that goes slightly right but up, and when you reach the big road, you can turn left to go straight down to a section of Shing Mun Reservoir, or turn right until another junction and go left.
This will take you closer to the Pineapple Dam, emerging from the Butterfly Garden.
That said, it’s still an hour long hike!
From there, go down to the Pineapple Dam Nature Trail or follow the main road back to the minibus stop.