- Panoramic view of Long Ke Wan
- Panoramic view of Tai Long Wan
- East Dam and West Dam of the High Island Reservoir and hexagonal volcanic rocks and columns
Section 1 of the MacLehose Trail goes along the boundary of the High Island Reservoir which was built in 1978. The East Dam and the West Dam are wide enough for cars to pass through and the majority of the hike is on this service road. There is only a bit of dirt roads after Long Ke beach where you can have a very nice view of the coastal line. Since it is mostly on the service road, it is even possible to get a taxi from Sai Kung to the East Dam just for the view.
To maximise the hiking experience on dirt, I combined Section 1 with the last leg of Section 2 to begin at Chui Tong Au and hike towards the East Dam and then Pak Tam Chung.
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Chui Tong Au
From Sai Wan Pavilion, hike along the ridge for a short distance to Chui Tong Au. You will see a notice board with maps and coordinates. This is the point before you hike along the ridge of Sai Wan Shan. The path that follows will be along the ridge of the hills. Do remember to be prepared for the sun and bring enough water, roughly 2-3litres.
Sai Wan Shan (314m)
You will soon get a very nice panoramic view of Tai Long Wan when you approach the peak of Sai Wan Shan. The view is so beautiful that it was chosen as the cover of this book. You will see a combination of hills, beaches and sea, and that you may find it difficult to believe this is Hong Kong at all!
After reaching the peak of Sai Wan Shan, you will descend to Long Ke Wan which you will probably able to see paragliders circling in the sky on a fine day. Long Ke Wan is also a great location for camping as there is a designated area managed by the country park.
High Island Reservoir
After Long Ke, you will arrive at the stone steps that brings you down to the East Dam of the High Island Reservoir. It is a rather huge dam that even cars are able to pass through. From this point onwards, it is a service road until the end of Section 1. The East Dam and the West Dam are very iconic with monuments and signboards explaining their structures along the way. It is also a nice place for photo taking and the view is especially stunning during the evenings. You will hike along Sai Kung Man Yee Road and arrive at Pak Tam Chung for buses.
Transport is tricky for Section 1 (and Section 2) – there is no public Transport to get you to Long Ke beach. I suggest combining the last leg of Section 2 and start your hike at Chui Tong Au.
Seeing the changes of landscape from shores to hills is particularly rewarding — Tai Long Wan and Long Ke Wan are some of the best-conserved areas in Hong Kong! The High Island Reservoir is a construction marvel – for it was built by dams to close the then Kwun Mun Channel to store rain water from the hills. The recently established Hong Kong GeoPark adds more historical meaning to this piece of landscape in Sai Kung.
- Distance: 10.6km (15.6km with connecting trail)
- Duration: 3 hours (6 hours with connecting trail)
- Difficulty: Easy (the connecting trail is fairly difficult)
- Elevation: 0 to 300 (min/max)
- Pole No.: M020 to M001
- Getting In: Green Taxi (approx. HKD 90 in the time of writing) from Sai Kung to Sai Wan Pavilion. Hike along Chui Tung Au, Sai Wan Shan to arrive at Long Ke Wan (5km, 3 hours, fairly difficult). Section 1 begins right after Long Ke Wan.
- Getting Out: Hike along Sai Kung Man Yee Road from East Dam to Pak Tam Chung, take bus no. 94 back to Sai Kung.