Silver Mine Bay & Mui Wo from above
Silver Mine Bay Waterfall in the winter
The Silver Mine
Lanterns in Wo Tin Tsuen
Mon To Au Shelter Pavilion
Mui Wo Trail – View Point No. 1
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Mui Wo to Tung Chung, Hong Kong’s backyard paradise

To commemorate the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and Hong Kong co-hosting the Olympic Equestrian Event, the International Olympic Committee approved naming the trail from Mui Wo to Pak Mong Village as the “Hong Kong Olympic Trail”. Improvements to the trail were made including pavement, railings, signage, pedestrian bridges, standardised steps, and inlays in the sidewalk representing summer Olympic events.

Lantau Island is predominately designated as a country park, so on a comfortable spring day, I committed to the hike from Mui Wo and Tung Chung. It is just shy of ten kilometres with a peak elevation of 227m and is purported to be a family-friendly hike. We arrived in Mui Wo by ferry, enjoyed lunch at the Turkish Restaurant, grabbed a few provisions and headed out.

We started by walking the immaculate waterfront promenade to the Silvermine Beach Resort, where we turned left and then right on Chung Shing Street before turning left again onto Mui Wo Rural Committee Road. From there we followed the signs pointing towards the Olympic Trail.

The hike escapes from the rural roads of Mui Wo at Man Mo Temple, which is surprisingly old yet well-maintained. It was built during the Ming dynasty (1573-1620) and paid tribute to Man Tai, the ‘civil’ God of Literature, and Mo Tai, the ‘martial’ God of War, hence the temple name Man Mo.

Now on a paved pedestrian path, we passed in quick succession the official start of the Olympic Trail, the always interesting, seemingly abandoned private villa and pool once owned by the boss of the Yee Wo Lung Rice company before arriving at the Silver Mine Bay Waterfall Garden. This time of year, there is very little water, so we continued our hike up to the Silver Mine Cave.

This former entrance to the actual silver mine has been blocked off about ten metres in and repurposed as an Instagram destination and sitting-out area complete with a covered pagoda and comfortable benches overlooking the ocean. As we continued our walk up, we passed through the picturesque Wo Tin Tsuen, an old but still inhabited farming village. The locals seemed unmindful of the many hikers.

It was here the real hike began and the shade ended. Serious hikers would have started earlier but we enjoyed the experience by walking at a relaxed pace and stopping frequently to sit on the steps and admire the view. As we ascended, the vistas grew more impressive. Our reward for the climb was the Mong To Au Shelter Pavilion. Built in 1981, it sits on a shady peak that oversees all of the Mui Wo plain and surrounding mountains.

Then came my favourite part of the hike where the trail was mostly level and shaded by trees. It was here in the absence of suburban distractions that one could enjoy the sounds of the forest, the play of light and shadow, the flowering plants and the occasional movement of moths and butterflies — a perfect place for meditation or practising photography. The trail continued like this for about half a kilometre before we reached another pagoda and a fork connecting to Lo Fu Tau country trail, which leads to Lo Fu Tau (a.k.a. Tiger Head Mountain), but most people refer to it as the path to Discovery Bay.

We continued straight, and the path started to descend to the other side of Lantau Island. There we found the Mui Wo Trail – Viewpoint No. 1, a sitting-out pagoda with unobstructed views of the valley below and the stunning airport and overpass infrastructure. We rested, ate the remains of our provisions, and then continued down, passing by well-maintained village grave urns. Just before Hung Fa Ngan village, the path crosses a tranquil stream bubbling over rocks and roots and shaded by trees. We stopped to listen, relax, and appreciate what exists in the backyard of our city.

Text Martin Wray / Photos Cammy Yiu