You Can Find Peace and Quiet in Hong Kong… By Camping on Lantau
We just went camping on Lantau, and more specifically, at Kau Ling Chung Campsite. On the way to the campsite we enjoyed sweeping views of Lantau’s desolate and rugged southwest coast, it’s deserted tan colored sandy beaches and a number of those classically Hong Kong tunnels of lush green jungle flora. And a hike in Hong Kong wouldn’t be a hike in Hong Kong without a few seemingly abandoned and ancient villages along the way!
Once we arrived at the campsite, virtually all we could hear was the whoosh of crashing waves from the ocean (which was a mere 75 feet from our campsite) and the soft clicking of some small birds pecking around in the bamboo brush. The entire experience was deliciously quiet, soothingly peaceful and spiritually rejuvenating. We’re already making plans to do this trip again.
A Trip for Everyone
If you’re an experienced backpacker, you’ll likely be comfortable simply using our maps and camping on Lantau on your own. If you’re an intermediate backpacker, below we provide you all the details you’ll need to safely and enjoyably experience this spectacular part of Hong Kong. If however you’re just getting into backpacking and would like a guide for this trip, we love guiding trips! Just drop us a line here with “Need a Guide” in the subject line, and we’ll get back to you shortly!
In the meantime, Have a look at all the beautiful sites we saw!
What it Looks Like
Camping on Lantau is Gorgeous
Difficulty and Distance
Camping on Lantau is a beginner friendly trip given both the distance and terrain of the route. On our trip, we decided to go around Lantau Peak instead of up and over it, and if you do the same thing, this trip is and easy/moderate one.
If you’re keen for a bit more of a challenge however, you can go up and over Lantau Peak, but expect your second day to be a difficult one. Below in the section titled, The Route, you can see the elevation profiles of the route we took around Lantau Peak as well as the one we did not take, up and over it. In either case, the experience you have will be filled with gorgeous views, the secluded and quiet campsite that is Kau Ling Chung, and a camping experience that you’ll certainly treasure for a long time to come.
Distance and Elevation Gain:Day 1 – Tai O to Kau Ling Chung Campsite – Distance: 9.2km / 5.7mi Elevation Gain: 360m / 1200ft
Day 2 – Kau Ling Chung Campsite to Ngong Ping 360 (around Lantau Peak ) – Distance: 12.7km / 7.9mi Elevation Gain: 891m / 2923ft
Totals: Distance: 21.9km / 13.6 mi Elevation Gain: 1251m / 4123ft
Day 1 – Easy
Day 2 – Moderate, if you go around Lantau Peak (Difficult, if you go over Lantau Peak)
Camping on Lantau is not a trip that requires advanced navigation skills. If you’re able to follow directions on Google Maps, you’ll be good to go! To that end, if you’d like to follow our Google Map while you’re out on the trail, just open this Camping on Lantau map on your smart phone, and use it to navigate while you’re out in the bush!
Water Along the Route
There are a few places to fill up water along the route. However, you’ll need a water filter and/or water sanitation method (check out our gear list below for the one we recommend) to make the water potable. DO NOT DRINK any of the water along this route without first filtering or sanitizing it. You’ll likely get sick if you do.
Location of Water Sources
There were four main sources of water along the route. They are all listed in the Points of Interest in our Camping on Lantau Google Map. We’ve put them below too.
- There was water at the Tsin Yue Wan campsite, but it is a seasonal source.
- There was a public toilet at Fan Lau Village, and we actually filled up our water there, sanitized it, and carried it the last ~1 mile to our campsite.
- There was a flowing stream at the campsite, although the government website about Kau Ling Chung says that it too is a seasonal source, thus the reason we filled water at Fan Lau Village.
- There is water at the public toilet near Sha Tsui Detention Center.
Camping on Lantau: Day 1
At first glance of the elevation profiles below, it would seem as though Day 1 is more difficult than Day 2. However, if you look at the left hand side of each elevation profile, you’ll notice the scale of such, and that should put things back into perspective for you. More simply put, the elevation you’ll experience on Day 1 ranges from 0 meters – 96 meters. The elevation you’ll experience on Day 2 ranges from 9 meters – 455 meters. Rest assured, Day 1 is an easier day, than Day 2, but again, both are friendly for beginners.
Day 1 Elevation Profile
Day 1 Google Earth Image
Camping on Lantau: Day 2
Day 2 Elevation Profile
Day 2 Google Earth Image
We started at Tai O and ended at Ngong Ping. We wanted to leave Lantau Peak for our second day when we would have already eaten most of our food, and thus our packs would have been much lighter. And indeed, our packs were lighter on our second day, but at the last minute we decided to go around Lantau Peak, as it was very cold and overcast. Nonetheless, you can complete this route in either direction.
Getting to Tai O is quite easy. Make your way to Tung Chung MTR station, then take the Tung Chung to Tai O bus. Get off at the last stop, and then use our Camping on Lantau Google Map to start navigating!
What You’ll Need to Bring
Clothing Gear List
The clothing you need will depend on the season, weather and your personal particulars, i.e. are you someone who is always hot or cold, etc. To this end, we went camping on Lantau at the beginning of February, winter time in Hong Kong, thus we packed for the cold weather. You can and should adjust your gear according to the seasons.
In regards to our clothing, we packed one set of clothing that we’d wear while hiking, and one set of clothing that we’d only wear only once we arrived at camp, when we were no longer sweating. Make sure to have a separate dry set of warm clothing for arriving at camp/sleeping in at night, as this is the key to staying warm on a winter camping trip. Also, below are a bunch of our affiliate links, but we use all of these items and stand behind them fully. Otherwise, we wouldn’t recommend them to you.
Here is what we brought when we went camping on Lantau.
- Hiking Shoes: Julia’s, Seth’s
- Low Cut Wool Socks (2 pairs per person): Unisex option
- Zip Off Pants, non-cotton (1 pair per person): Female option, Male option
- Quick Dry T-Shirt, non-cotton (2 per person): Female option, Male option
- Quick Dry Underwear (2 pairs per person): Female option, Male option
- Raincoat (1 per person): Female option, Male option
- Rain Pants (1 pair per person): Female option, Male option
- Long underwear top, non-cotton (2 tops per person): Female option, Male option.
- Long underwear bottom, non-cotton (2 bottoms per person): Female option, Male option
- Down Parka (1 per person): Female option, Male option
- Wool Hat, mid-weight (1 per person): Unisex option
- Light Gloves, smartphone friendly (1 pair person): Unisex option
- Waterproof Mitten Shells (1 pair per person): Unisex option
- Hats for sun, with neck flaps (1 per person): Unisex option
Hiking Gear List
As for the gear we took, we basically had everything we needed to camp out, cook dinner and breakfast, sterilize/filter water and generally speaking, have a fun, comfortable and safe time while camping! This list looks long, but if we didn’t have any one of these items, we’d be unprepared in someway.
To the extent that you can afford, buy the lightest weight gear you can. Again, light packs make happy hikers! For some of these items, such as the hiking backpacks, sleeping bags and pads, the most important thing to consider when buying them is comfort and fit. Below, we’ve linked to the things that fit us best, but make sure to try on a bunch of different options before settling on a pack, sleeping bag and pad. Also, these are our affiliate links, but we fully endorse all of these products, otherwise, we wouldn’t have included them here!
- Hiking backpack (one per person): Julia’s, Seth’s
- Sleeping bag (one per person): Julia’s, Seth’s
- Sleeping pad (one per person): Unisex option
- Hiking poles (one pair per person): Unisex option
- Stove (one per party)
- Fuel bottle (one per party)
- Cooking Pot Set (one per party)
- Cooking utensils (one set per party)
- Water purifier (one per party)
- Back up water purification method (one per party)
- 1L insulated water bottle (2 per person) (Insulated ones are particularly good for winter time, when you might want to fill them with warm beverages and have the beverages stay warm for a while!)
- 3L Water storage container (one per party)
- Biodegradable Soap
- Spoon/Fork/Knife (one set per person)
- First Aid Kit
- Parachute Cord 50’ (one bunch per party)
- Trowel (one per party)
- Toilet Paper
- Headlight (one per person)
- Tent (one per party)
- Packtowl (one per party)
- Pack cover (one per person)
- Inflatable Pillow (optional, one per person)
- Nylon stuff sack(s) to make bear bags
- Emergency whistle
Camping on Lantau is for Everyone
If it’s not yet abundantly clear, we absolutely loved this trip. We think camping on Lantau is suitable for beginner and expert backpackers alike, and we found both the scenic beauty as well as the peace and quiet of the route to be some of the top reasons as to why we’re planning to head back here soon. If you’re looking for a day trip, instead of this overnight one, consider hiking Jardine’s Lookout, or consider hiking High West. If you’re looking for a very far out adventure, consider backpacking the Via Dinarica Trail in Montenegro.
In any case, if you have any questions about any of this, feel free to drop us a line, but whatever you do, lace up your hiking shoes and get out there to enjoy this beautiful world!
[*Indicates an affiliate link to a place/product of high value and quality and one which we completely stand behind! :-)]