El Nido allures travelers with its stunning island hopping tours, diving, and serene beauty. After you have scratched these off your to-do list and are looking for something a bit more adventurous to do, you should look into climbing up one of the mammoth limestone cliffs that surround El Nido town proper. Before travelling to El Nido I had read about others who had hiked up Mt. Taraw and saw how breathtaking the views were. Afterwards, I knew this was something I had to do while I was here.
This is a great hike if you live east on the island or Kowloon, as it is one stop across the harbour from Quarry Bay on the purple line. It’s also ideal if you’re looking for a quick hike; you want to get up a mountain, get some exercise in, see some great views of both the island and Kowloon skyline, and then get out. I mean, your schedule is booked solid from now until your last days in this city that never sleeps, so you need to squeeze in as much as possible every single waking moment of your time here. Am I right, or what?
We had booked our day tour to see the Underground River, which has been declared a UNESCO Heritage Site as well as one of the new 7 Natural Wonders of the World. Unbeknownst to us, there was actually a morning stop at Ugong Rock before we made our way to the Underground River. Initially, I was annoyed that we would have to sit around and wait for an hour or so while the only person in our tour van who had paid for this ahead of time was to go up the rock and zipline down. Fortunately, the friend I was with convinced me to go as it was inexpensive and was better than doing nothing for an hour. Not that difficult to convince me under those circumstances, to be fair.
I have been wanting to do this hike for quite some time, but was waiting for a clear day to appreciate the views a bit more. Since clear days come few and far between in Hong Kong, we decided to just try our luck one morning when we didn’t have much planned for the day. At the top of Lion Rock, you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking, panoramic views of Kowloon and the Hong Kong Island harbourfront (if the smog isn’t in full force that day).
After leaving the Gili Islands, we went back to Ubud for one night as we didn’t get a chance to do the Mt Batur sunrise trek when we were there earlier. I love hiking and didn’t want to miss what was to be an incredible hike up during the night (which I had never done before) in order to see the sun rise up behind the massive mountains of Agung and Rinjani on Lombok.
I highly recommend you visit a few tour stalls before settling on a price. We were being quoted between 550,000 – 750,000 IDR ($50 – $71 CDN) per person from a few companies. Then we came upon one tour agency that offered us 600,000 IDR for both of us. We were so glad we took the time to look around before making a final decision; this price was half the cost of all the other companies and the itinerary was the same. The name of the trekking tour company was Pineh Trekking and we had no complaints during our trek.
After spending three nights in Kuta, I was ready to leave the craziness behind and head to Ubud. From all the hype that I had heard from others about Ubud, I was really excited to spend some time there. Afterall, Eat, Pray, Love had portrayed this area as a haven for soul-searchers and those wanting to escape their big-city routine life. Though I found Ubud to be much more enjoyable than Kuta, there were a few things that surprised me. And not in the jumping up and down sorta way.
Hiking in Hong Kong is much more enjoyable when the humidity isn’t slowly suffocating you with each step you take. Thanks to the cooler weather, hiking has become bearable. Looking for something to do on the weekend? Why not get up early, (fingers crossed the sun is out and the smog is not as apparent), hike up a mountain, and appreciate the breathtaking views of the city.
I went about hiking from Quarry Bay to Stanley on two separate occasions. The first time I began my hike up Mount Parker, I was confident I knew how to get to Parkview (you need to exit the path and walk across a road to begin the next stage of the hike towards Stanley). I made my way up Mount Parker at a steady pace and ended up entering a pathway on the side of Mount Parker Road, which I thought would lead me to the top of Mount Parker quicker. Though this wasn’t exactly the case, I did come across some hidden gems.
When it comes to hiking, I like getting lost in the lush mountains (for a reasonable, I-know-eventually-I’m-going-to-find-my-way-home amount of time), walking up and down dirt trails, and having that general “I’m not actually in Hong Kong right now.. Am I?” feeling. Unfortunately, this hike did not live up to these expectations.
I had never been to Cyberport before (waaaaaay too far west on the island and its name was never too enticing; sounds very bionic and bizarre), so I wasn’t sure what to expect. My friend who arranged the hike assured me that it would be relatively easy, as we had all been out the night prior and that there was a waterfall. The waterfall alone sold me and off we went to the Wan Chai bus terminal to hop on a Citybus to Cyberport. We made a relatively educated guess as to where to get off the bus and from there set out to find the start of our “hike”.
Unfortunately, this was not the hike I had in mind – Cyberport Waterfront Park is very much man-made with concrete paths everywhere. While this was disappointing, we did happen to come across a gated off section that led down to a beach area. Here we also came upon the waterfall, though it was not one in which you could really swim in.