Kowloon peak hike is undoubtedly one of the top rated hikes in Hong Kong. As a first time traveler, I had no idea of where to hike and what to expect.
Luckily, during a Couchsurfing meetup, I was told to skip the popular Dragon’s back and opt for Suicide cliff instead. Gus from Couchsurfing clearly marked out the route on Google maps and warned me beforehand of the tricky ascend.
Instantly, I knew I would love it and prepped myself for the wicked adventure.
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Suicide Cliff – To Hike or not to Hike?
Okay the name itself can be pretty daunting and it lives up to its claim to fame as this arduous hike sees 7 deaths a year. So first things first, if you are not very adventurous or a careful/ experienced hiker – Don’t do it! I mean, it’s not really worth risking your life, eh?
That being said, I am not an experienced hiker but extremely careful. Hence, this risky hike was simply amazing for me and made it to my top adventures of 2018 list.
Kowloon Peak Hike To Suicide Cliff – Which Path to Take?
Now there are several different trails to get to the top. So if you are not entirely sure about your adventure intake, please opt the semi-paved path instead of the steep inclined bush (Which we took).
There are warning signs all over so you will know which path “not” to take. Of course we ignored them as we were already on an adrenaline rush and took the steepest path which was also the shortest.
So eventually out of the 5-6 different trails you can take, we choose the toughest one but depending on your fitness and adventure levels, choose one you are comfortable with. If you aren’t entirely sure and find someone on the hike, talk to them and they would be happy to advice.
No matter which path you choose , keep some basic tips in mind before you embark on this hike.
Tips for Hiking Suicide Cliff
Please note that the most daunting path WILL involve climbing. However, there are trees and bushes on either side of the narrow path which make it easier; I was holding them and using them as support to push myself up.
Also, be aware that you might encounter snakes on the rugged path, as we did. So be careful when you hold on the branches for support and be conscious of where you step.
You will be walking on the edge of the cliff and it gets windy up there (Can even rain so carry your rain jacket). Once you have hiked a fair bit up, avoid looking back continuously especially if you have Acrophobia. You don’t want to lose your nerve.
Just stay calm and take your time.
I was perhaps the slowest in our group of three and super careful of each step. I was constantly checking the stability of rocks before stepping on them and watching out for snakes before holding a tree branch. So what? Slow or not, I made it to the top – and back, safely – thats what counts. So don’t make it a “need for speed” game and pace yourself properly. Plus, I had to take pictures literally at every view point (And there were plenty).
While coming back down from the cliff, you can either hike up further to Kowloon peak and take the paved road back down, or hike further up to Lion’s rock. You can also go back the same steep path but I would definitely not recommend it. Going back down would be way trickier on that route.
If you walk further up to the observatory, you can see a semi-paved path to go back down to the main road – Take that! It’s fun, easy and uneventful but there is no way you can go back down the same suicidal path – Just don’t do it!
Also, check the weather before making this hike – avoid rains!
Don’t forget your mosquito repellent unless you want to be eaten alive – remember you are hiking amidst bushes.
You can’t really go on a hike without water. Minimum 1.5 liter of water is recommended especially if you plan on hiking further up to the peak or Lion’s rock. You might even need hiking poles for this route unless you want to crawl and climb like I did.
Once you are at the Suicide cliff, obviously you want to take pictures. Now, be extremely careful as there is a bend at the nose of the cliff and that’s the cause of most deaths in the area. Either crawl up slowly to the edge or avoid the edge totally and steer clear of it.
There are several other spots in the vicinity for epic Instagram worthy shots.
And lastly, don’t do it alone. Bring some hiker friends along so you can take care of each other and have fun along the way!
Why is Suicide Cliff one of the Best Hikes in Hong Kong
Well in all honesty, I am no expert on hiking in Hong Kong. With just a few awesome hikes under my belt and several trails to uncover, this is just my personal opinion (and that of fellow hikers/ locals whom I met). So, don’t take my word for it and try it out yourself.
Just for the adventure levels, I would recommend doing it. Also after trying the other popular paved hikes in Hong Kong, I realized the off beaten path was surely the better one to take.
Plus, gawking at the stunning Hong Kong city views, minus the man made roads and hand rails is way more spectacular – won’t you agree?
How to Reach Suicide Cliff Hike Start Point
Nestled in the south tip of Kowloon peak hike, the starting point can be a bit tricky to find.
First you need to reach the Clear Water Bay bus stop.
In order to get there take the MTR to Choi Hung Station. Then, opt for Exit C1. Walk for a short 120m to the bus stop and take bus no 1A or 11 to Good Hope School stop. It is just 2 stops away and you will see the Clear Water Bay sign.
You might have to yell “stop” or motion for the bus driver to stop as the buses don’t stop anywhere until prompted – not even on the designated stops. We missed our stop and had to walk 30 mins back to the starting point.
Once you are are the stop, follow this map below to the red pin point. The dotted path on the map is the off beat trail which again divides into 3 different routes with various difficulty levels; from easy – tough.
Choose your path wisely because once you do, there is no looking back.
While returning to civilization, if you take the semi-paved path I suggested above, you will end up on a well paved road. Just walk along the route till you reach Clear Water Bay stop (Around 1.5 km). Its hard to find an empty bus in the evenings so you might have to walk or hitchhike to the MTR station.
Map of Suicide Cliff on Kowloon Peak
So, would you like to do the Kowloon peak hike to suicide cliff? If so, which path would you choose? Tell me in comments below.