Lush scenery, a bit of coastal trekking and cave exploring — a visit to Sai Kung’s Mok Min Cave has it all.
Living on Hong Kong island, I often find myself wondering what I’m missing on the “other side,” i.e. Kowloon and New Territories. It’s sometimes a struggle to make myself get out and explore more of the great outdoors, but when you know there’s bound to be fantastic sights and new, fun experiences, it’s all the more motivation to go.
Mok Min Cave is located just off the MacLehose Trail Stage 1, and while you can walk to this junction from the beginning of the trail, you can save your energy and take a taxi, which will drop you off just at the start of the path to Pak Lap Village (depending on your level of fitness, this will be very important for later on.)
Things to note before actually going on this hike:
• Check tidal information if you want to climb down into the cave – recommend going at low tide (0.8m or below)
• It’s worth bringing a pair of gloves (simple cotton ones will do) for when you climb down the rocks to the cave – some areas are a bit steep, and you’ll want to protect your hands from any jagged edges
• Hiking shoes with a good grip are essential. Even though the path begins on concrete, it can get a bit slippery once you get on the rocks.
We first met up at the Sai Kung Pier/Sai Kung bus terminus, and then took a green taxi going to Pak Lap. The taxi ride takes about 20-25 mintues and will set you back approximately HK$100, but it drops you off at the start of the trail that takes you to Mok Min Cave and the cost isn’t really that bad if you split it amonst 5 people.
This hike is fairly leisurely, and there’s plenty of time to stop and take photos. From the time we began walking down this path to when we actually got to the cave, it took us about one hour – and this was with many photo breaks. What’s nice about this hike is that there are different landscapes to look at (and thus ensuring that you won’t get bored) – paved paths surrounded by trees, open fields, hilltops, rock formations, and then the sea cave.
When you get to the trees on the other side of the field, make a right following the small sign pointing you to Mok Min Cave. If you go straight, you’ll hit the beach where there may be lots of campers. However, there’s also a small tuck shop to get refreshments after you get back from the cave, and restroom facilities The path to Mok Min Cave from this point may seem pretty random, but keep going. There’s only a bit of navigating to do through the trees, but when you emerge from the other side, there’s a fairly defined dirt path that will lead you to the cave. After you get over the final hill, the path slowly winds along the coast before taking you down to Mok Min Cave.
When you begin the descent to Mok Min Cave, put your gloves on (if you brought them.) This is also where a good pair of hiking shoes comes in handy. The rocks you walk over are very uneven and pointy in some areas, but you shouldn’t have a problem if you just take your time.
When you’re done exploring the cave and the rocky formations around the bend, it’s time to head back. The only way to get back to MacLehose Trail Stage 1 (where the taxi dropped you off) is to retrace your steps and walk back the way you came.
After spending time exploring the cave, you may find yourself a little tired. And depending on how sunny/hot it is the day you visit, you may be more than a little tired. On your way back, you can stop at the tuck shop to recharge before powering on. All that downhill on the concrete path you took when you first began? Yep, it’s going to be all uphill now.
If you want to take a taxi back to Sai Kung Pier, you should definitely call a taxi in to pick you up from Pak Lap, otherwise expect to walk approximately 5km (all flat surface) to Pak Tam Chung to get a bus back to the pier.
How to get there:
You can get to the Sai Kung Pier/Sai Kung bus terminus by taking the MTR to Choi Hung, then taking minibus 1A from exit C2, or going to Hang Hau exit B1 and taking the 101M minibus. From Central to Sai Kung, the journey takes about an hour.
At the Sai Kung bus terminus, take a green taxi to Pak Lap – the start of the trail.