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(Campsites) The Ultimate Backpacking Guide to Hong Kong


The Ultimate Guide to Backpacking in Hong Kong


Backpacking is one of the best ways to travel eco-friendly in any part of the world. Backpacking or trekking is a way of travel without any transportation but your own foot. It is often associated with the natural environment and outdoor activities. Hong Kong offers you a unique backpacking experience, a "city in nature" characteristics that you wouldn’t find anywhere else in the world.


Hong Kong, a city in nature, hiking trails are just within walking distances, and most of the hiking trails are interconnected, which you can almost walk your way through Hong Kong. One of the best things about backpacking in Hong Kong is all the campsites within the country park areas are free!! You just have to pay for your food and transportation to and from your starting point.


Yet, there is still a number of questions and issues to answer when planning your backpacking trip in Hong Kong. Good preparation is never wasted. The better you prepare yourself for the trip, the greater the experience. This is an Ultimate Guide to Backpacking Travel in Hong Kong.


NOTE: This article is just a part of The Ultimate Backpacking Guide to Hong Kong.


Campsite


Ngong Ping Campsite at Lantau Peak

Having a thorough understanding of the campsites gives you a better planning idea ahead. You will know where to stop or re-supply, what to bring for your activities along the trails. Since there is no “standard” for campsites in Hong Kong, the thing you expect might vary from one and another.


There are 41 official campsites managed by the government. And each of them is slightly different in terms of configuration, elevation, facilities, accessibility, and the nature’s attractions around them. Some of them are barely equipped with anything, some of them are too remote to reach, some of them are too close to the main road, and some of them are too popular to fight for a camping space.

Campsite Facilities

All the campsites are managed by the Agriculture, Fishing and Conservation Department (AFCD). The campsites are equipped with a certain level of facilities, including hanging posts, fire pit, table and chairs, toilet, cesspit, washing sink, and shower room.


HANGING POSTS

Hanging Post in Campsite

Two wires linked on two iron poles. The purpose of hanging posts is said for drying your clothing, but the real usage of the hanging post is far more versatile than drying clothes. We hang our backpack whenever the floor is wet or with a lot of creepy-crawlies, or hang our food bags, used as the anchor pole for our tarp, etc.


FIRE PIT

The shape and size vary, most of them are built up with concrete blocks and iron bars on top. The fire pits were originally designed for burning charcoal for some family barbecue. And big blocks of concrete are built around the fire pit as chairs. You have to pick up some rocks to modify a bit if you are aiming for some bushcraft and campfire activities.

Common Setting for Campsites in Hong Kong

TABLE & CHAIRS

Tables and chairs are not equipped in some campsites, and having tables and chairs in some areas with a lot of disturbance from insects will be nice. And after a long day of hiking, somewhere you can sit properly will be a luxurious thing.


TOILETS

Toilet, a sign of civilization!! You don’t have to dig a cat hole or carry the human waste with you when backpacking in Hong Kong. All the campsites equipped with toilets of two kinds: Dry Toilet Pit and Flush Toilet.

Dry Toilet Pit Commonly Found in Campsites

Dry Toilet Pit is an enlarged cat hole with a platform elevated from the ground and a concealed shelter overhead. It doesn’t have any water supply or flushing system. It simply lets nature do its job, decomposing human waste naturally.


Flush Toilet, TaDa!! This is the best you can get when backpacking. Water supply and flushing system are available. And most of them are equipped with other cleaning or hygiene facilities. A spot which can solve a lot of problems, and you should have it marked on the map.


CESSPIT

A cesspit is a hole for sewage. The cesspit is located somewhere near the firepit. The main purpose of the cesspit is for liquid kitchen waste, NOT FOR HUMAN WASTE. I am not sure about the reason why AFCD provides the cesspit, but it is just not logical to dispose of any waste within the camping area.


WASHING SINK

Washing sink is equipped in most of the large campsites. It provides a drainage system where you can use detergents or any cleaning agents for any purposes. You can clean your clothing, cooking utensils, or even your shoes.


SHOWER ROOM

The shower room is absolutely a luxury while backpacking. It is equipped in most of the large campsites. Some of the design has individual shower rooms, and some of them are in a common shower room. All shower rooms are built in conjunction with toilets of gender privacy.


Campsite Distribution

Campsites are not evenly distributed in country parks. They are scattered in some of the country parks, but some of the country parks don't even have one. Since Hong Kong is interconnected with hiking trails, excluding the barriers of the sea, knowing the distribution of the campsites in country parks helps you to plan your backpacking trip efficiently.



LANTAU ISLAND

Lantau Island is a rather primitive natural environment compared to most parts in Hong Kong, and around 80% of the lands are country parks. There are 14 campsites on the island. And they are connected with one single Long Trail, the Lantau Trail.

SAI KUNG

Sai Kung, with the most number of campsites in two country parks combined. 24 campsites of a total of 41 campsites in Hong Kong are located in Sai Kung East and Sai Kung West Country Parks. The campsites are not all linked with one single trail, rather linked with multiple hiking trails, it looks like a spider web on the map.


NORTHEAST NEW TERRITORIES

The most remote part in Hong Kong, covered by dense forests and continuous mountain ranges. The Northeast New Territories consists of two main country parks: Pat Sin Leng Country Park and Plover Cove Country Parks. The vast northeast area is only equipped with 5 campsites. You will be expecting extensive hiking between each campsite.


MIDDLE & WEST NEW TERRITORIES

There are 6 campsites in the area, and 5 of them are scattered around the highest peak, Tai Mo Shan. The campsites are either very popular or rarely used by campers. 2 of them are not even connected to any major hiking trails. Planning your backpacking trip around here is tricky, and requires a certain level of navigation skills.


OTHER OUTLYING ISLAND

We are talking about the 2 campsites on each outlying island: Tung Ping Chau and Tung Lung Chau. “Chau” in Cantonese means island, and Cantonese is the official language in Hong Kong other than English. Each of them is very different, yet, very popular throughout the year. I’ll cover both in another article for more detailed information when planning your trip in the two islands.


Camping Code

By law, setting up a tent or starting a fire must be at designated sites while backpacking in Hong Kong. Regulations made under this section may provide that a contravention or breach thereof shall be an offence punishable by a fine not exceeding $5,000 and imprisonment for a term not exceeding 1 year.



Country Parks and Special Areas Regulations 11 (3)

No person shall camp or erect a tent or temporary shelter within country park or special area except:


a. in accordance with a permit in writing granted by the Authority; and

b. in a designated camping site.


Yet, there is still some camping code to follow:

  • Camp only in designated campsites

  • Light fire only in designated pits and never leave unattended

  • Place litter in bins and keep the campsite clean

  • Keep your noise down and respect other campers and nearby residents

  • Keep water sources clean

  • Protect wildlife and plants

  • Respect villagers' property and rights

  • Extinguish all fires and tidy up the sites before you leave

  • Respect the countryside and conserve the natural environment


NOTE: This article is just a part of The Ultimate Backpacking Guide to Hong Kong.

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