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(Water) 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.



The Most Protected Waterfall in Lantau South
The Most Protected Waterfall in Lantau South

Water, the number one priority when backpacking. You always have to look for water or know where to find water. Especially in the subtropical, known for its warm and humid environment. Dehydration and heat stroke are very commonly happened during summertime, while water runs dry in most of the streams or creeks in wintertime. Water is also used to clean and cook, addressing both fundamental needs, in order to maximize your backpacking experience.

Water Sources Available in the Country Parks

Hong Kong does not have any major or large aquatic environment such as a river or lake. But we do have thousands of streams and creeks which run all over the mountain ranges. I know river/stream/creek share the same meaning in terms of science, but it is easier to communicate when talking about running water from a large scale of the river to the least water flow of a creek.

Shek Pik Reservoir @ Lantau South Country Park
Shek Pik Reservoir @ Lantau South Country Park

The water reservoirs within the country parks are the largest man-made aquatic environments in Hong Kong. However, we are not allowed to get water from the water reservoirs, as it is the water supply for the city. There are several checkpoints throughout the trails where you can find water and use them.

Tap Water from Toilets

Common Setting of Sink and Tap Found in Country Park's Toilet
Common Setting of Sink and Tap Found in Country Park's Toilet

I have mentioned the toilets equipped with a water supply and flushing systems. That is the point where you can get clean fresh water from. There will be signs in some toilets telling you the water is gathered from a nearby stream, so the water requires treatment before drinking. Even if there is no sign telling you to treat your water before drinking, I highly recommend you to do so. Equipping yourself with a water filtration system is a must!

If you are using a large water bottle, a litre or above, you will be finding it very difficult to fill your bottle to the fullness. For most of the setup in the toilet, the sinks are very shallow, which you can’t place your bottle straight under the tap. I do recommend water bags or using your water bladder or anything that are flexible in shape to collect.

Water Filling Stations & Drinking Water Fountains

Clean and filtrated, ready to drink water provided by the country park authority. They are ready to drink and mostly located around the country park visitor centre and other recreational sites. Click the link for specific location information:https://www.afcd.gov.hk/english/country/cou_vis/cou_vis_rec/cou_vis_wfs.html

Creeks or Streams near Campsites and Along the Trails

Getting the water from streams or creeks is convenient but never easy, though there are over thousands of streams and creeks along the trails. Some streams are even the main source of water for the campsites. Some of the campsites rely on a small creek, which might run dry during the wintertime.

To fully utilize the streams or creeks along the trails, is to understand the topography of the area. Do not solely rely on a trails app, but prepare yourself with a countryside map. Do include the possible water points when planning your route, or check if there is a point where you can fill up your bottle in case you are not able to reach the next checkpoint.

The countryside maps do have a lot of useful geographical information other than leading your way out. There are 5 maps covering all the country parks in Hong Kong, more purchasing and map coverage information can be found in the following link: https://www.landsd.gov.hk/mapping/enpda/paper_map/pda_cm.htm

Water Availability at Campsites

No matter where you get the water, from the streams or the taps, the water availability in different campsites is summarized in the table below.

Watrer Supply for Different Campsites
Watrer Supply for Different Campsites

Stores / Kiosks in the Villages

I think this is the most popular way to get yourself hydrated and your bottle filled up. Like I mentioned in previous sections, villages are often seen within country park areas. And quite a lot of villagers will operate stores or kiosks or cafes to earn a few bucks from hikers or campers.

Having them as the resupply points are great. If you are planning to have them as one of your checkpoints, you should be careful about their opening schedule. Some of them might not be open throughout the week, but mostly just on weekends.

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

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