The Dragon’s Back hike was at the top of my list of things to do while in Hong Kong, which is why we thought we would tackle it on my first day there. It wasn’t too hot, my friend knew how to get there, and we had just eaten a delicious gluten-free breakfast at a healthy/organic/very western little cafe.

Little did I know, this seemingly harmless meal would soon be the reason why there will always be a little bit of me left on the Dragon’s Back trail.


It began on the bus ride up to the trail head. It’s only about a fifteen minute ride, but the road was windy, and so I thought I was just feeling some motion sickness.

We got to the trail head and before we even started the hike I got sick. But, as you’ve probably experienced at some point, there’s always a feeling of relief immediately after, and I was in denial that feeling would be temporary, so we ventured on.

As we walked along the trail and got more into the thick of trees I started to feel ill yet again. This is when the vicious cycle of horrible nausea and pain followed by temporary relief really got going.

Being sick every 15 minutes or so turned into being sick every time I took a sip of water, and it kind of turned into the hike from hell.

 Dragon's Back Hike Hong Kong
 Dragon's Back Hong Kong

That being said, if there’s one thing I do not regret, it’s keeping going. If anything was going to make me feel better when I was really at my worst, it was being able to sit down and take in these incredible views.

Before I came to Hong Kong I thought it was all skyscrapers and crowded city streets. I couldn’t have been more wrong.


On the Dragon’s Back hike I saw that Hong Kong really was built in a tropical paradise. Gorgeous greenery edged with stunning beaches all surrounded by dozens of islands. So, if I was going to have to be sick anywhere, this wasn’t such a bad spot.

The walk down did become a little more treacherous as I had gotten progressively weaker. But I now had the image of white-sand beaches with turquoise water etched into my mind, and that was where we were headed.

Once you reach the end of the Dragon’s Back hike you can take a bus to either Big Wave Bay or Shek O. We chose Big Wave because it was closer and we weren’t sure how long I could last on a bus without spilling my guts again (turns out the ride was only JUST BARELY the right length of time). 

The beach was was exactly what I needed.


It wasn’t too crowded, there were stands to buy gatorade and water, and it’s the only beach with waves big enough to surf, so there was some entertainment. I lay there, eventually fell asleep, and by the time I woke up I was well enough to get into a taxi.

Dragon's Back Hong Kong

Looking back, it was a very painful and endurance-testing experience, but it was STILL one of the highlights of my trip.


And if you were wondering what made me sick, I think it was tap water. I chugged a lot of water at the cafe we went to for breakfast. I thought it was filtered but it may not have been.


It’s safe to say I only ever drank bottled water in Hong Kong after that.
 

 
 

QUICK TIPS

  • AVOID TAP WATER IN HONG KONG.
  • Bring bottled water. Especially if it’s a hot day. The hike will take about 2-3 hours (or 5 if you’re sick as a dog).
  • Don’t forget your towel and bathing suit if you are going to the beaches after the hike.
  • There are no ATMs at the beaches so also come prepared with cash.
  • There’s a DELICIOUS Thai restaurant right by the entrance to the beach in Shek O, and I highly recommend the green curry!
 

DIRECTIONS

  • Get to MTR Shau Kei Wan Station and take Exit A3 to Shau Kei Wan Bus Terminus. Take bus 9 or the minibus with the sign ‘Shek O’. Get off at To Tei Wan, Shek O Road. More info on Discover Hong Kong