Summary: Pak Fu Tin strikes a perfect balance between accessibility, seclusion, scale and pristine environment garnering it a perfect 5 out of 5 rating relative to other sites in Hong Kong. The site is accessible by a short hike (2.7km from the Mui Wo Ferry or .5km if you take a taxi to the head of the access trail) with small inclines if you start at the Mui Wo Ferry but relatively flat if you taxi to the start of the access trail. The site itself is small with only 5 tent spaces and includes stone benches, BBQ/fire pits, portable toilet and a fresh water source in the form of a stream. Despite its small size the site is charming with beautiful views, large trees and exposed rock which make for a pleasant environment to pass the day. It's great for kids, has enough deadfall for nice camp fires and the little stream is teaming with life which can make for fun nighttime exploration. Bring a bunch of friends and have the whole site to yourself or take a day off work and go solo, you won't regret either approach at this little Lan Tau gem!
What I liked:
- Campsite Environment: The mix of tree cover and big views combined with a clear freshwater stream, great fire pits and nice flat tent sites all nestled into a cozy forest nook makes this one of the best sites out there.
- Accessible: A ferry ride followed by a short hike gets you to the site with time to spare for camp chores and relaxing by the fire at sun down, easy for overnighters of a slow weekend out of the city.
- Kid Friendly: The short hike and small site make this an easy option for families brining small children.
- Fire Making: Enough deadfall to make small evening fires.
What I didn't:
- Not Much: The walk up from Mui Wo isn't very impressive, and there were a few cows and their waste on the trail, but nothing to complain about in terms of the site.
- GO! GO! GO!: This one deserves a top spot on the priority list if you're looking for a quiet camping retreat.
- Small Kids? Take a Taxi: The hike up the road from Mui Wo isn't very scenic, so if you're brining young kids hop a taxi up to the trail head and cut the hike to .5km.
- Bring Water: The stream at the site is seasonal but even when full I'd recommend brining your water with you unless you're very comfortable prepping natural water in Hong Kong.
- Get Comfortable: The short hike and calm setting make this a great site to haul in a little extra gear (soft sided cooler and drinks, nice camp chair etc...) to make camp a little more homey for the duration of your stay as long as you're up for it physically.
PHOTOS & VIDEO
CAMPSITE VIDEO TOUR
THE GOOD - In Photos
After either a 1.3km walk from Mui Wo Ferry or a taxi ride the same distance you'll start out on a pleasant dirt and stone laid path toward Pak Fu Tin campsite. If you choose to walk stop off at the hillside cemetery for some peace and quiet, otherwise you'll get plenty of both on the trail and at the campsite. The small scale, flowing stream and trash free site is well positioned on the side of a hill opening up big views and creating a comfortable environment. Wildlife abounds making it an interesting site for photographers, naturalists and families towing the kids a long. Plenty of deadfall for small evening fires to roast marshmallows and keep the bugs at bay and toilets within a short walk for the more inconvenient moments. Easy access in and out from Mui Wo make this a great site to haul lots of gear to make camp more comfortable, or you can go light and hit some of the trails before making your way home.
THE BAD - In Photos
There's not much in the way of negative feedback on this site. It's garnered the highest rating relative to other Hong Kong campsites thus far and is definitely worth a look if you are searching for a great spot to relax and reconnect with nature.
Pak Fu Tin is a little gem on Lantau Island that is sure to please any camper. Its is a low lying mountainside site located about 2.7km West/South-West of Mui Wo Ferry that is accessible by foot the whole way, or with a short taxi ride to the start of the trail head leaving a .5km hike to the campground. Because of it's location it's both easily accessible but set back enough from roads and towns to make it feel very secluded and peaceful. This site is relatively small with space for 5 tents including 3 BBQ pits and because of this its obviously easy for the government to keep it quite clean with no visible trash anywhere in sight. There is a potable water source in the form of a seasonal stream that runs along the Western edge of the site and is filled with clear flowing water. I have been to the site in both dry and wet seasons and it was never dried up though the water was not flowing very fast in the dry season making it more likely to contain unfriendly elements if you were thinking of using it as your main source of hydration. The short hike from the head of Lantau Trail Section 12 is peaceful and blends in well with the environment around it. Its a leisurely hike with a few moderate inclines and declines but generally suitable for any reasonably healthy child or adult. As with many of the approach trails in Hong Kong it is laid with large natural stones which are elevated and uneven in certain sections so keep an eye on little ones and watch for ankle twisters, but not much to worry about.
The site itself has space for tents on an elevated flattened dirt ridge on the Eastern side of the camp running front to back. It would be possible to set up tents or possibly hammocks in certain sections of the front of the site in a pinch as well. I have never seen the site crowded but I also have only visited on week days so its possible weekends see more traffic. The views are quite nice with several large trees spread around an open area to the front providing mountain vistas. The back of the site has a nice little BBQ pit nestled into the edge of the jungle right next to the stream. Its a relaxing spot just don't forget to bring the bug spray or get a little fire going if you plan to be there from sun down on.
There are cloths drying lines, a picnic bench and a dry toilet a couple of hundred yards back up the path which is nice since you don't have to worry about it ruining your view, but a little far if you need to make a run in the night.
If you've been wondering if you should get out camping in Hong Kong and just haven't found the right spot then load up your pack and get out to Pak Fu Tin. This really is a fantastic spot and would be just as fun over a long weekend as it would a quick overnighter. Bring friends and takeover the whole site, drag the kiddos along for some quality nature time, or just head out yourself and clear your head by the fire. This one's not to be missed!
RECOMMENDED FOR SMALL CHILDREN: I have personally camped at Pak Fu Tin with a buddy and our two 4 year olds with absolutely no problems at all. The kids had a blast playing around the site and hunting frogs after sun down and some drinks by the fireside helped the dads get a nice refresher from the city life. The walk in an out was very manageable with just enough effort expended to ensure everyone got a good nights sleep. Only thing to keep an eye on are the uneven path stones which could trip up the kids or make you twist and ankle. Not a big problem, just take your time on the hike up and you'll be fine. Highly recommended for families.
- Number of Tent Sites: 5
- Site Facilities: BBQ Pits/Fire Pits, Stone Benches, Trash Bins, Cloths Drying Lines
- Campground Facilities: Portable Toilets, Potable Water Source, Picnic Table
- Fire: Lots of deadfall to use for small camp fires in cooler months
- Beach: N/A
- Fresh Water: Free flowing clear water stream running the length of the site
- Nearby Resources: Mui Wo ~2.7km away, plenty of nearby trails for short hikes
Pak Fu Tin is an easily accessible site but far enough set back into the jungle to feel completely separate from the hustle and bustle. Because you can take a taxi to the start of the trail leaving only a .5km hike in, it's possible to either leave the site for supplies in Mui Wo or carry in a heavy load of food and comfort items. With that in mind please first review my STANDARD SOLO CAMPER GEAR LIST for what I believe are the "must have's" for any camping excursion, followed by the specific additional items and considerations for Pak Fu Tin.
As previously mentioned Pak Fu Tin is a relatively easy site to access so as long as you are in reasonable shape its feasible to carry in a heavy load. The best option in my opinion would be to prepare the standard gear load out referenced above (multiply perishables, lighting, cloths and sleeping systems by number of people to get a basic group prep list) then load up on food, drinks, and small games/toys if traveling in a group. A few things that might might be worth consideration are:
- Comfortable camping chair(s) - There are plenty of benches and fireside seating but no back support so brining a long some comfy chairs will make for a more relaxing camp experience.
- Something to throw - Football, frisbee etc..., plenty of space if no other campers are there to have a relaxing game of catch if you're brining kids along.
- Soft sided cooler - Fill with ice and load in drinks and food of your choice. Make sure you can handle the weight or share the load going up, and as long as you finish everything before you leave all you'll have to carry back is a lightweight empty soft sided cooler.
- Extra lighting - Might be nice to put out some lanterns around camp so you enjoy the evenings well after sun down, and extra flashlights will help if you want to take the kids critter hunting after dinner.
As always make sure to gauge your load out before you head out and don't over do it. I made tis trip (walking from Mui Wo Ferry) with a 75L pack and about 60lbs worth of gear (pack weight included) while towing a 4 year old along. As reference I am about 178cm, 165lb male in good shape with no major injuries, plan accordingly given your personal situation.
NOTE ON TENTS: Hong Kong is tropical which means there are lots of creepy crawlies at night and a constant possibility of heavy down pour which is why I recommend the full tent with rain fly and inner mesh. You can get away with a tarp alone but spray for mozzys before bed and don't be surprised to wake up several times a night to brush off bugs, mice and or rats even in the winter months (hammocks might be a little better but not fool proof for bugs or some snakes if not fully enclosed). Last point, Hong Kong is also home to many species of venomous insects and snakes and though I think it would be a very unlucky scenario were you to encounter one in your sleep, a fully enclosed tent removes the risk almost entirely if you keep entrances zipped. Again, I highly recommend a fully enclosed tent regardless of your level of experience outdoors.
The best way to get to Pak Fu Tin is definitly by taking the Mui Wo Ferry and walking or taking a taxi to the trail head about 2km up the road. You can also get there from Tung Chung by having a taxi drop you at the trail head, or by taking a bus. To make things more simple, lets assume a bus ride from Tung Chung or heading in from Mui Wo:
- From Tung Chung, leave the MTR station and find the Taxi stand outside the main exit.
- Directly across the main road (Tat Tung Rd) from the taxi stand is a series of bus stops outside Fu Tung Shopping Centre, find the line for bus A35 and board when it arrives. You can pay cash but best to get an Octopus Card before you leave the MTR station.
- Get off the bus at Lai Chi Yuen Cemetery and walk East towards Mei Wo for about 80m until you see a road branch off to your right. Take that road until you reach a small parking lot and walk to the right to find the start of Lantau Trail Section 12.
- From Mui Wo get off the ferry and either make your way up S. Lantau Road or grab a Taxi and ask them to take you to the start of Lantau Trail Section 12 (best to have it ready on your phone or a map in had to show them just incase).
- The walk from Mui Wo to the campsite is about 2.7km total, and about .5km from the start of Lantau Trail Section 12.
- Once on the trail be sure to start to the right at the beginning to avoid backtracking, just follow the yellow signs to Pui O.
- It's a short .5km through lightly ascending and descending paths before you reach the campsite.
- Hike out the same way you came in but be aware you may have to walk down to Mui Wo as taxi's are not readily available on S. Lantau Road. If you are headed back to Tung Chung just walk back to S. Lantau road and make a right to get to the bus stop headed in your direction and pick up bus A35 again.
- See the reference points in photo below for more detail.