Cover Sai Kung's Sheung Luk Stream waterfalls are worth a visit this summer (Photo: Getty Images)

Cool off this summer with a visit to one of these stunning natural waterfalls in Hong Kong

The hilly relief and subtropical climate make Hong Kong one of the best places to look for waterfalls. While you’re out on a hike in the high summer heat, why not drop by one of these beautiful waterfalls to cool off?

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1. Bride’s Pool Waterfall

Probably Hong Kong’s most famous pool, Bride’s Pool is so named because of a tragic tale. Folk legend has it that a bride was on her way to meet her groom one stormy day. She was carried on a four-person sedan, when one of the porters slipped and she fell into the pool and drowned. Despite the haunting rumour, this stunning 15-metre-high waterfall near Tai Mei Tuk in Plover Cove Country Park is a little oasis secluded in the heart of the forest.

Although not recommended, the overhang has tempted some of the more adventurous to stand behind the waterfall. It isn’t easy to look for; there’s a narrow footpath at the tip of Bride’s Pool Road Barbecue Area which will connect you to a flight of stairs and a small bridge. After passing through a bit of vegetation on your left, it requires a little climbing upstream.
How to get there: On public holidays and Sundays, bus 275R takes you directly from Tai Po Market to Bride’s Pool. On weekdays and Saturdays, green minibus 20R travels between Tai Po Market Station and Ride’s Pool Road. Checking the minibus schedule is recommended as they don't run that frequently.

2. Mirror’s Pool Waterfall

Chiu Keng Tam Waterfall, or Mirror’s Pool Waterfall, is no less spectacular than Bride’s Pool Waterfall, and it’s right in the same area along Bride’s Pool Nature Trail. Unlike its more well-known neighbour, which is separated into several silky waterflows by rocks, this single cascade plunges down at the steep rock slab at the foot.

It’s easily accessible via a mostly shaded Bridge’s Pool Nature Trail. As you arrive at the bottom where you can find a bridge and a peaceful stream with boulders, follow the sign that leads you along a short path to Mirror’s Pool.
How to get there: Follow the same route as to Bride’s Pool Waterfall, but instead of the barbecue site, start from the entrance of Bride’s Pool Nature Trail right across Pat Sin Leng Nature Trail.

See also: Hong Kong Hikes—Plus Where To Eat And Drink After

3. Lugard Falls

Another easily reachable waterfall right within the city centre is Lugard Falls at Victoria Peak, the highest peak on Hong Kong Island at 552 metres. Frederick John Dealtry Lugard was the governor of Hong Kong from 1907 to 1912. The waterfall is located along the short, well-paved Harlech Road Fitness Trail which, together with Lugard Road, forms the Peak Circle Walk. The rock of the waterfall was formed 143 million years ago. Cracks were formed by crustal movements on the volcanic ash-turned-tuff. These fractures collected rainwater, and as time goes by, they were widened to form depressions.

During the rainy season, rainwater flows along the cracks to form the waterfall. Its different bedrocks that contribute to two distinct layers create a special sight for the cascade. The stratum of the lower end close to Harlech Road is weaker whereas the upper one is stronger. Cliffs are formed by the lower layer as the erosion rate is faster. Lugard Fall is formed as water falls down the steep terrain.
How to get there: The historic Peak Tram is a fun ride from Admiralty to the Peak. Alternatively, bus 15 travels between Central, Admiralty and the Peak. When you arrive at the bus terminus at the Peak Gallery, look for the intersection of Harlech Road, Lugard Road and Peak Road next to The Peak Lookout. You’ll come across the fall after a short walk along Harlech Road.

4. Aberdeen Waterfall Bay

There was a reason why pirates chose this as their freshwater supply spot in the past. Tucked away in Pok Fu Lam, now home to schools, residential and public service buildings and malls, Waterfall Bay wasn’t the most obvious to find from land. But from the sea, the bay’s southern location proved convenient. It is located on the East Lamma Channel off the coast of Wah Fu Estate and Cyberport at Telegraph Bay. The easily accessible potable water also drew the attention of the British and Europeans en route to other Asian ports.

Nowadays, it is a hidden spot fenced off from the rest of Waterfall Bay Park, where you can find a cluster of Hindu and Chinese deity figurines, as well as a swimming shed at the very end. At the finale of the Mid-Autumn Festival every year, this is where the fire dragon of Pok Fu Lam village dives into the sea.
How to get there: To head to Waterfall Bay Park, take bus 970 from Sham Shui Po or bus 4 from Central. Hop off at Wah Fu Commercial Complex, walk for 10 minutes along Waterfall Bay Road. When you arrive at the park, head right in the direction of Residence Bel-Air until you see two flights of stairs. Take the descending stairs to get to the bay.

See also: What To Do In Hong Kong This Summer If We Can’t Travel

5. Tai O Infinity Pool

This manmade water basin which supplies water to Tai O is no less beautiful than natural pools, the small pool appears to show an array of colours from different angles: turquoise against the forest, and deep blue against the sky. The waterfall in Cantonese is called Man Cheung Po, which means “one-hundred-thousand-foot cascade”. While the hike may only show one section of the waterfall, the river water flows along a series of waterfalls above and below in the steep—“endless”—valley.

Hikers aren’t encouraged to take a dip in the pool and visitors are fenced off from the pool, but the breathtaking sight of the gem-like pool connecting to the sky is worth the effort. Needless to say, there’s always Tai O’s famous traditional tea cakes, cold herbal tea and seafood for a nice treat after the hike.
How to get there: From Tung Chung, take bus 11 to Tai O. Head to the ferry pier and walk along Tai O Promenade that connects to the village. Walk through it until the path splits. You will see a sign for Man Cheung Po.

See also: Neighbourhood Guide: What To Eat, Drink And Do In Tai O

6. Ng Tung Chai Waterfalls

Looking for a challenge? Finding Ng Tung Chai (“Chinese parasol tree village”) Waterfalls means trekking up and down 11km on steep grounds. Aptly named after the abundance of Chinese parasol trees in Tai Mo Shan, the cascades are nestled deep in the emerald green subtropical jungle in Lam Tsuen Valley in northern Hong Kong, and it will take you two hours to get to the site by public transport from the city.

If you’re all in for an adventure in the summer heat, the site rewards you with four spectacular falls (some of which you can cool yourself in): the thread-like Bottom Fall spurting out from a bed of mosses, the majestic Middle Fall right above Bottom Fall, the secret Main Fall accessible only by a narrow, steep path, as well as Scatter Fall which looks like and is named after a messy mane of hair.
How to get there: Take bus 64K from Tai Wo towards Yuen Long. Alight at Ng Tung Chai, and follow the road that takes you to Ng Tung Chai village. There are signs along the road that point you to the waterfalls. You should pass by Man Tak Yuen Temple before reaching the end of the paved road. The hike starts with the rugged terrain.

See also: Hong Kong Hikes: The Best Trails On The Outlying Islands

7. Little Hawaii Waterfall

If you’re just looking for a relaxing trip, Little Hawaii Waterfall near Yau Yue Wan, Sai Kung is suitable for families and beginners. Although the full majestic vertical drop of the cascade is only visible from an aerial angle, this easy, well-paved 4km trail offers small rapids in the first section and the shorter Lin Yuen Terrace Falls in the second leg of the journey. A few benches and tables are available for a quick break, or if you fancy, a nice picnic with the sound of flowing water in the background.

This ancient trail was originally used to connect Tseng Lan Shue and Yau Yue Wan, an area close to Po Lam today. Its current name was derived from the 1950s, when tourists compared the area to Hawaii. Whether it actually looks like the Pacific Island, you’ll have to go check it out yourself.
How to get there: Take bus 91 or 92 from Plaza Hollywood, Diamond Hill, to Tseng Lan Shue on Clear Water Bay Road. Start from the entrance to Wilson Trail Section 3 and walk for around 550 metres. You’ll see the sign that directs you to Little Hawaii Trail.

8. Tai Tam Mound Waterfall

This hidden gem in the southeastern part of Hong Kong Island is a calm oasis that offers a cool, quiet dip along the popular Hong Kong Trail Section 6. Shaded by trees and secluded by big boulders, the waterfall can only be found after a narrow staircase, a forest trail and an inconspicuous gap to the right of the bridge above a stream.

Depending on the weather, the trail can get muddy and slimy. When you pass through the gap and climb up the flight of boulder “staircase”, you’ll suddenly find yourself in a pristine paradise with crystal clear water.
How to get there: From Chai Wan MTR station, take bus 14 to Tai Tam Reservoir (North). Start from the trail entrance close to where you alight.

See also: The Tatler Guide To Hong Kong's Outlying Islands

9. Ma Dai Stream

Ma Dai Stream is one of the main streams that runs from Ma On Shan to Tai Shui Hang. It features breathtaking sights of rapids and cliff landscapes. Getting to Ma Dai Stream in Ma On Shan Country Park via stream trekking requires some climbing skills and legwork, and so it may not be for beginners. Yet navigating through the jungle and streams is worth the effort. Feel the might of the vertical Hero Fall as you climb up the cliff right next to it, or enjoy a cool dip in the deep green pool.
How to get there: Village bus NR84 will take you to Ma On Shan Country Park. Walk along the traffic road and enter Ma On Shan Village by the path on the roadside. Pass the village. You’ll come across a yellow plank that connects you with the forest path. Follow it to arrive at the stream.

See also: 10 Country Parks And Nature Reserves To Visit In Hong Kong

10. Sai Kung Rock Pools

Sai Kung claims some of the most scenic beaches and hikes of Hong Kong, and even when it comes to waterfalls, this eastern peninsula is in no way short of it. The Sai Kung Rock Pools is located at the end of Sai Wan Beach. It’s made up of four consecutive pools with milky jade-coloured water, surrounded by rugged cliffs and lush vegetation.

Sheung Luk Stream, which means “double deer” stream in Cantonese, supplies an endless flow of refreshing water to the pools. While it’s already spectacular enough on its own as a natural outdoor swimming pool cluster, it’s also a popular cliff jumping spot for adrenaline junkies. What’s not to love about a summer dip in paradise?
How to get there: Head to Sai Kung Town by the red minibus from Dundas Street in Mongkok, or bus 92 from Choi Hung. From Sai Kung Town, take bus 92R to Sai Wan Pavilion. Hike for half an hour to Sai Wan Village. When you pass by Oriental Café, walk along the beach. You will then arrive at a bridge. Take the path that directs you to Sai Wan Road via Lo Tei Tun. The pools are a short walk away.
Please note that some of the locations listed have no official hiking trails. Consider visiting as part of a group, or with a licensed guide. Always check the weather before you go, as well as whether the sites allow you to swim, jump or dive.

See also: Neighbourhood Guide: Where To Eat, Drink And Shop In Sai Kung

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