Mui Wo to Pui O Hike: The Realm of the Water Buffalo


Essential Mui Wo to Pui O Hike Details

  • District: Lantau: Mui Wo – Pui O
  • Duration: 2-3 hours
  • Distance: 8-8.5 km
  • Highest Elevation: 170ish meters
  • Difficulty: 1.5/5
  • Facilities: Toilets and convenience stores in Mui Wo and Pui O

Why Hike from Mui Wo to Pui O?

The Mui Wo to Pui O hike is a winding little trail that hugs the coastline and takes you on a magical journey past small beaches, green pastures and secluded villages. It’s not a particularly long trail, is mostly shaded and is easy to follow at all times.

Probably the best part about this hike is that it’s so close to modern civilization and yet harbors so many beautiful examples of Hong Kong’s rich flora and fauna.

I was super lucky to see shimmering butterflies, at least five different bird species, tall jackfruit trees, majestic water buffalos, plenty of spiders and countless fascinating flowers.

I should preface this guide by saying that if you’re not a fan of spiders, don’t attempt this hike in the summer since this is the time that large golden orb weavers build their webs quite close to the main path.

Google Route Map

Mui Wo to Pui O GPX File

How to Get to Mui Wo

Depending on where you live, there are two main ways to get to Mui Wo Ferry Pier 梅窩碼頭, which is the starting point of this hike. Personally, I prefer option 2.

  1. Take the MTR to Tung Chung Station, head out from exit D and then get the 3M bus from Fu Tung Plaza across Tat Tung Road. Mui Wo is the last stop and takes about 45 minutes to get to. If you want to get off at Pui O directly and skip the hike, get off at Lo Uk Tsuen.

You can find the 3M bus schedule here

2. Take a ferry to Mui Wo from Central Ferry Pier 6. Keep in mind whether
you’re getting the Ordinary Ferry or Fast Ferry. The Ordinary Ferry takes
longer but has a rustic charm about it. The back portion of the Ordinary
Ferry is open-air and lets you fully appreciate the amazing city and island
views on the way.

You can find the ferry timetable here.

Quick Mui Wo to Pui O Route Summary

  1. From Mui Wo Ferry Pier, head toward China Bear Bar and walk along the water’s edge
  2. Follow Mui Wo Ferry Pier Road around the water and begin hiking at the Lantau Trail signpost
  3. Follow the green Mountain Bike Practice Ground sign at the first fork (left path)
  4. 100 meters later, also take the left path (the right path is solely for mountain biking)
  5. At the big crossroads, follow the Chi Ma Wan Road sign. Ignore the Pui O sign unless you want a much tougher hike.
  6. Cross the first little village and head up the stairs
  7. Follow the Shap Long sign
  8. After crossing the green-railed walkway in Shap Long Village:
  9. (optional early exit) go straight until you reach Chi Ma Wan Road, turn left and walk until you reach Chi Ma Wan Public Pier. Take the ferry to Mui Wo from there. You can find the ferry schedule here
  10. (to Pui O) Take a right to circle around the water
  11. Follow Chi Ma Wan Road past Tin Hau Temple all the way to Pui O

Disappear After the Pier

It’s amazing just how quickly you’ll vanish into nature after getting off at Mui Wo Pier. If you’re unsure which direction to go in, head in the direction of the 711, but stay close to the water. You’ll pass by a bar called China Bear. Keep following the water until you need to turn inland at a little beach and join with Mui Wo Ferry Pier Road.

Follow Mui Wo Ferry Pier Road until you reach the Lantau Trail signpost. There’s also an old red letterbox here, which is an easy marker for the start of your hike. Follow the concrete path to some stairs that lead into the trees and disappear into nature.

In total, walking to the start of the hike should take you around 10 minutes.

Keep Left at the Forks

As you ascend some stairs and begin your journey, you’ll be enveloped by lush, green trees. The path is currently concrete, but will change to natural, dirt trails soon enough.

Take the time to enjoy the view of Mui Wo Pier behind you when the trees recede briefly. When you arrive at the first fork in the trail, stay left and follow the Mountain Bike Practice Ground sign. It’s a two-way trail that accommodates both hikers and bikers, so make sure to walk on the rocky steps to avoid colliding with mountain bikers that also frequent this area.

A few hundred meters later, you’ll come across another fork. Take the left path again, avoiding the mountain bike trail (right fork) this time, since it’s only one-way.

Open Ocean Views

The trees give way to a wonderful open vista across the ocean and lets you see all the way to Kowloon, Hong Kong Island and even Tsing Yi in the distance. The island nearby is Hei Ling Chau, which has a pretty dark and interesting history.

Sometimes It’s Best to Ignore the Signs

Follow the next yellow sign you see pointing you in the direction of Pui O. It’s on a part of the trail where you can only go in one direction, so it’s kind of a pointless sign.

When you arrive at the crossroads, (a clearing with a few signs pointing in different directions), make sure to IGNORE the Pui O sign and follow the Chi Ma Wan Road via Shap Long sign. If you take the Pui O trail, you’re going to extend your hike by at least two hours and there’ll be big uphill sections, too.

May the Forest Be with You

The trail has been pretty nice so far, but if you’re into your flora and fauna, this is where the good stuff begins. Green trees, dappled sunlight and soft dirt underfoot are the hallmarks of a great hiking trail. Yeah, there’s the odd out-of-place pipe to ruin the immersion, but it’s amazing that we have such wonderful green spaces to close to civilization.

It was during this stretch of the trail that I saw some spectacular butterflies, a jackfruit tree (I think) and green pastures that were home to water buffalos.

I spent ages just watching the buffalos and feeling lucky to be able to see these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat.

If you come across water buffalos while hiking, please leave them alone and appreciate them from a distance…

Unless one happens to be right in the middle of the trail, like what happened with me. Do your best to walk around the buffalo slowly, don’t make loud noises, don’t try to feed or touch them and don't take pictures until you’re several meters away. While the buffalos tend to be docile and accustomed to humans, a swipe of those horns or a single kick can be disastrous, so always be respectful.

Keep following the path until you arrive at a village. It’s more like a little farm, but there are small houses here, so I assume it’s also a village. There’s access to the ocean to your left, but it’s roped off, so don’t trespass.

Go past the village and take the stairs up to enjoy even more breath-taking ocean views. From this vantage point, you’ll be able to see Cheung Sha Wan (different from the district in Kowloon) and Raindrop Islet.

Follow the sign to Shap Long and soon enough you’ll arrive at an open pasture of grass with a beach to the left. A couple of modern-looking village houses dot the otherwise-empty field. There are loads of water buffalo here who seem to work as local gardeners and keep the grass in check. It's surreal to see such large, majestic creatures and wander about this village without a care in the world. It truly is a magical place!

Chi Ma Wan Public Pier (Optional Early Exit by Ferry to Mui Wo)


If you want to end the hike early, you can catch a ferry from Chi Ma Wan Public Pier.

Keep going straight after the green-railed walkway until you reach Chi Ma Wan Road. Go left and follow the road past the Shap Long Tin Hau Temple until you reach the abandoned prison and then Chi Ma Wan Public Ferry Pier. From there, you can get a small ferry back to Mui Wo (takes about 15 minutes). You can find the ferry timetable here.

If you want to head to Pui O, follow the steps below instead.

Chi Ma Wan Road

In Shap Long, you’ll want to turn right and skirt around the water section of the village. The right turn is just after a walkway with green railings on either side.

Once you hit Chi Ma Wan Road, go right and follow the road all the way to Tin Hau Temple (a different one from the Shap Long Tin Hau Temple).

From here, you can actually hike to The Sea Ranch!

Pui O Beach

Continue to follow the same road until you reach the Lantau Community Centre and you’ve made it to Pui O beach!

You can chill at the barbecue site, lounge on the beach or grab a drink and snack at Treasure Island beach bar.

The Way Back

Head to South Lantau Road where you can get the 3M bus back to Mui Wo or Tung Chung (make sure you’re on the correct side of the road).

Or you can get the 1 bus back to Mui Wo, too. Find the 1 bus schedule here.