Fan Lau (分流) is a peninsula on the southwest tip of Lantau Island in Hong Kong. In Cantonese, Fan Lau means “separating water flow“. It precisely describes the main characteristic of the peninsula: separating the current from the Pearl River and the water of the South China Sea.
Besides the geographical property of the peninsula, the area has an ancient stone circle, an old military fort, Tin Hau temple, abandoned villages and panoramic views of Lantau South Country Park.
But the area is only accessible on foot via Fan Lau hike, which includes Lantau Trail Section 8 (鳳凰徑8段), Fan Lau Country Trail (分流郊遊徑) and Lantau Trail Section 7 (鳳凰徑7段). The point-to-point coastal trail is easy but very long.
In this post, I’ll show you everything you need to know about Fan Lau Peninsula and how to spend the day hiking this long but rewarding hiking trail on Lantau Island.
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What you need to know before starting Fan Lau Hike
Before you start hiking to Fan Lau, take a look at my Hong Kong solo travel guide and get an overview of HK first.
Here are a few additional tips for hiking the Fan Lau trail:
- The best time for hiking to Fan Lau is late autumn, winter and early spring. The trail is long and most of the trail is exposed to the sun so I would not recommend hiking during summer.
- Bring enough water (at least 2-3L) and some food for seven hours of hiking.
- Bring sunscreen and other sun protection for the exposed trail.
- Get an Octopus Card, a rechargeable smartcard for taking public transportation and use it for taking public transportation in Lantau. It costs $100HKD, but you can use $50 stored value and get your $50HKD refundable deposit when you leave HK.
- Google Maps has enough info for the Fan Lau hiking trail. But if you really want to see all the trail details especially around Fan Lau Peninsula, download “Hiking Trail HK” app on your smartphone.
How to hike to Fan Lau on Lantau Island
To hike to Fan Lau, you must first start hiking Lantau Trail Section 8 at Sha Tsui, which is west of Shek Pik Reservoir. As you approach the southwest tip of Lantau Island, the trail merges with Fan Lau Country Trail. Then follow the signs and see all the attractions in Fan Lau.
And to leave the peninsula, follow the Lantau Trail Section 7 north of Fan Lau. The trail ends in Tai O Village, where you can take the bus back to Tung Chung MTR Station.
Click on “more options” on the top left corner of Google Maps and the map will open in your browser or in the app on your smartphone. And I included the elevation profile for this hike too.
- Difficulty: intermediate (easy trail, not much elevation gain, but long duration)
- Duration: 7 hours
- Distance: 16km
- What to bring: hiking shoes, sun protection (hat, sunglasses, sunscreen), lots of water, snacks, smartphone (for taking photos and navigation)
How to get to the start of the hiking trail to Fan Lau
From anywhere in Hong Kong, take the MTR to Tung Chung Station. Then walk 1 minute from Exit B to the bus terminus and hop on bus 11 to Sha Tsui, which is west of Shek Pin Reservoir.
- NLB Bus #11: from Tung Chung Station Bus Terminus to Sha TsuiBus Stop
- Time: 50 minutes (every 10 to 20 minutes)
- Cost: $12.8HKD on weekdays and $21.1HKD on weekends and public holidays (pay with Octopus card)
- Check: NLB website for bus #11 for cost and timetable
There is a big sign for Lantau Country Park. You don’t have to walk around the sign – there is a short staircase next to the bus stop. There’s also a public toilet here if you need to use the facilities.
Start hiking Lantau Trail Section 8 in Sha Tsui
The first part of the hike to Fan Lau is very easy. All you have to do is walk on the paved road. But beware of cars – this is an actual road.
There are signs along Lantau Trail Section 8. Keep following the road. When the road splits, keep right. And when it splits again, keep right again.
Hike up to the first viewpoint peak
After Tai Long Wan Camp Site (there is a sign along the trail), you’ll see a small hill on the left with a visible path.
I don’t know the name of this hill or area (and can’t find it anywhere online). But if you hike up the hill, you’ll see a triangulation station. Moreover, you can see the mountain range on the northeast side. The tip of the mountain range is the Lantau Peak. Not a bad view with only a few minutes of uphill hiking!
Descend the coast to Kau Ling Chung
Continue hiking in the direction of Fan Lau. And in about 20 minutes or so, you’ll approach the end of Lantau Trail Section 8. There is a big board with a map and a flight of stairs going down to Kau Ling Chung (狗嶺涌).
Kau Ling Chung is an area that has campsites and a secluded beach facing Fan Lau Tung Wan (Fan Lau East Bay). While we are not camping on this trip, we are going down the stairs to find the Lantau South Obelisk and a view compass.
So hike down the flight of stone steps and turn left when you see the sign for Lantau South Obelisk. Remember this junction because you’ll return to this spot later on and continue the path forward to campsites at Kau Ling Chung.
Lantau South Obelisk
After turning left on the path, there is a pavilion and the option of turning left or going straight. This part of the hiking trail is actually a loop. So turn left first. You’ll return to this spot after seeing the obelisk and the viewpoint.
As you descend the coast, you can see the South China Sea and the small islands in the distance. And in no time, you’ll see the Lantau South Obelisk on the right.
The British Navy put this landmark here in 1902 to mark the south end of Lantau Island. It is symbolic but rather underwhelming in my opinion. But nonetheless, it is a highlight along the hiking trail.
Kau Ling Chung View Compass
Continue hiking the trail around the coast. The trail follows up the hill to the highest point at Kau Ling Chung. And after hiking the slippery slope, there is a view compass at the top.
Take in the view here. When you look in the southwest direction, you can see the secluded beach and Fan Lau Tung Wan.
Triangulation station at Kau Ling Chung
Continue on the hiking path beyond the view compass. There is a grey triangulation station along the trail. This marks the highest point in the area of Kau Ling Chung. And at 94m, the views of the east side of Lantau Island are pretty awesome.
Hike through Kau Ling Chung campsite and beach
Remember the junction where you turned left to the Lantau South Obelisk? Return to that junction and take the path down the hill towards the Kau Ling Chung campground. First, you’ll walk towards the pavilion, walk through it and get back to the junction.
At the base of the descent, there are open spaces for camping and fire pits. This is the campground at Kau Ling Chung. There are public toilets here if you need to use them. Otherwise, keep walking towards Kau Ling Chung beach.
Return to hiking trail from Kau Ling Chung Beach
Kau Ling Chung beach is a nice spot for a bit of rest. And the beach is pretty clean too. And if you are keen, you can even take a dip in the water.
When you are ready to continue, find the path on the west end of Kau Ling Chung Beach. The path is close to signs at the beach.
The walk back to the hiking trail crosses another area of the campsite. Keep walking straight until you see a small bridge. But don’t cross the bridge, take the path on the left to continue hiking to Fan Lau.
Turn left to Lantau Trail Section 7
The hiking trail continues up the hill until it ends at the perpendicular junction. Turn left here. This is Lantau Trail Section 7.
The trail continues around the coast. Some parts of the trail have railings and other parts go up and down around the coast but not with too much elevation gain. But generally, the trail condition is fairly good and easy to hike.
As you continue forward on Lantau Trail Section 7, you’ll start to see the Fan Lau beach and the peninsula beyond the beach.
Keep left for the start of Fan Lau Country Trail
After a few hours of hiking, you have finally arrived at Fan Lau Country Trail. Wow! That is such a long journey to start hiking the actual trail. Ha!
When the path splits, keep left to start your hike into Fan Lau.
Fan Lau Country Trail loops around the peninsula and finishes at Fan Lau Tsuen. Along the way, you will see many attractions including Fan Lau Fort, Fan Lau Stone Circle and other highlights.
Hike towards Fan Lau Beach
Keep hiking around the coast on Fan Lau Country Trail. The path will eventually descend down to the beach. Once you are on the beach, walk all the way across to the west side of the beach.
Not many people hang out at Fan Lau Beach. Most people walk across the beach and get back on the trail quickly. And I did the same – the midday sun is just too hot!
Follow the path in Fan Lau Peninsula
At the west end of Fan Lau Beach, there is a small trail right behind the signs on the beach. Hike up this trail.
Near the top of the hill is an area with many large rocks. One stands vertically at the very top. And when you look around, you can see other rocks at the tip of the Fan Lau Peninsula.
So look around – there is one specific rock that is relatively flat and it looks like a small platform sticking out of the hill.
Rock platform at Fan Lau Peninsula
The only way to get to the flat rock platform is by meandering through the paths through the bushes. The paths will look obvious but you’ll have to walk through some bushes in order to get to the rock.
And while you are in the area, look around and take in the views. You are directly in front of Fan Lau Tung Wan (East Bay) and you can see as far as the Lantau Peak, which you saw a couple of hours ago.
Fan Lau Fort
Get back on the Fan Lau Country Trail and continue forward. When you see a set of stone stairs on the left, turn left and enter the Fan Lau Fort.
Built in 1723, the coastal fort was built on the tip of Fan Lau overlooking Fan Lau Tung Wan (East Bay), where the strategically-placed fort can overlook the mouth of Pearl River and protect the land from pirates who sailed around the South China Sea.
Fan Lau Fort was declared as a historical monument in 1981.
Today, you can visit the ruins of the fort when you are hiking towards the tip of Fan Lau.
Fan Lau Kok
Return to Fan Lau Country Trail and continue forward. And in no time, you’ll see a sign pointing towards Fan Lau Stone Circle. Turn left here.
Then you’ll reach a junction at Fan Lau Kok (分流角) which is the very tip of Fan Lau, where you have three choices: turn left for Fan Lau Stone Circle (as indicated by the sign), go straight for Fan Lau Peak and Lighthouse (no sign but can see a faint trail), and turn right for Tin Hau Temple (no sign again, but a faint trail).
For this itinerary, visit the Stone Circle first, return to the junction and hike up to the peak and lighthouse. Then return to the junction again, and continue forward by hiking down to Tin Hau Temple.
Fan Lau Stone Circle
The hike to Fan Lau Stone Circle from the junction is about 5 minutes. Not far at all. You’ll know when you reach the ancient stones – they are behind a wired fence.
The ancient stones may have been from the Neolithic (New Stone Age) and early Bronze Age. They were arranged in an oval shape, measuring 2.7m by 1.7m. Although the purpose of these stones is not known, it is believed that they were part of a pagan ritual.
In 1983, Fan Lau Stone Circle was declared a historical monument and is protected under the Antiquities and Monuments Ordinance.
I wasn’t super impressed by this but it was only a 5-minute hike from the junction. Moving on…
Fan Lau Peak and Fan Lau Lighthouse
Hike back up to the junction and take the path to Fan Lau Peak and Fan Lau Lighthouse. This means you take the path directly behind the sign and walk straight.
This may be the toughest part of the Fan Lau hike. The hiking trail is narrow, and with lots of bushes around. And if you are wearing short sleeve shirts or shorts, you may get some scratches from random branches.
After about 15 minutes of cutting through the bushes and following the coloured markers, you’ll reach the height of 48m and at the top of Fan Lau Kok. There is an old trigonometrical station to mark the highest point on this trail.
Then descend about 5 minutes or so towards the tip and you’ll see the Fan Lau Lighthouse.
I didn’t see any obvious hiking trails beyond the lighthouse. So backtrack to the junction and continue forward.
Fan Lau Tin Hau Temple at Fan Lau Miu Wan
At the junction, turn right and descend down a path to a secluded beach. The path down to the beach doesn’t seem to be too obvious but there are a few coloured markers along the way.
At the base of the trail, you’ll see Tin Hau Temple on the left. The small temple is built facing Fan Lau Miu Wan (分流廟灣), meaning Fan Lau Temple Bay. It might have been built in 1820 and is considered a Grade III historic building.
This is one of many “Tin Hau Temples” in Hong Kong. They are dedicated to Tin Hau, a Chinese sea goddess, which is why many Tin Hau temples are built around the coast and outlying islands like Lamma Island, Peng Chau and Cheung Chau.
You don’t have to backtrack to the junction this time. There is a shortcut from the north side of the beach that will lead you back to the Fan Lau Country Trail. Take the shortcut, it is easier than backtracking.
The beach at Fan Lau Sai Wan and Fan Lau Tsuen
Fan Lau Country Trail ends at the beach at Fan Lau Sai Wan (Fan Lau West Bay). And to the right of the beach, there is a small village called Fan Lau Tsuen, which I think is abandoned now.
There is a “convenient store” in Fan Lau Tsuen (it has a pin on Google Maps) and you may be able to get food and water there. I didn’t check out the store to see if it is open or not. So, bring enough food and water for at least 6 hours of hiking.
Hike north on Lantau Trail Section 7
To continue forward, find the trail at the north end of the beach. This is where you can join Lantau Trail Section 7 again.
By the time you’ve reached Lantau Trail Section 7, you will have already hiked several hours around the southwestern tip of Lantau Island. This means you could be quite tired, or hungry and can’t wait to go home and rest (at least that’s how I felt)!
The good news is you only have 7km more to hike or about 1.5 hour more to go.
But the bad news is there isn’t too much to see on the last part of the hiking trail.
So I bolted the latter part of the hiking trail. Saw some good coastal views, passed by a few abandoned villages like Yi O Kau Tsuen (Yi O old village) and Yi O San Tsuen (Yi O new village).
At this part of the trail, there are signs pointing to Tai O. All you have to do is follow these signs.
Yi O San Tsuen
There are a few odd houses here and there in Yi O San Tsuen. They all look abandoned. So there’s not much to see. But at least the trail is flat and very easy to hike.
Yi O Bay and Buddhist Temple
After Yi O San Tsuen, the trail will become a concrete path and it hugs the entire coast.
Along the way, you can see the mudflats of Yi O Bay and a bright red Buddhist Temple (海神古廟).
Follow the path to Tai O Village
The latter part of Lantau Trail Section 7 passes several villages before reaching Tai O Village. Once you’ve walked past Nam Chung Tsuen Village, turn left at the pink bridge.
And at the end of the pink bridge, turn right and walk 5 minutes to Tai O Bus Terminus.
Return to Tung Chung via NLB Bus #11
If you have the time and energy, wander around Tai O Village. It is a charming fishing village and has earned the name the “Venice of Hong Kong”.
Otherwise, take bus #11 from Tai O to Tung Chung, where you can catch the next MTR train back to either Kowloon or Hong Kong Island.
- NLB Bus #11: from Tai O Bus Terminus to Tung Chung Town Centre Bus Terminus
- Time: 50 minutes (every 5 to 30 minutes)
- Cost: $12.8HKD on weekdays and $21.1HKD on weekends and public holidays (pay with Octopus card)
- Check: NLB website for bus #11 for cost and timetable
Are you ready to hike to Fan Lau on Lantau Island?
Not many people know about Fan Lau, not even the locals. But if you love to hike and discover off-the-beaten-path places, then you’ll have to hike this fantastic Lantau Island hike. The journey is long but the views are all worth your time and effort.
If you have any other questions about Fan Lau Country Trail or anything to do with this long trek, leave your question below in the comment section.
Thank you for reading my Fan Lau hiking post
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