Last Updated on June 1, 2021 by queenie mak
Want to hike up to one of the best spots in Hong Kong and see a gorgeous sunset? Then you’ll have to hike Red Incense Burner Summit (Hung Heung Lo Fung) on Braemar Hill on Hong Kong Island. Not only is the hike super short (if you take public transportation), the hike itself is easy and 100% worthwhile.
If you can, set aside a few hours and do a late afternoon hike and see a beautiful sunset on Braemar Hill. And if you are keen to stay past after the sun is set, you can see an amazing night view of the Hong Kong skyline.
Personally, I think the Red Incense Burner Summit has the best views in Hong Kong. Don’t believe me? Keep reading and learn how you can hike the shortest hiking trail in HK (with public transportation) and see the most unbelievable views.
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What you need to know before hiking up to the Red Incense Burner Summit on Braemar Hill
Before you hike up Braemar Hill, check out my Hong Kong solo travel guide and get an overview of the city first.
And here are few additional tips for going on this Braemar Hill hike:
- As long as the sky is clear, you can hike Braemar Hill and see the sunset and night view all year-round.
- Check the sunset time before heading up to the Red Incense Burner Summit. Generally, the sun sets around 7 pm during summer and 5:30 pm during winter.
- Try to hike up to the summit 20 minutes before sunset. This is a popular spot, so you’ll want to be there early to grab a good spot.
- Bring a headlamp or torch if you plan on seeing the Hong Kong skyline at night. It is really dark, and you will need it for the night hike!
- And if you plan on staying for the night view, bring an extra jacket as it might be cooler after the sunsets.
- Get an Octopus Card, a rechargeable smartcard for taking public transportation and use it for taking the bus up Braemar Hill. It costs $100HKD, but you can use $50 stored value and get your $50HKD refundable deposit when you leave HK.
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How to hike up to Red Incense Burner Summit (Hung Heung Lo Fung)
Below is the route for hiking from Braemar Hill Bus Terminus to Red Incense Burner Summit. And here is a quick summary of the hike:
- Difficulty: easy
- Duration: 15 minutes
- Distance: 0.5km
- What to bring: light hiking shoes, water, snacks, smartphone (for taking photos and navigation), flash light or headlamp
How to get to the start of Braemar Hill Hike
The easiest way to get up to the Braemar Hill peak is by taking a bus or minibus to Braemar Hill Bus Terminus (see map).
Depending on where you are in the city, there are many bus and minibus options.
Bus 23B, 25, 25A, 27, 81A, 85, 85A, 85P and 108 go up to the bus stop at Braemar Hill. Check the fares and schedules for any of these buses by searching for the bus number in the “route list” on the CityBus website.
The cost for either option ranges from $5 to $10.80HKD. You can pay the ride with cash or use your Octopus card.
Look for the Braemar Hill trailhead
When you arrive at the bus terminus, walk southeast until you find the alley, which is just north of St. Joan of Arc Secondary School. Walk along the alley, and it will lead you up a flight of stairs. And from there, the trail for Braemar Hill Peak starts.
Follow the rugged hiking path to Red Incense Burner Summit
The hiking trail changes quickly from a concrete staircase to a rugged muddy path.
After about 5 minutes into your hike, you will reach a fork in the road. Choose the path on the right, and it will lead you up to the Red Incense Burner Summit.
Make sure you remember this junction, especially when you are hiking back down. The road on the left will lead you to Sir Cecil’s Ride path. If you want to take another glimpse of the Hong Kong skyline at night, this path will lead you to a good viewpoint.
Otherwise, you will return to the start of your hike by backtracking the entire way back to the bus terminus.
Hike up to the top of the Summit
The most “strenuous” part of the hike is towards the end when you are a few minutes from the top of the mountain. By strenuous, I mean you need to hike up a few boulders and weave through the narrow paths.
First glimpse of Hong Kong Island skyline
When you reach the Red Incense Burner Summit, you will be welcomed by the most glorious view of Hong Kong Island. You are looking west where you are standing, and you can see buildings and skyscrapers in Tai Hang, Causeway Bay, Wan Chai and Central.
Panoramic views of Hong Kong at the top
By the time you reach the top, there might be others at the top waiting for the sunset too. Since the Red Incense Burner Summitis a popular spot for watching the sunset, many locals and visitors will come up about 30 minutes before the sunset.
I suggest going up to the top 20 minutes before sunset, so you are not there too early waiting for the sun to set and not too late and not be able to find a good spot.
At the top of the hill, there is a triangulation station and many big boulders and rocks. Look for a spot where you can sit back and relax and wait for the sun to set.
And while you are waiting, take in the views! The panoramic view of Hong Kong from Braemar Hill is quite impressive!
You can see Tai Hang, Causeway Bay, Wan Chai, Central and the mountain range behind all the skyscrapers when you look west.
When you look north towards Kowloon, you can see buildings in North Point in the foreground and Victoria Harbour and Kowloon in the background. On a clear day, you can see as far as Lion Rock Mountain and Tai Mo Shan.
And when you look east, you can see buildings in Quarry Bay, Taikoo Shing and beyond. And if you look further, you can see Kwun Tong and Kowloon Peak on the Kowloon side.
Below are the views for each direction. I took these photos around 5 pm on a clear day in December.
Watching the Braemar Hill sunset
There are many excellent spots for watching sunsets in Hong Kong but this has to be one of my favourites. You do have to hike a bit to get up to the top but the views are completely worth your time and effort.
As I mentioned already, check the sunset time before heading up Braemar Hill. Generally, the sun sets around 7 pm during summer and 5:30 pm during winter.
Here are some photos during sunset. I made it up to the summit at 5 pm and waited until the sun sets behind the mountain. It was quite amazing to see the gorgeous view. And surprisingly, the sun moved behind the mountains quite quickly! Take a look!
Hong Kong night view at Braemar Hill
What is so unique about Hong Kong’s skyline is that it is always lit with the most amazing lights. Lights from skyscrapers, buildings, and streets really light up the skyline.
After the sun is set around 6 pm or so, the sky is quite dark. But you can see the colourful lights in the city. The night view of Hong Kong’s skyline is one of the best in the world.
If you are staying for both sunset and night view, make sure to bring a headlamp or flashlight. It gets really dark at the top of the hill and you will need a light source to navigate back down to the city.
And if you do stay for the night views, here is what you will see:
Night views of Hong Kong from Sir Cecil’s Ride Trail
And if you want another night view of Hong Kong’s skyline, backtrack your way down to the main path (with your headlamp or flashlight).
And at the junction of the trail, if you return to where you came from, you will return to the start of the trail.
But if you recall, I mentioned that you should take note of this junction because if you go to the left, you will be on the Sir Cecil’s Ride Trail.
Walk about 7 minutes on this dark trail. See the map below for more details of the path.
The Sir Cecil’s Ride Trail is really dark past 6pm. You will need a headlamp or torch for you to see the path in front of you. I am not even kidding – it is pitch black out there!
But if you are ready for a night hike and another view of Hong Kong’s skyline, you can hike down from the summit and continue on the Sir Cecil’s Ride trail. There is a small opening on the right side of the path, maybe 7 minutes into the hike. From that point, you can see another gorgeous view of Hong Kong’s skyline. This is what you will see (see photo below).
How to hike down Braemar Hill in Hong Kong
I continued the entire Sir Cecil’s Ride Trail after catching the last view of Hong Kong’s night view. There wasn’t much to see beyond that. If you want to continue walking towards Tai Hang, you can continue walking down Sir Cecil’s Ride Trail, which turns into Mount Butler Drive. It might be an hour of walking in the dark.
But if hiking in the dark is not your thing, I would suggest to walk back to where you started.
After you catch the last view of HK’s skyline on the Sir Cecil’s Ride Trail, backtrack to the trail you were just on, turn right onto the original trail you were on earlier in the afternoon. This part of the path will be dark so make sure you have your flashlight.
Then you can catch a bus or minibus back to the city or walk to the closest MTR Station, which is Fortress Hill Station. By the time you reach the bus terminus, there will be street lights. The entire walk takes about 30 minutes or so.
If you are not clear on how to get to Fortress Hill MTR Station, click on “more options,” and it will open your Google Maps on your smartphone.
Want to explore Hong Kong with a tour? Check out one of these exciting tours:
Are you ready to hike up Braemar Hill and watch the sunset and night view at the Red Incense Burner Summit?
This might be the shortest and easiest hiking trail in Hong Kong (with the help of public transportation) with the best views of the city. Plus, it is a popular spot for watching the sunset and seeing the glorious skyline at night.
I hope you will take a few hours from your busy travel schedule and visit one of the best spots in HK for watching the sunset. And if you have any more questions, leave a comment below.
Other HK hikes you might be interested:
- Victoria Peak Hike: See Hong Kong’s beautiful skyline
- High West: A short hike to see the Victoria Peak sunset
- Dragon’s Back Hike: the most popular day hike in HK
- Violet Hill and the Twins: hike over two mountains with over 1,000+ steps
- Rhino Rock Hike: see a rocky rhinoceros head in Stanley
- Pineapple Mountain: the Great Canyon of Hong Kong
- Lamma Island: hike from Sok Kwu Wan to Yung Shue Wan
- High Junk Peak: one of three sharpest peaks in HK
- Ma On Shan Hike: hike across the horse-saddle mountain to Sai Kung
- Pat Sin Leng Hike: hike over 8 peaks named after Chinese Mythological immortals
- Mount Nicholson Hike: see hidden rock statues in the middle of HK Island
- Plover Cove Reservoir Country Trail: hike around HK’s largest reservoir
- Kowloon Peak and Suicide Cliff: See HK’s most dramatic cliff
- Po Pin Chau: hike around hexagonal rock columns in Sai Kung