The Ho Pui Reservoir Family Walk, located in Hong Kong’s second largest country park – Tai Lam Country Park – is a fantastic place for an outdoor family adventure.
Table of Contents
Fast Facts – Ho Pui Reservoir Family Walk Only (Most Family Friendly)
Fast Facts – Ho Pui Reservoir Family Walk And Beyond
Ho Pui Reservoir Family Walk Off The Beaten Path Yet Family Friendly
This family-friendly hike (sorry it’s not pram friendly) starts in Ho Pui (河背), heads uphill on a paved road for about 1.0 km (0.6 miles), and then is virtually flat the entire way around the reservoir. The uphill part will get you sweating a bit, unless you drive up here, but when we hiked here we were so mesmerized by the stunning views of Kam Tin and Kai Kung Leng (Rooster’s Ridge) that we hardly noticed the hill at all. And, while there are many things to do for kids in Hong Kong, this is certainly an excellent choice.
Completed in 1962, one of the coolest parts of this hike is walking across the 152 meter long and 15 meter high Ho Pui Reservoir dam wall. On one side you’ll be able to see the sky reflected in the glass smooth 120 million gallon reservoir – think ‘massive mirror.’
If you dare look down over the dam wall, you’ll see the magnificent cascading waterfall that results from the excess reservoir water flowing out the dam.
Ho Pui Reservoir Is Seldom Crowded
Aside from the dam wall being an instagram worthy photo spot in Hong Kong, the trail that loops the reservoir takes you through Hong Kong’s lush subtropical jungle and is gentle enough for a family friendly hike.
And, if you’re experience is anything like ours, even on a weekend, you’ll hardly see a soul the whole time. If you follow one of our routes, you’ll even end at what we’d say is one of the tastiest and best value Pakistani/Indian restaurants in Hong Kong.
To put all of this much more simply, if you want a beautiful and family friendly outdoor adventure, add the Ho Pui Reservoir family walk to your Hong Kong bucket list. And as always, if you have any comments or questions, feel free to leave them below.
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Gear For Ho Pui Reservoir Family Walk
You’re not venturing deep into the back country when you do the Ho Pui Reservoir family walk, so you don’t need a lot of gear. As most of our route is comfortably shaded, you only need to worry about sun protection if you’re particularly prone to sunburn.
If you bring the following items, you should be good to go.
Although not necessary, we bring these items as well.
The Ho Pui Reservoir family walk is not very strenuous. In Hong Kong’s cooler months (November – February) 1 liter per person should be fine. In the warmer months (March – October), or if you do one of our longer routes we recommend 2 liters per person. Hydro Flasks are durable, insulated and our preferred bottle.
Our entire route is either on paved surfaces or flat clay trails. Therefore, boots are unnecessary. We hike in our Altra and Brooks trail shoes, and they provide us all the traction and support we need.
Wool socks naturally help keep your feet dry, and thus help prevent blisters. Even in the summer months we love our Smartwools!
Even though most adults will not find the Ho Pui Reservoir family walk very strenuous, kids have shorter legs, so they usually work up more of an appetite. To this end, we usually bring a little snack for Peri, and he loves these ProBars.
We find that the organic bug spray does not work as well as bad old DEET. We are careful to not spray it on our or Peri’s skin, but we do put a bit on our clothes to keep the mosquitoes away.
Unless you are very sensitive to the sun, you will not need any sun protection for this very shaded route. If however you do burn easily, the below items are our go-to for keeping safe from the sun.
Baby Backpack (Optional)
Peri could walk the entire Ho Pui Reservoir family walk, but it would take him a super long time. Since the route is not pram friendly, while we do let him walk until he’s tired, we also like to have our Osprey baby backpack so we can all move at a faster pace.
Who doesn’t like to have a camera on their outdoor family adventures? This is our setup, and we love it because it’s lightweight, weather resistant and photographically speaking quite powerful.
Getting To And From Ho Pui Reservoir Family Walk
We recommend you take either public transit or an Uber/Taxi to get to Ho Pui (河背), and then of course follow our route. If you want to skip the uphill part in the beginning, you can even ask your taxi or Uber driver to take you right to the Ho Pui Reservoir.
Pay Attention To The Bus You Take
If you take public transit to Ho Pui, and your route instructs you to take the 71 green minibus from the Tai Lam Tunnel Interchange to Ho Pui, make sure to ask the 71 bus driver if she/he is indeed going to Ho Pui and not the Kam Sheung Road MTR Station. In both directions of the 71’s route it stops at the Tai Lam Tunnel Interchange.
If you want to avoid the potential confusion of the 71, and you want a cost-saving hybrid approach to getting here, you can take public transit to the Tai Lam Tunnel Interchange and then an Uber or Taxi the short rest of the way.
For all three of our routes, you can get home via public transit or a taxi/Uber. There is no one best option, so choose the one that best fits your desire for convenience and budget. The Kam Sheung Road MTR Station will be your best option if you want to take the MTR home.
Possible Parking For Ho Pui Reservoir
The only official parking vaguely near the start of the trail is at the outdoor lot near the Tai Lam Tunnel Interchange, and it’s 1.8 km (1.1 mi) away – hence why we said ‘vaguely.’ Again, we really recommend public transit and/or a taxi/Uber to get to Ho Pui.
While we do NOT recommend doing this, there are a few places along the road leading up to the Ho Pui Reservoir, as well as right at the reservoir itself where a car could physically fit.
If you’re willing to face the potential consequences of illegally parking, you might want to consider this option.
One last consideration is the hiking route you take. While our easiest route is essentially a loop, our more difficult routes do not end in the same place they started, meaning you may have to fetch your car at the end of your hike.
Consider Camping At Ho Pui Reservoir
One last thing to consider is whether or not you’re keen to do some camping in Hong Kong. If you are, the Hoi Pui Campsite (here on Google Maps) is right near the reservoir, and spending a night or two there could turn this day trip into an overnight outdoor adventure family experience.
The camp sight is also right next to the Ho Pui Waterfall.
Difficulty, Duration, Distance and Elevation Ho Pui Reservoir Family Walk
The Red, Orange and Green Lines
The Ho Pui reservoir family walk connects to some other really beautiful and family friendly stretches of trail. If you want do the family walk we mentioned above, you follow the red line. For more distance and our favorite because of the scenery, follow red + orange. For the most distance, the most things to do, a bit less scenic of a route, but ends at our favorite Pakistani/Indian restaurant, follow red + orange + green. All these routes are phenomenal.
1. Ho Pui Reservoir Family Walk (The Red Line – Most Family Friendly)
If you’re looking for a beautiful yet mellow family friendly hike, this is the route for you. Again, the first uphill is easily missed since the scenery is so lovely.
Once you reach the reservoir, the trail around it is nearly flat and the views of the reservoir are beautiful.
Most of the terrain around the reservoir was so mellow that Peri was able to hike it.
Julia who was 33 weeks pregnant at the time, also had no trouble making it around.
There is even a lovely bamboo forest in one section.
Ultimately, hiking up to the reservoir, looping around it and then heading back down is a lovely family friendly outdoor adventure!
2. Ho Pui Reservoir Family Walk, Burial Grounds and Beautiful Farm Land (The Red Line + The Orange Line)
Keen for a bit more distance? This route, red + orange, follows a nearly flat and paved catch water road that cuts through the rugged base of the outmost reaches of Tai Mo Shan. It may be a catch water, but it’s beautiful.
We got to pick our way through an overgrown village cemetery/burial ground.
And, at the end we passed by what seemed to be a permaculture based village as well as some exquisite conventional farm lands.
This route is the one we consider most beautiful of the three.
3. Ho Pui Reservoir Family Walk, A Lovely Catch Water, And Directly to Pakistani/Indian Food (The Red Line + The Orange Line + The Green Line)
If you want to cover the most distance, the red + orange + green line is for you. You’ll carry on along the catch water for a lot of the way, but again, it’s beautiful.
You’ll also be able to visit the Tai Lam Ecogarden, where there are signs and labels on virtually every plant species in the garden. It’s a botanist’s dream!
And, while we didn’t get a chance to stop, if you do this route on a Sunday, you’ll be able to visit the Farm Milk Cafe to buy some fresh milk.
And, almost better than the hike itself, if you do this route you’ll end right at the doorstep of one of the best Pakistani/Indian restaurants in all of Hong Kong – Tasty House. It doesn’t have much ambiance, but it’s delicious and great value!
At Tasty House, everything is made fresh daily and is mouthwateringly delicious. We can’t help ourselves from ordering some Chicken Tikka Masala and Palak Paneer.
For Peri, it’s dal and rice, and for all of us of course, fresh out of the fire tandoori rotis. This. Place. Is. Good! When we’re done at Tasty House, we’re usually ready to roll home, but we never mind.
Download Our Route Map – Ho Pui Reservoir Family Walk
Even though all these routes are super easy to follow, we always like hiking with a map. The Guru Maps app (iOS/Android) is great for navigating just about anywhere in the world. That also includes the Ho Pui Reservoir family walk or any of the other routes we mentioned.
Once you download the Guru Maps App, if you want to download any of our Ho Pui Reservoir Family Walk routes, it’s really easy to do.
Download Our Route
After Guru Maps is on your mobile device, look at the top right hand corner of the map below, and then download either the KML, GPX or GeoJSON file by clicking the link. Then, simply open the file using Guru, and you’ll be good to go. The data will be saved on your phone, so no worries if you don’t have service.
- 1: The red line is the Ho Pui Reservoir Family Walk
- 2: The red + orange is the family walk and the burial site and farm land
- 3: The red + orange + green is the one that get’s you right to Tasty House
In case you’re more comfortable with Google Maps, you can use the one below. Click the menu button to see the full map details.
Other Family Friendly Walks And Hikes In Hong Kong
If the Ho Pui Reservoir Family Walk has piqued your curiosity about other family friendly hikes in Hong Kong, let us just say, there are plenty. Maybe you and your kids like swimming? Consider the Tai Shui Hang waterfall hike up Madai Stream. If you’d like fantastic views of Victoria Harbor, you’ll want to hike Devil’s Peak. If a mellow stroll along Hong Kong’s southern coast and a waterfall sound nice, consider walking Waterfall Bay. And last but certainly not least, if you’d like to see Hong Kong Island’s green side, consider hiking Hong Pak Country Trail. No matter what you decide to do, if you have questions, leave them below, and in the mean time, happy hiking!