Ping Nam Stream Waterfalls (屏 南 石 澗) Off The Beaten Path Pristine And Relaxing
Fast Facts – Ping Nam Stream Waterfalls (屏 南 石 澗)
The Ping Nam Stream Waterfalls (屏 南 石 澗) are one of our all-time favorite places in Hong Kong, and we find ourselves coming back to them as often as possible.
They are located far from any major developments, but that’s one of the main reasons we like them so much.
The Ng Tung Chai Waterfalls are also nearby.
But, getting back to the Ping Nam Stream Waterfalls (屏 南 石 澗)…
We like them because:
- There are countless pools for swimming
- There are plenty of flat rock surfaces for picnicking
- They’re remote and allow us to escape Hong Kong’s hustle-bustle
- They are BEAUTIFUL
- They’re suitable for stream-hiking (if you and/or your older kids can safely handle the challenge)
On a hot summer’s day, swimming in the refreshing pools is absolutely divine!
And most of the times we’ve been here, we’ve had the entire place to ourselves! (Public holidays are when the Ping Nam Stream Waterfalls (屏 南 石 澗) are usually busiest.)
There are plenty of cool shaded spots along the edges of the stream, and of course, they are perfect for having a picnic!
Before we had kids, we used to strictly stream-hike to pass from pool to pool.
And there are certainly nooks and crannies only accessible via. stream-hiking that are well worth exploring.
But stream-hiking is quite challenging, and we’d only recommend it if you’re experienced with such and have kids who are at least 10-years old.
Stream-hiking can be extremely dangerous, especially after it rains. If it has recently rained, we do not recommend you attempt to enter Ping Nam Stream at all.
Ping Nam Stream Is Fun With Or Without Kids
Nowadays, we use the mellow side trail to hike up along the stream, and then we cut over to the stream when we see a pool we’d like to swim in.
And even still, Ping Nam Stream is one of our go-to places when we want some reprieve from the heat and humidity of the Hong Kong summer and of course, the Hong Kong crowds.
Whether you stream-hike the Ping Nam Stream Waterfalls (屏 南 石 澗) or you opt for the more family-friendly way to experience this area, we highly recommend you add these stunning falls to your bucket list.
They are truly an off the beaten path gem in Hong Kong, and one you’ll not want to miss!
Want To Hike With Us?
Let Us Guide You On The Ping Nam Stream Waterfalls (屏 南 石 澗)
Below are all the details you’ll need to explore this area on your own.
If you’d like us to show you all of our favorite spots (and help you avoid some of the more mundane ones), we’d be glad to guide you and your family here.
Whether it’s the more intense stream-hiking version or the more mellow family-friendly route, feel free to get in touch with us here (or click below), and we’ll start making plans with you!
Questions Or Comments?
As always, if you have any comments or questions about all this, feel free to leave us a comment below. We’ll get back to you in a flash!
Difficulty, Distance, Duration, And Elevation – Ping Nam Stream Waterfalls (屏 南 石 澗)
Ping Nam Stream Waterfalls (屏 南 石 澗)
Ping Nam Stream Waterfalls (屏 南 石 澗)
The Ping Nam Stream Waterfalls (屏 南 石 澗) are indeed a family-friendly experience, but all things considered, you’ll have to sweat a bit to enjoy them.
After all, nothing in life worth having comes easily!
We’ve hiked Ping Nam Stream with kids as young as 7, and they were fine. Much younger than that, and you’ll likely need a way to carry your kiddos for at least part of the route.
In short, right from the trailhead, you’ll start a slow and steady uphill hike until you reach the stream. There are a few short flat sections, but in general, you’ll be heading uphill the whole time.
Our route is not a loop, so you’ll go up and back on the same trail.
Also keep in mind:
- The blue line is the trail that parallels Ping Nam Stream. This is where families should plan to hike.
- The red line is the stream itself.
Unless you are an experienced stream hiker and have older kids, don’t plan on stream-hiking here.
Again, families, follow the blue line, and you’ll be good to go!
As you can see from the elevation profile, you’ll be going uphill for the first 1.6 km (~1 mile), and then on your way back home, you’ll be re-tracing your steps back downhill on the same 1.6 km stretch of trail.
There are a number of stairs, so slow and steady will win this race.
While the trail itself is not technical or particularly steep, it is a sustained uphill, so pace yourself, and bring plenty of water. Check out our section on what to bring for our full gear recommendations.
The Ping Nam Stream Waterfalls (屏 南 石 澗) – Start From The Nam Chung Country Trail Sign
The route we take along the Ping Nam Stream Waterfalls (屏 南 石 澗) starts from the Nam Chung Country Trail Sign.
Since our route is not a loop, and you’ll simply retrace your steps once you’ve reached the end, the route we take also ends back at this same sign.
Since this sign is way out in the middle of nowhere, we’ve had a bit of trouble getting our taxi/Uber to go all the way there. Public transit certainly does not go all the way there.
You Might Start A Bit Down The Road
But, don’t worry!
Even if you’re not dropped right off at the sign, all you have to do is walk a little ways up South Bay Road.
South Bay Road is lined by beautiful Hong Kong mangrove forests, so take a moment and enjoy the scenery!
Eventually, you’ll reach this public toilet.
Keep heading straight up the road.
Eventually, you’ll reach the Nam Chung Country Trail sign on your right hand side.
Once you’ve reached this sign, the trail begins with a set of steep stone stairs.
Next, there is a mix of less steep stone stairs and a few flat sections. Peri needs some help occasionally.
But, there are also a number of spots where he hikes entirely on his own.
Kai is still at the point where he simply gets to sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride!
A Delicious Bayberry Treat
Now, we don’t recommend you eat any plants you find out in the wild, unless you’re experienced in identifying wild edibles.
With that said, if you are such a person, and you happen to hike the Ping Nam Stream Waterfalls (屏 南 石 澗) in early to mid May, you’ll likely happen upon a Chinese Bayberry tree heavy with ripe fruit.
The tangy berries are irresistible. Peri can’t get enough of them.
But again, unless you know what you’re looking for, DON’T eat anything you find out in the wild.
Beautiful Views Behind You
If you need a bit of a break from the slow yet steady uphill, make sure to turn around. The views you’ll get of the Starling Inlet are beautiful!
Arriving At The Stream
After a while, you’ll cross Ping Nam Stream for the first time.
At this point, you’ll have arrived at the point marked on our downloadable map as “Easiest access swimming hole,” which is also the first you’ll have encountered.
If you’re tuckered out, stop here, and enjoy the beautiful views and of course the refreshing water!
Carry On Via The Trail Or Stream-Hike
While we’re usually tempted to stop right at the first swimming hole, we have always pushed on, as we like some of the later ones even more.
From this point forward, you can:
- Continue up the trail that parallels Ping Nam Stream. And, periodically cut over to the stream at points that intrigue you. Swim and picnic wherever you’d like. This is the family-friendly option.
- Stream-hike up the stream itself. (Again, unless you’re an experienced stream hiker and have older children, we don’t recommend you do this option.) Again, swim and picnic where you’d like.
Below are some images from both hiking along the trail that parallels Ping Nam Stream and from stream-hiking up Ping Nam Stream itself.
Let us underscore the point that you should only choose the option you feel will be safe and comfortable for you and your family.
Both options are fantastic choices, so no need for heroics!
As Mellow Or Intense As You’d Like
Some parts of the stream are quite flat and mellow. You won’t need much skill to traverse these parts
If you get thirsty along the way, and you have a water filter like this, you can drink from the stream. DON’T drink the water unless you have a filter.
Some parts of the stream are quite treacherous.
If you do choose to hike up the stream itself, when it’s safe to do so, look back behind you to see how far you’ve come!
Again, if it’s rained recently, don’t go near the stream.
Our Favorite Swimming Hole
If you’re with your family, again, we recommend you stick primarily to the trail that parallels Ping Nam Stream, and simply cut over to the water when you’d like to do so.
This is what we do, and usually, we just head up the trail to our favorite spot. On our map, the spot pictured below is labeled “Side trail to stream.” It takes a little bit of climbing-down to get to, but it’s not too bad, and it’s well worth it!
We like this spot because not only is it deep enough for swimming, but it’s also a shallow area that is essentially a natural kiddie pool.
There is also a good bit of wildlife to enjoy!
When the water is chilly, it takes a bit of coaxing, but…
Peri will even go swimming out under the waterfall!
Kai on the other hand is still happy just doing a bit of sunbathing, and chillaxing on Mom!
Or on Dad!
For Thrill Seekers Only
A bit downstream from our favorite spot is the place where we like to do a bit of cliff jumping.
We don’t go here with the kids, however.
And, we don’t recommend you do this unless you’ve checked the water level, and know how to jump safely.
We’ve seen a helicopter rescue at Ping Nam Stream before, so please beware that this area can be very dangerous even if you know what you’re doing.
Gear For The Ping Nam Stream Waterfalls (屏 南 石 澗)
The gear you need will depend on what you’d like to do at the Ping Nam Stream Waterfalls (屏 南 石 澗). For a normal day hike, we use our day hike packing guide. At Ping Nam, depending on what we’d like to do, we might add or subtract a few items.
Again, when we’re with Peri and Kai we don’t do stream-hiking (aside from cutting over to the stream from the hiking trail), so we don’t bring any gear for those ends.
Here is what we bring to Ping Nam Stream:
- Water Bottle(s)
- Water Filter
- Hiking Shoes
- Hiking Socks
- Baby Backpack
- Baby Carrier
- Sun Protection
- Rain/Wind Jacket (optional)
Water bottles are a no brainer for a hike. We bring our RTIC water bottles, but any durable and reusable water bottle will work fine.
If you’re bringing a water filter (see below), 1.0 liter per adult, and 0.5 liters per child should be fine.
If you’re not bringing a water filter, we recommend bringing double, especially in the summer.
Remember, it’s a slow and steady uphill hike the whole way.
A water filter is not entirely necessary.
If you bring a water filter, you’ll be able to safely drink from the Ping Nam Stream Waterfalls (屏 南 石 澗).
Do not drink from the steam if you have not first filtered your water!
Being able to drink from the stream means you’ll have to carry less weight in your backpack. Always a good thing if you ask us!
Any of the options below are good ones. They range from inline-filters that you’ll use like a straw to pump-filters that you’ll use to refill bottles.
We hike up to the pools and waterfalls in our hiking shoes or trail runners. Again, we’re not stream-hiking.
Then, when we get there, we change into some sandals. Frankly, since the rocks are so smooth, we don’t really need sandals, so we don’t consider them essential gear for Ping Nam Stream.
However, we do consider sandals essential for Peri (and someday for Kai).
Our post on toddler hiking shoes and how to choose a pair also covers toddler sandals, so give that a glance, and it should help you make a good choice.
If you’ve read any of our other posts, you already know we hike in wool socks year-round. The main reason is they help prevent blisters.
So, if you see some folks at Ping Nam Stream in wool socks, it might be us. Of course, we use short/thin ones in the summer and long/thick ones in the winter.
Peri is a force to be reckoned with, for a two-year-old.
But…He’s still only two-years-old, so we bring our Osprey Poco Plus Child Carrier.
While we’ve hiked the Ping Nam Stream Waterfalls (屏 南 石 澗) with kids as young as 7, if they’re much younger, you’ll likely need a way to carry them.
If you’d like to take your pre-walking kiddos out into the great outdoors, we highly recommend you consider using a LILLEbaby Airflow carrier.
We love taking photos, so we bring along our camera.
Whether you care for as much optical power as you’ll get out of our particular setup, or whether your smartphone packs enough punch for your needs, we recommend you bring a camera to the Ping Nam Stream Waterfalls (屏 南 石 澗).
We think you’ll want to take a bunch of photos!
There is ample shade along the banks of Ping Nam Stream.
The hike up to and alongside the stream can be quite sunny. Also, if you swim in some of the pools, you’ll be in the full sun.
Make sure you’re prepared for the sun, and you’ll all be happy hikers and swimmers!
Rain/Wind Jacket (Optional)
The only time we bring our rain/wind jackets to Ping Nam Stream is in the wintertime.
When we come here in the summertime, we leave our jackets at home.
Getting To And From The Ping Nam Stream Waterfalls (屏 南 石 澗)
As we mentioned above, the Ping Nam Stream Waterfalls (屏 南 石 澗) are quite remote, at least in Hong Kong terms.
Frankly, what we often find most challenging about this entire experience is simply getting to and from the trailhead.
What we do is:
- Taxi/Uber to get to the trailhead
- Use public transit to get either (a) back home or (b) to a place where it’ll be easier to get a taxi/Uber.
The reason we taxi/Uber to the trailhead is because in the morning Peri and Kai’s batteries are fully charged, and they are their best selves at this time of day.
At the end of the day, ideally, we call a taxi/Uber to pick us up from the trailhead. However, sometimes we can’t get anyone to pick us up in the middle of nowhere.
Even though at the end of a day at Ping Nam Stream we’re quite tired, we sometimes have to take public transit back to “civilization” and then make our next transportation move.
It is indeed a full-on day if you decided to venture out to Ping Nam Stream, but we promise, it’ll be a very memorable one.
Here are the details on all the transit options to get here.
Taking A Taxi/Uber
Taking a taxi or Uber to the trailhead is going to be one of the fastest ways to get to the trailhead. Getting an Uber is a no-brainer. If instead you prefer a taxi, we like the HK Taxi App (iOS/Android).
In either case, set your destination as the Nam Chung Pavilion, and you’ll be good to go.
In the past we’ve set the trailhead itself as our destination.
While it’s indeed possible to drive right up to the trailhead, our Uber/Taxis have always been more willing to take us to the pavilion instead. It’s basically the same place, so don’t sweat this detail.
Using Public Transit
There are countless public transit routes that can get you near to the Ping Nam Stream Waterfalls (屏 南 石 澗).
Most of them end with you taking the 56K Green Minibus from the Fanling MTR Station.
If indeed you are coming from Fanling MTR Station, use Exit A3 to get to the Green Minibus Terminal.
Of course, your individual route might differ based on where you’re coming from.
Keep your eye on the app so you know where to get off, and you’ll be good to go.
Driving and Parking
To our knowledge (and after Googling a bit), there are no car parks within reasonable distance of the Ping Nam Stream Waterfalls trailhead.
With that said, when we owned a car, we used to park approximately here, right alongside South Bay Road.
Indeed, we were not parking in an authorized area, but we never had any problems.
Keep in mind however, we make no guarantees about what your experience might be if you too decided to park in a similar area.
The upside of driving here is it’s going to be the easiest option. And, since you’ll be going up and back on the same stretch of trail, you’ll certainly be returning to your car at the end of the day.
Download Our Route Map – Ping Nam Stream Waterfalls (屏 南 石 澗)
The route we take when we enjoy the Ping Nam Stream Waterfalls is a simple up and back route.
We walk up the trail, cut into the stream at various points along the way, swim, maybe stop to have a picnic for a while, and then eventually, we retrace our steps back to the trailhead.
We still like having a map, and we suggest you have one too.
Feel free to use our downloadable Ping Nam Stream Waterfalls (屏 南 石 澗) trail map below, and that way, in the unlikely event you get lost, you’ll quickly be able to get back on track.
We LOVE GuruMaps
If you would like to download our route (and follow along with it on your own mobile device – even if you’re offline or have no service), we recommend you first download the Guru Maps app (iOS/Android).
Other apps will also allow you to view and use our Ping Nam Stream Waterfalls map file, but we like Guru massively more than the rest. (Read our GuruMaps review to fully understand why.)
To download our map file and then open it using the Guru Maps app, follow these 3 simple steps:
1. Download Guru Maps (iOS/Android). (If you want to buy the professional version, get in touch with us, and we’ll shoot you a code for a discount.)
2. Click on the GPX, GeoJSON, or KML links here or in the top right-hand corner of the map below.
3. Once the map file has finished downloading, on your mobile device choose the option to “Open In,” and select Guru Maps. Then, you’ll have our route map (and a whole lot more map data too) right in your pocket. It’s that easy!
And, if you prefer other mapping options, we’ve got you covered.
Other Family-Friendly Adventures In Hong Kong
Fear not, if the Ping Nam Stream Waterfalls have made you and your family as obsessed with Hong Kong’s waterfalls as we are, there are other family-friendly waterfall hikes!
One of the easier family-friendly waterfall hikes in Hong Kong is Bride’s Pool. Again, it’s a bit far out in the New Territories, but it’s worth the effort to get there.
Another waterfall hike, but considerably more challenging than both Ping Nam and Bride’s Pool, is the Ng Tung Chai Waterfall Hike.
If you’d like to go to arguably the most accessible waterfall in all of Hong Kong, consider taking the gentle and family-friendly stroll to Waterfall Bay in Pok Fu Lam.
Last, but certainly not least, if you have any questions about Ping Nam Stream or anything related to outdoor family adventures in Hong Kong, leave us a comment below, and we’ll get in touch with you!