Time to get out on the trailsLocal | Bernard Charnwut Chan 3 Jan 2018
With the Christmas/New Year holiday season just ended, and Chinese New Year six weeks away, it's a good time to get outdoors and burn off a few calories.
It is also a good opportunity to enjoy the Hong Kong countryside - especially our city's amazing hiking trails.
A few decades ago, only a small number of enthusiasts walked through our country parks for pleasure. Today, hiking has become increasingly popular.
Some trails are short and easy - even for walkers with a baby stroller - like the circuit around The Peak or the area around Shing Mun Reservoir. At the other end of the scale is the 100-kilometer-long Maclehose Trail. There are dozens of options in between, and they are in every region of Hong Kong.
A good starting point is the government's own website at http://hiking.gov.hk/ .
You will find a comprehensive list of official trails from easy "Family Walks" right up to the toughest long trails. It also offers maps and useful advice on transport to and from the trails - many of them are surprisingly easy to get to.
Be sure to check the website's safety tips - basically, plan ahead, wear good shoes and take enough water.
I have done the whole Maclehose Trail in the Oxfam HK Trailwalker event several times, and that takes serious preparations.
But I have also done many relaxing and enjoyable hikes with my own kids.
This is just the right time of the year - so get out.
Bernard Charnwut Chan is chairman of The Jockey Club CPS Advisory Committee