Encouraging more people to experience the outdoors has always been close to my heart ever since I started hiking back in 2015. As for Fjällräven – the Swedish company specialising in outdoor equipment such as clothing and rucksacks – it was the love towards nature that prompted the company in sending out its own people as often as possible to the outdoors. Apparently, Fjällräven is a big name among serious hikers and outdoor enthusiasts worldwide.
Before that, a little background: Fjällräven Classic was first held in 2005 in Sweden with the objective of inviting hikers to explore the mountains in safe conditions. An equally important objective is to let more people experience the magnificent environment and see the connection between nature and environmental conservation. At the same time, Fjällräven uses such outings to gauge the practicality and durability of its products.
On November 2017, Gaya Travel Magazine was invited to join Fjällräven Classic event in Hong Kong aptly called ‘Classic Hong Kong’, which is the continuation of the tried, tested and loved Fjällräven Classic multi-day trekking concept in experiencing different climate and trails. The previous Fjällräven Classic events were held in Sweden, Denmark, and the USA. Being obsessed in hiking, I was truly elated to represent Gaya Travel Magazine during Fjällräven Classic Hong Kong.
I. 17KM — #WhenAdelaHikes
With the filled-to-the-brim Fjällräven Kaipak 58W that weighed 15.4 kilogram on my shoulders, I started off my journey on the Maclehose Trail and headed straight into the Sai Kung West Country Park together with ten other hikers. The park’s vegetation seems to resemble a park in Malaysia. Facing unlimited staircases ahead, I was grinning all over. At first, the trails were not that arduous, unlike the jungle-trekking routes in Malaysia.
My team planned to take breaks and tea-stops at every one-hour so that our feet could rest well before continuing further. We did not need our compasses since the trails were visible. Besides compass, each one of us were given maps, dry-food-rations, butane, trash bag and the Holy Grayl (water purifier and filter), so that we could simply fill up the bottle with crude water along the way, then just press and drink. Everyone received the same items and was allowed to plan out his or her own trekking plan at one own’s comfort as long as he or she arrived within the specified time.
Hong Kong weather in November 2017 was warm and sunny – I thought it would be similar to Malaysia, but turned out that the air was less humid but the sun was more scorching than back home. We started late morning anyway, so it felt like the sun was an inch above our heads.
After trekking for three hours, we met other trekkers at Yeung Shue O, which was checkpoint one. After getting my trekking pass stamped, we sat on the ground to savour our lunch while taking a breather beside the lake and marvelling the surrounding greenery. I must say, the dry-food rations supplied by Swedish brand called Real Turmat were the best food-alternative to eliminate hunger thus far because they are light, handy, and easy to cook. Real Turmat is one of the most preferred dry-food among international outdoor goers when camping out!
As we proceeded, we found that the uplands are scattered with traditional Hakka villages with terrain that appears too steep for farming and possesses half-hidden remains of stone-walled farming terraces. We were also told that the higher slopes are cultivated for tea and indigo, while vegetables and rice are grown at the lower areas as long as there is water. I encountered a sleeping snake in the bush along the way, but I did not shudder because I had encountered snakes before. After the climb, the trail led to a coastal path with some close-up views of the sea. We took a break at Sham Chung Manor, where everyone managed to boost their energy with cold drinks – as a matter of fact, cold beverages can be conveniently obtained along the entire hiking trail!
Cutting inland again towards the village of Hoi Ha (we mostly passed through houses and more residents), the trail becomes undulating yet doable. Our second checkpoint for the day is an hour’s hike from the village, which is a campsite where we rested for the night. Before reaching the campsite, we stumbled upon a historic old lime kiln, where refined oyster shells or coral skeletons were once processed to be used in construction and agriculture. Interestingly, Hoi Ha Wan – particularly the coral communities in Hoi Ha Wan Marine Park – is one of the best sea areas in Hong Kong blessed with diverse and rich marine life. At the campsite, we mingled and made friends with the Thai, Japanese and Indonesian hikers while cooking our dinner and resting.
II. 18KM — #whattheFOXHK
In the following morning, we had Real Turmat again for breakfast, then we packed up and continued our trek for the second day, this time traversing coastal and inland trails. We started off along the Tai Tan country trail from Wan Tsai campsite. We technically ascended and descended along the literally rocky seaside trail. Unfortunately, one of my teammates injured her ankle during the rocky descent, so we needed to attend to her and helped her rest her ankle for a while. It was touching to witness that every trekker who passed us by gave her encouragement, some even passed her chocolates! Soon, we were back on the trail. Trekking next to the shore made it extra easy to refill water using the Grayl filter bottle: just fill, press and drink! That is so unlike in Malaysia, where hikers barely use any filter because they could easily source for running water, except when doing so proves hazardous, then the hikers would apply tablet filters, which are cheaper. But I think they would change their minds once they get their hands on the Grayl filter…
After some-more sea views along the coast, we headed inland again to Cheung Seung, our first checkpoint for the day, but the climb to get there was torturous! When we arrived, some of the participants napped by the trees and while others fixed lunch. My teammates Norcha, Hanis and I rested on the grassy field that is popular spot for respite among hikers and trail runners. Since it was pretty sweltering to rest too long out in the sun, we continued on the Maclehose Trail.
Though it was a short but steep hike to the next checkpoint, we were already prepared for it. I remembered climbing Twin Peaks and Mount Kinabalu back in Malaysia. I prefer jungle trails because I can set the size of my step and pace, unlike hiking on concrete staircases because their sizes are pretty much fixed. A word of advice: moving at your own pace and not following others’ pace makes hiking less tense; after all, we’re heading towards the same destination. This reminds me of the words by outdoor survival expert and Fjällräven product consultant Johan Skullman, who said the following before we set off on our journey: “It’s not the speed of your walking that gains you time, but the efficiency and precision when you are at rest.”
Before reaching the second checkpoint by the beach, our nerves had already been shaken by the steep steps leading up to the false peak, and down again passing by old buildings next to the blue ocean. Food stalls are available along the trail and I chose to continue embracing the sun until I made it to Tai Long Wan Hiking Trail. Arriving at Ham Tin beach scared me out at first since there were huge dogs everywhere, but they proved harmless. After receiving my trekking pass stamped, I quickly enjoyed the Ham Tin beach, which is a popular place for surfing and camping; definitely the best place to cool off after hiking for almost eight hours!
III. 13KM — #FjallravenClassicHongKong
Waking up by the beach is an invigorating experience, and the short morning hike up to Sai Wan woke our body (especially our legs), mind and soul with its incredible jaw-dropping views from the top of the coastal cliffs. We made a few stops along the way just to relish the breeze. Inhaling fresh air was not enough, so we needed the holy Grayl to hydrate. After admiring the views, we resumed our hiking again along the route that seems to have a mixture of trails, including a waterfall that made us all excited! We collected water again using the indispensable Grayl filter.
I was the 52nd trekker to have my trekking pass stamped at the second last checkpoint, which made me all energised to run my heart out to the finishing line. Together with #MalaysiaTeam, we made our final home stretch and I pulled out the Malaysian flag with pride as I walked to the finishing line. Claps and shouts were heard from other trekkers and the Fjällräven Classic Hong Kong team warmly welcomed us – words were simply not enough to describe how elated we were in surviving the journey.
Hiking in Hong Kong – where nights are chilly due to the wind, days could be scorching, and trails are mostly paved – is an experience that I will not surely never forget! The next Fjällräven adventure is the 50-kilometre long Fjällräven Thailand Trail, which involves hiking along an old trail that connects various hill tribe villages but now abandoned and almost forgotten. I can’t wait to follow Fjällräven’s event again, therefore I look forward to seeing everyone again in Thailand in January 2018!
Special thanks to Fjällräven South East Asia (@fjallravensea) for inviting me over to this very first Fjällräven hiking trip, A New Breed of Traveller Store (@anbotstore) for recommending the proper hiking tools and of course, Fjällräven Classic Hong Kong team for the hospitality!
With #SamuraiWiFi, I got to constantly do live updates along Hong Kong trails and peaks!
Address: 69A, Jalan BP 7/2
Bandar Bukit Puchong
47100 Puchong, Selangor
Operation hours: 1:30PM – 2AM
Platforms: INSTAGRAM @anbotstore
Phone: Hanis | +6010 244 3270 | +603 8066 3270
Address: Outside, 277 Orchard Rd
Operation hours: 10AM-10PM
Platforms: Instagram @outsidesg Facebook: Outsidesg
Differences in hiking
Malaysia vs Hong Kong
|Less paved trails||70% of the trails are paved|
|Unclear tracks, need mountain guides||Clear visible tracks|
|Staircases are rare||Well-built staircases – ascent & descent|
|Open safari (Sun-bears, elephants, snakes, etc.)||Sometimes porcupines|
|No stops/stores. Drink untreated water (river)||Stops that provide lights meals & cold drinks|
|Unpredictable weather, insects||Usually hot and less insects during summer|
|Need training and knowledges||Everyone can follow the trails|
|Provision of campsites is patchy||Well-constructed campsites|
|No toilets, toilets to be done in the open||Have toilets!|
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