Jardine’s Lookout, Hong Kong

For the past few months, we’ve been exploring Hong Kong’s stunning scenery from its nature side; we’ve visited the Hong Kong Geopark, Ham Tin Wan, hiked across the MacLehose trail 3, 4 and 5, climbed up to the top of Sharp Peak, and so many other short hiking trips with views that challenged our preconceived ideas of Hong Kong.

Sunset over Hong Kong from Jardine Lookout
GFX 50R 107.4mm ISO-100 1/42sec f/8

Today and in a future post, I want to pivot back to the world’s most photographed skyline. Having visited so many cities over the years, I still feel that Hong Kong has the most iconic skyline in the world; this provides for many opportunities to photograph it from different perspectives.

Every time I find a new vantage point, I come away in awe at the density and layering of this city’s skyscraper architecture. From buildings perched perilously on the edge of steep mountains near The Peak to the intense density of low rise buildings in Kowloon, the skyline provides an endless visual feast.

Hong Kong sunset from Jardine's Lookout
Bank of China, The Center and IFC buildings at golden hour from Jardine’s Lookout; GFX 50R 200mm ISO-100 1/180sec f/8

For today’s post, I’d like to take you to a great spot for sunset views. It’s easy to get to the main view area, but a bit more challenging to get to this specific spot. Jardine’s Lookout is easily accessible via a path starting at the Wilson Trail Parkview. When you arrive there, clear signs will tell you exactly the route to take.

Compared to the other hikes I’ve written about recently, going up to Jardine’s Lookout is a very easy and short hike, even in the 32C and high humidity weather that we experienced. The elevation is less than 250 metres on a nicely paved path, so this is a high ROI hike with plenty of view for little effort.

Hong Kong blue hour city view form Jardine's Lookout
Intense blue hour from Jardine’s lookout; GFX 50R 117.4mm ISO-100 1/1sec f/8

After about 20 minutes, you’ll reach the top and find the viewpoint, which again is clearly marked. The view will be jaw dropping and there likely won’t be many people there too. While the view is nice from the designated view point, if you’re willing to go a bit off the beaten path, the view gets a lot better.

If you climb over the short wooden fence, you’ll notice a worn path in the dirt. Follow that path down 50-75 metres through the thick bush. Be careful of the tree roots on the ground and also ensure you have some form of light to get back up after sunset as it gets dark there very fast, and the path is hard to see during daylight, let alone after the sun goes down.

Hong Kong sunset from Jardine's Lookout
Sunrays from Jardine’s Lookout; GFX 50R 111.3mm ISO-100 1/320sec f/8

As you descend down this path, you’ll see well-worn ribbons tied to the trees and bushes. Follow the ribbons down until you reach a series of large rocks which provide a vantage point with an unobstructed view of Hong Kong. That is one potential spot to setup your tripod, albeit with very little room and a somewhat uncomfortable perch. 

If you descend a further 10-20 metres, you’ll come cross another a small ledge which is where we setup our tripods. This ledge has enough room for 2-3 tripods, but you must be careful after dark because there is no protection from potentially falling off the cliff. There’s lots of bush below so I don’t think a fall will be fatal, but it’s certainly not going to be painless.

Hong Kong city view form Jardine's Lookout
Island and West Kowloon at blue hour; GFX 50R 55.5mm ISO-100 5sec f/11

I’d suggest bringing a 24-70MM equivalent lens as your main lens and perhaps a long focal length like 70-200 equivalent to isolate some buildings against the setting sun. The angle of view for this spot is pretty limited, but there are a lot of areas that you can target with a long lens to give you a more unique shot.

After sunset, we stayed for the blue hour and then climbed back up in the dark. The climb from the hidden viewing ledge seemed longer and more steep than it seemed when we were descending, so keep that in mind as you decide on where to setup your equipment. We had to use some tree branches to pull ourselves up the steep incline.

End of blue hour over Hong Kong from Jardine Lookout
Very end of the blue hour over Hong Kong; GFX 50R 41.8mm ISO-100 30sec f/8

I hope you’ve enjoyed this set of images from a wonderful sunset from Jardine’s Lookout. For about 2.5 hours of time invested, we were pleased with the images we got and the view we experienced; I think you will be pleased as well if you decide to visit this location.

In the next post, I’ll take you to an amazing “secret” spot in Hong Kong with what I believe are the best views of this incredible metropolis. It’ll be from the other side of Hong Kong, with the iconic skyline relegated to the background of an even more mesmerizing view. I’m really looking forward to sharing them with you soon.

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Comments (4)

Soon HK will offer you a roll as official photographer! Beauty shots and a truly stunning view. I particularly love the warmth of the building lights contrasted against the cool blue hour tones around them. Can’t wait to visit.

Thanks Yarko. It’s a huge compliment to receive from a guy that has one of the most compelling photography websites on the Internet. Your images always tell a story, whereas mine show you a place.

I have much to learn and I’m keeping a keen eye on your work so that I can absorb some of your talent 🙂

For people reading this comment, I highly recommend you grab a glass of wine and go on a travel adventure with Yarko by visiting his website at http://www.yarkoonthego.com.

They are Great. Glad to see you are our shooting. Stay safe. Neal

Thanks Neal. Hope you are keeping safe and healthy during this challenging time for the global community. I think we’re about to go into a lockdown mode here in Hong Kong as the number of cases has suddenly spiked in our third wave. I did manage to get out last weekend to a very unique spot in Hong Kong and am looking forward to sharing that with you. Take care and hope to hear about your travel adventures soon.

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