There is no shortage of hikes both in Shenzhen, and in the surrounding areas. But one problem remains for most of these: stairs. Sure, each mountain has its wild routes. But the main, easy to access entrances are predominantly have stairs. Maluan Mountain in Pingshan district is different. There are only the briefest of stairs at the start, the rest is either a flat path or dirt trail.
This is possibly the most authentic hike in the city, with flora, fauna and greenery all around you, you could actually be in another country all together. This hike doesn’t have the sweeping views of the city like some of the other city hikes do, instead you get a slice of rural life in the megacity that is Shenzhen.
The highlights of this hike include a waterfall and pool which is deep enough to swim in. The water is cool and refreshing and cleaner than it appears. It’s better to come after periods of heavy rain if you want the pool to be full. After you finish, you can climb to the top following the dirt paths until you get to the pagoda. This provides some nice views of the greenery around you, as well as some nice ocean views.
There is a small Hakka-style village at the top, with some photogenic buildings and a good lunch option. No menus, just take what’s available on the day.
Hakka village for lunch
To end the hike, follow the signs for OCT-East (recommended end) or you can go back the way you came to end near Xiaomeisha.
Bring enough water as there isn’t anywhere to buy it on the trail. In addition, bring lunch or snacks and a swim suit if you want to get in the water. Sometimes you will also lose 4G. If you get lost look for the ribbons on the trees.
From the shops near the Xiaomeisha area, keep walking forward past a huge construction pit on your left.
A little further ahead you will see a bend in the road. Go up this slight inclined road and keep going until you pass through parked cars and a big overhead bridge.
Eventually after maybe 10 or 15 minutes you’ll come to a set of stairs.
Go up, and when you get to the toilets turn left. Keep walking on the greenway for around 20 minutes or so and you’ll soon reach the waterfall area.
Depending on what the weather was like previously, this may be big and gushing or pretty small. These rocks are a perfect place to have a rest and soak in the nature. You can even swim in the pools if you wish. To get here you need a short climb over the rocks which can be super slippery – be careful!
After a cool down, keep going up through the forest path on the right hand side of the waterfall. When you get to the top there is a left or right option. Turn left here and keep going, it’s a gradual incline and nothing too difficult.
Just go on through the trees. There are natural paths laid out in front of you, and if you are unsure look for ‘ribbons’ on the trees which are markers from past hikes.
You will eventually get to a wide-open dusty space and there will be a pagoda in the distance. This is a good place to rest and catch your breath. Go to the top of the pagoda for magnificent views of the panorama below you.
After this follow signs for OCT East which is the suggested end point. It will lead you along a long path and through some trees. It’s a little bit up and down but its not too difficult.
You will eventually get to a nice boardwalk which leads to OCT East. From here you can get a Didi very easily.
By public transport you can get bus M181, 103, 103B 380A directly to Xiaomeisha terminus and start the hike from there.
For small groups it is recommended to go to Yantian Port West on Line 8 and get a Didi to 小梅沙海洋世界 Xiaomeisha Sea World.
Joe Macpherson, also known as ‘Shenzhen Guide’ is a Welshman who has lived in Shenzhen for six years. He is the go-to person for Shenzhen advice on food, hiking and more. Check out his blog at wanderlustwelshman.com for more in-depth guides, plus other hidden gems in Shenzhen.
[All images courtesy of Joe Macpherson]