Close to the now urban area of Ma On Shan the biggest mining activity in Hong Kong was recorded in the 20th century. Remains are still there.
- Beauty/fun: 6/10. The deepest tunnels to walk through.
- Difficulty: 7/10. First of all, there are clear signs here prohibiting the entrance, so beware of what you are doing. Second, this is one of the places where you are going to be closest to practicing speleology in Hong Kong. This same route outdoor would be classified as a 3/10 wet stream hiking: some loose terrain, water areas, “moderately” steep (30 degrees)… But you are doing it underground! I’m not trying to sound like Mr. Obvious, but without proper gear and care you might get into serious trouble here.
The iron ore mine of Ma On Shan operated from the early 1900 to mid-70s. Up to 5,000 miners worked there in its peak, building several kilometers long tunnels. In 1981 the mining lease expired and since it has been closed (more info here). HK URBEX and other adventurers have gone in though and set up ropes, signs, and ribbons.
You could take a taxi or minibus (84R with only 7 departures daily) almost till the entrance. The road going up to the “parking” of Ma On Shan Country Trail passes next by. If you want to start your hike from the MTR, Heng On station, on the map above the shortest distance route I know. It will take you through quite some concrete. Finally, you will arrive at around here
with several dirt paths guiding you to the entrance of the mine. Actually, this could be the exit too… Explained later.
From here onwards some 360 pics found on the internet. The entrance tunnel on the left and the downward tunnel on the right.
It looks way brighter than what it is. Without torches here its pitch dark.
There are signs and ribbons all around.
Deep holes full of water.
Old mining gear.
You can see tons of things left behind that remind operating times: office material, construction machinery, rooms with carved “beds” on the rock…
The reflective ribbons mark the main path. On the way you can find quite some water (even if it has not rained in days/weeks) and some dust, so bring a mask and eye drops for contact lenses if you are sensible. If you follow the main path you will go down two times through steep downward sections. Finally arriving at a section of the tunnel that becomes substantially wider and with signs marking the distance to the exit. Starting on 2,200m and 50 or 100m intervals. Here is where the water can be highest (waist high sometimes) and where several bats have set up their home. You will come out squatting or crawling through a 75cm high hole.
You could do the route reverse, which is easier as you will be going uphill in all the rope/steep sections. You will be in the more boring part initially.
A couple of videos showing you the place.