2013-02-11

Jogging at Bowen Road HK.

Something new to do in Hong Kong

Hidden gem in Hong Kong


Central Hong Kong is a congested city with narrow footpaths and roads filled with cars. Not a place for jogging given uneven surfaces and pollution. But hidden in City's heart are some places which will take you away from the hustle and bustle of the city and rekindle your energy levels. I have been to HK several times but most of the times my idea of fun has been to spend a crazy night in LKF and get up next morning with a headache only to find that hotel breakfast is served until 10:00 and it is nearly lunch time. Well this trip was different. Lately I have taken up running long distances at leisurely pace (jogging at 10-15 minute per mile) and like a tiger looking to mark its territory I have also taken up the desire to run in each new place I go. This also ends up being the best way to know a city and its residents.

This post is about my latest jog at Bowen Road in Hong Kong. Close to Central with 8-10 miles run engulfed in nature enjoying great views over the Central and Wan Chai area from a vista point you can barely imagine in Hong Kong.

When to start


Best time to jog in Hong Kong is early morning 06:30 - 08:30. After that the roads start filling up and temperatures start rising. It is no fun running in the humid air middle of the afternoon. Evenings are also not great time for jog as the traffic remains high and may be you can do better things in LKF instead. Early morning run would still allow you time to shower and breakfast before you get ready for your morning meetings. Hong Kong is generally warm place so dress light and comfortably. I have also found that a run is good way to get over jet lag. 


The route



View Bowen Road Jogging Route in a larger map

Start from Central and head towards Bank of China tower and take Cotton Tree Drive going south west towards the Peak. This is a good climb and will act as warm up before the run. This is also the hardest part of the run and probably you will need to walk/climb most of the way for this first 2 miles of track. Run on the left, keeping the Hong Kong park to your left and you will pass Bank Of China and Citibank Tower on your right. Later the road will become a fly over but you should keep to be lower road and after sometime you can see the Tram Way path/Central Green Trail markers and also the tram line for the peak. This is a steep climb but carry on nonetheless. You will cross Kennedy Road, keep to the Tramway Path/Central Green Trail and keep climbing. Later you will cross MacDonnnell Road. Finally you will reach Magazine Gap Road where you must leave the trail and turn left.
Entrance to Bowen Road
Bowen road is sign posted as a left turn from Magazine Gap Road just 100-200 yards after this point and initially it would look like a narrow residential road with apartment blocks on both sides. The good point is that the climb is finished now and you have flat road to look forward to. Start running if you are were not running till now.

The road from now on is sign posted and after a short distance it would become a fitness trail and here the fun starts.

Bowen road is cut along the side of the hill so it is mainly flat as it runs parallel to ground and a pleasure to run on. The road is frequented by dog walkers and joggers. It is fairly narrow at places so care should be taken for passers by. This is car free zone so air is pure and surroundings are hills and trees. It is a fitness trail so along the way there are exercise spots where you can stretch your legs or do some pull ups if you are up to it. In the middle there is even a park where you can see people playing badminton or practising Tai Chi. The route is well marked with interesting spots along the way. Peak over your left and you can see a great city below you with all its hustle and bustle while you can still hear the birds chirping in the morning. On weekends the road can get bit crowded but still it is worth the trip. The road is about 3.0 km long making it a 6 km jog on flat surface.

Along the way there are resting places and public toilets. You can also stop and takeWan Chai District-20130205-00150 a detour to look at the Lover’s rock especially if you are looking for a date or facing fertility issues. Note that this place is popular with pilgrims, specially ladies so may be both issues can be addressed just by visiting. It is said you can see your partner’s face in the rock. 

Here is a beautiful look at the Concrete In Jungle somewhere along the way. The city noise is far away and all you here is birds and passer-by. Make sure you nod and smile to joggers along the way and keep away from dogs.

Eventually you will reach the end of the road at Stubbs Road on the Wan Chai Wan Chai District-20130205-00151end where you can start smelling and seeing the morning traffic build up. If you want to head home, you can try to hail a taxi here (or take a bus). Otherwise a real jogger will just turn around and re-trace the steps. Taking inspiration from this sign on your left. You really do not want to leave this road.

Coming back, keep following the same route until you emerge on the Magazine Gap road. This time do not take the Central Green Trail/Tramway path andCentral & Western District-20130205-00152 instead go a little ahead to turn right on Garden Road. An alternate route is to take Wan Chai gap road running down mid way from Bowen Road but I much prefer the route via Garden Road. Now it is a down hill trek and you will pass Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens on your left. You can even stop and take a stroll if you have time. Otherwise keep on the Garden Road and you will soon start passing the morning office goers and modern buildings. Once you cross Citi tower you know you are near the end of the run.


Conclusion


I hope you enjoy this nice run. It will really sets you up in mood to face the day ahead. Hong Kong has several paths trails and hikes for those who enjoy nature. You might ask what is this article doing on a trader's blog. Well a happy trader lives in the body of a healthy trader. Have fun.