Length: 9.5 km (5.9 miles), terrain hilly
Hong Kong running routes:
Hong Kong, Bowen Road midlevels run
Hong Kong Peak Trail route
For more running routes, see Route List.
Pictures taken from Google StreetView Thanks!
Hong Kong is a definite trip. They say that New York is the city that never sleeps, but Hong Kong doesn't even stop for a 10 minute coffee break! Everywhere, you'll find yourself pushing through masses of people and traffic. No buildings seem to be smaller than skyscrapers. Private space is practically nonexistent: you'll see people practicing Tai Chi in stairwells, just because that's the only halfway private place they can find. The main part of the city -- the Central District and Wan Chai on Hong Kong Island -- is squeezed into a narrow strip of land along the north coast of the island, with a mountain rising directly behind it, the Peak. Every piece of available land with the footprint for a single-family home has a 30-floor building soaring up from it.
|Welcome to Wan Chai|
Even in the evenings, the streets are full, with every second doorway occupied by a friendly hole-in-the-wall restaurant with its plastic chairs and tables spilling out into the sidewalk. Even small Hong Kong Park seems only to exist as a background for a horde of wedding photographers busily lining up newlyweds in conveyor-belt fashion. This is definitely a captivating, hard-working, even mesmerizing place! And totally exhausting...
So, after a few days of running through the mobs, you'll find yourself aching for some nature and quiet. That's why Bowen Road has become the city's main running track. This level, semi-pedestrian road lies up on the hillside, in the Mid Levels, parallel to the strip of city below it. There are various access points, depending on where you're staying.
Bowen Road runs from Magazine Gap Road in the west, in the Central District to Stubbs Road in the east, in Happy Valley near the horse-race track (the Hong Kongers are big gamblers!). Bowen Road itself is only 4 km long. You can also easily access it from Wan Chai by slogging straight up Wan Chai Gap Road, which bisects Bowen Road in the middle.
I will assume that you want to start at the Central District end, though, so we'll begin on Cotton Tree Drive, at Hong Kong Park. This is right near the lower station for the Peak Tram (that's another great route, if you stay on the weekend!). The Citibank and Bank of China towers are looming up across the street.
|Cotton Tree Drive, with Hong Kong Park to left side|
You'll pass a white classical building below, on your left, and see Bowen Road splitting off immediately on the left side. Take that turn!
|Turn onto Bowen Road here at the little street on the left|
|Interesting view? Welcome to Bowen Road!|
The eastern end of the road is basically car-free. Just keep trucking, enjoying the jungle and the constantly changing views.
|A dog-free section of Bowen Road|
NOTE: If you want, as an alternative way back, you can turn down Wan Chai Gap Road and run straight down to Wan Chai, for something different. At Kennedy Road (another tree-lined mid-levels road, running parallel to Bowen Road), you can then turn left head back towards Hong Kong Park.