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Hiking with actress Jumbo Tsang: her hiking tips and favourite route in Tai Lam Country Park

South China Morning Post (Morning Studio)
  • Written by South China Morning Post (Morning Studio)
Jumbo Tsang hikes over Thousand Island Lake

Hong Kong television personality, actress, model and fitness influencer Jumbo Tsang often posts photographs and videos on social media about her latest fitness challenges, which show her striking an upside-down Pilates pose or taking a scenic hike.

Yet Tsang, winner of the Hong Kong district competition at the 2011 Miss China Pageant, has started exercising regularly only since 2015 — and it was just because she wanted to look slimmer on camera for her new film role.

“At that time, I followed some online dieting advice and ate only boiled, oil-free foods,” says Tsang, 31, who is now a qualified Pilates Matwork Course instructor. “It left me looking unhealthy; my skin was dry. That was when I realised dieting alone wasn’t the right way to look good, and started exercising. Now exercise has become a habit. It brings me so much joy.” 

Tsang strolls along Sweet Gum Woods

Balancing fitness with a busy showbiz lifestyle

Her fitness regimen has not only helped her look better on screen, but also improved her physical and mental wellbeing. “Exercise helps boost my energy levels and is a great way to release stress,” says Tsang, who tries to work out at least three times a week. “Working in show business means sometimes things can be extremely hectic for a certain period, but later you can be waiting for the next job to come. But even during my busy filming periods, I always try to squeeze in time for a 30-minute workout.”

She likes to set herself regular physical challenges, which also enticed her to explore more of Hong Kong’s countryside trails. “At first, I went hiking simply as a healthy activity, but nowadays it’s one of my passions,” Tsang says. “Aside from the physical challenge, I find hiking spiritually relaxing — in the same way as doing yoga, aromatherapy or even sound healing meditation.”

“I love to go hiking in the morning for this very reason. It’s usually a bit fresher and more humid out on the trails; you can instantly smell the lush forest. It’s incredibly relaxing, with the sounds of nature — birds chirping and water trickling down streams — all around you.” 

Enjoy spectacular vistas over Tai Lam Chung Reservoir at Tai Lam Country Park

Scenic hikes with rewarding views 

Tsang says she fell in love with hiking while walking up Lion Rock for the first time in 2017. “It was quite a demanding hike to reach the top, but for the first time, I was able to see the whole of Kowloon from this vantage point,” she says. “I’d never felt something so rewarding and that made it all worthwhile.”

She often shares practical hiking tips and stories about Hong Kong’s different peaks on her YouTube channel, which she hosts with her younger sister Suki.

Fiery-coloured Sweet Gum Woods in Tai Lam Country Park

For a rewarding, family-friendly hike offering unbeatable views, Tsang recommends a trip to Tai Lam Country Park in the New Territories. This scenic hike leads you through beautiful Sweet Gum Woods — known for its dramatic fiery-coloured autumn and winter tree foliage — and continues to Reservoir Islands Viewpoint, where you’re treated to breathtaking views across Thousand Island Lake.

Tsang admiring the view of Thousand Island Lake

“From up there you can see the tops of all these irregular islets jutting out from the water, hence the name of the lake,” Tsang says. “I went to Tai Lam with my mother for the first time two years ago, at the height of the stunning red foliage season. The trail has only a few mild slopes and not many steps, and ends with a lovely breezy downhill stretch; it’s not very demanding and is suitable for older family members, too.”

“Go there early in the morning if you want to avoid the crowds,” Tsang says. “You will be able to take better photos at that time of day, too.” 

Tsang taking photos during a scenic hike

7 tips from Jumbo Tsang to look and feel great on your hikes

  1. Don’t just look at hikes in terms of length and duration. The altitude of the trail offers an idea of how challenging the hike will be. A short trail which rises to a great height suggests it will be steep and physically demanding, while a longer, low-altitude trail suggests a relatively gentle climb.
  2. If you want to carry filming equipment, your mobile phone and a GoPro camera are handy tools.
  3. Filming during a hike can be risky. You should always watch where you are going. Only start shooting and walking for a few steps at a time when you are sure of your footing. Never film while heading downhill.
  4. Carry a hat, sunscreen, plenty of drinking water, a soothing ice towel, a pair of cooling sleeves (to wick away sweat and offer sun protection to your arms) and a soft-shell, fast-drying hiking jacket.
  5. When your body heats up too fast, soak your jacket or towel in water and drape it over your body to help you quickly cool down.
  6. Wear basic make-up, including a tinted sunscreen foundation and eyeliner, to look good on camera.
  7. A proper cleansing routine for your skin is essential post hike. Use a facial sheet mask to help rehydrate your skin. 

Information in this article is subject to change without advance notice. Please contact the relevant product or service providers for enquiries.

The Hong Kong Tourism Board disclaims any liability as to the quality or fitness for purpose of third party products and services; and makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy, adequacy or reliability of any information contained herein.

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