Editor’s Note — CNN Travel’s sequence typically carries sponsorship originating from the nations and areas we profile. However, CNN retains full editorial management over all of its experiences. Read the coverage.Hong Kong (CNN) — Surrounded by pictures, maps and different paperwork, 45-year-old photographer Simon Wan Chi-Chung is planning his subsequent nice Hong Kong journey. This is not any weekend getaway. He’s going to climb each peak in Hong Kong — in a single journey.It will not be his first attempt, both. He’s made the try a number of occasions during the last 20 years. There is not a single, definitive record stating the precise variety of peaks in Hong Kong. So Wan has drafted his personal route based mostly on numerous sources in addition to his personal analysis of official Hong Kong topography maps. Unofficial sources declare there are between 121 and 161 peaks above 300 meters, stretched over a dozen teams of hill ranges. By Wan’s depend, there are 148 hills to summit. He set out on his first try to go to all of them in 2003. But on the ninth day, he was atop the 522-meter-tall Needle Hill combating via a sprained ankle — an harm he sustained on the second day — and referred to as his good friend, a medical physician, to come back and deal with him. But his situation did not enhance, the added days of mountaineering and tenting solely exacerbating the ache in his ankle.”I used to be younger and boastful, desirous to show that I might do every little thing and ended up hurting myself,” Wan tells CNN Travel. Simon Wan Chi-Chung, artist and photographer, is now planning his subsequent nice Hong Kong journey. Maggie Wong/CNNBut an encounter with a fellow hiker — an older man he met earlier that morning — gave him a brand new perspective. As the 2 acquaintances made it to the height, they noticed the rolling hills in entrance of them.”This ‘Day 9 uncle’ gasped when he heard about my mission to climb all of Hong Kong’s peaks,” recollects Wan. “He gave me his slice of bread and mentioned, ‘younger man, you are going to want this greater than I do.’ He grabbed an orange from his bag and repeated, ‘You want this extra.’ It was such a easy gesture. But I ended feeling pity for myself. I let go of my conceitedness and felt humbled by the mountains.”With a heavy coronary heart and a swollen ankle, he determined to press pause on the journey. Wan went residence to nurse his foot for 3 weeks, then completed climbing the remainder of the 148 peaks on his record a number of weeks later. It was one in every of his most memorable encounters and one of many causes he is dedicated to Hong Kong’s pure world. “On the hills, individuals are extra more likely to discuss and join,” says Wan. “You will not have that have within the metropolis. Nature makes folks really feel snug and safe.” ‘Hong Kong is a metropolis hidden inside wilderness’Wan prefers to work with movie. He used a panorama digicam for his expedition in 2003. Simon Wan Chi-ChungIn addition to its 148 hills, Hong Kong can be residence to greater than 100 island clusters made up of over 250 particular person islands. Wan claims to be one of many few folks to have visited each one in every of them, saying he is at all times needed to develop into an adventurer. “I used to be researching find out how to fulfill my childhood dream — to climb Mount Everest. But as I dug deeper, I noticed how commercialized Mount Everest had develop into. It was another high-end journey attraction. It wasn’t the Mount Everest from my childhood dream,” says Wan throughout an interview at his studio, The Photocrafters.Having spent years finding out within the UK, Wan realized he did not know Hong Kong’s panorama very properly. An thought hit him: “Why not discover each single hill in my very own yard? And why not try this in a single go?”Carrying a bivvy bag and a movie digicam, Wan launched into a sequence of “expeditions.” Ten years after his first trek via Hong Kong’s mountains in 2003, he repeated the journey in 2013. Rather than arrange a tent, Wan slept in a bivvy bag throughout his quests to go to all of Hong Kong’s peaks. Simon Wan Chi-ChungBut this time, he was beneath a tighter schedule so he opted to solely sort out the peaks that have been not less than 300 meters tall. Trekking 26 to 30 kilometers, or 11 to 12 hours, per day, he reached 134 peaks in 19 days, tenting in numerous elements of Hong Kong alongside the way in which.He titled the works from these journeys “Post Urbanisation.”Then, in 2015, he voyaged to 107 uninhabited island clusters, touring by canoe, in 11 days. “These have been ‘hills’ I hadn’t climbed as properly,” he says. “These days, you realize concerning the place earlier than getting on a aircraft — you have booked a lodge, seen pictures on-line, and even know what eating places to ebook earlier than leaving your house. In these journeys, I’ve been to locations I’d by no means heard of and villages I’d by no means seen. You would not discover a lot details about some locations on-line. “It seems, I need not go to Mount Everest or a international nation to seek out that pleasure and happiness of explorations and adventures.” “On the hills, individuals are extra more likely to discuss and join,” says Wan. Simon Wan Chi-ChungMountain and island names unfamiliar to most Hong Kongers roll off Wan’s tongue as he retells anecdotes from his journeys. He says he realized the historical past of Ap Chau, a rugged island within the northeastern a part of Hong Kong, throughout an impromptu tour from a persistent retired villager who discovered Wan sleeping on the pier one morning.He visited the memorial plate for Quentin Roosevelt II, Theodore Roosevelt’s grandson, on Basalt Island, the place Roosevelt was killed in a aircraft crash in 1948. It’s part of the town’s historical past not written in lots of textbooks. “It could also be an previous adage, however Hong Kong’s nature is exclusive for its comfort,” says Wan. “No matter the place you might be, there may be at all times a hill behind you. You do not need to plan something or ask for a time without work. You can simply go at lunch.”People say there may be nice wilderness inside Hong Kong. I say it’s the different means round — Hong Kong is a metropolis hidden throughout the wilderness.”Wan has loads of recommendation for these wanting to start out exploring Hong Kong’s wild areas as properly. “Whether you are a waterfall climber or a leisure walker, there’s a route for you,” he says enthusiastically. “Most of the mountaineering trails are well-paved with indicators and amenities alongside the way in which — so it truly is for everybody.”A stone’s throw away from the favored Victoria Peak (or The Peak), it affords a fast style of Hong Kong’s pure magnificence however is true subsequent to a vibrant enterprise middle. Mount High West is barely a stone’s throw from common vacationer vacation spot The Peak.Simon Wan Chi-ChungIn the meantime, Lion Rock Hill, on Hong Kong’s Kowloon aspect, provides “an unbeatable view of Kowloon,” with trails appropriate for each kind of hiker.Nature as an emotional platformCapturing the fantastic thing about Hong Kong’s pure aspect is greater than only a photograph project for Wan. It’s an outlet for him to specific his feelings as properly.While going via a painful divorce in 2011, he says he hiked up a special mountain every day he could not see his then two-year-old son. “I’d take a photograph in direction of the path of the place he was,” says Wan. “Maybe he’d occur to look my means at that second. Then, we would be one another. I’ve one copy of the journey on the Heritage Museum and I’ve one copy right here for my son, so he’d know that I by no means gave up on him.”On his 2013 hike round Hong Kong, in addition to his island-hopping journey in 2015, he used a Holga — a made-in-Hong Kong movie digicam with restricted performance.Wan used a Hong Kong-designed Holga digicam on a few of his journeys.Simon Wan Chi-Chung”I knew earlier than my journeys that the Holga digicam would not be capable to yield excellent outcomes,” Wan explains.”But I needed to make use of the digicam as a metaphor for myself. I’d persevere and I would not change as an artist. At the identical time, I acknowledge that the setting is one thing I could not management so I needed to let go.”Wan’s subsequent Hong Kong hill expedition will occur this summer season. “I hate Hong Kong’s summer season — it is humid and scorching and festered with typhoons. But I need to make the journey as difficult and memorable as doable so I’ll keep in mind deeply how distinctive Hong Kong’s summer season is,” says Wan.”Some folks get wasted when they should launch their feelings. I’m going into the mountains throughout my ups and downs. I feel there is no such thing as a distinction. I like my residence — I like this land. That’s why I’m so dedicated to this challenge. I feel I’ll spend my lifetime doing this if I can.”