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The Gateway of the Golden Carp.

Exploring Lei Yue Mun on the Kowloon Side.

sunny

When I came back down from the Devil’s Peak, I noticed a signpost saying footpath to Lei Yue Mun. I had intended to visit Lei Yue Mun by going back through Yau Tong, but I decided I would follow this route instead. It was probably longer, but it took me through to the village at the back where few visitors venture.

Lei Yue Mun is not actually the name of the village. It is the name of the channel that forms the narrowest part of Victoria Harbour. It literally means Carp Gate. People refer to the area around Shau Kei Wan on Hong Kong Island as Lei Yue Mun because it occupies the Hong Kong Island side of the channel. Here you can find an old fort which is now the Museum of Coastal Defence and an old British army barracks which is now a holiday camp and park. I was on the opposite side of the channel in Kowloon, which is confusingly also referred to as Lei Yue Mun. The Kowloon side is very famous for seafood restaurants, but, as I was to find out, has much more to offer than just these.

Before I got on the footpath down to Lei Yue Mun, I found another viewpoint so, naturally ended up taking more pictures of the lovely views.

Views over Victoria Harbour.

Views over Victoria Harbour.

Views over Victoria Harbour.

Views over Victoria Harbour.

The footpath was shady and pleasant and surrounded by greenery. It was also well-signposted, so even I could not go wrong.

Shady Walk Down to Lie Yue Mun.

Shady Walk Down to Lie Yue Mun.

Eventually I began to see houses and farmland appear. Lei Yue Mun on the Kowloon side actually consists of four squatter villages. These are officially illegal and were only supposed to be temporary structures, but nowadays they are licensed and accepted by the government because of their historic and cultural value. I think the first village I came to was Che Teng Village. This is very quiet and peaceful with lots of nature all around it and few visitors. Talking with a Chinese friend about this blog, he told me his wife grew up in a house in one of these four villages. This house is now left empty due to the danger of landslips directly behind it.

Che Teng Village.

Che Teng Village.

Che Teng Village.

Che Teng Village.

Che Teng Village.

Che Teng Village.

Che Teng Village.

Che Teng Village.

Che Teng Village.

Che Teng Village.

Che Teng Village.

Che Teng Village.

Farming at Che Teng Village.

Farming at Che Teng Village.

Farming at Che Teng Village.

Farming at Che Teng Village.

Further on I reached the seafront. I wandered off to the left-hand-side in order to visit the village’s Tin Hau Temple. I think this part is the village of Ma Wan Tsuen. Before I reached the temple itself, I stopped to look at some huge rocks inscribed with Chinese characters. These are apparently taken from Taoist verse and mean: “The ever flowing pool”. There are also two small antique cannons here showing the historical need to fortify this area against invaders as it is the eastern entrance to Victoria Harbour.

Rocks and Cannons.

Rocks and Cannons.

Rocks and Cannon.

Rocks and Cannon.

The Tin Hau Temple itself was built, according to legend, by Zheng Lianchang. He was a famous pirate and the father of Zheng Chi, one of the pirates I wrote about in my previous blog. The temple is over two hundred years old. There were lots of offerings and burning sticks of incense outside the temple. Inside there were huge coils of incense hanging from the roof. A group of nuns were chanting prayers. I got told off for taking pictures, but I was not forced to delete the ones I had taken.

Tin Hau Temple.

Tin Hau Temple.

Offerings.

Offerings.

Offerings.

Offerings.

Offerings.

Offerings.

Inside the temple.

Inside the temple.

Inside the Tin Hau Temple.

Inside the Tin Hau Temple.

Looking back at the temple.

Looking back at the temple.

Seafront near the temple.

Seafront near the temple.

Beyond the temple I continued towards the village of Ma Pui. This stretches along the shoreline all the way to the site of a huge quarry. Historically most of the villagers who settled in these four villages were either farmers or miners. Four small mining companies used to operate in this area. There are quite a few ruined structures connected to the former mining industry, such as the loading ramp where rocks were placed onto ships. This area was windy and therefore was a popular place to fly a kite, too.

The Shoreline past the Temple.

The Shoreline past the Temple.

Village House.

Village House.

Village House.

Village House.

Loading Stage.

Loading Stage.

Site of the old quarry.

Site of the old quarry.

Let's go fly a kite.

Let's go fly a kite.

Cliffs.

Cliffs.

The Old Quarries.

The Old Quarries.

The big blue beyond.

The big blue beyond.

In the 1960’s there was a lot of rioting in Hong Kong by pro-Communist sympathisers against the British Colonial Government. This resulted in the government banning the sale and use of dynamite except under strictly controlled licensing. This law destroyed the small-time quarrying industry in Lei Yue Mun. However, endlessly resourceful the villagers, who had worked for the quarries, started buying and cooking seafood which was caught by fishermen on the other side of the channel in Shau Kei Wan then brought across the channel to be sold. This proved so popular that the fourth and most famous of the four villages - Sam Ka Tsuen – is to this day renowned for its fresh seafood meals.

After looking around the quarry area with its huge cliffs and fantastic views out over the wide-open expanse of Junk Bay, I walked all the way back along the villages’ main street to Sam Ka Tsuen. On route I was very impressed by the many colourful murals which have been painted to brighten up the village.

A hint of Salvador Dali.

A hint of Salvador Dali.

Windsocks and Cats. Sunflowers and Starry, starry Nights.

Windsocks and Cats. Sunflowers and Starry, starry Nights.

Murals and Sausages.

Murals and Sausages.

Sea Creatures.

Sea Creatures.

Bikes and Murals.

Bikes and Murals.

Sleeping Cat.

Sleeping Cat.

Flying Fish.

Flying Fish.

Dragons. Whoops no it's not, it's a fish.

Dragons. Whoops no it's not, it's a fish.

Mural.

Mural.

Carp Gate.

Carp Gate.

Forts and Quarries.

Forts and Quarries.

Carp Gate.

Carp Gate.

Kissing Fish.

Kissing Fish.

Temples.

Temples.

Carp Gate.

Carp Gate.

Sunset Mural.

Sunset Mural.

Village House with Mural.

Village House with Mural.

Next I came to the Lei Yue Mun Wishing Tree. This is a banyan tree shaped like a wishbone. People tie ribbons to it for good luck.

The Lei Yue Mun Wishing Tree.

The Lei Yue Mun Wishing Tree.

The Lei Yue Mun Wishing Tree.

The Lei Yue Mun Wishing Tree.

I also had a quick look at the village lighthouse. This stands on a rocky islet that can be reached at low tide. It has been in service for more than fifty years. I noticed there were some houses on stilts and I enjoyed scenic village streets.

To the Lighthouse.

To the Lighthouse.

To the Lighthouse.

To the Lighthouse.

Stilt Houses.

Stilt Houses.

Flower filled streets.

Flower filled streets.

Flower filled streets.

Flower filled streets.

What's through there?

What's through there?

Village House.

Village House.

I don't know why, I just liked it.

I don't know why, I just liked it.

Then I wandered passed food stalls, fish stalls and seafood restaurants with their huge tanks of seafood swimming around. It is customary to either buy food from the fish stalls and take it to a restaurant for cooking or to choose which live sea creature swimming around in the restaurant tanks you want to be killed and cooked.

To market, to market.

To market, to market.

To market, to market.

To market, to market.

To market, to market.

To market, to market.

Restaurants.

Restaurants.

Choose your seafood.

Choose your seafood.

Choose your seafood.

Choose your seafood.

Choose your seafood.

Choose your seafood.

Choose your seafood.

Choose your seafood.

I have eaten in one of these years ago with Chinese friends. The food was very good, but as a western hypocrite, I refused to point at the seafood I wanted killed, though I was perfectly happy to eat it as long as someone else decided which ones lived and which ones died.

After wandering around here I passed the Sam Ka Tsuen Typhoon Shelter which was filled with many boats and the statues of golden carp fish near the village gate placed there in homage to the area’s name.

Sam Ka Tsuen Typhoon Shelter.

Sam Ka Tsuen Typhoon Shelter.

Sam Ka Tsuen Typhoon Shelter.

Sam Ka Tsuen Typhoon Shelter.

Sam Ka Tsuen Typhoon Shelter.

Sam Ka Tsuen Typhoon Shelter.

Village Gate..

Village Gate..

Leaping Carp Statue.

Leaping Carp Statue.

Leaping Carp Statue.

Leaping Carp Statue.

Leaping Carp Statue.

Leaping Carp Statue.

Leaping Carp Statue.

Leaping Carp Statue.

Then I walked back to Yau Tong MTR station and returned home, pausing to appreciate its sculpture on my way past.

Sculpture at Yau Tong Station.

Sculpture at Yau Tong Station.

Sculpture at Yau Tong Station.

Sculpture at Yau Tong Station.

Sculpture at Yau Tong Station.

Sculpture at Yau Tong Station.

Posted by irenevt 11:23 Archived in Hong Kong

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Comments

You had a really good weather for this walk, lots of beautiful pictures! :)

by hennaonthetrek

The weather here has been lovely for a while we're heading for Chinese New Year Holiday with a forecast of rain so it may be about to change.

by irenevt

I love those colourful village murals - especially the sleeping cat My memories of our brief visit to Hong Kong many years ago are of city streets and skyscrapers so I'm really enjoying seeing the more rural areas with you :)

by ToonSarah

Hi Sarah, most of Hong Kong is the way you remember it, but there is fortunately plenty of countryside and a scattering of villages.These are the things that keep us same here.

by irenevt

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