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Bricks and Water.

Climbing Brick Hill and Wandering around Aberdeen.

sunny

Yesterday I set out to walk the Tsz Lo Lan Shan Path from Wong Nai Cheung Reservoir to Tai Tam Tuk Reservoir, but it was not to be. When I arrived at Exchange Square Bus Station to board the number 6 bus to the start of the walk, I was greeted by chaos. The queue for the bus snaked round and round. Every now and then as a bus prepared to leave, the people at the front stopped boarding, preferring to wait for the next bus where they'd definitely get a seat. This in turn caused those at the back of the queue, who knew they'd be standing in line for hours, to surge forward and fight to get on. People were pushing, screaming, jumping barriers. It all looked rather insane. I could think of nothing worse than joining this melee, so I had to replan my day. I decided to go and climb Nam Long Shan.

Nam Long Shan is known in English as Brick Hill and to get to the start of this walk I only had to get to Wong Chuk Hang MTR Station on the South Island Line. Getting anywhere in Hong Kong by MTR is easy and fast, so it was obviously the sensible thing to do.

Wong Chuk Hang literally means Yellow Bamboo Grove. Hong Kong is mainly mountainous, but there was some flat land in this area, so as far back as the 1860's Wong Chuk Hang became home to a small farming community who grew crops and raised livestock. Later, after the Second World War, Mainland Chinese refugees flooded into Hong Kong and many new textiles, electronics and plastics factories were set up here. By the late 1980's there were almost two thousand factories in Wong Chuk Hang. Gradually, over the course of the next decade or so, these factories began to relocate to Guangdong where labour costs were cheaper and Wong Chuk Hang went into a state of decline. However, its fortunes changed again when the MTR decided to build the South Island Line and open a station here. The area's new accessibility made it a much more desirable place to live and a process of gentrification began. Wong Chuk Hang nowadays has lots of cutting-edge art galleries, showrooms, and creative studios.

I exited the station through exit B and found myself in front of the Tai Wong Ye Temple. I am not knowledgeable about Taoism but have been visiting a lot of Chinese temples recently. It seems to me, and apologies if I'm wrong, that most Chinese gods and goddesses were actually real people who did something good or kind or brave in their lifetime then were deified after their death. There seem to be several stories about Tai Wong Ye. One story describes him as the god of plague, who once saved people from a fatal epidemic, quite fitting nowadays. Another story regards him as the patron saint of fishermen. Either way his temple was well worth a visit. The temple is located at the junction of Heung Yip and Nam Long Shan Roads at a place where a statue of Tai Wong Ye was discovered in the early 1900's.

Tai Wong Ye Temple.

Tai Wong Ye Temple.

Tai Wong Ye Temple.

Tai Wong Ye Temple.

Tai Wong Ye Temple.

Tai Wong Ye Temple.

Tai Wong Ye Temple.

Tai Wong Ye Temple.

Tai Wong Ye Temple.

Tai Wong Ye Temple.

Tai Wong Ye Temple.

Tai Wong Ye Temple.

Tai Wong Ye Temple.

Tai Wong Ye Temple.

Tai Wong Ye Temple.

Tai Wong Ye Temple.

To start my hike I walked past the Nam Long Shan Cooked Food Market onto Nam Long Shan Road and turned right. The road sloped gradually uphill and I soon reached a bus station and the Singapore International School. I passed the front of this building and soon reached the Canadian International School followed by the Leo Lee Art Centre. Soon I was at a viewpoint with spectacular views over Aberdeen Marina.

Aberdeen Marina.

Aberdeen Marina.

Aberdeen Marina.

Aberdeen Marina.

Aberdeen Marina.

Aberdeen Marina.

Aberdeen Marina.

Aberdeen Marina.

A short distance after the viewpoint there is a stairway with a sign-post marked Nam Long Shan Rest Garden 50 metres. This is the beginning of the Nam Long Shan Hike. Nam Long Shan is called Brick Hill in English, perhaps because of its brick-coloured, reddish soil. The southern slope of this hill is occupied by Ocean Park. Every post I read about this hike mentions hearing the excited screams from the people enjoying the rides in Ocean Park, but, of course due to covid, Ocean Park is currently shut. Just as I was about to start walking on the trail, I saw a wild boar on the other side of the road, but it had gone before I could photograph it. Later I saw a mummy boar snuggled up in the shade with her two babies, so I got my photo after all. At the rest garden there is a pagoda with some seats. Behind it there is a long staircase and I began my upwards climb. This long first set of steps are regular and very easy to walk on.

Everything I have read describes this as an easy trail, but yesterday was extremely hot and one disadvantage of this walk was it has very little shade. Any time there was shade, three thousand Hong Kongers were already occupying it. Needless to say I ended up rather sun struck. It was still a fantastic walk though as the stunning views made up for any discomforts.

Sign Post.

Sign Post.

Nam Long Shan Rest Garden.

Nam Long Shan Rest Garden.

Wild Boars.

Wild Boars.

Views.

Views.

Views.

Views.

Views.

Views.

One of the things I liked most about this walk was that there were little paths where you could step off the stairway and look over the views. Dotted around these paths were large numbers of little shrines, filled with images of gods and goddesses, Buddhas, incense and offerings.

Shrines.

Shrines.

Shrines.

Shrines.

Shrines.

Shrines.

Shrines.

Shrines.

Shrines.

Shrines.

Shrines.

Shrines.

Shrines.

Shrines.

Shrines.

Shrines.

Shrines.

Shrines.

Shrines.

Shrines.

The regular stairs lead up to a crowded pavilion with wonderful views in all directions. There were some beautiful flowering trees here, too.

The Pavilion on the way up wasn't too bad.

The Pavilion on the way up wasn't too bad.

But on the way down. Hey you, get out of my shade.

But on the way down. Hey you, get out of my shade.

Beautiful Views from the Pavilion.

Beautiful Views from the Pavilion.

Beautiful Views from the Pavilion.

Beautiful Views from the Pavilion.

Beautiful Views from the Pavilion.

Beautiful Views from the Pavilion.

Beautiful Views from the Pavilion.

Beautiful Views from the Pavilion.

Beautiful Views from the Pavilion.

Beautiful Views from the Pavilion.

The next stretch of the walk was harder to walk on as the stairs were more basic and were broken in parts. There were several beautiful flowers here and lots of butterflies. Again there were many shrines and interesting rock formations which I think will end up as shrines. There were also lines of prayer flags blowing in the wind, making me feel like I was in Nepal or Tibet and, of course, there were more stunning views. Whenever there was a flat area at the side of the steps, everyone was taking photos.

These stairs are harder to walk on.

These stairs are harder to walk on.

Rough Stairs.

Rough Stairs.

Flowers.

Flowers.

Berries.

Berries.

Flowers and Butterflies. Apparently the flower is known as a fried egg flower and the butterfly is a Jezebel butterfly.

Flowers and Butterflies. Apparently the flower is known as a fried egg flower and the butterfly is a Jezebel butterfly.

Beautiful Flowers.

Beautiful Flowers.

Whenever there is a flat area everyone is taking photos.

Whenever there is a flat area everyone is taking photos.

Whenever there is a flat area everyone is taking photos.

Whenever there is a flat area everyone is taking photos.

At times the path gets crowded.

At times the path gets crowded.

Prayer Flags.

Prayer Flags.

Prayer Flags.

Prayer Flags.

Prayer Flags.

Prayer Flags.

A Shrine in the making.

A Shrine in the making.

A Shrine in the making.

A Shrine in the making.

A Shrine in the making.

A Shrine in the making.

This is where I am heading.

This is where I am heading.

Views.

Views.

Views.

Views.

Looking down on Ocean Park.

Looking down on Ocean Park.

The rough stairs continued for a while, then became a rough reddish path which finally reached a helipad. From the helipad there were sensational views including some looking out over Deep Water Bay and Repulse Bay and some looking over Lamma Island.

On the Helipad.

On the Helipad.

On the Helipad.

On the Helipad.

On the Helipad.

On the Helipad.

View over Deep Water Bay.

View over Deep Water Bay.

View over Deep Water Bay.

View over Deep Water Bay.

View over Deep Water Bay.

View over Deep Water Bay.

View over Deep Water Bay.

View over Deep Water Bay.

View over Deep Water Bay.

View over Deep Water Bay.

View over Deep Water Bay.

View over Deep Water Bay.

View over Lamma Island.

View over Lamma Island.

View over Lamma Island.

View over Lamma Island.

View Over Lamma Island.

View Over Lamma Island.

Then there was a final set of regular stairs to the very top of the hill. Brick Hill is 284 metres high. Its summit is covered with cell towers, antennas and control stations, but you can slip past these to see more views. There is a trignometrical station right at the back of the summit.

The final set of stairs to the top.

The final set of stairs to the top.

View over Helipad and Ocean Park.

View over Helipad and Ocean Park.

View over Ocean Park and the Helipad.

View over Ocean Park and the Helipad.

The Trigonometrical Station.

The Trigonometrical Station.

Coming Back down.

Coming Back down.

Coming Back down.

Coming Back down.

Coming Back down.

Coming Back down.

I really had way too much sun on this walk. The only sensible thing I could do was get into the shade and cool down, but, although I knew this, I foolishly continued on towards Aberdeen to take a look around there, too.

Aberdeen is named in memory of George Hamilton-Gordon, 4th Earl of Aberdeen in Scotland. It is famous for its floating villages and floating seafood restaurants and was historically home to the boat dwelling Tanka people. Prior to being called Aberdeen, this area was known as Hong Kong Tsuen, which means Fragrant Harbour Village as it traded in incense trees. In the early nineteenth century foreign sailors who landed near this village mistakenly thought this name referred to the whole island and that's how Hong Kong got its name.

I began by looking at Aberdeen Marina. On the way there I passed a school that was beautifully decorated for Chinese New Year plus had a fantastic display of artwork.

Artistic School.

Artistic School.

Artistic School.

Artistic School.

Artistic School.

Artistic School.

Artistic School.

Artistic School.

Artistic School.

Artistic School.

Right in the middle of Aberdeen Harbour, just behind the marina, is the Jumbo Kingdom. This consists of two floating restaurants: the Tai Pak Restaurant which dates back to 1957 and the Jumbo Restaurant which was built in 1976. In 1971 shortly after construction of the Jumbo Restaurant began, a huge fire broke out killing 34 people and leaving 42 badly injured. This deterred the owner from completing the project. He sold the restaurants to Macau businessman Stanley Ho. The restaurants are designed to look like Ancient Chinese imperial palaces. They are built on huge rafts and attached by a walkway. The Jumbo alone cost HK$30 million to build and can house two thousand diners at one time. You can get to the restaurant by a free boat from Shum Wan Pier. Famous people who have dined here include Queen Elizabeth II, Tom Cruise, David Bowie, Gong Li and Bruce Lee.

Jumbo Restaurant from The Marina.

Jumbo Restaurant from The Marina.

The Marina.

The Marina.

The Marina.

The Marina.

The Marina.

The Marina.

The Marina.

The Marina.

I had hoped to be able to walk along the marina all the way to the promenade, and maybe you can, but part of the way along, I reached a part that looked blocked off and had ferocious barking dogs. I'm not sure if they could have got out and I wasn't prepared to find out so I beat a hasty retreat and headed back to the MTR and approached the promenade down a waterway from there. On the way I passed a stall selling paper offerings. Chinese people buy paper models of things: houses, mobile phones, cars, then burn them in the belief that they will go to their ancestors, ensuring they have all the mod cons in the afterlife. I also saw a very fancy looking church on the hill and a beautiful flowering bauhinia tree.

From the MTR.

From the MTR.

Walkway to Aberdeen from Wong Chuk hang MTR.

Walkway to Aberdeen from Wong Chuk hang MTR.

Paper Offerings.

Paper Offerings.

Paper Offerings.

Paper Offerings.

Holy Spirit Seminary.

Holy Spirit Seminary.

Beautiful Bauhinia Tree.

Beautiful Bauhinia Tree.

One of the best things to do in Aberdeen is to stroll along its promenade which is lined with boats, including many house boats and fish stalls. It is possible to catch a sampan to Ap Lei Chau from here or a ferry to Lamma Island. On the inner land side of the promenade there are gardens, seating areas, statues, a dragon boat and displays about life in old Aberdeen.

House Boats.

House Boats.

House Boats.

House Boats.

House Boats.

House Boats.

House Boats.

House Boats.

House Boats.

House Boats.

House Boats.

House Boats.

On the Promenade.

On the Promenade.

On the Promenade.

On the Promenade.

On the Promenade.

On the Promenade.

On the Promenade.

On the Promenade.

On the Promenade.

On the Promenade.

On the Promenade.

On the Promenade.

On the Promenade.

On the Promenade.

On the Promenade.

On the Promenade.

On the Promenade.

On the Promenade.

On the Promenade.

On the Promenade.

On the Promenade.

On the Promenade.

On the Promenade.

On the Promenade.

On the Promenade.

On the Promenade.

On the Promenade.

On the Promenade.

On the Promenade.

On the Promenade.

On the Promenade.

On the Promenade.

Old Pictures of Aberdeen.

Old Pictures of Aberdeen.

Old Pictures of Aberdeen

Old Pictures of Aberdeen

Old Pictures of Aberdeen.

Old Pictures of Aberdeen.

Fish Market.

Fish Market.

Fish Market.

Fish Market.

Fish Market.

Fish Market.

Fisherman Statue on the Promenade.

Fisherman Statue on the Promenade.

Fishermen Statue on the Promenade.

Fishermen Statue on the Promenade.

Anchor on the Promenade.

Anchor on the Promenade.

Dragon Boat.

Dragon Boat.

Colourful Trees on the Promenade.

Colourful Trees on the Promenade.

When I had finished walking the promenade, I crossed the road using an elevated walkway and looked at Aberdeen Town. It had many shops and restaurants a square known as Aberdeen Square and a beautiful Tin Hau Temple.

Shops in the centre.

Shops in the centre.

Shops in the centre.

Shops in the centre.

Shops in the centre.

Shops in the centre.

Aberdeen Square.

Aberdeen Square.

Aberdeen's Tin Hau Temple was built using funds pooled by the Aberdeen fishermen in 1851. It is dedicated to Tin Hau, goddess of the sea and is very popular with the Tanka people who are traditionally fishermen.

Tin Hau Temple.

Tin Hau Temple.

Tin Hau Temple.

Tin Hau Temple.

Tin Hau Temple.

Tin Hau Temple.

Tin Hau Temple.

Tin Hau Temple.

Tin Hau Temple.

Tin Hau Temple.

Tiger, Tin Hau Temple.

Tiger, Tin Hau Temple.

Dragon, Tin Hau Temple.

Dragon, Tin Hau Temple.

Tin Hau Temple.

Tin Hau Temple.

Although it was not far back to Wong Chuk Hang MTR station, I was really tired and sun struck by this stage, so I jumped on a minibus to Kennedy Town to save me having to walk. I was glad I did as the minibus went round the western coast of Hong Kong Island through Pokfulam and Cyberport and had great views towards Lamma Island.

Posted by irenevt 14:00 Archived in Hong Kong

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Comments

Yet another walk that made me envy :)

by hennaonthetrek

Hi Henna, it was a beautiful walk but I definitely had too much sun on it. Still it was very clear for taking photos by Hong Kong standards.

by irenevt

That looks a long hot walk in that sun, but the views are amazing and I loved the little shrines. I also really liked your photo of the fried egg flower and butterfly, and as always the various temples. And I do admire your stamina! After that hill climb I would be thinking only of a cold drink and a long sit in the shade, not more exploring!

by ToonSarah

Hi Sarah, I'd have been more sensible to have a cold drink and go into the shade. I did suffer for it next day.

by irenevt

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