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Wandering around Flat Island.

A Visit to Peng Chau.

sunny

Today I decided to revisit Peng Chau. This is one of the smallest of Hong Kong's permanently inhabited Outlying Islands. It only occupies an area of around 1km square, and has around 6,300 inhabitants. Its name means Flat Island, but it's not entirely flat. It has a hill called Finger Hill, which at 95 metres high, is the highest peak on the island. I have climbed up Finger Hill several times, but today I decided to explore other parts of the island instead.

Getting to Peng Chau from Discovery Bay is easy, as Peng Chau is right next to Discovery Bay and there's a kaito, or small ferry service, between the two places. I caught the 9am ferry and came back on the 1pm one. I could have stayed longer and walked everywhere on the island, but it was 42 degrees today, so I didn't think that was such a good idea.

Ferry to Peng Chau.

Ferry to Peng Chau.

On the Ferry.

On the Ferry.

Arriving in Peng Chau Harbour with the market behind.

Arriving in Peng Chau Harbour with the market behind.

Fisherman in harbour.

Fisherman in harbour.

Peng Chau is nowadays an incredibly peaceful place with friendly people and it isn't bursting at the seams with visitors, even on Sundays. That's amazing for here. It's surprising then to learn that Peng Chau was once a major industrial hub. From the 1940's to the 1970's, Peng Chau was home to the Shing Lee Limekiln factory, the Great China Match Factory, porcelain factories, plus gloves, leather and light bulbs manufacturers. All of these industries are long gone, though the odd ruined building or marker stone testifies to their existence.

I think this is a ruined factory.

I think this is a ruined factory.


Ruin on Waterfront Beach.

Ruin on Waterfront Beach.

Rocks near ruined factory.

Rocks near ruined factory.

I began my explorations by tracking down some of Peng Chau's temples. I started at the Tin Hau Temple, which is dedicated to the goddess of the sea. This colourful temple was built in 1792 by local fishermen who wanted full nets and calm seas.

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 detail.

Tin Hau temple detail.

Outside the temple there is a stone tablet dating from the Quing Dynasty around 1835. This announces the end of the Authorities being able to requisition fishing vessels from local fishermen and use them to lure pirates, who once terrorised the seas around here, to their deaths or imprisonment. This practice had resulted in huge losses of income for fishermen.

Stone Tablet.

Stone Tablet.

I then visited Kam Fa Temple, the Temple of the Golden Flower Goddess. She is the patron of all pregnant women. Her temple is situated under a banyan tree and dates back over two hundred years. Kam Fa, was the daughter of a martial arts master and, under his tuition, she became an expert in martial arts. Kam Fa lived at a time when the government were extremely corrupt and frequently exploited the poor. She used her martial arts skills to rob from the rich then give the proceeds to the poor - a sort of female Chinese Robin Hood figure.

Kam Fa Temple.

Kam Fa Temple.

Kam Fa Temple.

Kam Fa Temple.

After that I visited The Lung Mo, or Dragon Mother Temple, which is the largest temple on Peng Chau. It is located next to Tung Wan Beach. There is a legend associated with it. One day a woman named Lung Mo was washing clothes on the river bank when she found a smooth, white stone which she took home with her. The stone was actually an egg and, a little over seven months later, five baby snakes hatched from it. Lung Mo looked after the snakes like a mother, but one day they swam away from her down the same river. Five years later they returned, but they had grown into dragons. There was a terrible drought in the land and Lung Mo persuaded her dragons to create rain and save the villagers' lives. Word of this spread all over China and eventually Emperor Qin Shihuang summoned Lung Mo to the capital Xi’an. By this time Lung Mo was elderly and frail and her dragons worried that she would not survive the journey, so each time she set sail for the emperor, the dragons surrounded the boat and brought her back. This happened over and over again, until the Emperor gave up and allowed Lung Mo to stay home. She remained in her home town until she died of old age. On her death the dragons took human form and became the Five Scholars.

Temple of the Dragon Mother.

Temple of the Dragon Mother.

Temple of the Dragon Mother.

Temple of the Dragon Mother.

Temple of the Dragon Mother.

Temple of the Dragon Mother.

Barnacles on broken boats on beach near Dragon Mother Temple.

Barnacles on broken boats on beach near Dragon Mother Temple.

Beach in front of Lung Mo Temple.

Beach in front of Lung Mo Temple.

Drying Gloves near Lung Mo Temple.

Drying Gloves near Lung Mo Temple.

I also visited the Seven Sisters Temple, Chek Tset Miu. This is extremely colourful and of a very unusual design. The Seven Sisters were a group of Hakka girls who were all very close friends and became sort of blood sisters. They each swore an oath to die rather than ever get married. However, the parents of the third sister forced her into a loveless marriage. On the night before the wedding, the sisters committed group suicide on the beach. Next day the girls' bodies had disappeared, but seven new rocks were seen sticking out above the sea. These became known as the Seven Sister Rocks.

The Temple of the Seven Sisters.

The Temple of the Seven Sisters.

The Temple of the Seven Sisters.

The Temple of the Seven Sisters.

The Temple of the Seven Sisters.

The Temple of the Seven Sisters.

The Temple of the Seven Sisters.

The Temple of the Seven Sisters.

I then walked along the waterfront to the left of the ferry pier. This was lined with lots of boats. These were either in the sea or being repaired on dry land. On the other side there were houses which ranged in style from shanty town, to village houses, to posh apartments.

Village House.

Village House.

Bikes and Doorways.

Bikes and Doorways.

Boats not Cars.

Boats not Cars.

Boats by Waterfront.

Boats by Waterfront.

Exercise Equipment on Waterfront.

Exercise Equipment on Waterfront.

Bulldozer with a view.

Bulldozer with a view.

As well as visiting the temples, I decided to walk to the very small island which is connected to Peng Chau by bridge. This island is called Tai Lei Chau. The bridge connecting the two islands is popular with fishermen. Tai Lei Chau houses a China Light and Power electrical substation, as well as a refuse-sorting facility which handles most of Peng Chau's garbage. It is also home to Peng Chau's emergency vehicles. There are no cars on Peng Chau. The only vehicles are emergency vehicles and delivery vehicles. People get around on foot or by bicycle.

Bridge Between Islands.

Bridge Between Islands.

Bridge Between Islands.

Bridge Between Islands.

Much of Tai Lei Chau is impossible to access, but there is an area outside the refuse-sorting facility that is decorated with lots of toys. I'm guessing these may have been thrown away, but instead of being destroyed, they are turned into works of art with dolls climbing trees, soft toys arranged in groups, tree swings made from tyres and lots of tricycles.

Art from toys.

Art from toys.

Art with Toys.

Art with Toys.

Doll in Tree.

Doll in Tree.

Art from Rubbish.

Art from Rubbish.

Nearby there are some interesting rock formations jutting out into the sea. From this area there are great views back towards Discovery Bay. Apparently marine biologists have identified around thirty-five different species of coral in the waters here. I saw several crabs scuttling around before disappearing into rock pools.

Rock Formation on Tai Lei Chau.

Rock Formation on Tai Lei Chau.

Tai Lei Chau Pier.

Tai Lei Chau Pier.

View from the pier on Tai Lei Chau.

View from the pier on Tai Lei Chau.

Rocks on Tai Lei Chau.

Rocks on Tai Lei Chau.

Beach on Tai Lei Chau.

Beach on Tai Lei Chau.

Hearts and Turtles.

Hearts and Turtles.

Tai Lei Chau.

Tai Lei Chau.

I then retraced my steps across the bridge back to Peng Chau and headed left along the Peng Yu Path. I have never walked this path before as I normally go up Finger Hill instead. The Peng Yu Path follows the coast and has great views towards Discovery Bay, other parts of Lantau, Disneyland and Hong Kong Island. The other lovely thing about this path is that it passes some beautiful little beaches. These were really clean and had interesting rock sculptures on them. I saw these on various parts of the island. Near the beginning of this path there is a helipad, presumably in case anyone needs airlifted to hospital at any point.

the Peng Yu Path.

the Peng Yu Path.

The Peng Yu Path.

The Peng Yu Path.

Helipad.

Helipad.

Beach on Peng Yu Path.

Beach on Peng Yu Path.

Sun on the Beach.

Sun on the Beach.

Beach.

Beach.

Swimming at the beach.

Swimming at the beach.

Lone Fisherman.

Lone Fisherman.

As well as great coastal views from this path, there was also some lovely flowers and some colourful berries. The whole area was incredibly beautiful and peaceful.

Beautiful Flowers.

Beautiful Flowers.

Berries on Peng Yu Path.

Berries on Peng Yu Path.

Eventually I reached a rock known as the Old Fisherman's Rock. Actually there were two rocks standing up vertically here. I'm not really sure which one was supposed to be the old fisherman. From here the path moved inland. Near the fisherman's rock there is a pavilion where it is possible to take a rest and escape the sun for a while.

Old Fisherman's Rock.

Old Fisherman's Rock.

Fisherman's Rock.

Fisherman's Rock.

Pavilion on Peng Yu Walk.

Pavilion on Peng Yu Walk.

There was then a choice of routes. First I climbed down the stairs to a beautiful deserted beach. I have heard some reviews describe it as the hidden beach. This had great views towards Hong Kong Island.

Path down to Hidden beach with view of Hong Kong Island.

Path down to Hidden beach with view of Hong Kong Island.

Hidden Beach.

Hidden Beach.

Hidden Beach.

Hidden Beach.

After looking at the hidden beach, I climbed up to a radio transmitting station then headed right. I passed the trigonometrical marker for the top of this low hill then I should have followed a sign for Tung Wan, but instead I went straight and ended up in Peng Chau's hilltop graveyard. I think Chinese graves are often located on mountains due to good feng shui. There were certainly beautiful sea views from here.

Trigonometrical Marker.

Trigonometrical Marker.

Fire Beaters.

Fire Beaters.

Graveyard with a view.

Graveyard with a view.

Graveyard with a View.

Graveyard with a View.

Graveyard with a View.

Graveyard with a View.

Graveyard with a view.

Graveyard with a view.

Returning to the main town from the graveyard, I went for a walk along Wing On Street, the Street of Eternal Peace. This is the commercial heart of Peng Chau, so there are some restaurants, bars, market stalls and colourful shops around this area.

Old China Hand Pub.

Old China Hand Pub.

Market.

Market.

Market.

Market.

Colourful Garlands.

Colourful Garlands.

I just found this building interesting.

I just found this building interesting.

In addition, one part of the street, which used to be home to two leather factories, has now been turned into an art gallery that uses discarded rubbish to create works of art. This area was very colourful and popular and was filled with people taking photos.

Former Leather Factory

Former Leather Factory

One Man's Trash is Another Man's Treasure.

One Man's Trash is Another Man's Treasure.

Chairs Sculpture.

Chairs Sculpture.

Art Gallery.

Art Gallery.

Girl with Balloons.

Girl with Balloons.

Medals as Art.

Medals as Art.

Motorbike as Art.

Motorbike as Art.

Umbrella Art.

Umbrella Art.

Guitars Art.

Guitars Art.

Bicycle Art.

Bicycle Art.

Soft Toy Art.

Soft Toy Art.

Wheels Gallery.

Wheels Gallery.

Finally I returned towards the ferry pier, but this time set off towards Finger Hill. I had no intention of going up there. I just wanted to stroll along by the sea. There are some beautiful flowers in the gardens that line the sea promenade. On the other side there are some interesting houses. To my surprise I even came across a sort of Christmas tree, a bit unexpected in May!!!

Waterfront.

Waterfront.

Colourful Flowers on the Waterfront.

Colourful Flowers on the Waterfront.

Colourful Flowers on the Waterfront.

Colourful Flowers on the Waterfront.

Waterfront.

Waterfront.

Bikes on the Waterfront.

Bikes on the Waterfront.

Boats on the Waterfront.

Boats on the Waterfront.

Waterfront and Pier.

Waterfront and Pier.

Christmas tree.

Christmas tree.

Village Street with Murals.

Village Street with Murals.

Another thing that was interesting about this area was the fish and other sea creatures which had been hung out along the waterfront to dry.

Drying Seafood.

Drying Seafood.

Drying Seafood.

Drying Seafood.

Drying Seafood.

Drying Seafood.

Finally, starting to feel a bit sun struck, I took the small ferry back to Discovery Bay.

Ferry Leaving the Island.

Ferry Leaving the Island.

Posted by irenevt 07:09 Archived in Hong Kong

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Comments

I liked the story of Lung Mo! :)

Lovely walk and photos yet again! And again, so hot!

by hennaonthetrek

Thanks for the walk. My, 42 is hot.

by alectrevor

Hi Henna and Alec, yes it was certainly hot. It still is. This will probably continue till September. It's exhausting to do anything here at the moment. All the best, Irene.

by irenevt

The cemeteries have such interesting shapes in them. I would not be out there in that heat. Do take precautions

by greatgrandmaR

Hi Rosalie, you are right. It will be too hot here to do much until September, though having said that, it's rained here all day which cooled it down temporarily. Thank you for visiting, Irene

by irenevt

Some very lovely beaches indeed along this walk. And what a view from the cemetery …

by Jojes

Yes the beaches are lovely. I swam at one once and the water was way too shallow to swim in, but I can't remember which beach that was. I should have another try.

by irenevt

I've never heard of these small islands, but they certainly look fascinating in your photos. 42° would be a bit much, however.

by Nemorino

Hi Don,

Hong Kong has quite a lot of islands. This is one of the smaller inhabited ones but it's not remote and it's easy to get to. In the summer I plan to visit some of the harder to get to ones with very small populations. There are also many remote uninhabited islands I wouldn't be able to get to without my own boat.

by irenevt

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