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Love is in the Air.

A Stroll Along Bowen Road Fitness Trail.

sunny

King Yin Lei with Bougainvillia.

King Yin Lei with Bougainvillia.

Another day, another trip for more eye medicine! This is a different kind of medicine and from a different place. Since I had travelled all the way to get it, I decided to do a short walk after buying it.

I took the number 15 bus which goes up the Peak again, but this time I only travelled up a short way, as my walk would start from opposite the Adventist Hospital. I deliberately got off the bus a couple of stops after the hospital, because I wanted to take a closer look at the beautiful old Chinese mansion there.

This mansion was originally known as Hei Lo meaning 'Happy Shelter'. It was designed in Chinese Renaissance style by British architect, Arthur Robert Fenton-Raven. He originally came to Hong Kong with the British army, then returned after qualifying as an architect.

The mansion was commissioned by Li Po-Lun, a Chinese woman who made large sums of money by investing wisely in the stock and foreign exchange markets. In 1937 she paid HK$600,000 to buy a large plot of land on the Peak and have a mansion built there. At this time very few Chinese people were allowed to live on the Peak. Li's husband, Shum Yat-chor was a successful businessman who ran a chain of herbal tea shops in Australia.

However, fortunes change and by the 1970s, Li and her family were experiencing severe financial difficulties which forced them to sell off Hei Lo. It was bought by businessman, Stephen Yow Mok-shing, who renamed it King Yin Lei, which means 'Esteemed View'. In 2004 Yow decided to sell King Yin Lei, allegedly for HK$430 million and conservationists began to worry about its approaching fate. The new owner initially began to demolish King Yin Lei with the intention of building blocks of flats on the site.

I had worked in a school opposite the building a couple of years before this and was always quite fascinated by King Yin Lei as I waited for my bus home. I was horrified to learn that in 2007 workmen were beginning to tear this beautiful building apart. Fortunately the government stepped in and declared the building a historical monument. The owner was given an alternative plot of land of a similar value to build on and King Yin Lei was saved.

Since then, the mansion has only been open to members of the public on a small number of occasions. I have never been fortunate enough to get in, but have seen photos of the inside and it's stunning. The house also has a beautiful garden with stunning views and a swimming pool. The swimming pool is nowadays sadly empty except for rain water.

Several films have been shot in King Yin Lei, including 'Soldier of Fortune' starring Clark Gable and Susan Hayward, though apparently Susan Hayward never actually came to Hong Kong and a body double filmed her scenes here. This was because at the time of filming, Hayward was embroiled in a custody battle with her ex-husband and couldn't leave the country. King Yin Lei was also used as Han's mansion, home to the evil villain in 'Enter the Dragon' starring Bruce Lee.

King Yin Lei - Stunning Chinese Mansion.

King Yin Lei - Stunning Chinese Mansion.

King Yin Lei, a different view.

King Yin Lei, a different view.

King Yin Lei.

King Yin Lei.

King Yin Lei and some of the gardens.

King Yin Lei and some of the gardens.

King Yin Lei Driveway. The empty swimming pool is down the stairs on the right.

King Yin Lei Driveway. The empty swimming pool is down the stairs on the right.

King Yin Lei Views.

King Yin Lei Views.

From the mansion I headed down the hill. I was annoyed that the pavement kept running out and I had to walk on the edge of a very busy road from time to time. This was very dangerous and made me question my sanity in doing it. Every now and then there were beautiful views from here.

Views on the walk down from the mansion.

Views on the walk down from the mansion.

Views on the walk down from the mansion.

Views on the walk down from the mansion.

Anyway, I finally got to the steps leading down to Bowen Road Fitness Trail. The Bowen Road Fitness Trail is about 3km long and completely flat. It is popular with walkers, runners, children and dog walkers. There are great views from this trail, fitness stations along the route, a couple of small parks and a couple of interesting shrines. Bowen Road was named after Sir George Bowen, who was the ninth Governor of Hong Kong from 1883 to 1885.

Bowen Road Sign.

Bowen Road Sign.

Bowen Road Fitness Trail Map.

Bowen Road Fitness Trail Map.

Bowen Road - some parts have great views.

Bowen Road - some parts have great views.

Bowen Road - some parts have great views.

Bowen Road - some parts have great views.

Some parts are shaded and green.

Some parts are shaded and green.

Some parts are shaded and green.

Some parts are shaded and green.

Runner on Bowen Road.

Runner on Bowen Road.

As soon as I came down the stairs onto Bowen Road I noticed another set of stairs leading up to a colourful little shrine, so I climbed up to take a look and I was glad I did as it was really very pretty.

Small shrine on way up to main shrine.

Small shrine on way up to main shrine.

Small shrine on way up to main shrine.

Small shrine on way up to main shrine.

Small shrine on way up to main shrine.

Small shrine on way up to main shrine.



Incense inside the main shrine.

Incense inside the main shrine.

Small shrine inside the main shrine.

Small shrine inside the main shrine.

Small shrine inside the main shrine.

Small shrine inside the main shrine.

Small shrine inside the main shrine.

Small shrine inside the main shrine.

Close up of small shrine inside the main shrine.

Close up of small shrine inside the main shrine.

Close up of small shrine inside the main shrine.

Close up of small shrine inside the main shrine.

The Main Shrine.

The Main Shrine.

The Main Shrine.

The Main Shrine.

Back on the path, not far from the first shrine, I noticed a city boundary marker, indicating that in 1903 Victoria City ended at this point.

City Boundary Stone.

City Boundary Stone.

As I walked along Bowen Road Fitness Path to the second larger and more famous shrine, I enjoyed lots of beautiful city views. Bowen Road Fitness Trail has some shady areas , surrounded by trees, where you can cool down in the summer months and some open areas with spectacular city views.

Looking over Happy Valley Race Course.

Looking over Happy Valley Race Course.

View over the city.

View over the city.

View over the city.

View over the city.

View over the city.

View over the city.

View over the city.

View over the city.

Looking over the city.

Looking over the city.

I'm pretty sure the low brown building here is Nam Koo Terrace. It's apparently one of the most haunted buildings in Hong Kong. The Japanese kept comfort women here during World War II.

I'm pretty sure the low brown building here is Nam Koo Terrace. It's apparently one of the most haunted buildings in Hong Kong. The Japanese kept comfort women here during World War II.

I really want to visit that low brown building, but not sure how close I can get with all the construction going on.

I really want to visit that low brown building, but not sure how close I can get with all the construction going on.

City View.

City View.

View of the Hopewell Centre.

View of the Hopewell Centre.

Hopewell Centre.

Hopewell Centre.

Bowen Road near the Hopewell Centre.

Bowen Road near the Hopewell Centre.

The second shrine I visited is known as Lovers' Rock. It's a huge nine metre high phallic shaped granite boulder that is supposedly home to the god of love. Single women visit here if they want to find a partner and childless women visit if they want to have a baby.

To get there it's necessary to climb up lots of stairs. As you climb up you will pass lots of little shrines. There are good views from the top. When I went behind the rock, I noticed lots of love related graffiti written on it

Apparently Lovers' Rock gets very busy during the Maidens’ Festival, on the seventh day of the seventh month, that's some time in August. There was almost no-one here when I visited, which was great.

Sign for Lovers' Rock. Also known as Lovers' Stone Garden.

Sign for Lovers' Rock. Also known as Lovers' Stone Garden.

This little shrine is on Bowen Road at the foot of Lovers' Rock.

This little shrine is on Bowen Road at the foot of Lovers' Rock.

Stairs up to the shrine.

Stairs up to the shrine.

Shrine on the way up.

Shrine on the way up.

Shrine on the way up.

Shrine on the way up.

Shrine on the way up.

Shrine on the way up.

Shrine on the way up.

Shrine on the way up.

Shrine on the way up.

Shrine on the way up.

Looking back down.

Looking back down.

Looking back down.

Looking back down.

The Midway Shrine.

The Midway Shrine.

The Phallic Rock Shrine.

The Phallic Rock Shrine.

The Phallic Rock Shrine.

The Phallic Rock Shrine.

Tunnel underneath Lovers' Rock.

Tunnel underneath Lovers' Rock.

Graffiti on the back of Lovers' Rock

Graffiti on the back of Lovers' Rock

Four-faced shrine next to Lovers' Rock.

Four-faced shrine next to Lovers' Rock.

In addition to the shrines, there are a couple of parks on this walk. The first is called Orchid Valley, not sure why, I've been here twice without seeing any orchids. This park has got public toilets, bridges and pavilions. When I walked from Wan Chai to Aberdeen Reservoir up Wan Chai Gap Road last year this place was a godsend to collapse in after the steep climb.

Orchid Valley.

Orchid Valley.

Orchid Valley.

Orchid Valley.

Back on Bowen Road Fitness Trail.

Back on Bowen Road Fitness Trail.

When I finally reached the end of Bowen Road Fitness Trail, there was a rather attractive pink house guarded by stone lions. It looked like a nice place to live if you could afford it. It certainly wouldn't come cheap.

Posh House at the end of Bowen Road.

Posh House at the end of Bowen Road.

Posh House at the end of Bowen Road.

Posh House at the end of Bowen Road.

Lion guarding the house.

Lion guarding the house.

Then I reached Bowen Road Gardens. This is also a small park with washrooms, seats, lots of plants and a little Chinese style pavilion.

Although I enjoyed my walk along Bowen Road, historically it is also associated with the Bowen Road dog poisoner. I'm not sure that he or she has been active lately, but this deranged individual used to leave poisoned meat at the side of the road here. As a result many dogs, cats and wild animals died. He or she has never been caught.

Bowen Road Gardens.

Bowen Road Gardens.

After a quick look at Bowen Road Gardens, I decided to wander down Bowen Drive and wended my way back to Admiralty MTR.

Walking back down to Admiralty MTR.

Walking back down to Admiralty MTR.

Walking back down to Admiralty MTR.

Walking back down to Admiralty MTR.

Walk back down to Admiralty MTR.

Walk back down to Admiralty MTR.

The reason I had done such a short walk was I had promised I'd take Peter out to dinner and I didn't want to let him down as he doesn't get out much at the moment with his failing eye sight and the COVID epidemic. Nowadays restaurants close at six pm, so if you want to eat dinner out you have to go out about four p.m.

Peter enjoying his pint.

Peter enjoying his pint.

Posted by irenevt 12:54 Archived in Hong Kong

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Comments

Another very interesting blog. Thanks.

by alectrevor

Hi Alec, thank you for visiting.

by irenevt

Looks like you got your dinner . . . at least the most important part of it!

by Beausoleil

Haha. yes we managed to get dinner, Sally. If you can call it that at 4pm.

by irenevt

An interesting walk. I'd like to visit there someday to see some of the places you write about

by greatgrandmaR

Hi Rosalie,

There's certainly a surprisingly large amount to see here for such a small place. Nowadays though there's ridiculously long quarantine to get in here - 3 weeks and everything is shut due to COVID, so not the best of times. We are also all awaiting a lockdown during which everyone will get tested 3 times.

by irenevt

King Yin Lei would be very interesting to visit! :)

7nth day of 7nth month, isn't it July, not August....?

by hennaonthetrek

Hi Henna, I'd love to see inside this mansion, but it's not easy to get tickets to go in.

The Chinese use the same calendar as the west, but they have an older Chinese calendar. Their first month of the year, i.e. Chinese New Year, sometimes corresponds with January, sometimes with February. They use this calendar to work out festivals, a bit like we do with Easter. The 7th month on their calendar could be our July, as you said, or our August depending on when Chinese New Year was.

by irenevt

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