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Don't Go Chasing Waterfalls.

A hike to the waterfalls of Ng Tung Chai.

semi-overcast

Middle Fall.

Middle Fall.

I've been thinking about doing the Ng Tung Chai Waterfall Hike since last September, but I keep making excuses and doing other hikes instead. I rationalise this by constantly telling myself the water level at the falls won't be high enough, but in reality I think the true reason I've been avoiding this hike is because it sounded quite hard. Anyway, yesterday, I finally got around to doing it.

Ng Tung Chai is a village situated on the lower slopes of Tai Mo Shan, the highest mountain in Hong Kong. Behind the village the Lam Tsuen Stream tumbles its way down the mountains in a series of waterfalls. Most people visit the four main ones, though there are actually several more.

To get there, I travelled to Kam Sheung Road MTR Station, exited through exit C and then took bus 64K in the direction of Tai Po Market. I got off at Ngau Len Wo.

It was quite a pleasant journey and took around twenty minutes. From the bus I took a picture of a monument in Sheung Tsuen Park, not sure what it commemorates.

Sheung Tsuen Park. I think this is a Reunification Memorial celebrating Hong Kong's return to China in 1997.

Sheung Tsuen Park. I think this is a Reunification Memorial celebrating Hong Kong's return to China in 1997.

When I got off at Ngau Len Wo, I crossed the road and immediately saw a sign for the Ng Tung Chai Waterfall Hike. I was delighted, as I often waste so much time and effort trying to find the start of hikes. As I later noticed many times on this walk, the whole route was incredibly well signposted.

I followed the direction of the sign up a sloping road and into the village of Ng Tung Chai. I only passed a couple of village houses as the path to the waterfalls left the village very quickly. There were some lovely flowers and trees in some of the gardens and I liked the fancy mailbox at one house.

Sign for the village as soon as I crossed the road.

Sign for the village as soon as I crossed the road.

Beautiful tree.

Beautiful tree.

Bougainvilia.

Bougainvilia.

Bamboo.

Bamboo.

Bamboo.

Bamboo.

Broad Leaves.

Broad Leaves.

Decorations and fancy mailbox outside a house

Decorations and fancy mailbox outside a house

Decorations.

Decorations.

Fancy Post Box.

Fancy Post Box.

Ng Tung Chai Village.

Ng Tung Chai Village.

House and dog in Ng Tung Chai Village.

House and dog in Ng Tung Chai Village.

House in Ng Tung Chai Village.

House in Ng Tung Chai Village.

I left the village via a very steep road with views over a couple of small farms. There were a few well kept village graves on the hillside. I soon reached a large arched gateway which indicated that there was a temple nearby.

Village grave.

Village grave.

Temple gateway.

Temple gateway.

Temple gateway.

Temple gateway.

Little farms.

Little farms.

Little Farms.

Little Farms.

One of the little farms.

One of the little farms.

Farms.

Farms.

Silver grass.

Silver grass.

Banana flower.

Banana flower.

The temple is called Man Tak Yuen. It is a Taoist temple and is supposed to be lovely inside. Unfortunately, this temple was closed due to COVID. Just past the temple there is a little bridge and on the far side of this, I saw the first waterfall of the hike. The Ng Tung Chai Waterfall hike is called the Four Waterfalls Hike in English. This is not one of the four waterfalls, but it was quite pretty nonetheless. The trail to the waterfalls starts from next to this waterfall and comes with its very own warning sign. There was a slight tree obscured view of the temple from the stairs up to the start of the walk.

Temple entrance.

Temple entrance.

Temple entrance.

Temple entrance.

Shrine in front of the temple.

Shrine in front of the temple.

Inscription outside the temple.

Inscription outside the temple.

Bridge next to the temple.

Bridge next to the temple.

Waterfall next to the temple.

Waterfall next to the temple.

Sign for the waterfalls.

Sign for the waterfalls.

This sign did little to reassure me about the hike ahead.

This sign did little to reassure me about the hike ahead.

Looking back towards the temple from the hill.

Looking back towards the temple from the hill.

Looking back towards the temple from the hill.

Looking back towards the temple from the hill.

Very quickly into the walk the trail divides into two. To the right there is a way up Tai Mo Shan without passing the waterfalls. On the left is the way to Tai Mo Shan via the waterfalls. I had no intention of going all the way to the top of Tai Mo Shan on this hike. I just wanted to see the waterfalls, so I took the path on the left.

Soon this path starts to get a bit steep with lots of stairs, but it wanders through the beautiful greenery of the jungle and is perfectly pleasant. I believe this route gets busy at weekends and on public holidays, but yesterday it was fairly quiet. All I could hear as I climbed, was the buzzing of insects, birds singing and water trickling down the hillside. It was very peaceful. Some hikes are friendlier than others. Here everyone I passed said hello.

The path splits at the Tai Mo Shan Country Park sign.

The path splits at the Tai Mo Shan Country Park sign.

Don't take this path on the right. It misses out the waterfalls. It's the route I came back by.

Don't take this path on the right. It misses out the waterfalls. It's the route I came back by.

Follow the sign for the waterfalls on your left.

Follow the sign for the waterfalls on your left.

Some stretches of the path had stone steps.

Some stretches of the path had stone steps.

The way was mainly shaded and surrounded with greenery.

The way was mainly shaded and surrounded with greenery.

Stone steps through the jungle.

Stone steps through the jungle.

Tree roots growing across the path.

Tree roots growing across the path.

Moss covered rocks.

Moss covered rocks.

Giant ferns.

Giant ferns.

Epiphyte growing out of a tree.

Epiphyte growing out of a tree.

I loved wandering through the jungle.

I loved wandering through the jungle.

Some bits were trickier than others.

Some bits were trickier than others.

Some bits were trickier than others.

Some bits were trickier than others.

After about thirty minutes of walking I arrived at the first of the four waterfalls this hike is named after. This is called Bottom Fall. To reach it, you have to leave the path and climb down some steps. I had the whole waterfall to myself. It's shady next to the falls and there are lots of moss covered rocks. I found it very relaxing here.

Bottom Fall Sign.

Bottom Fall Sign.

Bottom Fall.

Bottom Fall.

Selfie with Bottom Fall.

Selfie with Bottom Fall.

Bottom Fall.

Bottom Fall.

Epiphyte at Bottom Fall.

Epiphyte at Bottom Fall.

Once I had made it to Bottom Fall, I knew I could certainly reach the second waterfall as it is only around five minutes further on. This one is called Middle Fall and it's a lot taller than Bottom Fall. There were two other hikers sitting on the rocks here.

Sign for Middle Fall.

Sign for Middle Fall.

Middle Fall.

Middle Fall.

Selfie at Middle Fall.

Selfie at Middle Fall.

I took a slight rest here, as it was the next section of the hike I was worried about. I've read lots of blogs on this walk and adjectives used to describe the section between Middle Fall and Main Fall are commonly words such as gruelling, dreadful, exhausting, daunting. These had not inspired me with confidence. I had promised myself that if I was really tired by this stage, I would turn round and go back down. I could tell anyone who might read this blog that Ng Tung Chai is known as the Two Waterfalls Walk and they would never be any the wiser. However, to my surprise, I was not really all that tired and I was actually enjoying the walk. I ploughed on.

The stretch between Middle Fall and Main Fall is gruelling and exhausting and everything else it has been described as, but it has one thing in its favour - it is also amazingly beautiful. It really is the jungle now. I felt like Jane wandering around wondering where Tarzan had got to. I stopped frequently to catch my breath and photograph everything. The beauty all around me distracted me from the difficulties of the walk.

The path was steep and slippy and in many places incredibly narrow. This would not be fun if it were crowded, as there are many places you cannot pass someone coming the other way. I only passed two other hikers before I reached Main Fall.

I realised that I was drenched in sweat from the humidity even though it was not a particularly warm day. I was also getting eaten alive by mosquitoes. I had forgotten to bring repellant.

This part of the walk took me forty minutes. Near the end of this stretch, the path descends around the edge of a cliff with a bit of a drop off to the left hand side. In places you have to sit down and lower yourself to the next part of the path below. At this point I was beginning to question my sanity and that's when up ahead I saw the incredibly tall Main Fall and knew I had made it.

In some places the path was narrow.

In some places the path was narrow.

In some places it was rocky.

In some places it was rocky.

Some parts of the path ran along beside the stream. There were little waterfalls every now and then.

Some parts of the path ran along beside the stream. There were little waterfalls every now and then.

Moss covered rocks next to the stream.

Moss covered rocks next to the stream.

Different colours of mosses and lichens on the rocks.

Different colours of mosses and lichens on the rocks.

Being here all alone made me feel like an intrepid explorer.

Being here all alone made me feel like an intrepid explorer.

As you can see I got totally carried away photographing my surroundings.

As you can see I got totally carried away photographing my surroundings.

Jungle path.

Jungle path.

Jungle path.

Jungle path.

Stairs through the jungle..

Stairs through the jungle..

Stairs through the jungle.

Stairs through the jungle.

Vegetation lined path.

Vegetation lined path.

Rocky Path.

Rocky Path.

Selfie on the jungle path.

Selfie on the jungle path.

Fallen log.

Fallen log.

Flowers.

Flowers.

I believe Main Fall is the highest falls in Hong Kong. The water drops down from a height of thirty-five metres. People swim in the waterfall pools at all four of the waterfalls in summer time. I actually wore my swimming costume yesterday, but we haven't had much rain for a long time and the pools did not look that deep. Add to that, that having got really warm just before Easter, it has mercifully cooled down again. Yesterday was not at all hot.

Sign for Main Fall.

Sign for Main Fall.

Main Fall.

Main Fall.

Selfie with Main Fall.

Selfie with Main Fall.

Zoom view of the top of Main Fall. Someone died here taking a selfie last year.

Zoom view of the top of Main Fall. Someone died here taking a selfie last year.

Main Fall.

Main Fall.

After enjoying Main Fall for a while I crossed over the stream flowing out of it. You have to do this on the rocks. There isn't a bridge. I was heading for the last of the four falls - Scatter Fall. I wasn't sure if I would be able to get here as I read some blogs saying the path between Main Fall and Scatter Fall had been wrecked by a typhoon and was impassable. That may have been the case before, but it has been cleared now. There were warning signs about landslips and advice not to go here in rainy weather.

Warning sign on the way up to Scatter Fall

Warning sign on the way up to Scatter Fall

The path from Main Fall to Scatter Falls is short but steep and quite challenging in parts. There were lots of banana trees all around it. It only took about ten minutes between the two waterfalls. Scatter Falls is just above Main Fall. I passed a cave on the climb up, when I investigated it from close up, I discovered it was flooded. There was another cave right next to Scatter Fall. The falls are not exactly imaginatively named: Bottom Fall, Middle Fall, Main Fall. I can only imagine Scatter Falls is called this because it is wide and so the waterfall is scattered across several rocks. Some people have suggested it looks like locks of long hair scattered across a pillow.

The path up to Scatter Falls.

The path up to Scatter Falls.

The path up to Scatter Falls.

The path up to Scatter Falls.

The path up. Those rails came in handy.

The path up. Those rails came in handy.

The path up. Where did it go?

The path up. Where did it go?

The path wasn't always easy.

The path wasn't always easy.

Vegetation on the walk up to Scatter Fall.

Vegetation on the walk up to Scatter Fall.

Banana Trees.

Banana Trees.

Banana Trees.

Banana Trees.

In places water flowed over this path and bits of it were quite wet.

In places water flowed over this path and bits of it were quite wet.

Wet Path.

Wet Path.

Flooded cave on way up.

Flooded cave on way up.

Flooded cave on way up.

Flooded cave on way up.

When I finally got to Scatter Falls, two Chinese girls came along and started taking photos. I offered to take their photo so they could be in the shot together. Then they took my photo. Then one of them wanted her photo taken with me. For a while we were all hopping around all over the place like idiots posing in front of the waterfall. Then we said goodbye and I set off, but suddenly they called me back. One of them had lost her i-phone and they thought I might have taken it. I don't mean they accused me of stealing it. They thought I might have taken it by mistake with all the passing around of phones. Now I must admit I am one of the world's most scatterbrained people. Even I thought I might have taken it by mistake and was wondering how I would be able to explain: 'I'm not a thief, just an idiot.' I began searching frantically through my bags. Anyway it turned out the girl had dropped her phone next to the stream and she finally found it. Then of course they were really apologetic in case they had offended me, but they hadn't. It was all just a big mix up. I thought that girl was really lucky that she had realised right away she had lost her phone or she would never have found it again.

Scatter Fall Sign.

Scatter Fall Sign.

Opposite Scatter Falls is the top of Main Fall.

Opposite Scatter Falls is the top of Main Fall.

Cave next to Scatter Falls.

Cave next to Scatter Falls.

Scatter Falls.

Scatter Falls.

Side view of Scatter Falls.

Side view of Scatter Falls.

Me in front of Scatter Falls.

Me in front of Scatter Falls.

Photo before the great I-phone mystery.

Photo before the great I-phone mystery.

Selfie with Scatter Falls.

Selfie with Scatter Falls.

I had made it, and what's more I had really enjoyed this walk. However, in many places the path had been like a sort of assault course. I wasn't really relishing trying to get back down it again. I had three choices. I could retrace my steps. I could go up further, then head left and continue on till I reached the road up to Tai Mo Shan. Or I could head up further, then head right. This way would eventually lead me down to the place where the two paths diverged just after the temple. In other words this was the path up Tai Mo Shan that didn't go via the waterfalls. I chose the latter option.

At first this way was very pleasant. It followed a flat path. At one point the path even cut through a ruined building. Then after around fifteen minutes or so, I reached stairs down the mountain. I must admit I did not enjoy this path. The stairs were uneven and difficult to walk on, so I had to concentrate on them fully in order not to trip. This meant I could not enjoy my surroundings. Also they seemed endless and they were really jarring on my knees. I was beginning to think I should have continued on to the Tai Mo Shan Road, but who knows, maybe this way would be difficult, too. I did pass some colourful flowers on the way down and the occasional distant view. I was delighted when I finally reached the bottom.

To get down first I had to go further up

To get down first I had to go further up

Passing through a bamboo grove on the flat path.

Passing through a bamboo grove on the flat path.

Ruin on the path.

Ruin on the path.

Ruin on the path.

Ruin on the path.

Choices, choices.

Choices, choices.

Nonstop stairs down. I hated this path. My knees hate me for taking it.

Nonstop stairs down. I hated this path. My knees hate me for taking it.

View on the way down.

View on the way down.

Flowers on the way down.

Flowers on the way down.

Flowers on the way down.

Flowers on the way down.

Flowers on the way down.

Flowers on the way down.

Selfie on the way down.

Selfie on the way down.

It was wonderful to finally be done with those awful stairs. I caught the bus back to the MTR and returned home to rest my weary legs and feet

Excellent signposting right to the end.

Excellent signposting right to the end.

Posted by irenevt 08:29 Archived in Hong Kong

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Comments

Well done making it through the jungle to the beautiful water falls. Hope your knees forgive you!
Wonderful photos x

by Catherine

Thank you, Catherine. I think my feet and knees have largely recovered.

by irenevt

I really admire you for taking on this hike and managing it all so well! I can sympathise with how your knees must have felt on the way down those steps, as I suffer the same way 🤗 But the falls and the lush jungle greenery are lovely, real rewards for your efforts!

by ToonSarah

Hi Sarah, I guess I'm getting on a bit. I need a rest between hikes. I think I'm recovered now. Wouldn't be able to do this every day.I did really enjoy it though. Beautiful surroundings.

by irenevt

well done Irene, my knees ache for you, . Just done a blog on Rhine Falls,easy to get too and low level.

by alectrevor

Hi Alec, I think my knees are restored. I've been taking it easy the last few days.

by irenevt

I am sure this was a very good trip.

Ciao!

by Maurizioagos

Thank you for visiting, Maurizio. Hope you are well.

by irenevt

I so admire your courage. I don't mind going up but absolutely hate coming down and I'd rather have a slope than stairs any time. Ideally, you should be able to climb to the top and have a helicopter take you down. LOL

by Beausoleil

Haha, a helicopter off would have been greatly appreciated. Thanks for visiting.

by irenevt

Unfortunately I am not well these days. I got herpes zooster!

Hugs!

by Maurizioagos

Oh no, I hope you get well soon.

by irenevt

Wow, all of the path doesn't even look like a path at all!!
Very pretty though :)

by hennaonthetrek

Hi Henna, this was definitely one of the best walks I've done in getting up the way anyway. It was really beautiful.

by irenevt

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