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Return to Gin Drinkers' Bay

Central Kwai Chung Park.

sunny

On my last visit to Kwai Chung, I visited the farm on top of the Metroplaza Shopping Centre, then attempted to visit the park, but I messed up and ended up following directions to the wrong park. Yesterday I decided to have another go.

After the events of last time, I have researched the Kwai Chung area a bit more. Chung is Cantonese for stream and the Kwai Stream used to run into Gin Drinkers' Bay here. The bay was called Gin Drinkers' Bay, because extravagant launch parties for new ships used to take place here. Plus this area was a popular spot for rich people to come and hold drunken boat parties. Now Gin Drinkers' Bay no longer exists. Its name lives on only in The Gin Drinkers' Line, a line of wartime defences that were supposed to keep enemies out, but which were quickly overpowered by the Japanese. These defences start in the hills just behind this area.

Gin Drinkers' Bay later became land in a major land reclamation project. Part of the reclaimed land was used for housing and commercial buildings, part was used as a huge rubbish dump. The rubbish dump was so large that the area became known as Lap Sap Wan or Rubbish Bay.

When the rubbish dump was full up, it was landscaped over. It was this area I mistakenly went to last time. Apparently there is now a cricket ground and a BMX bike track there, which is a bit surprising, as all around the site there are warnings to keep out and not to smoke due to the build up of flammable gas in the landfill site. Apparently the gas levels are carefully monitored. Some is used as fuel and some is destroyed. Anyway that was the wrong area for the park I wanted. If you are ever in Hong Kong, I'd strongly recommend never going there! It was vile.

This time thankfully, I went the right way. To go to Central Kwai Chung Park, exit the MTR so that you are facing the Metroplaza Shopping Centre, then go to your right. When you reach the busy Kwai Foo Road go right again.

When I reached Kwai Chung Road, I suddenly noticed a sign for a temple. I had no idea that it existed and I made a diversion to see it. There was no information in English here, but I later found out it was a Tin Hau Temple dedicated to the goddess of the sea. Again due to land reclamation many temples that would have once been on the sea are far in land. This one is on the edge of a major road.

This temple was originally known as the Tin Hau Temple under the mango tree. It was founded in 1796 and has since been restored several times. It is managed by the Tang Clan of Ha Kwai Chung Village. The most notable feature of the temple is its extremely elaborate and ornate roof. Fortunately I had my camera with me, so I could zoom in on the roof to see it in more detail.

I didn't know there was a temple here until I saw this sign.

I didn't know there was a temple here until I saw this sign.

Tin Hau Temple under the mango tree.

Tin Hau Temple under the mango tree.

Shrine outside the temple.

Shrine outside the temple.

Shrine outside the temple.

Shrine outside the temple.

Detail on the outside of the temple.

Detail on the outside of the temple.

Tin Hau.

Tin Hau.

Not sure but this may be a Buddhist goddess called Marici.

Not sure but this may be a Buddhist goddess called Marici.

Inside the temple.

Inside the temple.

Incense coils.

Incense coils.

Detail of temple roof.

Detail of temple roof.

Detail of temple roof.

Detail of temple roof.

On the far side of the temple, I discovered a shrine filled with hundreds of models of different gods and goddesses. There were so many I wondered if it was like the shrine in Waterfall Bay where people put unwanted or broken deities, as it is bad luck to throw them out.

Various deities.

Various deities.

Various deities.

Various deities.

Various deities.

Various deities.

Various deities.

Various deities.

Various deities.

Various deities.

Various deities.

Various deities.

Then I returned to Kwai Foo Road and continued the way I had been going. I was soon at the park. It was only around a ten minute walk, though I had to stand for a long time at traffic lights, as the route crossed many major roads.

I have been to a lot of Hong Kong parks and they generally have certain features in common, such as: turtle and fish filled ponds, moon gates, foot massage paths. This one was quite different. The reason for this is that this park is built into the hillside and has very little flat ground. The small amount of flat ground there is, is used as sport's facilities, such as a basketball court, or as a children's playground.

The only typical feature this park had was that it had lots of little pavilions where it was possible to sit and shelter from the weather. Apart from these the park had lots of paths and stairways going through the woods. This made it feel more like being on a hike than in a park. That was great apart from the fact it was 35 degrees and I was soon a sweaty mass from climbing up and down. Actually I am really missing hiking so it was really quite enjoyable.

Map of the park.

Map of the park.

Flowers near the entrance to the park.

Flowers near the entrance to the park.

Seating area near the entrance.

Seating area near the entrance.

Picnic site.

Picnic site.

Shelter with rocks.

Shelter with rocks.

Forest.

Forest.

Forest and stairways.

Forest and stairways.

All those stairs and 35 degrees heat did not go well together.

All those stairs and 35 degrees heat did not go well together.

Pavilion.

Pavilion.

Pavilion.

Pavilion.

One of the first things I did was climb up to the sundial. Unfortunately this was a dead end so I had to come down and climb up again elsewhere to see more.

Sun dial.

Sun dial.

Sun dial.Look at it twice, getting there almost killed me.

Sun dial.Look at it twice, getting there almost killed me.

The park office here is housed in an attractive old building, not sure if it was once someone's home or used for something else.

Old building.

Old building.

Old building.

Old building.

There were quite a few lovely flowers around the park.

Flowers.

Flowers.

Colourful flower.

Colourful flower.

Pretty yellow flowers.

Pretty yellow flowers.

The best bit of this walk was when I climbed up to the natural hiking trail. This time when I got to the top, I could walk along quite a long way on the flat path. I was surrounded by lovely trees, many had long impressive roots clinging to the hillside. I kept seeing lots of beautiful butterflies. They were everywhere. Some stayed still long enough for me to photograph them.

These brown butterflies liked the forest path.

These brown butterflies liked the forest path.

They were feeding on the fruit that had fallen from the trees.

They were feeding on the fruit that had fallen from the trees.

As I photographed them, I was almost eaten alive by mosquitoes.

As I photographed them, I was almost eaten alive by mosquitoes.

Forest path

Forest path

Selfie on the forest path.

Selfie on the forest path.

Which way shall I go?

Which way shall I go?

All this fruit has fallen from the tree.

All this fruit has fallen from the tree.

Impressive roots.

Impressive roots.

Impressive roots.

Impressive roots.

When I returned to the bottom of the park, I found even more butterflies. These were different kinds from the ones on the forest path. There was one white one and lots and lots of black ones. The black ones were hard to photograph. They moved really quickly.

Beautiful butterfly.

Beautiful butterfly.

Beautiful butterfly.

Beautiful butterfly.

Lots of black butterflies kept surrounding this white one. I don't know if they were trying to mate with it or chase it away.

Lots of black butterflies kept surrounding this white one. I don't know if they were trying to mate with it or chase it away.

The black ones were hard to photograph as they moved really fast.

The black ones were hard to photograph as they moved really fast.

This park would be interesting in the rain as there are lots of streams and waterfalls coming down the mountains edge. These would quickly turn into raging torrents. There are lots and lots of bridges crossing over the streams.

One of the many bridges.

One of the many bridges.

Stream coming down the mountain.

Stream coming down the mountain.

Tiny waterfall.

Tiny waterfall.

At one point I found a statue of a bull or cow sitting near the children's play area. Someone had decorated it with flowers. I was curious as to why this statue was here and when I googled it I ended up on an excellent site about old Hong Kong that I often use. One member remembers walking past here years ago on his way to work and seeing cattle grazing on the hillside, so at one time it was a dairy or a farm.

Cow or bull statue.

Cow or bull statue.

I eventually came to a different entrance to the park and saw it was near a small village, dwarfed all round by high-rise.

Kwai Chung Village near the park.

Kwai Chung Village near the park.

Kwai Chung Village near the park.

Kwai Chung Village near the park.

I realized I was sweating so much, my cloth face mask was hanging off me. I'd never have been allowed on transport like that. I went to the public toilets near the entrance, washed out my disgusting mask and put on a surgical one I had fortunately remembered to bring with me. I then walked back to Metroplaza, did a little bit of shopping and returned home for a much needed shower.

Back at Metroplaza.

Back at Metroplaza.

Posted by irenevt 08:29 Archived in Hong Kong

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Comments

Love the butterflies. They are so pretty. The world needs more gentle creatures . . .

I'm coming back from our morning walks dripping with sweat too. It's just that time of year. No way around it. It looks like you had some rain. We would love that.

by Beausoleil

Hi Sally, summer is our wet season. It's currently pouring but it hasn't rained as much as usual this summer. In autumn it often doesn't rain for months.

by irenevt

Autumn and winter are our rainy season but the last couple years, it hasn't rained then either. Just no rain. We had about 5 drops a couple days ago and it's completely cloudy today but no rain. It is a bit cooler because of the clouds though. I love that!

by Beausoleil

Yes, I hope you get some rain. You must be very short of water. The world's weather is all over the place.

by irenevt

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