A Travellerspoint blog

Without the dark, we'd never see the stars.

Shui Long Wo and Wu Kai Sha.

sunny

Angkor Wat? No, it's the Shui Long Wo Stargazing Tower.

Angkor Wat? No, it's the Shui Long Wo Stargazing Tower.

'I like the night. Without the dark, we'd never see the stars.'
Stephenie Meyer, 'Twilight'.

What a beautiful sight!

What a beautiful sight!

On Monday, I took Peter out to dinner and realised my legs were hurting. They were still hurting today and I had thought of doing a long hike, but felt that really would not be a good idea, so I decided I would just head to Wu Kai Sha instead.

Wu Kai Sha began life as a little village on the eastern side of Tolo Harbour. Nowadays it has been swallowed up in the expansion of Ma On Shan New Town. As well as the original village, there are now many high rise residential buildings here. At one time this area was only accessible by rough paths. Or if you were on the other side of the harbour at Ma Liu Shui, by small boats called kaitos. Now Sai Sha Road is behind it, linking it to Sai Kung and Ma On Shan and it is the final stop at the eastern end of the MTR's Tuen Ma Line.

I like the idea of visiting all places at the end of MTR lines, so Wu Kai Sha was already on my list. That leaves me just Lohas Park and South Horizons to do, though the MTR are constantly building more lines.

However, this is a long way to come just to say I've travelled the whole of the Tuen Ma MTR line, so I had to find things to see here. To my delight I found Wu Kai Sha was not too far from the Shui Long Wo Star Gazing Tower that I had seen pictures of and really wanted to visit.

To get to the Shui Long Wo Star Gazing Tower from Wu Kai Sha Station, I exited through Exit B and headed to the transport interchange where I boarded bus 99 for Sai Kung. I disembarked from the bus at Shui Long Wo and from there I was not entirely clear how to get to the tower. Everything I had read told me to get off here for the tower but said no more.

From the bus-stop I walked ahead a very short distance and noticed a very pleasant barbecue site on my left. This site had good views over Tolo Harbour. There was a large group of people getting their barbecue started here and an old woman running around collecting wood for it.

Sign for Shui Long Wo Barbecue Site.

Sign for Shui Long Wo Barbecue Site.

Looking down on the Shui Long Wo Barbecue Site.

Looking down on the Shui Long Wo Barbecue Site.

I crossed the road here, as there was a wooden archway indicating the start of a walk on the other side. There was a map, showing the Kei Ling Ha Tree Walk and the star gazing tower was right next to the start of it.

Sign for the Kei Ling Ha Tree Walk.

Sign for the Kei Ling Ha Tree Walk.

Map of Kei Ling Ha Tree Walk.

Map of Kei Ling Ha Tree Walk.

I walked up a handful of stairs, emerged through some trees and there it was right in front of me. The shortest walk in recorded history. It had probably taken around a minute. I now understood why the only instructions I could find were - get off at the bus-stop.

The Star Gazing Tower is a six metre high, copy of the ancient astronomical observatory in Gaocheng Town, Henan Province. The original observatory was nine metres high and was used by the famous Chinese astronomer Guo Shoujing who lived from 1231 to 1316. He used his observatory to observe shadows cast by the sun in order to work out the length of a tropical year. I don't know who came up with the idea to place a copy of this here, but it's certainly beautiful.

The Shui Long Wo Stargazing Tower viewed from the front.

The Shui Long Wo Stargazing Tower viewed from the front.

The Shui Long Wo Stargazing Tower from the side.

The Shui Long Wo Stargazing Tower from the side.

The Shui Long Wo Stargazing Tower from the side.

The Shui Long Wo Stargazing Tower from the side.

The Shui Long Wo Stargazing Tower from the back with plant growth.

The Shui Long Wo Stargazing Tower from the back with plant growth.

Actually the whole area is very well done with stone archways, a stone picnic site and the stone tower. Although this tower is not really old, it doesn't take long here for nature to start overgrowing things and weathering things, so it really does not look new. Anyway I thought it was stunning to photograph and all around it there were beautiful cherry blossom branches in full bloom.

Stone archway and cherry blossoms.

Stone archway and cherry blossoms.

The Shui Long Wo Stargazing Tower with cherry blossom.

The Shui Long Wo Stargazing Tower with cherry blossom.

The picnic site.

The picnic site.

Pavilion near the Shui Long Wo Stargazing Tower.

Pavilion near the Shui Long Wo Stargazing Tower.

You can climb up the tower and sit on a seat gazing through its windows. Since there are no buildings around, it probably is a good place to observe the stars by night. However, I can't be sure of this, because I visited as the sun was splitting the sky.

Looking through the window of the Shui Long Wo Stargazing Tower.

Looking through the window of the Shui Long Wo Stargazing Tower.

Seat inside the Shui Long Wo Stargazing Tower.

Seat inside the Shui Long Wo Stargazing Tower.

View from the Shui Long Wo Stargazing Tower.

View from the Shui Long Wo Stargazing Tower.

Apparently the start of Maclehose Trail Section Four and the end of Maclehose Trail Section Three are near here, but I did not look for these. I decided my sore legs were better suited to completing the Kei Ling Ha Tree Walk. This is a very doable 610 metres long with practically no stairs. It takes about fifteen minutes to walk. Hurray!!!

It was a very pleasant walk and very easy. There are information points about several of the trees on the walk at regular intervals. There is the occasional bridge, some attractive torii,or wooden gateways, and a picturesque stone archway.

Stone archway.

Stone archway.

Stone Archway.

Stone Archway.

Bridge.

Bridge.

Wooden Torii.

Wooden Torii.

Wooden Torii.

Wooden Torii.

Mountain views.

Mountain views.

Tree information point.

Tree information point.

I phoned Peter while I was on the walk and he told me that it would no longer be compulsory to wear face masks here from tomorrow i.e. from the first of March. Hurray again!!!! About time, too. They have been compulsory for the last 954 days. Facemasks are now only necessary for visits to hospitals and care homes.

When I had finished the walk, I decided to cross Sai Sha Road and walk along looking for viewpoints over the harbour. Every now and again there was one.

Kei Ling Ha Waterfront from Sai Sha Road.

Kei Ling Ha Waterfront from Sai Sha Road.

Kei Ling Ha Waterfront from Sai Sha Road.

Kei Ling Ha Waterfront from Sai Sha Road.

Kei Ling Ha Waterfront from Sai Sha Road.

Kei Ling Ha Waterfront from Sai Sha Road.

Kei Ling Ha Waterfront from Sai Sha Road.

Kei Ling Ha Waterfront from Sai Sha Road.

Kei Ling Ha Waterfront from Sai Sha Road.

Kei Ling Ha Waterfront from Sai Sha Road.

Kei Ling Ha Waterfront from Sai Sha Road.

Kei Ling Ha Waterfront from Sai Sha Road.

Beautiful view except for the construction site.

Beautiful view except for the construction site.

Then when I reached a little picnic site, I headed downhill to Kei Ling Ha Lo Wai, a village on the Three Fathoms Cove of Tolo Harbour.

It seems the village is quite old, though there are many new houses here. I didn't really look at much of the village. My intention was to stroll along the water front. It was quite pleasant, but there were not too many viewpoints as there were lots of trees. Every now and again there was a view across the mangroves and out across the water. There was also a centre for water sports.

Picnic site where I headed downhill.

Picnic site where I headed downhill.

The Waterfront at Kei Ling Ha Lo Wai.

The Waterfront at Kei Ling Ha Lo Wai.

The Waterfront at Kei Ling Ha Lo Wai.

The Waterfront at Kei Ling Ha Lo Wai.

The Waterfront at Kei Ling Ha Lo Wai.

The Waterfront at Kei Ling Ha Lo Wai.

The Waterfront at Kei Ling Ha Lo Wai.

The Waterfront at Kei Ling Ha Lo Wai.

The Waterfront at Kei Ling Ha Lo Wai.

The Waterfront at Kei Ling Ha Lo Wai.

Bridge through the mangroves.

Bridge through the mangroves.

Bridge through the mangroves.

Bridge through the mangroves.

Kei Ling Ha Lo Wai Watersports Centre.

Kei Ling Ha Lo Wai Watersports Centre.

Kei Ling Ha Lo Wai Watersports Centre.

Kei Ling Ha Lo Wai Watersports Centre.

The Waterfront at Kei Ling Ha Lo Wai.

The Waterfront at Kei Ling Ha Lo Wai.

The Waterfront at Kei Ling Ha Lo Wai.

The Waterfront at Kei Ling Ha Lo Wai.

Kei Ling Ha Waterfront.

Kei Ling Ha Waterfront.

The Waterfront at Kei Ling Ha Lo Wai.

The Waterfront at Kei Ling Ha Lo Wai.

I continued walking along the front to the next village, Kei Ling Ha San Wai, then climbed up a very steep hill back to Sai Sha Road. I crossed the road and waited for a 99 bus, as I still wanted to look at Wu Kai Sha. The 299 bus to Sha Tin also stops here.

Back in Wu Kai Sha, I tried to find its beaches. Apparently there are three, though I only visited one. To get here I exited through Exit A and walked down the stairs. I should then have turned right without crossing the road, but I went wrong at first and entered an underpass. There were colourful paintings here, but this route did not take me where I wanted to go, so I backtracked and followed signs for To Tau Wan Village. When I reached the village, I headed left to the shore.

Art in the underpass.

Art in the underpass.

Art in the underpass.

Art in the underpass.

Art in the underpass.

Art in the underpass.

Art in the underpass.

Art in the underpass.

Most of the area I was walking through was filled with residential high rises. In the background I could see the beautiful saddle shaped mountains that give Ma On Shan its name.

Horse saddle shaped mountains at Ma On Shan.

Horse saddle shaped mountains at Ma On Shan.

Highrise in Wu Kai Sha.

Highrise in Wu Kai Sha.

The beach here was pleasant and sandy. There were many boats, including one that several children had climbed into to play. I walked to the end of it. There were barbecue restaurants and places to buy drinks. I would imagine this area would be very busy at weekends.

To Tau Wan Beach.

To Tau Wan Beach.

To Tau Wan Beach.

To Tau Wan Beach.

To Tau Wan Beach.

To Tau Wan Beach.

To Tau Wan Beach.

To Tau Wan Beach.

To Tau Wan Beach.

To Tau Wan Beach.

Boats off the waterfront at To Tau Wan Beach.

Boats off the waterfront at To Tau Wan Beach.

To Tau Wan barbecue restaurants.

To Tau Wan barbecue restaurants.

Barbecue restaurants on To Tau Wan Beach.

Barbecue restaurants on To Tau Wan Beach.

On To Tau Wan Beach.

On To Tau Wan Beach.

Learning paragliding on To Tau Wan Beach.

Learning paragliding on To Tau Wan Beach.

It was even possible to see the giant statue of Kuan Yin in Tsz Shan Monastery in Tai Mei Tuk on the other side of Tolo Harbour from here.

The gigantic Kuan Yin statue can be seen from here.

The gigantic Kuan Yin statue can be seen from here.

Selfie on To Tau Wan Beach.

Selfie on To Tau Wan Beach.

Selfie on To Tau Wan Beach.

Selfie on To Tau Wan Beach.

After looking around here, I headed back to the MTR. I hadn't realised if I had gone on slightly further and crossed the road I would have reached Starfish Beach which is supposed to be interesting. I also read later that I was next to an area called Whitehead which once housed a huge detention centre for Vietnamese boat people.

Looks like I may have to take another look here, maybe when I get round to visiting Ma On Shan.

Posted by irenevt 06:49 Archived in Hong Kong

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Comments

Hello, Irene! No face masks from the first of March. Hurray! Thanks for your great narration well illustrated by amazing views...Congratulations!

by Vic_IV

Hi Victor, already having conversations with complete strangers about how strange it is to see faces again. Just went out briefly and kept thinking I had forgotten something.

by irenevt

I'm always amazed when we all recognize each other with face masks on. I guess it's all in the eyes . . .

by Beausoleil

I'm enjoying not wearing one any more, though I still put it on inside crowded transport.

by irenevt

I didn't think Star gazing tower be much to look at but you proofed me wrong! :)

by hennaonthetrek

Hi Henna, there's really nothing to see on the tower, but it just looks lovely in that environment.

by irenevt

It does look lovely! And btw, I loved that quote from Stephenie Meyer, Twilights are my favorite books!

by hennaonthetrek

I must admit I haven't read them yet, but I may get round to them. I read a lot.

by irenevt

I love the idea of a star gazing tower - the night sky there must be spectacular. Thanks for your beautiful photos - the beaches are reminding me I must book our summer holidays !

by Catherine

Generally in Hong Kong there's too much light pollution to see the stars but as this is more remote it is probably ok for viewing them.

by irenevt

That star gazing tower reminds me of the old observatory in Jaipur - the material is very different but the design principles seem similar. Great news that you no longer have to wear facemasks - you seem to have been stuck with them for ages!

by ToonSarah

Hi Sarah, it's based on one in Mainland China but maybe they are all quite similar. Yes it's great not to have to wear a mask all the time now. Many people are still wearing them though.

by irenevt

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