A Travellerspoint blog

June 2022

In Search Of The Hidden Lotus.

Exploring the Burma Lines.

sunny

There was one more thing I wanted to do in Fanling, but I couldn't do it when I visited on Tuesday, as I was really tired by the end of my heritage trail. No problem; all I had to do was go back and today I did just that. I took the MTR to Fanling, exited through exit A and walked through a shopping centre to Fanling Town Centre. I hate when an MTR exit takes you out into the middle of a shopping centre. It's always hard even to find the way out to street level. I was just thinking I will never find my bus from here when suddenly I saw a sign for the 78A bus and knew my adventures were going to go smoothly after all.

When I was walking down the steps to the bus-stop, my bus was just pulling in. I rushed to join the queue and took the bus all the way to Shan Lai Court. I got off and walked back down Lung Ma Road towards the small roundabout. Just before the roundabout, I took the sloping ramp off to the right and went around the edge of the public toilet on the ladies' side. There wasn't much of a path. What there was, led straight to a hole in the high wire mesh fence. Inside there was a 'Government Land, No Trespassing sign'. I went through the hole in the fence. This was going to be a strange walk! Believe it or not, despite all this subterfuge, I was actually trying to locate a listed building.

Down the slope and round the edge of the ladies' toilet.

Down the slope and round the edge of the ladies' toilet.

Through this hole in the fence.

Through this hole in the fence.

Oops I wasn't expecting this.

Oops I wasn't expecting this.

I was on the site of the former Burma Lines. This is an old British Army Camp located on Queen's Hill in Fanling. The camp was situated here, so that the British could keep an eye on the nearby border with Mainland China. The army camp was decommissioned in 1992 and for a while the site was used by the Hong Kong Police Force. When they decided they no longer wanted it, it was abandoned and left to crumble. In recent years a massive housing estate has been built where much of the army camp once stood.

When I got through the fence, I saw a fairly clear path off to my left and another path off to my right that looked like a dead end. I had a look to my left first and found lots of buildings which I believe were once used as dog kennels. I'm not sure but I think these may date from the days when the site belonged to the police force.

Old Dog Kennels.

Old Dog Kennels.

Old Dog Kennels.

Old Dog Kennels.

I then returned to my right. The path was not a dead end. It was an extremely narrow steep path next to the wire fence. At times I had to grab hold of the fence to pull myself up it. The way was pretty overgrown and every now and again I had to climb over or go round toppled trees. Normally nothing would induce me to climb such a thing, but I had read there was something special at the top. I could only hope I wasn't about to be the victim of an elaborate practical joke.

Through a second hole in the fence.

Through a second hole in the fence.

Follow the narrow path next to the fence.

Follow the narrow path next to the fence.

If I get any fatter I won't even be able to walk here.

If I get any fatter I won't even be able to walk here.

Suddenly the path levelled out and I came face to face with what I had come here for. I was in front of a mysterious green pointy building. The army camp here was once home to many Gurkha soldiers from Nepal and they had built a Hindu temple shaped like a lotus flower to worship in. The lotus is a symbol of purity and rebirth. When the army camp closed, the temple was abandoned and all the religious items inside it were removed. It has survived remarkably well.

Suddenly I was in front of a very strange building.

Suddenly I was in front of a very strange building.

Off to one side of the temple, there is a little shrine filled with images of Hindu gods and goddesses. As the temple is dedicated to Shiva, the destroyer, his image is placed centrally on the shrine. There are also several colourful pendants here and a little bell you can ring.

The shrine.

The shrine.

Close up of the shrine.

Close up of the shrine.

The central picture at the back is Shiva.

The central picture at the back is Shiva.

Wind chimes and pendants.

Wind chimes and pendants.

The temple has a pretty unique design. It is made of twelve concrete triangular slabs which are standing upright. At the top of the temple these slabs meet to create a six point crown. The outside of the building is green. There is a plaque on one of its outer walls with information about the temple's history. The building has five doors, so you can enter it from any side. Above some of the doors there are narrow pointed windows. In 2010 this building received grade three historic building status.

The Temple.

The Temple.

Look one way and you could be in the middle of Angkor Wat.

Look one way and you could be in the middle of Angkor Wat.

Look the other way and you are right next to a massive housing estate.

Look the other way and you are right next to a massive housing estate.

I think there's something behind me. Oh look! What's that doing there?

I think there's something behind me. Oh look! What's that doing there?

Looking at the roof.

Looking at the roof.

The inside of the temple is empty. The walls are painted bright red and deep blue. A star shape is depicted on the floor and at one end there's a raised area that was once the altar. Someone has placed Hindu images on the wall here. I thought I was alone here at first then realised someone was photographing me photographing them through one of the temple doors.

Peeking in through the door.

Peeking in through the door.

Large star on the floor.

Large star on the floor.

The Altar.

The Altar.

Pictures above the altar.

Pictures above the altar.

Sunlight pours in through the tall narrow windows.

Sunlight pours in through the tall narrow windows.

Everything in the temple is an odd shape.

Everything in the temple is an odd shape.

Looking up at the roof.

Looking up at the roof.

On the other side of the temple there was a small army building and the walkway. I followed the walkway. I came to a metal staircase that was covered with fallen trees. I went round this. It looked like if you stepped on it it would collapse. I was beginning to understand why this place was sealed off. Eventually I came to some old British barracks. I went inside some of the rooms and realised I was now wearing a spiders web on my face. Yeuk!! Looking up I could see the ceiling was probably close to falling in. I removed myself from the building. Behind the first row of huts, there was a second row in similar condition.

Walkway and Army Barracks building.

Walkway and Army Barracks building.

The Walkway.

The Walkway.

Hut next to the walkway.

Hut next to the walkway.

I don't think I will use these stairs.

I don't think I will use these stairs.

Side view.

Side view.

Camouflaged army huts. I guess that's why the temple is green, too.

Camouflaged army huts. I guess that's why the temple is green, too.

Rows of huts.

Rows of huts.

Rows of huts.

Rows of huts.

Rows of huts.

Rows of huts.

Rows of huts.

Rows of huts.

Venturing in.

Venturing in.

A look inside.

A look inside.

A look inside.

A look inside.

A look inside.

A look inside.

I got carried away at this point and started wandering down a very steep muddy path through a tangle of trees. Someone had placed ribbons along it, so I thought it must go somewhere. It was really slippy and about half way down, I got bitten or stung by some kind of ferocious insect. My arm began to blister around the bite. I decided perhaps I had had enough adventures for one day, reclimbed the slope, disinfected my arm with hand gel and headed back the way I had come.

Back on the bus, I noticed the man across from me kept staring at me. At first I thought it was just because there aren't that many white people in Fanling, though Hong Kongers don't normally stare. Later I ran my fingers through my hair and removed a twig and a couple of dead leaves. Guess I may have found out why he was staring.

Back in the centre of Fanling, I decided to revisit the most famous Taoist temple here. This is called Fung Ying Seen Koon and it's very close to Exit B of the MTR. Last time I visited it was being renovated. Unfortunately that was still the case. Everything seemed much the same.

Fung Ying Seen Koon.

Fung Ying Seen Koon.

Fung Ying Seen Koon.

Fung Ying Seen Koon.

Fung Ying Seen Koon.

Fung Ying Seen Koon.

Animals of the Chinese Zodiac.

Animals of the Chinese Zodiac.

Pavilion, Fung Ying Seen Koon.

Pavilion, Fung Ying Seen Koon.

Outside the pavilion.

Outside the pavilion.

View from Fung Ying Seen Koon.

View from Fung Ying Seen Koon.

Posted by irenevt 07:34 Archived in Hong Kong Comments (8)

Fanlinging?

A wander around Fanling.

semi-overcast

On the Lung Yeuk Tai Trail.

On the Lung Yeuk Tai Trail.

I have a friend who has two homes: one in Po Lam, which he shares with his wife, and his ancestral home in Fanling, which is used by him and other members of his family. At the weekend, he normally goes to his home in Fanling. When we used to work together, on Fridays I used to ask him:. "Are you going to Fanling for the weekend again?" Over time this question became so frequent that I shortened it to: "Fanlinging?" So I now have difficulty even thinking of the word Fanling without the made-up term Fanlinging coming to mind.

Anyway, yesterday I decided it was time I went for a stroll around Fanling. There are quite a few things to see in this area. I started by taking the train one stop further on to Sheung Shui, then walking back to Fanling in order to visit the North District Park. To get to the park I exited Sheung Shui Station through exit B, took the footbridge to San Wan Road, then headed right.

The North District Park turned out to be really beautiful and very tranquil. It centres around an artificial lake. There are pretty Chinese style buildings all around the lake and there were lots of different birds to observe there, as well as the usual fish and turtles. An old Chinese man saw my camera and pointed out one of the birds to me, then seemed pleased that I wanted to photograph it. Near the entrance to the park, I spotted a beautiful tree which I believe is known as a Chinese Chestnut Tree. I think its nuts are edible. This path also featured a very long foot massage path. I could have done with that by the end of my walk.

The North District Park.

The North District Park.

Map of the park.

Map of the park.

Chinese Chestnut Tree.

Chinese Chestnut Tree.

Chinese Chestnut Tree.

Chinese Chestnut Tree.

Tranquil Lake.

Tranquil Lake.

Tranquil Lake.

Tranquil Lake.

Tranquil Lake.

Tranquil Lake.

Tranquil Lake.

Tranquil Lake.

Tranquil Lake.

Tranquil Lake.

Pagoda.

Pagoda.

Chinese style building.

Chinese style building.

Chinese style building.

Chinese style building.

Pagoda.

Pagoda.

This bird was happy to pose. I think it is a green heron.

This bird was happy to pose. I think it is a green heron.

This bird was happy to pose.

This bird was happy to pose.

Turtle enjoying the sun.

Turtle enjoying the sun.

An old Chinese man pointed out this bird to me when he saw me taking photos. I think this is a striated heron.

An old Chinese man pointed out this bird to me when he saw me taking photos. I think this is a striated heron.

This was a good place for bird photos. They seemed happy to stay still.

This was a good place for bird photos. They seemed happy to stay still.

A friend joined it.

A friend joined it.

Beautiful flowers.

Beautiful flowers.

There was a second reason I had started my explorations on the north side of Fanling. I wanted to see Fanling Wai, one of Fanliing's best known walled villages. It's especially beautiful because there is a pond in front of it which reflects the walled village in its still waters. There are also several old canons around the entrance to the village. At the corners of the village there are watchtowers.

Fanling Wai was built by the Pang Clan between 1572 and 1620. It consists of a central walled village called Chung Wai, plus Pak Wai, or north hamlet, and Nam Wai, or south hamlet. The canons at the entrance of Chung Wai were to protect the village from pirates. They were buried during the Japanese Occupation and only dug up again in 1986.

I'm not sure if I could have wandered around inside the village or not. Some walled villages don't seem to mind, others charge a nominal fee and some have signs up asking people not to come in. This is for privacy reasons, but during COVID, it's also for health reasons, so I didn't want to barge my way in. I just stayed in the entranceway and took some pictures from there.

Fanling Wai reflected in its pond.

Fanling Wai reflected in its pond.

Fanling Wai reflected in its pond.

Fanling Wai reflected in its pond.

Canons in front of Fanling Wai.

Canons in front of Fanling Wai.

Entrance to the walled village.

Entrance to the walled village.

Entrance to the walled village.

Entrance to the walled village.

Shrine inside the entrance.

Shrine inside the entrance.

Inside the walled village.

Inside the walled village.

Watchtower.

Watchtower.

Houses in Fanling Wai.

Houses in Fanling Wai.

Houses in Fanling Wai.

Houses in Fanling Wai.

Houses in Fanling Wai.

Houses in Fanling Wai.

I noticed an old building off to my right as I was about to leave the village. It turned out to be the Pang Ancestral Hall, also known as Tai Tak Tong. It is in the village's north hamlet. It was moved here in 1846 for feng shui reasons and was rebuilt in 1884.

The Pang Ancestral Hall.

The Pang Ancestral Hall.

I left the village through its large, ornate entrance gateway which as always was guarded by lions. The ones here were pretty fancy and decorated with bows.

Entrance gate to the village.

Entrance gate to the village.

Lion Guard.

Lion Guard.

Lion Guard.

Lion Guard.

After looking at Fanling Wai, I knew I had a bit of a walk ahead of me, as I also planned to walk the Lung Yeuk Tau Heritage Trail and first I had to get there. To do that I headed along the very busy Hong Kong Jockey Club Road, then along the even busier Shau Tau Kok Road, before spotting a sign pointing me towards the Ma Wat River and the start of the trail.

The Lung Yeuk Tau Heritage Trail is a 1.8km trail that was opened in 1999. It meanders its way through five wais and six tsuens. Wais are walled villages and tsuens are villages without walls. Lung Yeuk Tau means Mountain of the Leaping Dragon and the walk takes its name from a nearby hill which according to legend was once the home of a dragon.

The area the trail is based in was settled by members of the Tang Clan who originated from Jishui in Jiangxi Province. The Tangs who settled here can claim royal descent, as one of the founders of the villages here was the eldest son of Tang Wai-kap of Kam Tin and a princess of the Southern Song Dynasty.

This trail turned out not to be that easy to follow, as it was rather lacking in signage. However, it was very enjoyable even though I did not find everything. There was lots of greenery all around and the trail was generally peaceful, though it had no pavements and a bit of traffic.

The first building I came to on the trail was Tsung Kyam Church. This dates from 1903 when it was founded by a retired pastor from the Basel Mission. The church was extended with the addition of a second storey in 1951. Unfortunately it is not possible to go inside. This church was used until 1983 when a new church was built.

The new church.

The new church.

Painting outside the new church.

Painting outside the new church.

The old church.

The old church.

The old church.

The old church.

I went wrong with my next sight which should have been Shek Lo, an old mansion built by the founder of Wah Yan College in 1936. It is now empty and derelict. I spent quite a long time looking for this and actually it was pretty interesting wandering around the village. I found a large old house with no sign or information outside it and photographed that in the hope it was Shek Lo. I had no pictures so was not sure what I was looking for. When I got home, I discovered it wasn't the correct building. Oh well, never mind. Actually I don't think this house was derelict or empty either. I probably irritated the inhabitants by leaning through the rails to photograph it.

Gates of the building I thought was the old mansion House.

Gates of the building I thought was the old mansion House.

A photo taken through the rails.

A photo taken through the rails.

Wandering the village streets.

Wandering the village streets.

Some old village houses are left to crumble.

Some old village houses are left to crumble.

Old and New together.

Old and New together.

Farmland in the foreground; high-rise in the background.

Farmland in the foreground; high-rise in the background.

I'm now wondering if Shek Lo was just over a little bit from where I was. There was a path at the edge of the village and when I left the village I noticed old gateways in front of overgrown land which could have been the grounds of the mansion. I will put some pictures from the internet here to show what the mansion should be like.

Could these be the gates to the mansion?

Could these be the gates to the mansion?

Old gates.

Old gates.

I found lots of pictures of Shek Lo online. I'll put two here: one from its heyday and one from now. Maybe it's got so overgrown I just couldn't see it.

Shek Lo in the 1950's taken from the internet.

Shek Lo in the 1950's taken from the internet.

Shek Lo now taken from the internet.

Shek Lo now taken from the internet.

Next, I ventured on to the walled village of Ma Wat Wai. This was built by the Tang Clan between 1736 and 1795. There's an altar at the entranceway.

Entrance to Ma Wat Wai.

Entrance to Ma Wat Wai.

Entrance to Ma Wat Wai.

Entrance to Ma Wat Wai.

Entrance to Ma Wat Wai.

Entrance to Ma Wat Wai.

Houses behind the walls of Ma Wat Wai.

Houses behind the walls of Ma Wat Wai.

After a quick look at Ma Wat Wai and the Tsuen next to it, I walked on to the oldest of the walled villages, which is called Lo Wai. This was built in the fourteenth century. This village has a watchtower and a well. The walls surrounding the village were restored in 1999. I went inside this village, but stayed around the entrance gate so as not to bother anyone.

Entrance to Lo Wai.

Entrance to Lo Wai.

Entrance to Lo Wai.

Entrance to Lo Wai.

Inside Lo Wai.

Inside Lo Wai.

Inside Lo Wai.

Inside Lo Wai.

The watch tower in the walled village.

The watch tower in the walled village.

The next sight was the Tang Chung Ling Ancestral Hall. This is one of the few buildings on the trail you can normally go inside, but unfortunately it was closed because it was a Tuesday. This hall was built in the early sixteenth century in memory of Tang Chung Ling, one of the founding ancestors.

The Tang Chung Ling Ancestral Hall.

The Tang Chung Ling Ancestral Hall.

The Tang Chung Ling Ancestral Hall.

The Tang Chung Ling Ancestral Hall.

Next to the hall there is a Tin Hau Temple. This is devoted to the goddess of the sea and her guards Chin Lei Ngan and Shun Fung Yi. Inside the temple there are two bronze bells, which date from 1695 and 1700. I was able to wander around inside the temple. I took some pictures of the colourful artwork on the outside of the building.

The Tin Hau Temple.

The Tin Hau Temple.

Detail of Tin Hau Temple.

Detail of Tin Hau Temple.

Detail of Tin Hau Temple.

Detail of Tin Hau Temple.

Inside the Tin Hau Temple.

Inside the Tin Hau Temple.

Inside the Tin Hau Temple.

Inside the Tin Hau Temple.

Inside the Tin Hau Temple.

Inside the Tin Hau Temple.

Bells inside the Tin Hau Temple.

Bells inside the Tin Hau Temple.

Before leaving this village I had a good wander around the non-walled part. Some of the buildings were beautiful. There were lots of flowers around the doors, colourful tiles etc, but there were also lots of buildings that had been abandoned and left to crumble.

Doorway and bikes.

Doorway and bikes.

Wandering the village.

Wandering the village.

Wandering around the village.

Wandering around the village.

Some village houses have been abandoned.

Some village houses have been abandoned.

And left to crumble.

And left to crumble.

Most of the old villages have a shrine to the Earth god.

Most of the old villages have a shrine to the Earth god.

Banana trees in the village fields.

Banana trees in the village fields.

One of the problems with this trail was some sights had a notice board with the name of the sight in English and Chinese plus some historical information and some didn't. This meant you did not always know if you had found the sight or not. I followed a sign pointing to Tung Kok Wai, another walled village built in the thirteenth century by one of the Tang ancestors Tang Lung-Kong. It's name means Eastern Walled Village. I didn't manage to find this village.

Next I came to Wing Ning Tsuen. This village is three hundred years old, but a lot of it has been demolished and much of it is being redeveloped. There was quite a lot of construction going on around this area. I just had a look at the entranceway and a nearby shrine.

Wing Ning Tsuen entrance.

Wing Ning Tsuen entrance.

Wing Ning Tsuen.

Wing Ning Tsuen.

Outside the gateway.

Outside the gateway.

Outside Wing Ning Tsuen.

Outside Wing Ning Tsuen.

Shrine outside Wing Ning Tsuen.

Shrine outside Wing Ning Tsuen.

Inside the shrine.

Inside the shrine.

In Wing Ning Tsuen.

In Wing Ning Tsuen.

Nearby was the older walled village of Wing Ning Wai which is around four hundred years old. I just walked inside the entrance way, looked at the shrine there and a couple of streets.

Entrance to Wing Ning Wai.

Entrance to Wing Ning Wai.

Entrance to Wing Ning Wai.

Entrance to Wing Ning Wai.

Shrine just inside the entrance way.

Shrine just inside the entrance way.

Looking inside Wing Ning Wai.

Looking inside Wing Ning Wai.

At this point I had to cross the busy Shau Tai Kok Road.

I had three sights left. I was tiring; my feet were hurting; it was thirty-two degrees and I had been walking around for hours. The next sight was the San Shut Study Hall built in 1830 to commemorate and worship Tang Wan-kai, a nineteenth generation ancestor of the Tang Clan. Once again I wasn't sure if I was looking at the correct building. This time I think I was. I had a stroll all round this village. There were some interesting buildings and another Earth god shrine.

The San Shut Study Hall.

The San Shut Study Hall.

Behind the Study Hall.

Behind the Study Hall.

Overgrown window.

Overgrown window.

Colourful house.

Colourful house.

Old and New.

Old and New.

Another Earth god shrine.

Another Earth god shrine.

The next sight was San Wai. This was the largest of the walled villages on the trail and was built around 1744. There are watchtowers at each of the four corners of the San Wai's walls. There is a tower over the main gate and an altar at the end of the main alley. Again I just looked inside from the entrance rather than going in and wandering around, though I think it may be acceptable to go inside this one.

Entrance to San Wai.

Entrance to San Wai.

Looking inside.

Looking inside.

Shrine at the entrance.

Shrine at the entrance.

The last sight of the trail is the village of Siu Hang Tsuen. I was really flagging by this point. I went the wrong way and by the time I had realised that, I was back on a main road. I cut my losses, headed for the bus-stop and jumped on a wonderful air-conditioned bus back to Fanling MTR. Back home I read up on this sight and discovered it was just an archway and a small shrine.

I don't mind that I went the wrong way as I passed a cute little garden and some photogenic houses.

Pretty little garden near San Wai.

Pretty little garden near San Wai.

Pretty little garden near San Wai.

Pretty little garden near San Wai.

Pretty little garden near San Wai.

Pretty little garden near San Wai.

House and trees.

House and trees.

Bikes.

Bikes.

Village houses.

Village houses.

I enjoyed this trail and wasn't bothered that I didn't find everything on it as what I did see was interesting enough. I liked the village houses, the old buildings, the green fields and the contrast between old and new.

Meanwhile back in Discovery Bay, I haven't been taking many photos, but in the rainy days of last week I saw a beautiful lizard outside the bar we always go to and some pretty spectacular fungus growing on a tree stump.

Lizard.

Lizard.

Lizard.

Lizard.

Fungus.

Fungus.

Posted by irenevt 15:06 Archived in Hong Kong Comments (7)

From the City of Darkness to Hogwarts.

Around Kowloon City and Kowloon Tong.

semi-overcast

We have just located a new pharmacy, which sells Peter's glaucoma medicine quite a bit cheaper than his doctors do, so yesterday I was sent out to buy his next round of eye drops. The pharmacy is in Kowloon City, so I thought I might as well go and look at something in the area while I am there. The nearest MTR station to the pharmacy was Sung Wong Toi - again. This time I exited through exit B3, which brought me out into the heart of Kowloon City.

As I have mentioned before, this area is a bit different from many other parts of Hong Kong, as the buildings here are much lower due to being on the flight path of the old Kai Tak airport. Nowadays some areas are looking a bit shabby and rundown and the area is gradually being redeveloped. This is not without its problems. For example, this area is home to Hong Kong's Little Thailand District and it's feared that the Thai people who live there, mainly surviving by running shops and restaurants, will end up being dispersed throughout other parts of Hong Kong, thus destroying the spirit of their community. That's rather sad. On this occasion, I did not go to Little Thailand. I'll save this for next time.

Kowloon City.

Kowloon City.

The pharmacy I went to was very close to Kowloon Walled City Park and I decided to go there for another look, as it's such a lovely, peaceful and historically interesting spot.

When the British took over Hong Kong Island, the Chinese built a fortress on the Kowloon Peninsula to keep an eye on them. As the British gained more land, the walled fortress ended up as a Chinese enclave surrounded on all sides by the British colony. Over time, due to wars and strife, refugees from Mainland China poured into this area and it became one of the most densely populated areas in the world. The buildings here were so close together, no natural light could penetrate into the city's narrow alleyways. The walled city was a lawless place filled with drug dens, brothels, unlicensed doctors, unlicensed dentists and triad gangs. The locals called it The City of Darkness.

3-d model of the old walled city.

3-d model of the old walled city.

After years of objections from the inhabitants, the giant slum that the Kowloon Walled City had developed into, was finally demolished and a park was built in its place. To everyone's surprise, some areas of the original Chinese fortress that occupied the site were found during the city's demolition. These have been incorporated into the park. Kowloon Walled City Park is joined onto a second park called Carpenter Street Park.

Gateway between Carpenter Street Park and Kowloon City Park.

Gateway between Carpenter Street Park and Kowloon City Park.

Flowering Mussaenda Philippica bush by the gateway.

Flowering Mussaenda Philippica bush by the gateway.

As always in Hong Kong, there were beautiful flowers and plants all around the park. It's always worth revisiting parks and gardens in different seasons here to see what is in bloom and because it doesn't really get freezing cold something is always flowering.

Flowering Tree in Kowloon Walled City Park.

Flowering Tree in Kowloon Walled City Park.

Beautiful Blackberry Lily.

Beautiful Blackberry Lily.

At one point as I was wandering around, I noticed a group of women dressed in lovely colourful cheongsams and took some photos of them. Their clothes were so beautiful and so appropriate for the setting that I couldn't resist.

Posing in beautiful floral cheongsams.

Posing in beautiful floral cheongsams.

Wandering around in Cheongsams.

Wandering around in Cheongsams.

I came across some interestingly shaped rocks I had noticed on my earlier visit. These were dedicated to people who had worked hard to help the poor, needy and vulnerable within the walls of the City of Darkness. One of these rocks was devoted to the memory of The Reverend Kwong Yat Sau of the Holy Trinity Anglican Church. He set up schools within the walled city and created centres to help the aged. The other rock was dedicated to Jackie Pullinger, a British Protestant missionary. She worked as a primary school teacher inside the Kowloon Walled City, then later established a youth centre to help the drug addicts and street sleepers she encountered here.

This rock is dedicated to the Rev. Kwong Yat Sau.

This rock is dedicated to the Rev. Kwong Yat Sau.

This rock is dedicated to Jackie Pullinger.

This rock is dedicated to Jackie Pullinger.

Kowloon Walled City Park still has some remnants from its past such as old buildings and cannons. Plus some newer Chinese style features have been added such as bridges and pavilions. The old almshouse, which was part of the original fort, had exhibitions showing photos of life in the old walled city.

Wooden Pavilion.

Wooden Pavilion.

Smaller Pavilion.

Smaller Pavilion.

Traditional Chinese Buildings and Streams.

Traditional Chinese Buildings and Streams.

Almshouse.

Almshouse.

Carved panel in the almshouse.

Carved panel in the almshouse.

Circular Gateway.

Circular Gateway.

Art Gallery along the walkway.

Art Gallery along the walkway.

Very old photo of the walled city.

Very old photo of the walled city.

Very old photo of the walled city.

Very old photo of the walled city.

Old photo of inside the walled city.

Old photo of inside the walled city.

Old photo of inside the walled city.

Old photo of inside the walled city.

Children playing on the roof of the Kowloon Walled City. This was the only place they could find light and fresh air.

Children playing on the roof of the Kowloon Walled City. This was the only place they could find light and fresh air.

The remains of the Southern Gate of the old walled city have been unearthed and preserved. One part had a large puddle when I visited and lots of birds kept coming to bathe here.

The remains of the southern gate of the city.

The remains of the southern gate of the city.

The Southern Gate of the city. The two stone plaques say Kowloon Walled City and South Gate.

The Southern Gate of the city. The two stone plaques say Kowloon Walled City and South Gate.

Birds taking a bath next to the remains of the south gate.

Birds taking a bath next to the remains of the south gate.

The park has many water features such as ponds, a stream and a waterfall, all surrounded by lush green vegetation.

Arched bridges.

Arched bridges.

Pond.

Pond.

Looking down at the pond.

Looking down at the pond.

Stream.

Stream.

I really enjoyed just wandering around here looking at the people, the birds and at one point a lizard that was off before I could photograph him.

Wandering through the park.

Wandering through the park.

Pigeon resting on the tiled roof.

Pigeon resting on the tiled roof.

I remembered from my first visit that there was a temple and some old stone houses nearby, but I did not revisit them. Instead I headed off to another park - Kowloon Tsai Park. The streets all around me should have made me feel homesick. They had names such as: Dumbarton Road, Inverness Road, Grampian Road. This was an area with a connection to Scotland if ever there was one.

Kowloon Tsai Park has a bauhinia garden. I'm sure it's lovely but it's not bauhinia time of year, though there were lots of other lovely flowers. It also has lots and lots of sports facilities. I wasn't here for those though, I wanted to get a good view of Checkerboard Hill from the bottom. In a previous blog, I wrote about climbing Checkerboard Hill. My original plan on that occasion was to exit the hill via Kowloon Tsai Park. There's supposed to be a hole in the fence to go through, but I did not see it and I told myself I'll go back later and photograph Checkerboard Hill from the bottom. Well, I finally made it.

Checkerboard Hill was built as a signalling mechanism to let pilots know when to turn as they tried to land at Kai Tak Airport. For years after the airport closed it was left to crumble, but recently it has been repainted and restored. It is currently looking good.

View over Kowloon from Kowloon Tsai Park.

View over Kowloon from Kowloon Tsai Park.

Checkerboard Hill.

Checkerboard Hill.

Checkerboard Hill.

Checkerboard Hill.

Blue Wings Butterfly Plant.

Blue Wings Butterfly Plant.

Flowers in Kowloon Tsai Park.

Flowers in Kowloon Tsai Park.

From Kowloon City Park I planned to walk to Boundary Street, which marked the border of Hong Kong before the British leased the New Territories. On route I passed La Salle School, quite a prestigious Hong Kong School and I noticed a sign on the wall marking a point of interest on the Bruce Lee Way. It seems that Bruce Lee was a pupil of La Salle College until he was forced to leave for poor academic performance.

When I got home, I looked up the Bruce Lee Way to see if it was a walk with any interesting Bruce Lee sights. Sadly I found so many things connected to him have gone.

I'm not knowledgeable about Bruce Lee, but I started to look up a bit about his life. I found he was married to a white American woman called Linda Emre and they had two children. I also found he died aged just thirty-two after being taken ill in the flat of a Taiwanese actress called Betty Ting. He was there supposedly to rehearse their parts in a movie, though Betty later admitted they had been lovers. That evening in Betty's flat, Bruce started to feel unwell and Betty gave him some pain killers and let him sleep for a while. Later it became apparent something was seriously wrong with him and Betty called an ambulance, but it was too late to save him. He died of a brain edema.

I was fascinated to learn all this, because when we lived in Fo Tan for our first eight years here, Betty Ting owned the flat next door to us. Our landlord explained to us when we moved in, that our neighbour was a famous actress and that she had once been Bruce Lee's girlfriend. He also described her as a bit of a recluse. Betty actually lived in a building across the street from us, but occasionally she came and stayed in her second home, the flat next door to us. For a supposed recluse, she was always actually quite friendly. In retrospect, I wonder if she quite liked us, as we had no idea who she was and knew next to nothing nothing about her relationship with Bruce Lee.

Information board about Bruce Lee opposite La Salle College.

Information board about Bruce Lee opposite La Salle College.

La Salle College.

La Salle College.

Actually, I was pleased to see La Salle College, but I had come to this area to look at another prestigious educational institution - the Maryknoll Convent School. This wonderful old building with its towers, cloisters, courtyards, spiral staircases and immaculate grounds has been nicknamed the Hogwarts of Hong Kong.

The school was founded by the Maryknoll Sisters of Saint Dominic, who first came to Hong Kong from the United States in 1921. In 1925 they opened a kindergarten on Austin Road. Then later in 1937 they opened this much larger school on Waterloo Road. The school buildings are constructed of brown bricks and are designed in the style of a mediaeval monastery. The furniture and fittings inside the school have remained unchanged for many years. During the Second World War, Maryknoll was taken over by the Japanese and converted into a Japanese military hospital. Maryknoll Convent School was declared a monument in 2008.

Maryknoll is not an easy building to photograph, as it is right on the edge of a major road. I would love to go inside again. I say again as years ago I had an interview for a job here. All I remember from the interview is being very overwhelmed by the setting.

Maryknoll Convent School Side view..

Maryknoll Convent School Side view..

Maryknoll School Side view.

Maryknoll School Side view.

Maryknoll Convent School Front View.

Maryknoll Convent School Front View.

Maryknoll Convent School Front View..

Maryknoll Convent School Front View..

Maryknoll School and it's tower.

Maryknoll School and it's tower.

Walking to Kowloon Tong MTR from Maryknoll Convent School, I passed many more schools and a couple of attractive looking churches. I noticed a painting of Noah's Ark on a school wall, the way it's been raining here recently we will all be needing that soon.

One of the churches I passed was Christ Church designed by architect John Potter of Leigh and Orange. It was opened in 1938. The architect, John Potter, was killed on Christmas Day 1941, defending Hong Kong from the Japanese. The other church was Kowloon Church of the Chinese Christian and Missionary Alliance.

Christ Church on Waterloo Road.

Christ Church on Waterloo Road.

Christ Church on Waterloo Road.

Christ Church on Waterloo Road.

Kowloon Church of the Chinese Christian and Missionary Alliance..

Kowloon Church of the Chinese Christian and Missionary Alliance..

Noah's Ark.

Noah's Ark.

Back home in Discovery Bay, I got off by bus a stop early to photograph some beautiful crepe myrtle trees.

Lovely crepe myrtle tree.

Lovely crepe myrtle tree.

Posted by irenevt 03:09 Archived in Hong Kong Comments (10)

Emperors and Sweet Potatoes.

A look at Sung Wong Toi and To Kwa Wan.

storm

Hoi Sham Rock and Fishtail Rock.

Hoi Sham Rock and Fishtail Rock.

The weather here recently has been pretty awful. Every day there has been almost non-stop heavy rain and thunder storms. We managed to go for a swim on Monday, just before a storm started. It was Peter's first swim since last November. We should have gone again on Tuesday, but I didn't feel well. On Wednesday there was a red rain storm with torrential rain and an extremely violent thunderstorm which went on for hours. Every window in our flat was shaking due to the violence of it. We even had to cancel dinner plans with a friend. It just was not safe to go outside. Thursday rained on and off all day. I made it as far as the shops and got soaked. By Friday I was going stir crazy. I had to get out. The forecast said rain and thunderstorms yet again. I decided instead of letting that make me stay in, I would just go somewhere urban where there would be shelter if the weather got really bad, so I took the train to Sung Wong Toi to have a look around there and nearby To Kwa Wan.

Sung Wong Toi and To Kwa Wan are both in Kowloon City, which is the area near the former Kai Tak Airport. Kai Tak was right in the heart of the city and was famous for take offs and landings that came incredibly close to people's homes. When this airport was in use, there were restrictions about how tall nearby buildings could be, so Kowloon City was always more low-rise than the rest of Hong Kong. Nowadays, though, a lot of this area is being demolished and rebuilt, so around Sung Wong Toi in particular, there was an awful lot of construction going on.

At one time it used to be a bit awkward to get to Kowloon City, but now there are several new MTR stations here, so getting here is very easy. Building the MTR stations in both Sung Wong Toi and To Kwa Wan caused a lot of problems, because this area has a rich history and the construction workers kept digging up important archaeological remains. There are two exhibits inside Sung Wong Toi Station where you can learn about these remains and also see some of them.

Incense Burners.

Incense Burners.

Ink Pots, Oil Lamps and Opium Pots

Ink Pots, Oil Lamps and Opium Pots

Incense burner legs carved with monster faces.

Incense burner legs carved with monster faces.

Fragments of bowls.

Fragments of bowls.

Vases, plates, ewers.

Vases, plates, ewers.

Fragments of bowls.

Fragments of bowls.

Coins.

Coins.

Sung Wong Toi means - The Terrace of the Sung Emperors. In the late thirteenth century, the Southern Sung dynasty was under attack by the Northern Yuan Dynasty. Eventually only two children: Zhao Shi and Zhao Bing remained as heirs of the Sung Imperial Family. They were forced to flee further and further south. From 1277 to 1279 the fleeing boy emperors took refuge at Sacred Hill in what is now Hong Kong. Zhao Shi became seriously ill here and died. This left only Zhao Bing. Unfortunately for him, his armies were defeated by the Yuans at the Battle of Yamen. After the defeat Lu Xiufu, a Sung loyalist who had been helping the boy emperors escape, placed Zhao Bing on his shoulders and leapt of a cliff so that the Yuans could not take the young emperor alive.

Sacred Hill once had a massive forty-five metre high boulder on top of it. In 1279, local residents wishing to commemorate the last of the Sung Emperors inscribed the three characters which spell out Sung Wong Toi on this boulder. In 1807, seven smaller characters were added on the right side of the stone to record renovation work carried out on the boulder during the reign of the Jiaqing Emperor. The hill and boulder were both considered to be sacred relics and were protected by a special ordinance in 1899. In 1915 steps up to the inscription were built and a balustrade was placed around the boulder to protect it.

The Inscribed Boulder at the top of Sacred Hill.

The Inscribed Boulder at the top of Sacred Hill.

However, during the Second World War, under the Japanese, Sacred Hill was levelled and the boulder was blown up to create smaller rocks with which to extend Kai Tak Airport.

The remains of the boulder after it had been blasted apart.

The remains of the boulder after it had been blasted apart.

After the war the part of the boulder with the three character Inspiration was found intact. It was shaped into a rectangular block and placed in a park constructed especially for it at the junction of Sung Wong Toi Road and Ma Tau Chung Road where it remains to this day.

An old photo of the park created for the boulder.

An old photo of the park created for the boulder.

The boulder today.

The boulder today.

The boulder today.

The boulder today.

Information about the boulder.

Information about the boulder.

When I exited the park, I was pleased to see a pink tourist sign indicating the direction of the Cattle Depot Artists Village in To Kwa Wan. This was to be my next sight. On route there I passed many low level colourful houses and market stalls overflowing with goods.

Colourful low houses in To Kwa Wan.

Colourful low houses in To Kwa Wan.

Durians.

Durians.

To Kwa Wan means Potato Bay. It is named after the sweet potatoes that were once grown here by local Hakka people. Nowadays it is a very working class area with a strong sense of community, but its future hangs in the balance, as the government wish to totally redevelop it.

Colourful Buildings on To Kwa Wan's Main Street.

Colourful Buildings on To Kwa Wan's Main Street.

Recreation Centre, To Kwa Wan.

Recreation Centre, To Kwa Wan.

To Kwa Wan has a couple of interesting sights including the Cattle Depot Artists Village which was once home to Ma Tau Kok Animal Quarantine Depot, a pre-war cattle slaughterhouse. This was built in 1908 and continued as a slaughter house until 1999 when it was closed down, as the area around it had become more and more built up and residential and having a slaughterhouse in the middle of it was not very hygienic. In 2001 the old red brick buildings which made up the front part of the site were renovated and converted into an artists' village. This village sometimes stages exhibitions, workshops and other events. The rear part of the village was made into an Art Park in 2019.

There weren't any exhibitions on when I explored the artists' village. Nonetheless, I found many highly photogenic things to look at and photograph, not least of which was a very cute, possibly very pregnant cat. Other interesting things were a selection of colourful plant pots, junk turned into art, lots of flowers and plants and the buildings themselves.

Looking at the Cattle Depot Artists' Village from the outside.

Looking at the Cattle Depot Artists' Village from the outside.

The buildings around the entrance to the village and old feeding troughs.

The buildings around the entrance to the village and old feeding troughs.

Cattle Depot Buildings with signs of industry in the background. Plus some of the high-rise that have been built since Kai Tak closed.

Cattle Depot Buildings with signs of industry in the background. Plus some of the high-rise that have been built since Kai Tak closed.

Long narrow feeding troughs still line the bottoms of the walls.

Long narrow feeding troughs still line the bottoms of the walls.

Old redbrick buildings.

Old redbrick buildings.

Old wooden doors.

Old wooden doors.

Wooden window frames.

Wooden window frames.

Strange creatures guard the exit of the buildings.

Strange creatures guard the exit of the buildings.

An interesting doorway.

An interesting doorway.

Rubbish to Art.

Rubbish to Art.

Rubbish to Art.

Rubbish to Art.

Rubbish to Art.

Rubbish to Art.

Bits and bobs among the foliage.

Bits and bobs among the foliage.

Art boat.

Art boat.

Old and new.

Old and new.

Colourful plant pots.

Colourful plant pots.

Colourful plant pots.

Colourful plant pots.

Colourful plant pots.

Colourful plant pots.

An arrangement of plant pots.

An arrangement of plant pots.

Beautiful flowers, unusual plant pot.

Beautiful flowers, unusual plant pot.

Beautiful plants.

Beautiful plants.

Chinese Wisteria.

Chinese Wisteria.

Flowering Bonsai.

Flowering Bonsai.

Arum Lilies.

Arum Lilies.

Beautiful flowers.

Beautiful flowers.

Hidden fairy.

Hidden fairy.

Hiding Snail and Worm.

Hiding Snail and Worm.

Cute cat.

Cute cat.

Cute cat.

Cute cat.

I could see the Art Park next to the Artists' Village through a locked gate and was annoyed that it was shut. However, I was wrong; I just had to access it through a side entrance. I assume this was because you need to use your leave home safe app to enter the Artists' Village but not the Art Park.

The Art Park occupies the rear portion of the former slaughterhouse. The architects here wanted to provide a green space for people to enjoy, while also maintaining several historical features: such as feeding troughs and the metal rings the animals were tied to next to these. The roofs of the cattle sheds used to be supported by red brick columns. These have also been retained and some have been kept in the tilted or collapsed state they were found in, for artistic effect. There are also several 3-d models of cows and pigs made from metal plates. In many areas trees which had overgrown the disused site have also been maintained.

Artwork outside the Art Park.

Artwork outside the Art Park.

Artwork outside the Art Park.

Artwork outside the Art Park.

Artwork outside the Art Park.

Artwork outside the Art Park.

Restored red brick columns that once supported the roof.

Restored red brick columns that once supported the roof.

Some columns have been kept tilting or where they had fallen.

Some columns have been kept tilting or where they had fallen.

Some trees have been kept as part of the restoration.

Some trees have been kept as part of the restoration.

Cow sheds.

Cow sheds.

Model of a cow.

Model of a cow.

Model of a cow.

Model of a cow.

Model of a cow.

Model of a cow.

Feeding troughs and hooks.

Feeding troughs and hooks.

Where the pigs were kept.

Where the pigs were kept.

Where the pigs were kept.

Where the pigs were kept.

Looking back at the Artists' Village from the remnants of an old well.

Looking back at the Artists' Village from the remnants of an old well.

Green spaces to enjoy.

Green spaces to enjoy.

One area is still fenced off and overgrown, not sure if it will be left like this or developed later. I rather liked this. For some reason I like watching the jungle fighting its way back in the middle of a city.

Old overgrown building.

Old overgrown building.

Old overgrown building.

Old overgrown building.

Old overgrown building.

Old overgrown building.

Old overgrown building.

Old overgrown building.

Next, I walked to Hoi Sham Park. At one time this was a separate island, but due to land reclamation it is now part of the Kowloon Peninsula. It was converted into a park in 1972. When it was an island, Hoi Sham was famous for several things. It had two distinctive rocks: Hoi Sham Rock and Fishtail Rock. Hoi Sham Rock brings good luck to those about to be married. Fishtail Rock looks like the tail of a carp emerging from the water and carp are also considered lucky. Both of these rocks have been retained.

Stairs up to Hoi Sham Rock and Fishtail Rock.

Stairs up to Hoi Sham Rock and Fishtail Rock.

Hoi Sham Rock and Fishtail Rock.

Hoi Sham Rock and Fishtail Rock.

Hoi Sham Rock from the other side.

Hoi Sham Rock from the other side.

The island was also well-known for its Lung Mo Temple dedicated to the dragon mother in Chinese mythology. This temple was demolished when the park was built, but the statue of the dragon mother was preserved and taken to the nearby Tin Hau Temple.

In Hoi Sham Park.

In Hoi Sham Park.

Apparently people used to go to Hoi Sham Island to eat seafood. There's no seafood restaurant here now, but there were certainly plenty of people out fishing. There were also lovely views across the harbour despite the bad weather.

Looking out to sea from Hoi Sham Park.

Looking out to sea from Hoi Sham Park.

Looking out to sea from Hoi Sham Park.

Looking out to sea from Hoi Sham Park.

Waterfront, Hoi Sham Park.

Waterfront, Hoi Sham Park.

On the waterfront there is a pretty pink pavilion, popular with fishermen. To get to it you must walk across a lucky zigzag bridge.

Looking towards the pavilion, Hoi Sham Park.

Looking towards the pavilion, Hoi Sham Park.

Pavilion and zigzag bridge.

Pavilion and zigzag bridge.

Fishermen on the pavilion.

Fishermen on the pavilion.

View from the zigzag bridge.

View from the zigzag bridge.

There were models of peacocks, butterflies and pandas scattered around the park.

Pandas in the park.

Pandas in the park.

Peacocks.

Peacocks.

Butterflies.

Butterflies.

When I had finished looking at the park, I went in search of the Tin Hau Temple, which is located at the corner of Ha Heung Road and Lok Shan Road. It was built in 1885. On the left hand side of the temple there is an altar dedicated to Tin Hau, goddess of the sea and protector of fishermen. On the right hand side stands the statue of Lung Mo which was placed here when Hoi Sham Temple was demolished in 1964. I didn't stay here long as it was busy and I constantly seemed to be in everyone's way.

Entrance to the Tin Hau Temple.

Entrance to the Tin Hau Temple.

Temple Doorway.

Temple Doorway.

Tin Hau.

Tin Hau.

The dragon mother.

The dragon mother.

The dragon mother.

The dragon mother.

In the Tin Hau Temple.

In the Tin Hau Temple.

Finally I headed off to Wellcome Supermarket for some shopping then walked to the MTR to go home.

Colourful Buildings outside To Kwa Wan MTR.

Colourful Buildings outside To Kwa Wan MTR.

Posted by irenevt 09:39 Archived in Hong Kong Comments (12)

Chasing Ghosts.

Finishing off the sights of Chai Wan.

semi-overcast

Ghost Bridge.

Ghost Bridge.

As far as COVID goes some things have been getting better here recently. For example, swimming pools have reopened, so I have been for a swim several times. The first time especially, was absolutely blissful. It felt like I hadn't swum for years, but Peter has to wait till thirty days after his operation before he can get back into the pool. That will be next Monday for him and he's desperately counting down the days. Also the bar we often stop at after swimming is finally open again. It was forced to shut some time in the middle of February. We went there earlier this week for a meal and a pint of draught Estrella. The menu there has changed temporarily, but the new one was actually quite good. Peter doesn't eat much nowadays, so he only wanted a plate of chips. I had roast chicken and it turned out to be a set meal, so Peter also ate the pork flavoured soup that came with my meal and we shared a mango pudding dessert.

Happy with his Estrella.

Happy with his Estrella.

Nice to be back.

Nice to be back.

My roast chicken.

My roast chicken.

I decided this week that I wanted to finish off the other sights of Chai Wan that interest me. I went there last week and visited the Law Uk Museum and Chai Wan Park. There were three other things that appealed to me. The first was Ghost Bridge, so I went there on Monday.

I had never even heard of this bridge until a few weeks ago when I visited Tai Po Kau. While I was researching my trip there, I found a supposedly haunted bridge which had been the sight of a terrible tragedy. As I tried to find out more about this, a second haunted Hong Kong bridge kept appearing in my searches, so I added it to my very long list of things to visit in Hong Kong.

It took me a very long time to find any information on it, but eventually I discovered that this second haunted bridge is actually an aqueduct. Its real name is Tai Tam Gap Aqueduct. It is two hundred metres long and stretches across a gorge. It was built by the British as part of the Tai Tam Waterworks infrastructure. It helps carry rainwater collected in a series of catch waters to the reservoirs in Tai Tam. I don't know exactly when it was built, but probably some time between the two world wars.

There are many ghostly tales about this bridge and, I can only surmise, that they come from the fact that during the Second World War the Japanese captured Hong Kong from the British in a campaign that lasted eighteen days. When they arrived on Hong Kong Island, they marched along mountain paths towards Wong Nai Chung Gap, which became a scene of brutally heavy fighting. To get there the Japanese would probably have marched across this bridge. Anyway, people who have been around the bridge at night, claim to have heard rustling in the surrounding bushes and trees and to have seen the ghosts of Japanese soldiers prowling around in the undergrowth on route to capture Hong Kong. I visited this bridge in the day time and found it really quite peaceful. I don't believe the ghost stories, but, having said that, you still wouldn't get me there at night - just in case!!!

It wasn't that easy to work out how to get to this bridge. Much of the available information was in Chinese. Some people seemed to visit via a housing estate in Chai Wan, others walked along a catchwater. I decided to follow the catchwater route for two reasons. One, it looked like it had fewer stairs, and two, I found the other directions confusing. They involved getting off the MTR, going through a shopping centre, crossing a walkway, entering another shopping centre, more walkways, overhead bridges, underpasses. I just knew I would get lost.

So I travelled to Shau Kei Wan and boarded the number 9 bus that goes to Shek O. I got off at the Sai Wan Water Treatment Works and headed left. This took me onto a pleasant paved path across the slopes of Mount Parker. I knew that I wanted to head right at the Mount Parker Lower Catchwater, which I did. However, this just brought me to a locked gate saying 'Property of Hong Kong Waterworks, Trespassers will be prosecuted'. This was not the start I had hoped for. It was quite frustrating. I knew I was near the Ghost Bridge, as there were lots of old buildings that I had seen in people's blogs and they had written that these were right next to the bridge. I tried taking a couple of different routes around the waterworks, but they were not the correct way. One took me to a pretty stream and waterfall, but it was a dead end. Feeling a bit despondent, I ended up just following the main path, knowing that it was taking me further and further away from the bridge.

Stream.

Stream.

Beautiful red flowers.

Beautiful red flowers.

Catchwater.

Catchwater.

Old wartime building, located near the bridge.

Old wartime building, located near the bridge.

Old building near the bridge.

Old building near the bridge.

This was once an accommodation block for workers in the Sai Wan Treatment Works. It seems to have been abandoned long ago.

This was once an accommodation block for workers in the Sai Wan Treatment Works. It seems to have been abandoned long ago.

Old overgrown structures.

Old overgrown structures.

Eventually, I reached some stairs that I recognised from my online research as the stairs up from the housing estate. I was tempted just to go down these and give up, but I didn't. Instead I passed them and kept going till I saw a steep flight of stairs going up. I climbed these. At the top, I chose to go left, as it was heading back to where I had come from and where I thought the bridge should be, and my luck was in, as within a few minutes, this path lead me straight to Ghost Bridge.

View of Chai Wan from the catchwater.

View of Chai Wan from the catchwater.

I examined the bridge from several different positions. I walked across it in one direction and back over again in the other. On one side, I also found a steep and tricky path down to the underside of the bridge. I carefully made my way down there. From this position, I could see the bridge's arches and supports. Fortunately though, I didn't see any ghosts.

Ghost Bridge.

Ghost Bridge.

Ghost Bridge.

Ghost Bridge.

Ghost Bridge.

Ghost Bridge.

Selfie on Ghost Bridge.

Selfie on Ghost Bridge.

Arches under the bridge.

Arches under the bridge.

Under Ghost Bridge.

Under Ghost Bridge.

Side View of Ghost Bridge.

Side View of Ghost Bridge.

Side view of bridge.

Side view of bridge.

View from Ghost Bridge.

View from Ghost Bridge.

It looked like there were lots of walks around this area. If it hadn't been so hot, I may have chosen one and had a longer wander around, but it was 32 degrees and humid and sticky, so when I had finished looking at the bridge. I returned to the stairs I had seen earlier and walked down to the housing estate. I passed a little garden which was the housing estate's sitting out area.

Stairs between housing estate and path to bridge.

Stairs between housing estate and path to bridge.

Playground behind the housing estate.

Playground behind the housing estate.

I then continued walking down to Chai Wan. As soon as I got to the central area, I wandered around lost on walkways and through shopping centres, up and down stairs, until I finally stumbled upon the MTR, proving my point that it's built up areas I get lost in.

Back in Chai Wan.

Back in Chai Wan.

One of Chai Wan's many confusing walkways.

One of Chai Wan's many confusing walkways.

Housing estates and walkways.

Housing estates and walkways.

Outside a Chai Wan Restaurant.

Outside a Chai Wan Restaurant.

Theatre on Youth Square.

Theatre on Youth Square.

Youth Square, Chai Wan.

Youth Square, Chai Wan.

The next sight on my list was also connected to the Second World War. It was the Sai Wan War Cemetery. I went there on Wednesday. To get there I again boarded the number 9 bus from Shau Kei Wan. In fact, the cemetery was only one stop further on from where I started my Ghost Bridge walk, but walking from one stop to the other would not have been an option, as the road is very busy, narrow and without a pavement at this part. I left the bus at the Cape Collinson, then headed right along Cape Collinson Road. This area is home to many cemeteries. There's a Chinese one, a Muslim one, a Catholic one, a British Military one, a Buddhist one and the Sai Wan War one which was where I was going. If it hadn't been so hot, I'd have happily explored all of these cemeteries, but it was roasting and the cemeteries offered no shade, so I could only manage to visit one.

Hong Kong people like to reserve the best views for their dead ancestors. Cemeteries are generally located on hills and, if possible, near water to ensure good Feng Shui. The cemeteries here had great views. They were not that close to water, though I could see the harbour in the distance.

I walked past the Chinese Cemetery first. I loved its little pavilion with great views over the cemetery and harbour and its well kept graves. In the distance I could see Chai Wan Mosque next to the Muslim Cemetery.

Pavilion overlooking the Chinese Cemetery.

Pavilion overlooking the Chinese Cemetery.

Roof of the pavilion.

Roof of the pavilion.

Dragons guard the graves.

Dragons guard the graves.

View over the cemetery.

View over the cemetery.

Looking back towards the pavilion.

Looking back towards the pavilion.

View over the cemetery.

View over the cemetery.

To get to Sai Wan Military Cemetery. I walked about 600 metres from where my bus had dropped me. This cemetery dates from 1946. It is dedicated to those who lost their lives trying to defend Hong Kong from the Japanese during World War II. This is a beautiful, very well kept cemetery. A total of one thousand five hundred and twenty-eight soldiers are commemorated here, many of whom were never formally identified and are described as 'Known Only to God'. Twelve World War I burials are included here, too. The soldiers buried here are from the Commonwealth Nations. Some are from the Hong Kong Volunteer Force, some were from English regiments, others Scottish, many were Indian, many were Canadian. To my surprise some were Dutch and I have no ideas why they were here. May try and find out. As well as soldiers' graves there were also the graves of police officers.

Before going to the cemetery, when I looked it up on line,I noticed this cemetery came with a full list of warnings. Anyone visiting here was told to be aware of the possibility of snakes in the cemetery, plus wild boar had been known to get in, too. The cemetery was on a steep slope; it was on the edge of a busy road; it offered no shelter from inclement weather. Despite all of these warnings my visit here was problem free. I can only imagine it's necessary to think of every eventuality to avoid being sued.

Entrance Sign for the war cemetery.

Entrance Sign for the war cemetery.

Entrance to war cemetery.

Entrance to war cemetery.

Their names liveth for evermore monument.

Their names liveth for evermore monument.

Old photo showing people being sent off to POW camps.

Old photo showing people being sent off to POW camps.

Very disturbing photo showing extremely malnourished Indian P.O.W. at the end of the war.

Very disturbing photo showing extremely malnourished Indian P.O.W. at the end of the war.

Wartime photo

Wartime photo

Graves.

Graves.

Looking back down the cemetery.

Looking back down the cemetery.

One of many unknown graves.

One of many unknown graves.

Dutch graves.

Dutch graves.

View of the cemetery.

View of the cemetery.

Cross among the Canadian graves in Sai Wan War Cemetery.

Cross among the Canadian graves in Sai Wan War Cemetery.

Looking back up the cemetery.

Looking back up the cemetery.

Indian Magnolia.

Indian Magnolia.

Once I had had a good look around the cemetery, I headed back to the bus-stop. It took a while for a bus to come, but fortunately there was a very welcome breeze here. There were also good views over Tai Tam Harbour and Tai Tam Tuk Reservoir.

View over Tai Tam Reservoirs from the bus stop.

View over Tai Tam Reservoirs from the bus stop.

I still had one last sight to visit, so I got off the number 9 bus at A Kung Ngam Road, near Island Garden, where one of my friends lives. She would have been at work or I'd have invited her to join me on my walk.

I walked to the end of Island Garden and climbed up the steps next to the waterworks building. Fortunately, this was a shaded route as the day was hot and sticky and climbing wasn't all that appealing. Eventually after ten minutes or so of climbing fairly broken stairs, I reached the paved Sai Wan Fort Morning Trail. Here I turned right and followed the gentle slope upwards. This lead to the remains of the Old Sai Wan Fort and Battery which were completed in 1903.

Waterworks at the start of the trail.

Waterworks at the start of the trail.

Stairs up.

Stairs up.

Place to have a rest.

Place to have a rest.

Sign for Sai Wan Fort Morning Trail.

Sign for Sai Wan Fort Morning Trail.

The first thing I saw when I reached the fort, was a sentry box to the left of the entrance. Past the entrance there were guard rooms on both sides of the road. These would have been painted with camouflage paint at one time and would either have been built into the mountainside or had grass on their roofs to help hide them. Their windows and doors of these guard houses were covered with bars. It's not possible to go in, but you can look inside. There is an entrance to an old Japanese tunnel located here, too.

Entrance to fort and guard houses.

Entrance to fort and guard houses.

Guard houses.

Guard houses.

Guard houses.

Guard houses.

Guard houses.

Guard houses.

Guard houses.

Guard houses.

Guard houses.

Guard houses.

A bit further up is the Sai Wan Fort building which is made from stone and brick. This is a bit older than the concrete guard houses and dates from 1895. It's no longer possible to go inside, but in addition to several rooms, there are supposedly passageways in here leading to ammunition stores.

Main fort building.

Main fort building.

Main fort building.

Main fort building.

Sitting area outside main fort building.

Sitting area outside main fort building.

Looking down on the main fort building.

Looking down on the main fort building.

Inside the main fort building.

Inside the main fort building.

Just past the fort, a slope leads up to two six inch gun platforms located on the fort's roof. These were intended to help protect the Hong Kong coast from foreign invaders. They were added here in 1898, but in 1906 the British Military Comission visited Hong Kong and decided the guns here were surplus to requirements, so they were removed. During the 1920's the British decided to turn the Sai Wan Battery into an air defence base and had two 3 inch anti-aircraft guns placed here. These managed to shoot down some Japanese warplanes during the Battle of Hong Kong.

Gun battery.

Gun battery.

Metal bolts show where the guns used to be.

Metal bolts show where the guns used to be.

Storage lockers round the gun battery.

Storage lockers round the gun battery.

I then wandered off to an area on one side of the highest part of the battery. There is a sign post here showing the distances to many different places all over the world. There are also more gun platforms and good views. I also spotted some lovely flowers here, too.

Signpost.

Signpost.

Selfie with sign post.

Selfie with sign post.

Orchids in the fort.

Orchids in the fort.

Nearby there is a steep narrow staircase with blue painted rails. This leads to the very top of the redoubt. At one time there was a reservoir here. It still exists but nowadays it's dry. There is also a modern Transposer Station here. Nearby is the oldest part of the fort, which is a boundary stone that also acted as a trigonometrical marker for early Hong Kong map makers. This stone dates from 1844, but for many years was buried at this site and was only rediscovered recently.

Steep steps to the top of the redoubt.

Steep steps to the top of the redoubt.

Reservoir.

Reservoir.

At the top of the redoubt.

At the top of the redoubt.

Transposer Station.

Transposer Station.

Overgrown buildings at the top of the redoubt.

Overgrown buildings at the top of the redoubt.

Overgrown buildings at the top of the redoubt.

Overgrown buildings at the top of the redoubt.

Overgrown steps at the top of the redoubt.

Overgrown steps at the top of the redoubt.

On top of the redoubt.

On top of the redoubt.

Old boundary stone.

Old boundary stone.

Looking down the steep steps.

Looking down the steep steps.

Once I was back down from the top of the redoubt I had a quick walk along the bottom of the walls on the other side. I could see the rooms that were at the foot of the overgrown stairway I'd seen up above. I hadn't gone to them, as I don't like walking through overgrown areas here in case I get bitten by a snake.

Walking round the old fort walls.

Walking round the old fort walls.

Overgrown stairways.

Overgrown stairways.

The area all around me was so peaceful with only a few walkers and some people doing their daily exercises, but this hasn't always been the case. Sai Wan Battery was occupied by The 5th Battery of the Hong Kong Volunteer Force during the Japanese invasion of Hong Kong Island. On December 18th 1941 the Japanese Army crossed from Kowloon to attack Hong Kong Island. Lei Yue Mun Barracks and Sai Wan Battery were among the first places they attacked. Six gunners from the Hong Kong Volunteer Defence Corps were killed in the initial fighting, twenty were taken prisoner and thirty escaped. The Japanese bayonetted to death the soldiers they had taken prisoner, though two somehow managed to survive and acted as witnesses against this atrocity at the War Crimes Trials after the war.

On a lighter note, apparently, several scenes from the 1965 film, "Les Tribulations d'un Chinois en Chine" were filmed here in Sai Wan Battery.

From the top of the redoubt there are fantastic views over Hong Kong and especially over Junk Bay. I rather like the new bridge that is being built here leading from Tsueng Kwan O to Lohas Park.

View over Junk Bay.

View over Junk Bay.

View of Bridge between Tseung Wan O and Lohas Park.

View of Bridge between Tseung Wan O and Lohas Park.

View over Hong Kong Island.

View over Hong Kong Island.

View.

View.

View from the fort.

View from the fort.

When I had finished looking at the battery, I wandered back downhill. Not too far away, I passed another building which had experienced horrific wartime events. The Salesian Missionary House was being used by the British authorities as a medical station. It was close to where the Japanese soldiers first landed on Hong Kong Island during their initial invasion. When they reached this building, the Japanese mercilessly murdered most of the unarmed medical staff and patients they captured there. So many wasted lives!!

Salesian Mission House.

Salesian Mission House.

I was feeling a little subdued by history. It was time to walk to the MTR and head back home.

Posted by irenevt 12:28 Archived in Hong Kong Comments (8)

(Entries 1 - 5 of 5) Page [1]