A Travellerspoint blog

August 2021

Wading through the Wetlands.

A morning in Nam Sang Wai

overcast

Today I decided to go to Nam Sang Wai, a wetland area near Yuen Long. To get there I took the MTR to Yuen Long Station, exited through exit G2, crossed the bridge, turned right, walked down Yuen Long Kau Hui Road, then continued on to Shan Pui Tsuen Road. Just after the minibus terminus I crossed the road and followed the sign for Nam Sang Wai. This led me to the Shan Pui River. This walk took me around ten minutes, but in that time I had left a modern rail network, walked past shopping centres and high-rises, walked past village houses, walked past squatter houses and now I was standing on a river bank next to houses on stilts. Quite amazing!!

Lion guarding the entrance to a village.

Lion guarding the entrance to a village.

Lion guarding the entrance to a village.

Lion guarding the entrance to a village.

Crepe Myrtle Flowers on the way.

Crepe Myrtle Flowers on the way.

Jungle Geranium Flowers on the way.

Jungle Geranium Flowers on the way.

The way down to the river.

The way down to the river.

House near the river.

House near the river.

I pressed a bell to summon a man to bring his row boat and take me across the river for HK$7. The crossing only takes around a minute but it is fun. I believe this is the last rowboat river crossing left in Hong Kong.

Houses on Stilts.

Houses on Stilts.

Looking across the river.

Looking across the river.

The Boat Approaching.

The Boat Approaching.

The boatman secures his boat.

The boatman secures his boat.

Looking back at the boat.

Looking back at the boat.

Looking down the Shan Pui River.

Looking down the Shan Pui River.

Looking down the Shan Pui River.

Looking down the Shan Pui River.

The boat was busier on my way back.

The boat was busier on my way back.

The boat was busier on my way back.

The boat was busier on my way back.

Nam Sang Wai is bordered by the Kam Tin River to its east and the Shan Pui River at the bottom and to its west. Both the Shan Pui and Kam Tin Rivers have industrial estates on the sides opposite Nam Sang Wai, yet Nam Sang Wai has enough trees and tall grass to blot them all out and make people feel they are in the midst of nature.

When I got off the rowboat, I began my explorations by going to the right and into a little village. The river is on one side of the village and a large fish pond is on the other. Some of the village houses are empty and falling down, others are still lived in. In many ways it looks like a normal Hong Kong squatter type village, but as I wandered further I saw signs up telling me the houses had CCTV and there were lots of cameras everywhere. This is not normal. I'm guessing the reason for it is that Nam Sang Wai is in the centre of a bit of a dispute. Its inhabitants, the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department and the World Wildlife Fund want it to be preserved as it is, but some property developers want to build high-rises and a golf course on it. The debate has been going on for more than a decade. There have been several suspicious fires here. It is suspected they may have been caused deliberately by arsonists trying to downgrade the environment.

Village house in Nam Sang Wai.

Village house in Nam Sang Wai.

Village house in Nam Sang Wai.

Village house in Nam Sang Wai.

Village house in Nam Sang Wai.

Village house in Nam Sang Wai.

Village house in Nam Sang Wai.

Village house in Nam Sang Wai.

Village house in Nam Sang Wai.

Village house in Nam Sang Wai.

Looking over the pond.

Looking over the pond.

Looking over the pond.

Looking over the pond.

Looking over the pond.

Looking over the pond.

Looking over the pond.

Looking over the pond.

Looking over the pond.

Looking over the pond.

Looking over the pond.

Looking over the pond.

Village cat.

Village cat.

After looking at the village and startling a friendly neighbourhood cat, I returned to the main path and set off to explore the area. Today is Monday and there were not many people around. I've heard that on weekends this area is heaving with cyclists, hikers and lots of people wanting fresh air and exercise. On those days it's even necessary to queue for the little boat. It can carry six people at a time and if a person pays an extra dollar, they can even bring their bikes.

The main path I was now wandering along was lined by beautiful white barked eucalyptus trees. Many people refer to their lovely smell, but I could not smell them at all. I don't have a very good sense of smell. The trees are lovely and at times I felt like I was walking through a landscape painting. At weekends this tree lined path is popular with people taking photos.

Trees and Grassland.

Trees and Grassland.

Eucalyptus Trees.

Eucalyptus Trees.

Eucalyptus Trees.

Eucalyptus Trees.

Eucalyptus Trees.

Eucalyptus Trees.

Selfie with Eucalyptus Trees.

Selfie with Eucalyptus Trees.

Trees and Long Grass.

Trees and Long Grass.

On one side of the trees there was lots of long grass, on the other there were ponds filled with grasses and reeds. This was an extremely hot and humid day, but not particularly sunny. On sunny days apparently there are wonderful cloud reflections in the water here. This wetland area is home to lots of birds, such as: northern pintails, yellow-nib ducks, seagulls, egrets, cormorants and black-faced spoonbills. I saw several birds, but could neither identify them, nor manage to photograph them.

Grasslands and Mountains.

Grasslands and Mountains.

Pond.

Pond.

Pond.

Pond.

Green Marshy Lands.

Green Marshy Lands.

Green Marshy Lands.

Green Marshy Lands.

Looking back towards Yuen Long.

Looking back towards Yuen Long.

Pond.

Pond.

Pond.

Pond.

Pond.

Pond.

Pond.

Pond.

Wetlands.

Wetlands.

Another form of wildlife associated with this area is Pui Pui, but fortunately she wasn't around on my visit ! Pui Pui is a female saltwater crocodile. Presumably someone kept her illegally as a pet, then unable to care for her or perhaps unwilling to be eaten by her, released her into the wild. She was first spotted in the Shan Pui River by a member of the public on November 2nd 2003. Then there were several more sightings. Eventually, an Australian crocodile hunter called John Lever was brought to Hong Kong to help catch her, but his attempts failed. Finally, on 10th June 2004, she was captured by staff of the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department. Pui Pui now lives in Hong Kong Wetland Park. I've visited her there several times as we used to go there on school trips. She was so famous by the time she was captured there was even a competition to choose a suitable name for her. Pui Pui, which means precious one, was the winner. After all she was found in the Shan Pui River.

I may not have encountered that particular reptile, but I did meet another one. There was a man walking his tortoise in the park. Once I'd seen everything, turned round and was heading back, he was still approaching the area, but I'm sure he got there in the end. This is the second time I've encountered someone walking their tortoise in Hong Kong. No-one has gardens so locals like to take their pets outside for some exercise.

Slow and Steady Wins the Race.

Slow and Steady Wins the Race.

Still going strong when I returned.

Still going strong when I returned.

When I got to the end of the corridor of trees, I reached a pretty pond with a little wooden pier in it. This is nicknamed wedding pier as it has become very popular as a location for taking wedding photos. On my return walk some people asked me to photograph them here and then photographed me in return.

Wedding Pier.

Wedding Pier.

Me on Wedding Pier.

Me on Wedding Pier.

Wedding Pier.

Wedding Pier.

Wedding Pier.

Wedding Pier.

Me on Wedding Pier.

Me on Wedding Pier.

Past the wedding pier pond there is a large grassy meadow. This is perfect for children to run around playing in. It's also a very popular area for flying model planes and helicopters and, of course, kites. There was a plane and a helicopter buzzing around on my visit. There were beautiful trees and flowers here, too.

There were beautiful flowers around the meadow. This is known as Indian rhododendron.

There were beautiful flowers around the meadow. This is known as Indian rhododendron.

There were beautiful flowers around the meadow.

There were beautiful flowers around the meadow.

There were beautiful flowers around the meadow.

There were beautiful flowers around the meadow.

Grassy Meadow.

Grassy Meadow.

Grassy Meadow.

Grassy Meadow.

More Trees.

More Trees.

Trees and Flowers.

Trees and Flowers.

I exited the grassy area and looked at the river next. Most people go all the way round on the road here. It's especially popular with cyclists as it's flat and has little traffic, but it is longer and without shade, so I had already decided not to do this.

Shan Pui River.

Shan Pui River.

Shan Pui River.

Shan Pui River.

Shan Pui River.

Shan Pui River.

Shan Pui River.

Shan Pui River.

I went along the road a bit, past more fish ponds but these were locked up. The Shan Pui and Kam Tin Rivers merge at the northern end of Nam Sang Wai. I was getting too hot so I returned to the greenery and the trees. I found a little path that took me out into the Wetlands a bit. There were more ponds here. Also there was a large ruined house here, some of its outbuildings were completely overgrown with trees.

Ruined building.

Ruined building.

Ruined building.

Ruined building.

Ruined building.

Ruined building.

Ruined building.

Ruined building.

Old disused well.

Old disused well.

More Ponds.

More Ponds.

More Ponds.

More Ponds.

Banana Trees.

Banana Trees.

On my way back I took photos of some of the things placed around the area to beautify it, such as: blossom on a log, a heart made of flowers and at the picnic site a tepee and a camp fire.

Fake Blossom to brighten the surroundings.

Fake Blossom to brighten the surroundings.

Tepee and Camp Fire.

Tepee and Camp Fire.

Heart made of flowers. I wondered what the little board next to it said. According to Google translate it says 'please do not vandalise'.

Heart made of flowers. I wondered what the little board next to it said. According to Google translate it says 'please do not vandalise'.

Heart made of flowers.

Heart made of flowers.

When I got back to the boat, it had gotten quite a bit busier, though I still only had a very short wait before I reached the other side. I hope this area does not get built on. Although Hong Kong has a lot of greenery, this was fairly unique. Hong Kong does not have a lot of flat land and this area is clearly well loved and well used.

Posted by irenevt 14:40 Archived in Hong Kong Comments (6)

(Entries 6 - 6 of 6) Previous « Page 1 [2]