A Travellerspoint blog

November 2021

Non-stop Nights Out.

When I was working, I was permanently tired. We usually only managed to eat out with a friend every Wednesday and generally ate out after swimming on Sundays. Since I resigned, people keep organising farewell events. Maybe they just want to make sure I go!!! There were two within school time, which I already wrote about, and several in the evenings. I will combine them into one blog.

The first event was to celebrate me finally making the decision to resign after saying I was going to do it for around a year and a half. I'm not the most decisive person you could meet!!! To celebrate we went to the Hong Kong Football Club in Happy Valley after school one Friday evening. It was mainly a year group event with my two year three teaching colleagues and two primary three teaching assistants. One of the teaching assistants is currently on maternity leave and brought her husband and tiny newborn baby. One of the primary three teachers brought his daughter who also attends my ex-school. In fact, last year I was her teacher.

It's only possible to go to the football club if you are a member or if you know a member. I've known two members in my time so have been here a few times. The food is generally very good and the prices are reasonable. There's a wide choice of alcoholic drinks. This time we sat inside the bar. Usually we sit outdoors overlooking the football fields, because our other friend who is a member smokes. We ordered mainly snack food: nachos, dumplings, pizza. When we were leaving we visited the football club shop. I bought some halloumi and my friend bought some steak. Both were excellent quality indeed.

The Group.

The Group.

Mother and baby, Karise.

Mother and baby, Karise.

Taking turns to hold the baby.

Taking turns to hold the baby.

Taking turns to hold the baby.

Taking turns to hold the baby.

Taking turns to hold the baby.

Taking turns to hold the baby.

Inside the bar.

Inside the bar.

A View Across the Stadium.

A View Across the Stadium.

The next event was my farewell dinner, but I asked for it to be after I had left as I was exhausted and I could bring Peter if it was after I left since I'd go to it from home rather than from school. His eyesight is too bad for him to get there by himself.

This event was in the Aberdeen Boat Club. Again this is members only. One of my fellow primary three teachers is a member. It was my first time at this club. We went to the Waglan Bar and Deck. We sat outside on a terrace overlooking Aberdeen Harbour and the Jumbo Floating Restaurant which is apparently currently closed down. It was a truly beautiful setting and so relaxing and peaceful. I felt much better than at the first event, because the trauma of leaving was finally over.

Peter had a toasted cheese sandwich, but the rest of us shared some curries. One was chicken Punjabi masala, one was spinach and paneer, one was chicken Madras and one was lamb rogan josh, I think. The food was delicious and the drinks kept coming. To get back we took the 70 bus from just across the road all the way to Exchange Square Bus Station in Central. This was really convenient for Peter and I to then jump on the Tung Chung line to Sunny Bay and catch our bus home.

Clubhouse Spiral Staircase.

Clubhouse Spiral Staircase.

Stairway decorated for Christmas.

Stairway decorated for Christmas.

Club's Christmas decorations.

Club's Christmas decorations.

Inside the Waglan Bar.

Inside the Waglan Bar.

The Whole Group.

The Whole Group.

The Whole Group.

The Whole Group.

Perusing the menu.

Perusing the menu.

Peter and I.

Peter and I.

Peter and I.

Peter and I.

Peter and I.

Peter and I.

Maggie and Yang.

Maggie and Yang.

Maggie and Yang.

Maggie and Yang.

Our Delicious Curries.

Our Delicious Curries.

Spicy Poppadoms.

Spicy Poppadoms.

View over lower floor restaurant at Aberdeen Boat Club.

View over lower floor restaurant at Aberdeen Boat Club.

Restaurant and Pool on Lower Floor.

Restaurant and Pool on Lower Floor.

The Club Pool.

The Club Pool.

Night View over Aberdeen Harbour.

Night View over Aberdeen Harbour.

Looking towards the Jumbo Floating Restaurant.

Looking towards the Jumbo Floating Restaurant.

Jumbo Floating Restaurant and Aberdeen Harbour.

Jumbo Floating Restaurant and Aberdeen Harbour.

Play Area for kids.

Play Area for kids.

Night out number three was in the Pier Three Bar which is above the Discovery Bay Ferry Pier in Central. We arranged this to celebrate me and a friend who teaches Primary Two's resignations as she decided to leave a couple of weeks after me. We invited a former colleague who had also escaped. This was mainly a drinking evening though we did have some spring rolls and samosas, too.

The Whole Group.

The Whole Group.

The Whole Group.

The Whole Group.

Suman, fellow leaver.

Suman, fellow leaver.

Daisy and Jason.

Daisy and Jason.

Photos after drinks.

Photos after drinks.

Photos after drinks.

Photos after drinks.

Photos after drinks.

Photos after drinks.

View from the bar.

View from the bar.

View from the bar.

View from the bar.

View from the bar.

View from the bar.

Misbehaving again.

Misbehaving again.

The next night out shouldn't be included in this blog, as it's our regular Wednesday night out, which just happened to take place on a Thursday this week, but I've decided to add it anyway. We are in the Peony Chinese Restaurant in Discovery Bay Residents Club. This restaurant will close down next Thursday and open up elsewhere. We had beef with celery, stir fried broccoli, crispy barbecue pork and sweet and sour pork.

All of us.

All of us.

Bonnie.

Bonnie.

Peter.

Peter.

The Food.

The Food.

Bye bye the Peony.

Bye bye the Peony.

And, last but not least, yesterday was after school leaving drinks for Suman and I in the Enoteca Restaurant, Tong Choi Street, Quarry Bay. We had drinks and nachos. It's pleasant to sit outside here. Everyone kept commenting on how relaxed and happy I look now I don't have to go to work anymore.

The group.

The group.

The Group.

The Group.

Posing with an ex-colleague.

Posing with an ex-colleague.

Rebecca and I.

Rebecca and I.

Suman, Lei and I.

Suman, Lei and I.

Adrian and I.

Adrian and I.

Phil, Thomas, Yang, Lei.

Phil, Thomas, Yang, Lei.

Suman and Cian.

Suman and Cian.

Suman and Yang.

Suman and Yang.

I'm taking this photo, too.

I'm taking this photo, too.

Posted by irenevt 08:23 Archived in Hong Kong Comments (6)

Enjoying my leaving gift.

One Night's Staycation at the Four Seasons Hotel in Central.

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I took a photo of the outside of the hotel from a night out with friends the night before our staycation.

I took a photo of the outside of the hotel from a night out with friends the night before our staycation.

When I left KCIS, the staff collected money for a leaving gift for me, and knowing how much I love travelling, they used the money to get me and Peter a one night's staycation in the Four Seasons Hotel in Central. This is a very expensive hotel and not one us cheapskates would normally stay in, so it was a very lovely splurge for us.

We turned up at the hotel an hour early in the hope they would let us in a bit before our official check-in time which they did. Our room had huge windows and a fantastic view over Victoria Harbour. The Four Seasons Hotel is in the IFC Building and is located just behind the outlying Island ferry piers. This was very convenient for us as we arrived here by ferry. From our room we could watch all the ferries crisscrossing over the harbour. We could also see the West Kowloon Cultural District, which I visited a few weeks ago, and the Tsim Sha Tsui Waterfront.

Our room had an extremely comfortable king-size bed, table and chairs, an in-room safe and a pull out minibar fridge. We also had a kettle and a coffee machine. The bathroom was huge, nearly the size of our flat. It had a bath and a walk-in shower.

Our room.

Our room.

Our Room.

Our Room.

Our Bathroom.

Our Bathroom.

Peter in our room.

Peter in our room.

Peter in our room.

Peter in our room.

Selfie in the Room.

Selfie in the Room.

I had to make us jasmine tea as we had a pot, two cups, jasmine tea leaves and a full set of instructions.

I had to make us jasmine tea as we had a pot, two cups, jasmine tea leaves and a full set of instructions.

Passing junk on the harbour.

Passing junk on the harbour.

Ferry Terminals and Tsim Sha Tsui Waterfront.

Ferry Terminals and Tsim Sha Tsui Waterfront.

Ferry Terminals and Junk.

Ferry Terminals and Junk.

Ferry Terminals and West Kowloon Cultural District.

Ferry Terminals and West Kowloon Cultural District.

Ferry Terminals and West Kowloon Cultural District.

Ferry Terminals and West Kowloon Cultural District.

After enjoying our room for a while we had a bit of a look round the hotel. As you would expect it is quite beautiful in parts.

View from the lobby.

View from the lobby.

In the lobby on the twenty-first floor.

In the lobby on the twenty-first floor.

We kept passing this big hotel window.

We kept passing this big hotel window.

Entrance to Spa.

Entrance to Spa.

Spa.

Spa.

Spa Shop.

Spa Shop.

Christmas Tree.

Christmas Tree.

Christmas Tree.

Christmas Tree.

Orchids.

Orchids.

Orchids.

Orchids.

Then we decided to go to the hotel's infinity swimming pool. There are actually two pools here: a non-heated lap pool and a heated infinity pool. Today was the coldest it has been in Hong Kong all year - 14 degrees with an icy wind coming off the harbour. Nonetheless, we decided to go for a swim. We opted for the heated pool, which was beautiful but still fairly cold. It's wonderful for taking photographs and looked lovely even on a gray day.

Looking across the lap pool and the infinity pool.

Looking across the lap pool and the infinity pool.

Across the pools from a different angle.

Across the pools from a different angle.

Looking across the pool.

Looking across the pool.

Peter in the pool.

Peter in the pool.

Peter in the pool.

Peter in the pool.

Both of us in the pool.

Both of us in the pool.

We were constantly given free teas in a variety of different flavours such as apple or ginger. I loved the ginger one.

We were constantly given free teas in a variety of different flavours such as apple or ginger. I loved the ginger one.

Pigeon by the pool.

Pigeon by the pool.

View from the pool.

View from the pool.

View from the pool.

View from the pool.

The package we had included HK$780 towards food and drinks or spa treatments. We decided to buy our own drinks from outside and use the money to have room service in our room. I headed out to buy a lovely chilled bottle of white wine and some beers. On the way I stopped to take a photo of the lovely pawn shop sign near Central Market lit up at night and some general shots of Central at night.

Pawn shop sign lit up.

Pawn shop sign lit up.

Central by night.

Central by night.

Central by night.

Central by night.

I also wandered back down to the pool at night to take some photos of the harbour all lit up. We had a great view from the room, too, but some of the photos had too much reflection.

View from that big window at night.

View from that big window at night.

Nightview across the pool.

Nightview across the pool.

Nightview across the pool.

Nightview across the pool.

Nightview across the pool.

Nightview across the pool.

Nightview across pool.

Nightview across pool.

Pool Sculpture and Harbour View.

Pool Sculpture and Harbour View.

Pool Sculpture and Pool View.

Pool Sculpture and Pool View.

Pool Sculpture and Harbour View.

Pool Sculpture and Harbour View.

Nightview across Victoria Harbour.

Nightview across Victoria Harbour.

Nightview across Victoria Harbour.

Nightview across Victoria Harbour.

Nightview over Victoria Harbour.

Nightview over Victoria Harbour.

Ever changing colours on view across Central.

Ever changing colours on view across Central.

Ever changing colours on view across Central.

Ever changing colours on view across Central.

Ever changing colours on view across Central.

Ever changing colours on view across Central.

Then, back up in the room, we called room service and ordered one Indian butter chicken with cumin rice. This came with a popadom, mango chutney and cucumber raita. We also ordered a cheese board. This had about eight different kinds of cheeses, bread sticks and a variety of different breads. And last but not least we had three scoops of ice-cream: two vanilla and one pistachio. This came with a selection of berries and fortunately included raspberries, which I absolutely adore. I think this is only the third time in my life I have ever had room service in a hotel. The other times were in Bangkok and Dubai. The food was brought on its own table which was wheeled up to our window and we sat and ate while watching the sound and light show flickering across Victoria Harbour - absolutely divine. Furthermore, when we had finished everything, including the beer and the wine, we only had to get from the window to the other side of the room in order to go to bed. Haha!

In room dining with a harbour view.

In room dining with a harbour view.

Cheese board with bread and pickles.

Cheese board with bread and pickles.

Happy with my glass of Oyster bay.

Happy with my glass of Oyster bay.

Indian butter chicken with cumin rice.

Indian butter chicken with cumin rice.

Berries and ice-cream.

Berries and ice-cream.

The weather had been overcast and cold on our first day, but on our second the sun was shining and I could take all the views again but under blue skies. Yippee!

Blue skies over the view from the room.

Blue skies over the view from the room.

Blue skies over the view from the room.

Blue skies over the view from the room.

Is this one of the bridges I was looking at the other day?

Is this one of the bridges I was looking at the other day?

Breakfast was included in our room rate and we could have a la carte breakfast in the lobby lounge or buffet breakfast in the Argo. We often find hotel buffet's have food that is freezing cold, so we were tempted by the lounge, but the Argo is new and very fancily decorated so we decided to go there instead. This proved to be a good idea. The food was not cold. It was tasty. The staff were friendly and the restaurant was very photogenic. Who could ask for more?

In the lobby lounge.

In the lobby lounge.

In the Argo.

In the Argo.

This is us enjoying our breakfast.

This is us enjoying our breakfast.

The pork and spring onion wonton were excellent.

The pork and spring onion wonton were excellent.

I like crispy bacon, but this was so crispy you couldn't cut it without it exploding everywhere. You had to pick it up in your hands.

I like crispy bacon, but this was so crispy you couldn't cut it without it exploding everywhere. You had to pick it up in your hands.

Dining room decor.

Dining room decor.

Dining room decor.

Dining room decor.

Peter had ham and cheese omelette. I had mushroom and cheese omelette.

Peter had ham and cheese omelette. I had mushroom and cheese omelette.

I could not resist the salmon and tuna.

I could not resist the salmon and tuna.

Inside the Argo.

Inside the Argo.

Inside the Argo.

Inside the Argo.

We needed a postprandial nap after breakfast and then we went to the swimming pool again, but this time under blue skies. I decided to be very brave and try the non-heated lap pool as well as the infinity pool this time. It was pretty exhilarating. After swimming there for a while I returned to the infinity pool and it felt like I was stepping into a warm bath by comparison.

That window again under blue skies.

That window again under blue skies.

The harbour under blue skies.

The harbour under blue skies.

Peter swimming towards the harbour.

Peter swimming towards the harbour.

View across the pools.

View across the pools.

Blue skies over the pool.

Blue skies over the pool.

The pool under blue skies.

The pool under blue skies.

Peter in the pool under blue skies.

Peter in the pool under blue skies.

At the ends of the Earth.

At the ends of the Earth.

Us in the pool under sunny skies.

Us in the pool under sunny skies.

Sculpture and harbour views.

Sculpture and harbour views.

Sculpture near the pool.

Sculpture near the pool.

The sun is bouncing off this sculpture.

The sun is bouncing off this sculpture.

This time when we came to swim we copied everyone else and arrived in our hotel dressing gowns. This really saves getting all your clothes wet.

Peter in his dressing gown.

Peter in his dressing gown.

Me in my dressing gown.

Me in my dressing gown.

All too soon, it was time to check out and go home, but it was a great break. Thank you everyone who contributed to it.

Posted by irenevt 11:14 Archived in Hong Kong Comments (8)

Blazing the Trails.

A Walk Round Tsing Yi Nature Trail.

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Today I planned to walk the Tsing Yi Nature Trail, but when I woke up outside was gray and raining. I thought about it, then decided to just go ahead and do my walk anyway despite the weather.

I started my day out by taking the bus to Sunny Bay. When we arrived there, lots of people ran frantically from the bus towards the train station. They were desperate to make their train and not be late for work. I sauntered to the station, stopping to admire and photograph some beautiful flowers. Just over a week ago, I was one of the people tearing out of transport at breakneck speed to catch my next form of transport. The ironic thing was we all caught exactly the same train in the end.

Loved having time to smell these flowers.

Loved having time to smell these flowers.

And these.

And these.

And these.

And these.

Then to get to the trail I took the MTR to Tsing Yi Station, exited through exit A2 and headed straight until I saw the bus station on my right. I boarded bus 248M and rode it to the last stop at Cheung Wang Estate Bus Terminus. It is necessary to pay attention on this journey because it is circular and when it reaches the end it just keeps on going all the way back to the start.

After exiting the bus, I walked left up Liu To Road. After around five minutes, I saw a sign for Tsing Yi Nature Trail on my right. The sign was bordered on each side by steep flights of stairs. It doesn't matter which one you choose as they later meet up. On the climb up the stairs, I saw beautiful flowers and had a fantastic view of the Ting Kau Bridge. This is a 1,177-metre long cable-stayed bridge which connects the northwest of Tsing Yi Island to Tuen Mun Road. This bridge dates from 1998.

Tsing Yi Nature Trail Sign.

Tsing Yi Nature Trail Sign.

Tsing Yi Nature Trail Map.

Tsing Yi Nature Trail Map.

I took the steep stairway.

I took the steep stairway.

Beautiful Flowers on route.

Beautiful Flowers on route.

The Ting Kau Bridge.

The Ting Kau Bridge.

The Ting Kau Bridge.

The Ting Kau Bridge.

After climbing a couple of steep sets of stairs, I found myself in an area where lots of locals meet to exercise. They were having impromptu dance classes, or were quietly carrying out their daily exercise routine. They had also built themselves makeshift shelters to sit in and to protect themselves from the sun and rain.

Up early and out exercising.

Up early and out exercising.

Makeshift Shelter.

Makeshift Shelter.

Makeshift Shelter.

Makeshift Shelter.

Makeshift Shelter.

Makeshift Shelter.

After spending a few minutes watching all the hustle and bustle in this area, I walked to a lovely Chinese pavilion. I think this was pavilion four. This area was home to several hillside graves. Cantonese people like to bury their ancestors in areas with good Feng Shui. High up areas with fresh air and close proximity to water are apparently fortuitous, so there were several graves dotted around this area.

Pavilion Four.

Pavilion Four.

Hillside graves.

Hillside graves.

Hillside graves.

Hillside graves.

Hillside graves.

Hillside graves.

After looking at the pavilion, I followed a beautiful forest path to pavilion three. On route I passed lots of lovely, colourful berries. I particularly liked the cute little wooden fences lining the path. At pavilion three there were people sitting relaxing, as well as many carrying out their morning exercises. There were also some elegant, bright red hibiscus flowers.

Beautiful Forest Path.

Beautiful Forest Path.

There were dirt paths on the nature trail, too.

There were dirt paths on the nature trail, too.

The path had many steep flights of stairs.

The path had many steep flights of stairs.

Ferns.

Ferns.

Brooms were positioned all over this route.

Brooms were positioned all over this route.

Paper Bark Tree.

Paper Bark Tree.

Colourful Berries.

Colourful Berries.

Beautiful Berries.

Beautiful Berries.

Pavilion Three.

Pavilion Three.

Pavilion Three.

Pavilion Three.

Another broom.

Another broom.

There were elegant hibiscus flowers all over the walk.

There were elegant hibiscus flowers all over the walk.

After pavilion three I headed towards picnic area two. On the way, I suddenly remembered reading a blog in which the writer wrote about following a ribbon lined trail around here to a viewpoint overlooking the Tsing Ma Bridge. I suddenly noticed some ribbons on the trees and decided to investigate. The dirt path led to a fence and beyond it there was a steep set of steps for the slope maintenance workers. Someone had cut a large hole in the fence, so I passed through it and descended the steep stairway. Of course, you are not meant to do this for safety reasons. The stairs are very steep and there are many things to trip over and if it rains, the water catchment area next to the stairs will rapidly fill up with cascading streams of water. I climbed down to the viewpoint carefully. It was a wonderful view - the highlight of the whole walk. I could gaze out over the Tsing Ma Bridge and the Ma Wan Channel.

The Tsing Ma Bridge is the fourteenth longest span suspension bridge in the world. It connects the islands of Tsing Yi and Ma Wan. It has two decks, a span of 1,377 metres and a height of 206 metres. It carries both road and rail traffic.

Paper bark Trees.

Paper bark Trees.

Steep Stairs.

Steep Stairs.

Steep Stairs.

Steep Stairs.

The Bridge Through the Trees.

The Bridge Through the Trees.

The Bridge Through the Trees.

The Bridge Through the Trees.

Wider View of the Bridge and Channel.

Wider View of the Bridge and Channel.

Overlooking the Ma Wan Channel.

Overlooking the Ma Wan Channel.

Excellent bridge Views from the Illicit Viewpoint.

Excellent bridge Views from the Illicit Viewpoint.

Selfie with the bridge.

Selfie with the bridge.

Selfie with the bridge.

Selfie with the bridge.

The climb back up to the path was tiring. Thank goodness it wasn't a hot day, but it wasn't like the climb in the blog I read. In that they had to grab onto ropes to get back up. I think they approached the same viewpoint by a harder, steeper route.

Once I was back on the path I headed towards picnic area two. There are lovely views from here. In one direction it's possible to view the Tsing Ma Bridge, but from an unusual angle. In the other there are views over Tsuen Wan. There is also a marker here, as it's one of the highest points of the trail, and a lovely rope swing attached to one of the trees. There were lots of gorgeous hibiscus flowers here, too.

Trail Marker.

Trail Marker.

Trail Marker and Swing.

Trail Marker and Swing.

Trail Marker and Swing.

Trail Marker and Swing.

Hibiscus Flowers Everywhere.

Hibiscus Flowers Everywhere.

Hibiscus Flowers Everywhere.

Hibiscus Flowers Everywhere.

Picnic Table.

Picnic Table.

Viewpoint at Picnic Area Two.

Viewpoint at Picnic Area Two.

Unusual View of Tsing Ma Bridge.

Unusual View of Tsing Ma Bridge.

Tsing Ma Bridge from a different angle.

Tsing Ma Bridge from a different angle.

More Usual View.

More Usual View.

View over Ma Wan Channel.

View over Ma Wan Channel.

Views over Ma Wan Channel.

Views over Ma Wan Channel.

Views over Ma Wan Channel.

Views over Ma Wan Channel.

View over Tsuen Wan.

View over Tsuen Wan.

View over Tsuen Wan.

View over Tsuen Wan.

View over Tsuen Wan.

View over Tsuen Wan.

View over Tsuen Wan.

View over Tsuen Wan.

At this point I realized the path I had taken had missed out pavilion five, so I doubled back to have a look at it. It was an elegant pavilion with views over Tsuen Wan, just like the ones from picnic area two. There were lots of lovely plants around on this part of the trail.

Pavilion Five.

Pavilion Five.

Pavilion Five.

Pavilion Five.

Another Broom.

Another Broom.

Seating area in Pavilion Five.

Seating area in Pavilion Five.

Another Tsing Yi Trail.

Another Tsing Yi Trail.

Colourful Plants.

Colourful Plants.

Wild Flowers.

Wild Flowers.

Wild Flowers.

Wild Flowers.

Strange Umbrella Filled Rubbish Dump in the Trees.

Strange Umbrella Filled Rubbish Dump in the Trees.

I then walked back to picnic area two, climbed down lots of steps and followed directions for pavilion two. I think I accidentally missed out picnic area one. To get to pavilion two I had to climb lots of steps again. There were beautiful views again. This time they were over an oil depot of all things, but from far enough away it looked pretty. This is the Nga Yin Chau Oil Depot. Currently most of the industry in Tsing Yi is located on the north shore and the south shore is largely residential. Nga Yin Chau used to be a separate island from Tsing Yi, but due to land reclamation it is now joined to it. Around this area there were lots of lovely fried egg plants, which are currently in full bloom.

Stairs, stairs, stairs.

Stairs, stairs, stairs.

Pavilion Two.

Pavilion Two.

Pavilion Two.

Pavilion Two.

Marker near Pavilion Two.

Marker near Pavilion Two.

Marker near Pavilion Two.

Marker near Pavilion Two.

Fried Egg Plants.

Fried Egg Plants.

Fried Egg Plants.

Fried Egg Plants.

Fried Egg Plants.

Fried Egg Plants.

Fried Egg Plants.

Fried Egg Plants.

Wild Flowers.

Wild Flowers.

Colourful Berries.

Colourful Berries.

Colourful Berries.

Colourful Berries.

Flowery View over the Oil Refinery.

Flowery View over the Oil Refinery.

Oil Depot.

Oil Depot.

Fellow Hikers.

Fellow Hikers.

Fellow Hikers.

Fellow Hikers.

After pavilion two, I reached pavilion one. Behind it there were lovely views of the Tsing Ma Bridge again. In fact the views from here were some of the best on the whole trail. From near this pavilion there were great views over Tsing Yi and the Ramblers Channel as well.

Pavilion One.

Pavilion One.

Tsing Ma Bridge from Pavilion One.

Tsing Ma Bridge from Pavilion One.

Selfie with the bridge.

Selfie with the bridge.

View over Tsing Yi and the Ramblers Channel.

View over Tsing Yi and the Ramblers Channel.

View over Tsing Yi and the Ramblers Channel.

View over Tsing Yi and the Ramblers Channel.

After pavilion one I walked down a steep stairway with lovely urban views and reached a forested area with a tiny stream and banana plants. It was very peaceful here. The trail through the woods eventually led to the south entrance of the Tsing Yi Trails. I exited here and turned left. I walked for about five minutes till I reached a bus-stop where I caught the 279X bus back to Tsing Yi Station bus terminal.

Scenic views on walk down.

Scenic views on walk down.

The Oil Refinery on the Descent.

The Oil Refinery on the Descent.

Banana Plants.

Banana Plants.

The South Entrance to the Trails.

The South Entrance to the Trails.

Posted by irenevt 02:09 Archived in Hong Kong Comments (6)

Oh no! Last day of the pools again.

Sob! Sob!

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November 21st is a sad day for us. It is the last day of our open air pools. The weather isn't too bad and the water isn't particularly cold, so we are devastated. We spent the early afternoon down at the open air pool in Club Sienna. We also treated ourselves to lunch there as, it's also the last day of the little poolside kiosk. This kiosk does the best Japanese dumplings in the entire world.

Last swim in Sienna.

Last swim in Sienna.

Last swim in Sienna.

Last swim in Sienna.

I will miss my pool.

I will miss my pool.

Really miss it.

Really miss it.

Me after my last swim.

Me after my last swim.

In front of the little kiosk.

In front of the little kiosk.

Peter with his beer.

Peter with his beer.

I love these Japanese dumplings.

I love these Japanese dumplings.

Back home I decided to photograph the beautiful bauhinia flowers outside our building. These are currently at their finest. They really cheer the place up.

View of our building.

View of our building.

Beautiful bauhinias.

Beautiful bauhinias.

Beautiful bauhinias.

Beautiful bauhinias.

It seems Christmas has arrived already in our block. We appear to have a bright pink Christmas tree.

These Christmas decorations have just appeared in the lobby of our building.

These Christmas decorations have just appeared in the lobby of our building.

Well, we couldn't let the last day of the pool go with only one swim, so after a short rest, we headed to the other plaza and the other pool and went for a swim there, too. This was the first time we have used this pool this year.

On route to the pool we passed the plaza Christmas decorations. This year all the Christmas trees seem to be shaped like Santa hats. The Sunday market which takes place once a month was in full swing too.

Christmas decorations in the plaza.

Christmas decorations in the plaza.

Christmas decorations in the plaza.

Christmas decorations in the plaza.

Discovery Bay Sunday Market.

Discovery Bay Sunday Market.

The water was lovely. The pool wasn't crowded as most people are apparently too namby pamby to swim in the November chill, i.e. it's slightly below roasting hot.


The other pool.

The other pool.

The other pool.

The other pool.

Me by the Residents' Club Pool.

Me by the Residents' Club Pool.

Peter with the Residents' Club Pool.

Peter with the Residents' Club Pool.

Peter with the Residents' Club Pool.

Peter with the Residents' Club Pool.

Peter by the other pool.

Peter by the other pool.

After the swim, we headed to the restaurant in the club and ate dinner on the terrace overlooking the pool. I had laksa. It had a delicious coconut and chilli sauce but was a bit lacking in prawns.

The Residents' Club Pool viewed from the terrace

The Residents' Club Pool viewed from the terrace

My laksa.

My laksa.

Peter's club sandwich.

Peter's club sandwich.

After dinner we returned home for a well earned sleep. On the way we passed our beach all beautifully lit up and the Christmas tree I walked by earlier all ablaze with lights.

Beach by night.

Beach by night.

Christmas tree by night.

Christmas tree by night.

Christmas tree by night.

Christmas tree by night.

Posted by irenevt 11:33 Archived in Hong Kong Comments (4)

Gazing across a Thousand Islands.

Tai Lam Chung Reservoir

overcast

Today I decided to hike to the viewpoint over Tai Lam Chung Reservoir, which is also known as A Thousand Islands Reservoir. To get there I took the MTR to Tuen Mun. I exited the station through exit F2. This brought me out in front of V-City Shopping Mall. I had heard there is a minibus stop here, but that the minibus usually arrives full, so I turned left and walked up Ho Pong Road. When I reached the Wellcome supermarket, I went right. The terminus for green minibus serice number 43 to So Kwun Wat is in front of San Hui Market. To get to the reservoir, take this to the last stop in front of So Kwun Wat's Tin Hau Temple.

San Hui Market looked interesting and colourful, but I didn't go in. To enter a public market nowadays it's necessary to scan the leave home safe app and if anyone who has visited the market tests positive for covid, you need to take a compulsory covid test. I didn't think it was worth the risk for a couple of photos, but I photographed the busy streets on the edge of the market.

San Hui Market.

San Hui Market.

San Hui Market.

San Hui Market.

Green Minibus.

Green Minibus.

Number 43 minibus timetable.

Number 43 minibus timetable.

The minibus ride goes through part of the Gold Coast and past the Gold Coast Hotel. This area looks quite interesting and I intend to explore it later on. Apparently it has a lovely sandy beach, called Golden Beach.

Most articles I have read on the walk I was about to take emphasise that there is nothing to see except the final viewpoint. I certainly did not find this to be true. I started by having a quick look at So Kwun Wat Village. It had a pond, several small farms, including a bee farm, an ancestral hall and a Tin Hau Temple. The temple, though small, was beautiful and well-maintained.

So Kwun Wat pond. The little farm beyond has lots of scarecrows.

So Kwun Wat pond. The little farm beyond has lots of scarecrows.

Ancestral Hall.

Ancestral Hall.

Doorway to the hall.

Doorway to the hall.

Inside the hall.

Inside the hall.

Looking outside from the hall.

Looking outside from the hall.

Typical village houses.

Typical village houses.

Tin Hau Temple.

Tin Hau Temple.

Dragon Incense Burner.

Dragon Incense Burner.

A god outside the temple.

A god outside the temple.

Tin Hau, goddess of the sea.

Tin Hau, goddess of the sea.

Decorative Panels inside the temple.

Decorative Panels inside the temple.

Decorative Panels inside the temple.

Decorative Panels inside the temple.

Decorative Panel.

Decorative Panel.

Piles of Incense.

Piles of Incense.

Door god.

Door god.

Looking outside the temple.

Looking outside the temple.

Looking outside the temple.

Looking outside the temple.

Honey farm.

Honey farm.

The route I was taking is part of stage 10 of the Maclehose Trail.

The route I was taking is part of stage 10 of the Maclehose Trail.

Someone should really move and/or wash this car.

Someone should really move and/or wash this car.

Other things I liked about the village were: it is surrounded by beautiful mountain scenery and it is home to lots of free range goats. I think these are owned by one of the farmers, but they are allowed to roam free. Cars drive along the road cautiously in order not to kill them. The sound of their bleating fills the air. There are not many places in Hong Kong with goats.

Village Graveyard.

Village Graveyard.

Goats on route.

Goats on route.

Goats on route.

Goats on route.

Goats on route.

Goats on route.

Goats on route.

Goats on route.

Mountain Scenery.

Mountain Scenery.

Flowers along the way.

Flowers along the way.

Flowers along the way.

Flowers along the way.

Beyond the goats, I reached the entrance to the Tai Lam Chung Country Park. There are lots of trails here, so some day I may come back and walk a different one. In December I plan to go to a different part of this reservoir which is famous for autumn leaves. For today's hike I was walking to the Tai Lam Chung Reservoir Lookout Point. The views from here are among the most famous in Hong Kong.

The Tai Lam Chung Reservoir was constructed between 1952 and 1957, making it the first reservoir to be built in Hong Kong after World War II. It was created by building a dam across the Tai Lam Chung Valley. The resulting rise in water level turned several mountain tops into islands in the reservoir and created the stunning thousand island view. There is a reservoir in Mainland China which was formed in the same way and which also has thousands of little islands poking out through its waves.

The start of the trail up to the viewpoint follows a concrete path. It's an easy walk though it is all on an incline, so might prove tiring on a hot day. Along the way there is a small dam. I walked across it for some views.

Small dam on the way.

Small dam on the way.

View from the dam.

View from the dam.

View from the dam.

View from the dam.

On the next part of the walk I passed some water department buildings, a possible war remain and several breathtaking viewpoints. Personally, I loved the views from here more than the famous thousand island views. They reminded me of Scottish lochs and Austrian lakes.

Looking at the waterworks.

Looking at the waterworks.

More waterworks constructions.

More waterworks constructions.

I wondered if this was war related, but I may just be obsessed with war remains.

I wondered if this was war related, but I may just be obsessed with war remains.

Fellow Hikers and typical scenery on this path.

Fellow Hikers and typical scenery on this path.

I liked these beautiful views on the way up more than the famous ones.

I liked these beautiful views on the way up more than the famous ones.

This view on the way up made me homesick for Scottish lochs.

This view on the way up made me homesick for Scottish lochs.

Eventually, I reached an open area with an early view over the Islands. It's not as spectacular as the later view, but it's still beautiful and it's a good place to sit down and take a rest. There's a portaloo here, too. If I had continued along the paved path from here, I'd have ended up at another reservoir, but I left the paved path and followed a dirt one to get to the reservoir viewpoint. There are lots of interesting rock formations in this area. There was even the odd hint of autumn colours.

The view from the area where the paved road and dirt track meet.

The view from the area where the paved road and dirt track meet.

Selfie with the reservoir from this point.

Selfie with the reservoir from this point.

Where you leave the concrete path and head along a dirt track.

Where you leave the concrete path and head along a dirt track.

Typical scenery on path to viewpoint.

Typical scenery on path to viewpoint.

Forest Pathways.

Forest Pathways.

Autumn Colours.

Autumn Colours.

Mountain Scenery all around.

Mountain Scenery all around.

Mountain Scenery all around.

Mountain Scenery all around.

Eventually I reached a colourful signpost for the viewpoint and a final set of stairs up. The views were very beautiful. I'd imagine on weekends and public holidays you would actually have to queue up to see the views and to take photos. It was luxury to do this on a weekday.

Viewpoint Signpost.

Viewpoint Signpost.

Signpost and stairway.

Signpost and stairway.

A view across the reservoir.

A view across the reservoir.

Me with a Thousand Islands.

Me with a Thousand Islands.

Me with a thousand Islands behind me.

Me with a thousand Islands behind me.

Me with a Thousand Islands.

Me with a Thousand Islands.

A View over the Islands.

A View over the Islands.

View from the famous vantage point.

View from the famous vantage point.

View from a higher vantage point.

View from a higher vantage point.

View from a higher vantage point.

View from a higher vantage point.

The return hike retraced the earlier one and I slowly made my way back home to take Peter for another cold swim, then out to dinner in 22 Degrees North with a friend.

Posted by irenevt 06:14 Archived in Hong Kong Comments (4)

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