A Travellerspoint blog

December 2020

A Look around Lantau.

A trip to Tai O and Mui Wo.

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Actually I live in Lantau. It's the biggest island in Hong Kong, but it's nowhere near as populated as Hong Kong Island, as it is very mountainous with very little flat land. Lantau is a lovely place with wonderful hilly scenery, beautiful beaches and lots of fabulous hiking trails.

Today I decided to revisit some parts of Lantau that I like. I started by taking the bus to Tung Chung from where I live, then boarded the number 11 bus to Tai O. The trip to Tai O is quite long, around an hour, but the bus was comfortable and as I went early and on a week day, not crowded. It can be horrendous on a weekend.

Tai O means large inlet and refers to the place where the Tai O Creek merges with the Tai O River. Tai O is populated by the Tanka people. The Tankas are fishermen who traditionally live in houses built on stilts and positioned above tidal flats. Apparently people have lived in Tai O since the Ming dynasty, around 1368 to 1644.

Tai O is famous for seafood and although I wasn't tempted to eat any of it today, I was perfectly happy to photograph some of it as I wandered around Tai O's streets and market.

Tai O Market.

Tai O Market.

Oyster Shells.

Oyster Shells.

Drying seafood and making shrimp paste.

Drying seafood and making shrimp paste.

Dried Fish.

Dried Fish.

Puffer fish.

Puffer fish.

Seafood.

Seafood.

Dried Fish.

Dried Fish.

Seafood.

Seafood.

Seafood.

Seafood.

Shark.

Shark.

Fish and crates.

Fish and crates.

Fishing Nets.

Fishing Nets.

As well as seafood Tai O is famous for stilt houses. The tide was largely out when I visited, so there was lots of mud. I've been here when there's been a lot more water.

Stilt Houses.

Stilt Houses.

Stilt Houses.

Stilt Houses.

Boats and Houses.

Boats and Houses.

Boats and houses.

Boats and houses.

Stilt Houses.

Stilt Houses.

Along the river.

Along the river.

Stilt houses.

Stilt houses.

Boats.

Boats.

Boats and Houses.

Boats and Houses.

Boats and Houses

Boats and Houses

Streets of Tai O.

Streets of Tai O.

Tai O.

Tai O.

Tai O.

Tai O.

Around Tai O.

Around Tai O.

Around Tai O.

Around Tai O.

Tai O River.

Tai O River.

Tai O River.

Tai O River.

Along the River.

Along the River.

Boats at low tide.

Boats at low tide.

Along the River.

Along the River.

Boats and Houses.

Boats and Houses.

Stilt houses when the tide is out.

Stilt houses when the tide is out.

I was pleased to see there were also some signs of Christmas dotted around.

Snowman and reindeer.

Snowman and reindeer.

Christmas tree.

Christmas tree.

Tai O has a nice church and at least three lovely temples.

The church is a Catholic Church called Our Lady of Perpetual Help. It is next door to a primary school.

Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church.

Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church.

Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church.

Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church.

One of the temples is Kwan Tai Temple. This is located in the centre of Tai O on Kat Hing Back Street. Kwan Tai temple is the oldest temple on Lantau Island. It was built in honour of Kwan Tai, a Military General in the Three Kingdoms period, who was famous for his bravery, military tactics and loyalty. He is now regarded as the god of war and righteousness.

Shrine.

Shrine.

Kwan Tai Temple.

Kwan Tai Temple.

Kwan Tai Temple.

Kwan Tai Temple.

Kwan Tai Temple.

Kwan Tai Temple.

Kwan Tai Temple.

Kwan Tai Temple.

Kwan Tai Temple.

Kwan Tai Temple.

A second temple is Hung Shing Temple. This is located in Sha Lo Wan Village, next to Tai O. This temple dates from the eighteenth century. It was built to protect the village from strong winds and lashing waves.

Hung Shing Temple.

Hung Shing Temple.

Hung Shing Temple.

Hung Shing Temple.

Hung Shing Temple.

Hung Shing Temple.

Hung Shing Temple.

Hung Shing Temple.

Hung Shing Temple.

Hung Shing Temple.

It's very windy near the Hung Shing Temple and the sea is quite wild. The scenery here is spectacular. Actually it reminded me very much of Scotland, made me feel quite homesick. There are great views of the Hong Kong–Zhuhai–Macau Bridge. This 55 kilometre bridge was built between 2009 and 2018. It's actually a mixture of three cable-stayed bridges, an undersea tunnel, and four artificial islands. It is the longest sea crossing in the world. It connects Hong Kong, Macau, and Zhuhai together. These are the three major cities on the Pearl River Delta, or at least it would connect them together if anyone could travel between them.

Scenery near Hung Shing Temple.

Scenery near Hung Shing Temple.

Scenery near Hung Shing Temple.

Scenery near Hung Shing Temple.

Scenery near Hung Shing Temple.

Scenery near Hung Shing Temple.

Fisherman and bridge.

Fisherman and bridge.

The bridge to Macau and Zuhai.

The bridge to Macau and Zuhai.

Scenery near Hung Shing Temple.

Scenery near Hung Shing Temple.

Scenery near Hung Shing Temple.

Scenery near Hung Shing Temple.

Another thing I liked about Tai O was that its walls had been covered with brightly coloured paintings which certainly cheered the place up and gave it a lot of character. The first painting I saw showed the Chinese pink dolphin. On weekends there are boat trips to see these, though I've heard the boat trips really just show you round Tai O, rather than find these dolphins. One good thing about covid is that with almost no high speed boats hurtling between Hong Kong and Macau the pink dolphin population is increasing.

Tai O is famous for pink dolphins.

Tai O is famous for pink dolphins.

Outside a local pub.

Outside a local pub.

Painting of Tai O snacks.

Painting of Tai O snacks.

Dragon Boats.

Dragon Boats.

Tourists.

Tourists.

Flying Kites.

Flying Kites.

Chinese Opera.

Chinese Opera.

Painting near Kwan Tai Temple.

Painting near Kwan Tai Temple.

Painting near Kwan Tai Temple.

Painting near Kwan Tai Temple.

Painting near Kwan Tai Temple.

Painting near Kwan Tai Temple.

Flowers.

Flowers.

Rickshaw.

Rickshaw.

Painting on a shutter.

Painting on a shutter.

Dragon Boat Races.

Dragon Boat Races.

Tai O also had some quirky 'works of art' like its models of Snow White looking for a spouse, its fish made of rubbish, presumably to make people more environmentally aware, its flower arrangements and its dancing girl.

Snow White looking for a husband.

Snow White looking for a husband.

Environmental Fish.

Environmental Fish.

Sorry, this seat is taken.

Sorry, this seat is taken.

Dancing Girl. A more quirky side to Tai O.

Dancing Girl. A more quirky side to Tai O.

Hats, Homes and High Seas.

Hats, Homes and High Seas.

All things circular

All things circular

I am also going to add some pictures of things I saw or liked as I wandered around. These include rather large numbers of cats, flowers, houses that I found to be interesting, doorways, windows and bridges.

Window and Washing.

Window and Washing.

Walkway to houses.

Walkway to houses.

Crown of Thorns..

Crown of Thorns..

Bicycle and Balcony.

Bicycle and Balcony.

Cat giving me the evil eye.

Cat giving me the evil eye.

Doorway.

Doorway.

Bridge.

Bridge.

Decorations.

Decorations.

Walkway.

Walkway.

Decorations.

Decorations.

Bicycle and house.

Bicycle and house.

Typical street.

Typical street.

Decorations.

Decorations.

Bridge.

Bridge.

Flower filled streets.

Flower filled streets.

Fishing.

Fishing.

Flowers.

Flowers.

Narrow Streets.

Narrow Streets.

Restaurant.

Restaurant.

Cat on a mission.

Cat on a mission.

Narrow Streets.

Narrow Streets.

Colourful pot plants.

Colourful pot plants.

Sleepy Cat.

Sleepy Cat.

House with colourful tree.

House with colourful tree.

Morning Glory or Railroad Creeper.

Morning Glory or Railroad Creeper.

Fruit Drying.

Fruit Drying.

Then I left Tai O and took bus number 1 to Mui Wo, which is also known as Silvermine Bay. There used to be silver mines here along the Silver River which flows through Mui Wo. I didn't do full justice to Mui Wo. I just looked at one of its temples and took a walk along its lovely beach - sort of - and past its famous hotel. I say sort of took a walk on its beach, as beaches in Hong Kong are currently closed due to covid. I walked on the walkway near the beach. At one point I ventured onto the beach, but they play very loud government announcements intermittently warning people to leave the beach or face a HK$5000 fine, about £500, quite an expensive visit to the beach. Needless to say, I left.

Mui Wo has a very nice hotel on its beach - the Silvermine Beach Resort. It also has a market, lots of restaurants, temples, a waterfall, a cave and some excellent hikes.

Temple, Mui Wo.

Temple, Mui Wo.

Temple, Mui Wo.

Temple, Mui Wo.

Silvermine Beach Resort.

Silvermine Beach Resort.

Silvermine Beach Resort

Silvermine Beach Resort

Silvermine Beach Resort.

Silvermine Beach Resort.

Beach.

Beach.

Beach.

Beach.

Beach.

Beach.

Beach.

Beach.

Beach.

Beach.

Beach.

Beach.

River.

River.

River and mangroves.

River and mangroves.

River and mangroves.

River and mangroves.

River.

River.

There are other beautiful parts of Lantau that I may or may not visit later. Cheung Sha and Pui O have beautiful beaches, but they will also be closed at the moment. Then, of course, there's the famous Po Lin Monastery and Big Buddha statue, however, I've read that the Big Buddha is covered up for restoration work at the moment and has been since June.

Posted by irenevt 02:34 Archived in Hong Kong Comments (12)

'Peaking' out over Hong Kong.

A trip up Victoria Peak.

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Today I decided to go all out touristy and head for one of the most popular sights in Hong Kong - the Peak. The Peak is the tallest mountain on Hong Kong Island, but not in Hong Kong. The highest in Hong Kong is Tai Mo Shan in the New Territories which has an elevation of 957 metres.

The Peak can be accessed by a funicular railway called the peak tram, by bus or by minibus, or even by walking if you like to hike. I went there on the number 15 bus from the outlying ferry piers as that's the most convenient way from where I live. If you can get a seat, the journey can be enjoyable. If you have to stand and are squashed in like a sardine in a tin, it's not. I got on at the first stop and thought 'Great, no tourists. I'll have the Peak to myself.' About three stops later the bus was packed.

Victoria Peak, to give it its proper name, is 552 metres above sea level. In the nineteenth century it was used as a signalling post for incoming cargo ships. Many wealthy expat residents settled here in the past to escape Hong Kong's scorching summer heat and to be away from the clouds of mosquitoes which swarmed around the harbour. Governor Sir Richard MacDonnell had a summer house built here around 1868. Other wealthy residents moved here too. They would travel up and down the mountain by sedan chair. In 1881 Scotsman Alexander Findlay Smith bought a property here and opened it as Peak Hotel. Later in 1873 he managed to get permission to build a funicular railway, the peak tram, to get his guests up and down the mountain. Unfortunately, this hotel burnt down in 1938.

Whatever method of transport you take up the Peak, you will arrive at the Peak Galleria Shopping Centre and the Peak Tower. It's possible to visit Madame Tussauds Wax Museum here, or Monopoly Dreams, a monopoly based theme park. There is also a viewing platform. I didn't go to any of these.

A former peak tram.

A former peak tram.

The Peak Tower.

The Peak Tower.

View from near the Peak Tower.

View from near the Peak Tower.

There is also a 19th century heritage house which is now a restaurant called the Peak Lookout. The restaurant has an open terrace which overlooks Aberdeen, Pok Fu Lam Country Park and the South China Sea. If you find the restaurant, you are near the start of two short walks. I did both of them.

The Peak Lookout Restaurant.

The Peak Lookout Restaurant.

I started off by heading up Mount Austin Road to Victoria Peak Garden. This used to be the site of the Mountain Lodge, the Governor's summer residence. All that remains of that now is the restored gate lodge. You can also follow the Governor's Walk which takes you around the former gardens of his lodge. These are now a public park. There's a viewpoint towards Lamma Island from here, though the sun was in the wrong direction for photos when I visited.

The Restored Gate Lodge from various angles.

The Restored Gate Lodge from various angles.

The Restored Gate Lodge from various angles.

The Restored Gate Lodge from various angles.

The Restored Gate Lodge from various angles.

The Restored Gate Lodge from various angles.

The Restored Gate Lodge from various angles.

The Restored Gate Lodge from various angles.

Victoria Peak Gardens.

Victoria Peak Gardens.

Victoria Peak Gardens.

Victoria Peak Gardens.

Victoria Peak Gardens.

Victoria Peak Gardens.

Victoria Peak Gardens.

Victoria Peak Gardens.

Lookout Pavilion.

Lookout Pavilion.

View.

View.

View.

View.

View.

View.

After wandering around here for a while, I walked back down towards the Peak Lookout Restaurant then set out on the circular walk around Lugard Road.

I started the walk on the left hand side. The first part has lots of beautiful trees, some with amazing roots, the second part has the views. If you just want the views go right and then double back, but the whole walk only takes around an hour. This walk does connect to other longer trails though if you want to do a longer hike.

Trees.

Trees.

Flowers.

Flowers.

Looking towards the top.

Looking towards the top.

Trees.

Trees.

Autumn Colours.

Autumn Colours.

Pathways.

Pathways.

Trees.

Trees.

Pathway.

Pathway.

Flowering tree.

Flowering tree.

View through the branches.

View through the branches.

Roots.

Roots.

Roots.

Roots.

Roots.

Roots.

Autumn Colours.

Autumn Colours.

Pathway.

Pathway.

The second part of the walk has good views over the harbour. It would also be lovely at night, but I did not stay for that. It just takes so long to get home from here.

Views over the harbour.

Views over the harbour.

Views over the harbour.

Views over the harbour.

Views over the harbour.

Views over the harbour.

Views over the harbour.

Views over the harbour.

Views over the harbour.

Views over the harbour.

Views over the harbour.

Views over the harbour.

Views over the harbour.

Views over the harbour.

Views over the harbour.

Views over the harbour.

Views over the harbour.

Views over the harbour.

Back at the Peak Tower.

Back at the Peak Tower.

Views from the bus on the way down.

Views from the bus on the way down.

Views from the bus on the way down.

Views from the bus on the way down.

Views from the bus on the way down.

Views from the bus on the way down.

Posted by irenevt 15:07 Archived in Hong Kong Comments (10)

In the Land of the Nine Dragons.

The prettier parts of Kowloon.

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We celebrated Christmas in Hong Kong this year. Normally we would be off somewhere else. I made a turkey, just for the two of us. It's been our breakfast, lunch and dinner ever since. I reckon this will continue till the end of Tuesday, but I don't mind, I'm not fed up with it yet. My romantic husband had roses delivered to me on Christmas Day. They are beautiful and huge, twelve wonderful red roses.

Christmas dinner.

Christmas dinner.

Christmas dinner.

Christmas dinner.

My wonderful roses.

My wonderful roses.

Today, Sunday 27th December, I decided I'd had enough of staying in and eating and drinking all day and I set out to explore more of Hong Kong. Just like when I visited the markets, I headed off to Kowloon again.

Kowloon means nine dragons. It was called this by Emperor Zhao Bing, the final emperor of the Song Dynasty, who died when he was just seven years old. The dragons were the area's eight tall mountains. The ninth dragon was the emperor himself.

I started my explorations by heading to Lok Fu to visit Kowloon Walled City Park. I found Lok Fu to be quite a pleasant place. Its name means Happiness and Wealth. On the way to the park I visited the Chinese Christian Cemetery, the stone houses, Hau Wong Temple and Carpenter Road Park.

The Chinese Christian Cemetery, like most cemeteries here, is located on a hill. I just took some photos from the bottom. I didn't really explore.

Chinese Christian Cemetery.

Chinese Christian Cemetery.

Chinese Christian Cemetery.

Chinese Christian Cemetery.

During the Japanese Occupation of Hong Kong some stone cottages were built in this area to house refugees. In the 1950's these cottages were taken over by Great Wall Film Studios. Nowadays the remaining cottages form a cafe and a small museum about Kai Tak Airport.

Stone Houses.

Stone Houses.

Stone Houses.

Stone Houses.

Opposite the cottages on a small hill sits Hau Wong Temple, dating from around 1730. It is dedicated to Yeung Leung-jit, a loyal and courageous general, who tried to protect Zhao Bing, the last emperor of Southern Song Dynasty (the one who gave Kowloon it's name), from the advancing Mongol army.

Hau Wong Temple.

Hau Wong Temple.

Hau Wong Temple.

Hau Wong Temple.

Hau Wong Temple.

Hau Wong Temple.

Hau Wong Temple.

Hau Wong Temple.

Hau Wong Temple.

Hau Wong Temple.

Carpenter Road Park is right next to Kowloon Walled City Park. It had lots of colourful autumnal trees.

Carpenter Road Park.

Carpenter Road Park.

Carpenter Road Park.

Carpenter Road Park.

Carpenter Road Park.

Carpenter Road Park.

Carpenter Road Park.

Carpenter Road Park.

Carpenter Road Park.

Carpenter Road Park.

Carpenter Road Park.

Carpenter Road Park.

Carpenter Road Park.

Carpenter Road Park.

The history of the Kowloon Walled City is interesting. The first Opium War lasted from 1839 to 1842 when the Chinese government attempted to prevent the East India Company from importing narcotics to China. Following its defeat in the war, China signed a treaty ceding a portion of its territory to Great Britain. That territory was Hong Kong Island. In 1843, the Chinese began to build a fort at the tip of the Kowloon Peninsula. This fort had an office for the Mandarin and a barracks for around one hundred and fifty soldiers. It was surrounded by thick walls and became known as Kowloon Walled City. Its purpose was to remind the British of China's presence and military might, so they did not try to take any more of its territory. However, in 1860, further disputes over trade caused a second Opium War. The British defeated the Chinese, and they were forced to sign a new treaty granting the whole of the Kowloon Peninsula to Britain, except the Walled City. It still remained Chinese.

Walkways.

Walkways.

Windows.

Windows.

Early morning Tai chi.

Early morning Tai chi.

Pond.

Pond.

Pond.

Pond.

Old Photo

Old Photo

Mandarin's House.

Mandarin's House.

And through the round window....

And through the round window....

And through the round window....

And through the round window....

And through the round window....

And through the round window....

Even when a new treaty was signed in 1898 granting further territories in Canton to Britain for 99 years, the Walled City remained under Chinese control. Then in 1899 the Chinese abandoned the city but it still did not come under British control. Many immigrants from the mainland moved in. In World War II Japanese forces tore down the walls of the city to build a new runway for Kai Tak Airport. After the war, refugees flooded south to Kowloon and many ended up living in The Walled City. By 1947 there were more than 2,000 squatters living there. At first the British tried to evict them, but they failed.

Rocks.

Rocks.

Flowers.

Flowers.

Stairways.

Stairways.

Ponds.

Ponds.

Buildings.

Buildings.

Buildings.

Buildings.

Chinese Zodiac Gardens.

Chinese Zodiac Gardens.

Chinese Zodiac Gardens.

Chinese Zodiac Gardens.

Chinese Zodiac Gardens.

Chinese Zodiac Gardens.

Foundations.

Foundations.

In quiet contemplation.

In quiet contemplation.

The walled city thrived outside the law. It became filled with illegal structures. It was well known for drugs, gangs and prostitution. It was even a place where unlicensed doctors and dentists could play their trade. It was one of the most densely packed places on Earth with no water supply and no rubbish collection. It quickly deteriorated into a huge lawless slum. At the same time it became home to many factories creating food stuffs and cheap goods. As more and more, taller and taller illegal buildings were constructed, they began to merge into one giant building, completely blocking out the sunlight. Thus the walled city earned the nickname - the City of Darkness.

Cannons.

Cannons.

Canon.

Canon.

Vessels.

Vessels.

Vessels.

Vessels.

Looking through.

Looking through.

Looking through.

Looking through.

Entrance to the almshouse.

Entrance to the almshouse.

Ponds.

Ponds.

Ponds.

Ponds.

Model of the walled city.

Model of the walled city.

Ponds.

Ponds.

Markers.

Markers.

Walkway.

Walkway.

Rickshaw.

Rickshaw.

Stream.

Stream.

In 1987 the British began to plan the enforced clearance of the walled city and its redevelopment as a public park, but it took them till 1993 to actually begin demolition once compensation had finally been agreed with most of the city's inhabitants - some resisted right to the very end. During the clearance, stone markers, cannons, the original Mandarin's office and fragments of the original walls were found. These were kept. The new park was modelled on the famous seventeenth-century Jiangnan gardens built by the Qing Dynasty. Kowloon Walled City Park was officially opened on December 22nd 1995 by, the then British Governor of Hong Kong, Chris Patten. Nowadays the park is amazingly beautiful and very, very far removed from its days as the City of Darkness.

Ornate Screens.

Ornate Screens.

Old Photo.

Old Photo.

Stairway.

Stairway.

Ponds.

Ponds.

Autumn Leaves.

Autumn Leaves.

Stream.

Stream.

Pond.

Pond.

Stream.

Stream.

Autumn.

Autumn.

Autumn.

Autumn.

Flowers.

Flowers.

Flowers.

Flowers.

Walls.

Walls.

Pagodas.

Pagodas.

On my walk back to the MTR I noticed there were good views towards Lion Rock. There are many hiking trails, too.

Looking towards Lion Rock.

Looking towards Lion Rock.

Looking towards Lion Rock.

Looking towards Lion Rock.

I next took the MTR one stop further on to Wong Tai Sin to see its famous temple. Fortunately I have been here before because the temple is currently being restored. It's a mess, covered everywhere with bamboo scaffolding. I know buildings have to be maintained but in terms of taking photos this was a pointless time to visit.

Temple Gateway.

Temple Gateway.

Dragon Pillars.

Dragon Pillars.

Gods.

Gods.

Gods.

Gods.

General Office.

General Office.

Chinese Zodiac.

Chinese Zodiac.

Chinese Zodiac.

Chinese Zodiac.

Entrance Gateway .

Entrance Gateway .

Many people go to this temple to have their fortunes told. There are rows of fortune telling booths at the entrance. To have your fortune told you think of a question you want answered, shake a container so that a numbered stick falls out, take the numbered stick to a fortune teller and pay them to tell you what it means.

Fortune teller.

Fortune teller.

Fortune teller.

Fortune teller.

Many people were worshiping at this temple despite the mess. They buy incense sticks and wishing papers from the stalls at the front of the temple. They wave the lit incense in front of one of their gods, write a family member or friend's name on the wishing paper, then burn it to send the wish to heaven.

Lucky Charms.

Lucky Charms.

Worshippers.

Worshippers.

Worshippers.

Worshippers.

Lucky Charms.

Lucky Charms.

One of the gods.

One of the gods.

Lucky Charms.

Lucky Charms.

Lucky Charms.

Lucky Charms.

Lucky Charms.

Lucky Charms.

A trolley of lanterns.

A trolley of lanterns.

Sik Sik Yuen or Wong Tai Sin Temple is the busiest temple in Hong Kong. It is dedicated to the god of healing, Wong Tai Sin. It's a Taoist, Buddhist and Confucianist temple.

Stone Lion.

Stone Lion.

Lanterns.

Lanterns.

Lanterns.

Lanterns.

Fountain.

Fountain.

Finally I took the MTR to Diamond Hill to visit the Nan Lian Gardens and Chi Lin Nunnery.

Nan Lian Garden is based on the Jiangshouju Garden in Shanxi Province, which dates from the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD). All the timber structures here are built without a single nail. They are joined together with interlocking pieces. The gardens here are beautiful with winding paths, rock formations, a reflecting pool, waterfalls and water wheels. Right in the centre stands the stunning golden Pavilion of Absolute Perfection with its red wooden bridge.

Timber buildings.

Timber buildings.

Bonsai.

Bonsai.

Reflecting Pool.

Reflecting Pool.

Reflecting Pool.

Reflecting Pool.

Golden Pavilion of Absolute Perfection.

Golden Pavilion of Absolute Perfection.

Golden Pavilion of Absolute Perfection.

Golden Pavilion of Absolute Perfection.

Water wheel.

Water wheel.

Rock Garden.

Rock Garden.

Timber buildings.

Timber buildings.

Rock Garden.

Rock Garden.

Golden Pavilion of Absolute Perfection.

Golden Pavilion of Absolute Perfection.

Water wheel.

Water wheel.

Reflecting Pool.

Reflecting Pool.

Flowers.

Flowers.

Autumn.

Autumn.

Reflecting Pool.

Reflecting Pool.

Golden Pavilion of Absolute Perfection.

Golden Pavilion of Absolute Perfection.

Reflecting Pool.

Reflecting Pool.

Rock Garden.

Rock Garden.

Connected to the gardens by a bridge over a main road sits the Chi Lin Nunnery. The Chi Lin Nunnery was created in 1934. it was opened to the public in 2000. As well as being a place of worship for Buddhists, the nunnery is also a school, a library, a dentist and a residence for the elderly. The nunnery's Lotus Pond Garden and Hall of Celestial Kings are normally open to the public but due to covid only the lotus ponds were open today.

Chi Lin Nunnery.

Chi Lin Nunnery.

Chi Lin Nunnery.

Chi Lin Nunnery.

Chi Lin Nunnery.

Chi Lin Nunnery.

Chi Lin Nunnery.

Chi Lin Nunnery.

Chi Lin Nunnery.

Chi Lin Nunnery.

Lotus ponds.

Lotus ponds.

Chi Lin Nunnery.

Chi Lin Nunnery.

Chi Lin Nunnery.

Chi Lin Nunnery.

Chi Lin Nunnery.

Chi Lin Nunnery.

Posted by irenevt 21:12 Archived in Hong Kong Comments (11)

Flowers, Feathers, Fashion and Fish.

A trip to the markets of Mong Kok.

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Today I went to the markets in Mong Kok. To get there I took the train to Prince Edward MTR and exited at exit B1. I used to go to Mong Kok a lot to visit the flower market when we lived in Fo Tan. It was actually a quick stop on my commute home, but I haven't been there for years. Not since we moved to Discovery Bay. Normally I would have gone to Mong Kok KCR Station which is now called Mong Kok East Station on the MTR. Prince Edward is very close to the markets, but as it was my first time of using this route, I must admit I initially went the wrong way. Oops! But I got there in the end.

The flower market is located on the appropriately named Flower Street and surroundings. It specializes in cut flowers and house plants. I used to go here in search of bonsai. On today's visit I noticed many many places seemed to be selling beautiful orchids. I also noticed several places which had signs up saying 'We welcome photography, enjoy your visit'. This came as a surprise. Actually even the shops that don't like people taking photos didn't seem to care. I guess because there are currently no tourists.

Welcome sign at the flower market.

Welcome sign at the flower market.

Mixed flower display.

Mixed flower display.

Bamboo.

Bamboo.

Arum Lilies.

Arum Lilies.

Flower Stall.

Flower Stall.

Flower Stall.

Flower Stall.

Flower Stall.

Flower Stall.

Orchids.

Orchids.

Orchids.

Orchids.

Carnations and Roses.

Carnations and Roses.

Bonsai.

Bonsai.

Orchids.

Orchids.

Orchids.

Orchids.

House Plants.

House Plants.

Carnations.

Carnations.

Roses.

Roses.

Flower Market viewed from Bird Market.

Flower Market viewed from Bird Market.

Flower Market viewed from Bird Market.

Flower Market viewed from Bird Market.

Orchids.

Orchids.

Catkins and Chrysanthemums.

Catkins and Chrysanthemums.

Sprouting vegetable tops.

Sprouting vegetable tops.

Flower Stall.

Flower Stall.

Just behind the Flower Market, sits the Bird Market. It occupies a rather beautiful building with circular windows, bird carvings and bird mosaics. This place sells birds and everything to do with birds: their food, their cages, their toys. People even come here to take their pet bird for a walk and surprisingly a few free birds swoop in to catch up on what's going on.

Bird Market viewed from Flower Market.

Bird Market viewed from Flower Market.

Bird Market viewed from Flower Market.

Bird Market viewed from Flower Market.

Bird Market viewed from Flower Market.

Bird Market viewed from Flower Market.

Circular Window.

Circular Window.

Bird Mosaic

Bird Mosaic

Bird Mosaic.

Bird Mosaic.

Bird Mosaic.

Bird Mosaic.

Bird Painting.

Bird Painting.

Bird Carving.

Bird Carving.

Cages.

Cages.

Cages.

Cages.

Cages.

Cages.

Some are freer than others.

Some are freer than others.

Cages.

Cages.

Cages.

Cages.

Cages.

Cages.

Cages .

Cages .

Cages.

Cages.

Cages.

Cages.

Cages.

Cages.

Taking your bird for a walk..

Taking your bird for a walk..

Taking your bird for a walk.

Taking your bird for a walk.

Bird Food.

Bird Food.

Parrots.

Parrots.

Bird Market.

Bird Market.

Parrots.

Parrots.

After leaving the Bird Market, I headed to Fa Yuen Street - also known as Ladies Market. This market mainly deals in clothes, though I noticed a few fruit stalls, too. I won't buy here as the sizes are tiny, suitable for petite Cantonese ladies, not big fatties like me. Fa Yuen Street is largely just across the road from the Flower Market.

Ladies' Market.

Ladies' Market.

Ladies' Market.

Ladies' Market.

Now what shall I choose?

Now what shall I choose?

Out Shopping.

Out Shopping.

Which Ribbon?

Which Ribbon?

Bags and Stuff.

Bags and Stuff.

Out Shopping.

Out Shopping.

Out Shopping.

Out Shopping.

Out Shopping.

Out Shopping.

Colourful Fruit Stall.

Colourful Fruit Stall.

Colourful Fruit Stall.

Colourful Fruit Stall.

Colourful Fruit Stall.

Colourful Fruit Stall.

And finally I headed one street along to Tung Choi Street also known as Goldfish Street. It could just as well be called Pet Street as they also sell dogs, cats and rabbits. I noticed you weren't allowed to take photos of the dogs. I felt sorry for them. They looked rather cramped and unloved, tempting to buy one just to look after it.

Fish, fish and more fish.

Fish, fish and more fish.

Fish,fish and more fish.

Fish,fish and more fish.

Bags of Fish.

Bags of Fish.

Tanks of Fish.

Tanks of Fish.

More tanks of fish.

More tanks of fish.

Fish Shop.

Fish Shop.

Colourful Fish.

Colourful Fish.

Colourful Fish.

Colourful Fish.

Bags of Fish

Bags of Fish

Colourful Fish.

Colourful Fish.

Which fish?

Which fish?

Bags of Fish

Bags of Fish

Tanks of fish

Tanks of fish

Colourful Fish

Colourful Fish

Colourful Fish.

Colourful Fish.

Which fish?

Which fish?

Frogs.

Frogs.

Frogs.

Frogs.

Why do fish shop cats look so well fed?

Why do fish shop cats look so well fed?

Why do fish shop cats look so well fed?

Why do fish shop cats look so well fed?

Plants for your aquarium.

Plants for your aquarium.

Cuddly Bunnies.

Cuddly Bunnies.

Being Christmas Eve I thought everywhere would be so crowded but it really wasn't too bad till I hit Sunny Bay and my usually quiet bus home which had the queue from hell.

Where's my bus?

Where's my bus?

Posted by irenevt 14:32 Archived in Hong Kong Comments (4)

The Whispers of Ghosts .....

A Trip to Park Island.

overcast

Years ago I used to work with someone who lived on Park Island. He told me it was a nice place quite, similar to Discovery Bay where I live. I thought to myself I must visit some time, then promptly forgot all about it. Then recently I came across an article about the abandoned fishing village of Ma Wan,on the same island, and I felt intrigued and decided to go and take a look.

Actually Ma Wan is the proper name for the whole island. This small island is located between Lantau Island and Tsing Yi Island. I got there by taking bus 330 from Tsing Yi MTR exit C.

Ma Wan was probably a relatively sleepy place till the mid-nineties when the government decided to build a new airport at Chek Lap Kok and phase out Kai Tak Airport. This plan necessitated the building of the Lantau Link a network of roads and bridges that passes through Ma Wan. The improved infrastructure led to the development of a residential area known as Park Island and later a theme park based on Noah's Ark. All these changes ultimately tolled the death knell for Ma Wan Village.

Ma Wan Village was once a thriving community of around two thousand people who mainly survived by farming or by fishing. The village had a history stretching back around two hundred and fifty years. According to an old legend a junk, laden with treasure belonging to a fearsome pirate named Cheung Po-Tsai, lies at the bottom of Kap Shui Mun, the short channel between Lantau and Ma Wan. In the 1980's Ma Wan was well known for its stilt houses, its seafood restaurants and its dried shrimp paste.

By the year 2000, the population of Ma Wan had dwindled to around 800. On the north side of the island, a luxury high-rise complex, known as Park Island, was being developed by Sun Hung Kai Properties.

The government and the developers of Park Island offered the villagers of Ma Wan compensation packages to encourage them to abandon their village. If their families had lived on the island for more than 99 years, they were offered new homes in New Ma Wan Village, a complex of three-storey village houses near Park Island. Some were happy with their new homes, but others were not and fought against their eviction.

Building Park Island cost around HK$12.5 billion and was completed in 2006. In 2014, Thomas Kwok, head of Sun Hung Kai Properties, was accused of bribery and sentenced to jail. During the trial, it was revealed Sun Hung Kai Properties had built Ma Wan Park as an excuse to evict the island’s indigenous population so they could build another luxury residential development.

I took the shuttle bus to its terminus and then walked along the waterfront towards Park Island's ferry pier. Ferries run from here to pier 2 in Central. On the walk I admired Ma Wan's lovely beaches, which are currently closed due to covid and gazed towards its beautiful bridges.

Park Island.

Park Island.

Park Island.

Park Island.

Park Island.

Park Island.

Beach and Ferry Pier.

Beach and Ferry Pier.

Ferry Pier.

Ferry Pier.

Tsing Ma Bridge.

Tsing Ma Bridge.

Tsing Ma Bridge.

Tsing Ma Bridge.

Ting Kau Bridge.

Ting Kau Bridge.

Boats and the Tsing Ma Bridge.

Boats and the Tsing Ma Bridge.

Ting Kau Bridge.

Ting Kau Bridge.

Boats and the Tsing Ma Bridge.

Boats and the Tsing Ma Bridge.

Boats.

Boats.

Boats.

Boats.

Tsing Ma Bridge.

Tsing Ma Bridge.

I next arrived at Noah's Ark. This was closed due to covid and it was impossible to get a good picture of it, so I just took some pictures of the signs and paintings advertising it.

Noah's Ark.

Noah's Ark.

Noah's Ark.

Noah's Ark.

Noah's Ark.

Noah's Ark.

Noah's Ark.

Noah's Ark.

Noah's Ark.

Noah's Ark.

Noah's Ark.

Noah's Ark.

Noah's Ark.

Noah's Ark.

Noah's Ark.

Noah's Ark.

Noah's Ark.

Noah's Ark.

Noah's Ark.

Noah's Ark.

After that I went into Ma Wan Park and had a wander around. It's a pleasant enough park and it has areas promoting wind energy and solar power, but it's all a bit run down and in need of repair.

Entrance to Ma Wan Park.

Entrance to Ma Wan Park.

Good place to get married??

Good place to get married??

Little Church.

Little Church.

Cafe.

Cafe.

Boardwalks.

Boardwalks.

Hilltop viewing area with art installation that blocked the view.

Hilltop viewing area with art installation that blocked the view.

Frogs and painted stones.

Frogs and painted stones.

Ladybird.

Ladybird.

Display on sustainable energy.

Display on sustainable energy.

Faked remains.

Faked remains.

Banana Trees.

Banana Trees.

Leafy Plants.

Leafy Plants.

Stairways.

Stairways.

Painted stones.

Painted stones.

Winding Pathways.

Winding Pathways.

Painted stones.

Painted stones.

Kangaroos.

Kangaroos.

After leaving the park, I wandered around looking for the abandoned village of Ma Wan but it was impossible to find. Fortunately, a very helpful Filipino lady came past walking a dog. I asked her for help and she pointed me in the right direction.

First, I saw the new village that the original inhabitants of Ma Wan Village were moved to. There was a floating fishing village out at sea nearby.

Floating Fishing Village.

Floating Fishing Village.

Floating Fishing Village.

Floating Fishing Village.

Floating Fishing Village.

Floating Fishing Village.

Floating Fishing Village.

Floating Fishing Village.

Floating Fishing Village.

Floating Fishing Village.

Floating Fishing Village.

Floating Fishing Village.

Floating Fishing Village.

Floating Fishing Village.

Finally, I wandered off into the abandoned village. I passed lots of banana trees on the way.

Banana Trees.

Banana Trees.

Banana Trees.

Banana Trees.

Banana Trees.

Banana Trees.

Houses I passed on the way.

Houses I passed on the way.

Houses I passed on the way.

Houses I passed on the way.

It's quite amazing here. So much has just been abandoned and houses have been left to crumble. In the midst of it all some houses were still owned by people. They had keys and were wandering around inside. There were signs everywhere warning 'Government Property Keep Out'. Some houses were open and you could cautiously go inside; others were locked up and fenced off. It was all very sad. It all felt like everyone had left in a huge hurry: ornaments still sat behind broken windows, bicycles covered with weeds lay scattered across the ground.

Looking inside the homes.

Looking inside the homes.

Looking inside the homes.

Looking inside the homes.

Looking inside the homes.

Looking inside the homes.

Abandoned houses.

Abandoned houses.

Abandoned houses.

Abandoned houses.

Abandoned houses.

Abandoned houses.

Abandoned houses.

Abandoned houses.

Baskets for drying shrimps.

Baskets for drying shrimps.

Looking inside.

Looking inside.

Looking inside.

Looking inside.

Looking inside.

Looking inside.

Looking inside.

Looking inside.

Looking inside.

Looking inside.

Keep Out.

Keep Out.

Abandoned Bicycle.

Abandoned Bicycle.

Abandoned Homes.

Abandoned Homes.

Abandoned Homes.

Abandoned Homes.

Ma Wan Rural Committee.

Ma Wan Rural Committee.

Abandoned Home.

Abandoned Home.

Ma Wan Rural Committee.

Ma Wan Rural Committee.

Ma Wan Rural Committee.

Ma Wan Rural Committee.

Ma Wan Rural Committee.

Ma Wan Rural Committee.

Looking inside.

Looking inside.

Shattered pots.

Shattered pots.

Looking inside.

Looking inside.

Deserted Streets.

Deserted Streets.

Lucky Star House.

Lucky Star House.

Rural Committee.

Rural Committee.

Rural Committee.

Rural Committee.

Silent Playground.

Silent Playground.

Waving Cats.

Waving Cats.

What a mess!

What a mess!

Bicycles.

Bicycles.

Looking inside.

Looking inside.

Abandoned Home.

Abandoned Home.

Another empty park.

Another empty park.

Abandoned Home.

Abandoned Home.

Abandoned Home.

Abandoned Home.

Abandoned Home.

Abandoned Home.

What a mess!

What a mess!

Keep Out Signs.

Keep Out Signs.

On the waterfront there were people fishing from the pier. There were several abandoned boats. Some had sunk and I could only see bits of them protruding from the water. The dragon boats that would once have been the pride of the village lay scattered around. One waterfront house was still well kept and surrounded by beautiful flowers. I'd imagine someone still lives there surrounded by the ghosts of their former village.

On the waterfront.

On the waterfront.

Pier and Kap Shui Mun Bridge.

Pier and Kap Shui Mun Bridge.

Dolphin and Kap Shui Mun Bridge.

Dolphin and Kap Shui Mun Bridge.

On the beach.

On the beach.

Pier and Kap Shui Mun Bridge.

Pier and Kap Shui Mun Bridge.

On the waterfront.

On the waterfront.

Kap Shui Mun Bridge.

Kap Shui Mun Bridge.

Gateway.

Gateway.

Fishing.

Fishing.

Kap Shui Mun Bridge.

Kap Shui Mun Bridge.

The Pier.

The Pier.

Abandoned dragon boats.

Abandoned dragon boats.

Pavilion.

Pavilion.

Kap Shui Mun Bridge.

Kap Shui Mun Bridge.

Boats.

Boats.

Boats and dragon boat.

Boats and dragon boat.

Boats and dragon boat.

Boats and dragon boat.

House on stilts.

House on stilts.

Still beautiful.

Still beautiful.

House on stilts.

House on stilts.

Boats.

Boats.

Still beautiful.

Still beautiful.

Village Well.

Village Well.

Flowers.

Flowers.

Stone Marker saying Ma Wan was once a customs point.

Stone Marker saying Ma Wan was once a customs point.

Stone Marker.

Stone Marker.

In the midst of all the chaos, right in the middle of the village, the temple to Tin Hau, goddess of the sea, was still well-tended and cared for. The smoke from its incense sticks wafted out towards the waterfront.

Tin Hau Temple.

Tin Hau Temple.

Tin Hau Temple.

Tin Hau Temple.

Inside the temple.

Inside the temple.

Inside the temple.

Inside the temple.

Inside the temple.

Inside the temple.

Inside the temple.

Inside the temple.

Inside the temple.

Inside the temple.

Inside the temple.

Inside the temple.

Inside the temple.

Inside the temple.

Temple Door.

Temple Door.

Temple Door

Temple Door

Temple Door.

Temple Door.

In front of the temple.

In front of the temple.

A bit further on the village gods were all still intact, standing in a row, surveying the chaos. No-one will damage them as that would most certainly bring bad luck.

Village gods.

Village gods.

Village gods.

Village gods.

Later I came across another well- tended shrine. Spiritually Ma Wan still seems to be thriving.

Well tended shrine.

Well tended shrine.

Well tended shrine.

Well tended shrine.

Apparently the street lights still come on in Ma Wan at night, but I didn't wait to find out. I'd imagine it's peaceful but rather creepy here in the dark. By this time it had started to rain and turn rather cold. I'd got so carried away I'd used up all the charge in my phone. Sadly, I left the ghost whisperers to their fate and wandered back to the real world that had stolen their heritage.

Posted by irenevt 16:48 Archived in Hong Kong Comments (4)

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