A Travellerspoint blog

Hong Kong

So near and yet so far.

Day trip to Sok Kwu Wan, Lamma Island.

sunny

Today I decided to go to Lamma Island and do some hiking. It's years since I've been to Lamma, mainly because if I went at a weekend, it would be heaving with people, but on a week day it is like entering into a wonderful, tranquil world, so close to the rest of Hong Kong in distance, yet so far in character that it feels like being transported back in time.

There are many stories about why Lamma is called Lamma, but I like this one. Around 1760 Alexander Dalrymple was the first Hydrographer of the British Admiralty. It was his job to try and map the world's oceans and seas. Unfortunately, he misunderstood a Portuguese chart showing the entrances of the Pearl River. Next to the site of what is now Lamma Island the word lama appeared. Dalrymple thought this was the name of the island, but it was actually the Portuguese word for mud. It was written there to inform sailors what it would be like to drop anchor at that location. At some future point the name Lama was misspelt and an extra 'm' was added, creating the present day name of the island. The original Chinese name for the island was Pok Liu Chau, which I'm told implies it was a kind of stopping place on sea voyages. Lamma is the third largest island in Hong Kong with a population of around 6,000.

On this occasion I wanted to visit the quieter less populated end of the island, so I took the ferry from Central Pier 4 to Sok Kwu Wan. Ferries only come here around every hour and a half, so make sure you check the timetable carefully before you visit. Sok Kwu Wan is home to around 500 people. This village is famous for seafood restaurants. In the past the British named it Picnic Bay.

Sign for Lamma Island in the ferry pier.

Sign for Lamma Island in the ferry pier.

The Four Seasons where we recently stayed.

The Four Seasons where we recently stayed.

Leaving Central.

Leaving Central.

I didn't really look around Sok Kwu Wan, though I will when I do the hike from there to Yue Shue Wan. Instead I left the ferry and headed left in the direction of Mo Tat Wan. I was following the Lamma Family Sok Kwu Wan Circular Trail, but was making it harder by also climbing up to the summit of Ling Kok Shan, the second highest mountain on Lamma.

Sailing in to Sok Kwu Wan Bay.

Sailing in to Sok Kwu Wan Bay.

The Ferry I arrived on.

The Ferry I arrived on.



The Rainbow Restaurant is probably the most famous of the fish restaurants in Sok Kwu Wan.

The Rainbow Restaurant is probably the most famous of the fish restaurants in Sok Kwu Wan.

A Line of Restaurants in Sok Kwu Wan Bay.

A Line of Restaurants in Sok Kwu Wan Bay.

As I left Sok Kwu Wan, I passed a waterfront sitting out area, fish farms and restaurants. Apparently there is a fishing village you can visit here to learn all about fish farms on Lamma. This part of the walk was shaded and on a slight incline. There were good coastal views and lots of flowers.

Waterfront Seating.

Waterfront Seating.

Dragon Boat on the Waterfront.

Dragon Boat on the Waterfront.

Sok Kwu Wan Bay.

Sok Kwu Wan Bay.

Fish Farms in Sok Kwu Wan Bay.

Fish Farms in Sok Kwu Wan Bay.

Fish Farms in Sok Kwu Wan Bay.

Fish Farms in Sok Kwu Wan Bay.

Fish Farms in Sok Kwu Wan Bay.

Fish Farms in Sok Kwu Wan Bay.

Fish Farms in Sok Kwu Wan Bay.

Fish Farms in Sok Kwu Wan Bay.

Fellow Hikers.

Fellow Hikers.

Beautiful Flowers.

Beautiful Flowers.

Mikania micrantha, also known as mile a minute vine. It looks beautiful, but apparently it's a pest and can damage the growth of other plants.

Mikania micrantha, also known as mile a minute vine. It looks beautiful, but apparently it's a pest and can damage the growth of other plants.

Morning Glory, also known as bindweed. Apparently it's also a pest.

Morning Glory, also known as bindweed. Apparently it's also a pest.

The first place I came to on my hike was the village of Mo Tat. Mo Tat Wan is the part on the bay. To get to it, you go down a fairly steep flight of steps. There's a kaito, or small ferry, from here to Aberdeen. There are two piers from which you can do some fishing, there's a course sandy beach and there's a restaurant called The Bay, which serves Mediterranean style food. I believe you can hire kayaks here, too. On the hill behind Mo Tat Wan there's Mo Tat Old Village and Mo Tat New Village. The original village was founded by two brothers surnamed Chan, who moved here centuries ago from Pok Fu Lam. Most of the original villagers were surnamed Chan or Chou. Traditionally they made their living from fishing, farming and keeping livestock or poultry. Apparently some of the earliest village houses were abandoned due to an invasion of white termites and new houses were built nearby. There is also an old ruined village school which was built in 1932 but was later abandoned as families with children either moved away or sent their children to school by boat. The village had no electricity or water supply until the 1960s. Prior to this the village was lit using kerosene lamps and villagers collected their water from wells. Some of the houses in the new village looked beautiful. I was surprised to find one garden even had its very own gnome.

View on the way to Mo Tat.

View on the way to Mo Tat.

View from above.

View from above.

Coming down the stairs to Mo Tat Wan.

Coming down the stairs to Mo Tat Wan.

Village Art.

Village Art.

Village Art.

Village Art.

The Beach.

The Beach.

The Beach.

The Beach.

By the Beach.

By the Beach.

Kayaks by the beach.

Kayaks by the beach.

House on the beach.

House on the beach.

The Bay Restaurant.

The Bay Restaurant.

The Bay Restaurant.

The Bay Restaurant.

Pier.

Pier.

Pier.

Pier.

Kaito Sok Kwu Wan, Mo Tat, Aberdeen.

Kaito Sok Kwu Wan, Mo Tat, Aberdeen.

Kaito Sok Kwu Wan, Mo Tat, Aberdeen.

Kaito Sok Kwu Wan, Mo Tat, Aberdeen.

Signs for Mo Tat's Villages.

Signs for Mo Tat's Villages.

New Village House.

New Village House.

Azaleas in a pot.

Azaleas in a pot.

Garden Gnome.

Garden Gnome.

Bougainvillea.

Bougainvillea.

Bougainvillea and Java Glory.

Bougainvillea and Java Glory.

Interesting Tree.

Interesting Tree.

Old Village House.

Old Village House.

Outside a Village House.

Outside a Village House.

Village House.

Village House.

Old Village House.

Old Village House.

Villager Hanging Her Clothes.

Villager Hanging Her Clothes.

Village Well maybe.

Village Well maybe.

Archway in Old Village.

Archway in Old Village.

Window onto a garden.

Window onto a garden.

Building on a stream.

Building on a stream.

Mo Tat's Old Schoolhouse.

Mo Tat's Old Schoolhouse.

Mo Tat's Old Schoolhouse.

Mo Tat's Old Schoolhouse.

Banana Trees Line the Way.

Banana Trees Line the Way.

Mo Tat was surrounded by greenery.

Mo Tat was surrounded by greenery.

Some of the land around Mo Tat is swampy.

Some of the land around Mo Tat is swampy.

There's a very steep way up Ling Kok Shan from Mo Tat, but I did not go up by this route.

There's a very steep way up Ling Kok Shan from Mo Tat, but I did not go up by this route.

From Mo Tat I continued on the path to Yung Shue Ha. I passed a set of stairs leading up to Ling Kok Shan, but I intended to approach this from the other side as it isn't as steep. However, I used this way later to come back down.

Yung Shue Ha means under the banyan tree. On the walk there I passed a row of deserted, falling down houses in the woods. These were built by the Chow Clan who founded this village about two hundred years ago. At one point the Chows abandoned these houses and moved closer to the coast.

A Walk Through The Woods to Reach Yung Shue Ha.

A Walk Through The Woods to Reach Yung Shue Ha.

A Walk Through The Woods to Reach Yung Shue Ha.

A Walk Through The Woods to Reach Yung Shue Ha.

Interesting Tree.

Interesting Tree.

Ruined Building on Route.

Ruined Building on Route.

The Row of Abandoned Houses.

The Row of Abandoned Houses.

The Row of Abandoned Houses.

The Row of Abandoned Houses.

Inside a ruined house.

Inside a ruined house.

In the Abandoned Building.

In the Abandoned Building.

Present day Yung Shue Ha is a tiny village situated on a beach. It has one convenience store right next to its beach. The extensive, very soft sandy beach here is called Shek Pai Wan, which means Long Rocky Bay, and stretches all the way to the next village which is called Tung O. There were a few people camping here and the beach has some interesting rock formations. Many locals were out cleaning up the beach to remove the rubbish that gets washed up here.

Village House.

Village House.

Village House.

Village House.

Village Artwork.

Village Artwork.

Village Artwork.

Village Artwork.

Village Artwork.

Village Artwork.

Outside the Convenience Store.

Outside the Convenience Store.

Camping on the Beach.

Camping on the Beach.

Camping on the Beach.

Camping on the Beach.

Rocky Sculpture on the Beach.

Rocky Sculpture on the Beach.

Rocks on the Beach.

Rocks on the Beach.

The Beach

The Beach

The Beach

The Beach

I continued on towards Tung O. There was a small pier in the middle of the beach. As I got closer to Tung O I noticed a little shrine off to the left, so I went to take a look. This is a shrine to Hung Shing, who was a righteous government official who studied and encouraged others to study astronomy, geography and mathematics. He died young and was later deified. There are many legends in which Hung Shing saved people, especially fishermen, from tempests, so he is often regarded as the god of the sea.

Pier in the Middle of the Beach.

Pier in the Middle of the Beach.

Pier in the Middle of the Beach.

Pier in the Middle of the Beach.

Hung Shing Shrine.

Hung Shing Shrine.

Hung Shing Shrine.

Hung Shing Shrine.

At the Hung Shing Shrine.

At the Hung Shing Shrine.

In Front of the Shrine.

In Front of the Shrine.

In Front of the Shrine.

In Front of the Shrine.

In Front of the Shrine.

In Front of the Shrine.

Boats on the Beach.

Boats on the Beach.

Boats on the Beach.

Boats on the Beach.

Local Cleaning up the Beach.

Local Cleaning up the Beach.

The Beach.

The Beach.

On the way to the village of Tung O from the beach I wandered through swampy, bright green fields filled with white orchids and purple bindweed. It was incredibly beautiful and peaceful here.

Pathway.

Pathway.

Green Fields.

Green Fields.

Beautiful Flowers.

Beautiful Flowers.

Beautiful Flowers.

Beautiful Flowers.

Beautiful Flowers.

Beautiful Flowers.

Tung O Village is one of the oldest on Lamma. Today it has just a handful of residents, as most of the younger ones have left. Some of the buildings here are crumbling. In the past Tung O's inhabitants lived by fishing and farming.

Tung O Village Sign.

Tung O Village Sign.

Tung O Village.

Tung O Village.

Tung O Village.

Tung O Village.

Tung O Village.

Tung O Village.

Tung O Village.

Tung O Village.

Tung O Village.

Tung O Village.

Tung O Village.

Tung O Village.

Ruined Building.

Ruined Building.

At the far end of the village there are two paths. One leads to Sham Wan Beach. Apparently this is a lovely sandy beach, though I have never been there. This beach is a nesting site for the endangered green turtle and thus it is out of bounds to the public from April 1st to October 31st each year. If you go there within these dates, you can be fined HKD50,000, around £5,000. The other path starts climbing up Ling Kok Shan. It's possible just to go part of the way up and then continue back to Sok Kwu Wan or, as I did, continue on to the top of the mountain. Ling Kok Shan can be translated as Water Chestnut Mountain.

Stairway up to next part of the walk.

Stairway up to next part of the walk.

As I started to climb I could see beautiful views across the surrounding coast line. Ling Kok Shan is also famous for its oddly shaped volcanic boulders. Some of these are precariously balanced on top of each other. The first large rock I saw is called Balcony Rock. I'm not sure why it's called this. Maybe you can stand on it or sit on it and look out over views like you were on your balcony.

Balcony Rock.

Balcony Rock.

After that I climbed further up the path. I reached a shelter where there were a choice of routes. To the left I could walk to a lookout pavilion. Behind the lookout pavilion was Mount Stenhouse, the highest point on Lamma; to the right was the path up Ling Kok Shan and straight ahead was a way back to Sok Kwa Wan. I believe it comes out near the Tin Hau Temple. I decided to go to the lookout pavilion first then double back and climb Ling Kok Shan. From the rocks on the way up to the lookout there are views over Lamma's power station. From the lookout pavilion there are views over Tung O.

Boulders on the sides of slope by lookout pavilion.

Boulders on the sides of slope by lookout pavilion.

Path up to Lookout Point. Mount Stenhouse in the background.

Path up to Lookout Point. Mount Stenhouse in the background.

Look out point.

Look out point.

Lookout Point.

Lookout Point.

Broken Marker.

Broken Marker.

Broken Marker.

Broken Marker.

View over the Power Station.

View over the Power Station.

Rocks near lookout pavilion.

Rocks near lookout pavilion.

Rocks near lookout pavilion.

Rocks near lookout pavilion.

View from lookout pavilion.

View from lookout pavilion.

After soaking in the views I headed back down then started climbing up the steps to Ling Kok Shan. The walk up follows several steep sets of stairs. It's well paved and easy to walk on, but it has absolutely no shade whatsoever, so I found it hard work in the unrelenting sunshine.

View of path up Ling Kok Shan.

View of path up Ling Kok Shan.

Steps.

Steps.

Rocks and Plants.

Rocks and Plants.

The rocks have protective bases to stop them rolling down the hillside.

The rocks have protective bases to stop them rolling down the hillside.

The rocks have protective bases to stop them rolling down the hillside.

The rocks have protective bases to stop them rolling down the hillside.

Looking back down.

Looking back down.

Rocks on climb up.

Rocks on climb up.

I think this is called Diamond Rock.

I think this is called Diamond Rock.

Split Rock.

Split Rock.

Balanced Rocks.

Balanced Rocks.

After what felt like a very long time I reached the top of the mountain. I walked along a ridge with fantastic views in both directions. There was a trigonometric marker and a transmitting station. Some of the best shaped rocks were up here. One looked like a face; another looked like a dog - people call this poodle rock or puppy rock. There are even some rocks up here somewhere which were used as an airaid
shelter during the war and hide the entrance to a Japanese war tunnel.

View from the ridge.

View from the ridge.

Beautiful view from the top.

Beautiful view from the top.

Finally a shelter with shade on the ridge.

Finally a shelter with shade on the ridge.

At the summit there were many fried egg plants.

At the summit there were many fried egg plants.

A View over the Power Station.

A View over the Power Station.

Marker at the Top of the Hill.

Marker at the Top of the Hill.

This rock formation looks like a duck.

This rock formation looks like a duck.

Almost at the transmitting station.

Almost at the transmitting station.

View one way looking towards the south of Hong Kong Island.

View one way looking towards the south of Hong Kong Island.

View the other way towards Lantau.

View the other way towards Lantau.

One of the interesting rock formations. This reminded me of a face.

One of the interesting rock formations. This reminded me of a face.

Balanced Rocks.

Balanced Rocks.

Interesting Rocks.

Interesting Rocks.

Poodle Rock or Puppy Rock.

Poodle Rock or Puppy Rock.

Poodle Rock or Puppy Rock.

Poodle Rock or Puppy Rock.

Precariously balanced rocks. The other side of Poodle Rock.

Precariously balanced rocks. The other side of Poodle Rock.

After enjoying the views I headed down the one thousand stairs back to Mo Tat. The views on the way down were spectacular. I had missed the 12.40 ferry from Sok Kwa Wan, so I decided to walk back down to Mo Tat Wan and catch the 1.15 Kaito to Aberdeen instead.

Time for a selfie.

Time for a selfie.

The way down

The way down

Beautiful view on the way down.

Beautiful view on the way down.

Beautiful View on the Walk Down.

Beautiful View on the Walk Down.

I waited in Mo Tat Wan till about 1.25 for the Kai to that leaves Sok Kwu Wan at 1.15. There are good views of Ap Lei Chau and Mount Johnson on the way back. The Kai to sails into busy Aberdeen Harbour. From there I jumped on bus 4 towards Central. I got off at Hong Kong University to switch to the MTR and make my way back home.

Kai to to Aberdeen.

Kai to to Aberdeen.

Huge container ship passing Mount Johnson.

Huge container ship passing Mount Johnson.

Arriving in Aberdeen Harbour.

Arriving in Aberdeen Harbour.

Arriving in Aberdeen Harbour.

Arriving in Aberdeen Harbour.

Posted by irenevt 01:21 Archived in Hong Kong Comments (2)

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 (4)

Enjoying my leaving gift.

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

overcast

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 from the bridge.

Selfie from 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!

semi-overcast

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)

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