A Travellerspoint blog

Hong Kong

Just Trailing Along.

The Hong Kong Trail Section One and Two.

semi-overcast

Trail Marker for Hong Kong Trail located at 500m intervals the whole way.

Trail Marker for Hong Kong Trail located at 500m intervals the whole way.

I've been doing quite a bit of hiking here in the last two years and usually I choose my walks for reasons such as: they go to war remains, they lead me to Chinese heritage sites, or they go to places of great natural beauty. Sometimes the walks I do turn out to be sections of the four big hiking trails we have here. These are: the Hong Kong Trail, the Wilson Trail, the Lantau Trail and the Maclehose Trail, but I haven't ever specifically tried to complete these trails, section by section, in the way that serious hikers do.

I've no intention of changing my approach to hiking, completing all of these trails is beyond my level of fitness, but recently I have been toying with the idea of doing the whole of the Hong Kong Trail. The reason for this I guess is the realisation that I've actually done so much of it without meaning to.

The Hong Kong Trail opened in 1985. It is the shortest and easiest of the four trails and is divided into eight sections. It goes from Victoria Peak to Big Wave Bay, which means it goes lengthwise across Hong Kong Island. However, it follows a very circuitous route, as the trail is 50km long, despite the fact that the distance between these two locations is only 11km. The trail passes through five of Hong Kong's many country parks. It is well sign-posted and there are distance markers every 500m for the entire route. Some people complete this trail in a single day. I am not one of those people! If I do complete it, it will be over four or five days.

Regardless of whether I manage the whole trail or not, yesterday I decided to walk the first two sections.

Section One starts at Victoria Peak and goes to Pok Fu Lam Reservoir Road. I've done part of this walk several times already without consciously trying to follow the Hong Kong Trail. In fact, I did it very recently when I climbed Mount High West.

Fortunately, on the day I climbed Mount High West, the views were clear and excellent. Yesterday when I did this walk again, it was very foggy. I didn't mind this, as one of the things I wanted to see here was the haunted house about half-way along.

Anyway, to get to the Peak, I took bus number 15 from Exchange Square Bus Station in Central all the way to the last stop at Peak Galleria. As I said, it wasn't a clear day and the views on the drive up the Peak were probably the best views I got until I reached Aberdeen at the end of my hike.

View from the bus on the way up.

View from the bus on the way up.

View from the bus on the way up.

View from the bus on the way up.

Outside the Peak Lookout Cafe, I had a look at the old British post box with the Elizabeth Regina insignia. The royal insignia was removed from most post boxes here after the handover. There were some lovely purple flowers here, too. Then I then went to Lugard Road and the start of the trail.

Old British Post Box.

Old British Post Box.

Beautiful Purple Flowers.

Beautiful Purple Flowers.

This is the starting point.

This is the starting point.

As I walked along Lugard Road, I took a look at the foggy views and the many lovely plants on route.Furthermore, this time I also took a look at some of the houses.

Autumnal Colours even though it's spring.

Autumnal Colours even though it's spring.

Autumnal Colours even though it's spring.

Autumnal Colours even though it's spring.

Silvergrass.

Silvergrass.

Banyan Trees.

Banyan Trees.

Foggy View.

Foggy View.

Buddha.

Buddha.

I can't resist photographing the Buddhas.

I can't resist photographing the Buddhas.

When I was writing up my blog on climbing Mount High West, I just thought I'd check out some information about Lugard Road. I was surprised to find that I had walked past the most haunted building in Hong Kong on my way to the walk. That building is located at number 32 Lugard Road and is called Dragon Lodge. For me the strangest thing about this house is that it is three stories high, located in one of the most expensive real estate locations in the world and has a garden with breathtaking views over the city, but it has largely been left to fall down. Why?

Well, if you look it up online, you will find that the house has quite an interesting history. It was supposedly built in the 1920's. The first person to purchase it and live here ended up going bankrupt. The second owner died inside the house. That is sad, but it wouldn't affect my feelings towards the property. However, many Chinese people are very, very superstitious. A house where someone has died, even of natural causes, goes down in value and people don't want to live in it. Due to this reduction in value, it's fairly common for people who decide to commit suicide here to rent a hotel room and kill themselves there, so that when their loved ones inherit their property, it won't have gone down in price.

Anyway, back to Dragon Lodge. During World War II the Japanese took over the building and apparently decapitated several nuns in the front garden here. I'm not sure if this is true or not, but the story has been repeated so frequently it has become a sort of urban myth. Well, all of this bad luck meant noone wanted to live in Dragon Lodge and the property started to fall apart. It became a place that intrepid young explorers, obsessed with the supernatural, started to break into and sometimes, sadly, vandalise. Then in 2004 it looked like the property's predicament was finally changing. Someone purchased the house for HK$64 million, that's more than six million pounds, and renovation works began. These continued until the workers started to complain that they could hear the ghostly cries of a child in some of the empty rooms. Eventually the workers had had enough and refused to continue the renovation and the house was abandoned once again.

These days the house still looks empty, but apparently security around it has been improved to stop people breaking in. In a historical website I subscribe to here I saw pictures of someone's grandparents living in this house. They rented it rather than owned it and it looks like such a happy place.

Actually looking at the historical website again, I found a very plausible explanation for the ghost stories. One woman says she grew up on Lugard Road and used to play with the children who lived at 32 Lugard Road. She remembers it as a happy house with no ill-fated history or ghosts. However, she said during the war the house at 29 Lugard Road was bombed. The local children, who seemed to be allowed to run wild (she also remembers playing on the firing range) wanted to play in the bombed out building, but it was dangerous, so their amahs made up stories about nuns being murdered there to scare the children away from it. Somehow, over time, these stories got transferred to 32 Lugard Road because it was an old building and empty.

32 Lugard Road.

32 Lugard Road.

Number 32 Lugard Road.

Number 32 Lugard Road.

I found lots of pictures of this house online. Some of these pictures are historical and some show the derelict state of the house. I personally was not able to get inside the building, though I'd have loved to be able to take a look.

Here's a historical photo from the lady who's grandfather rented the house.

Here's a historical photo from the lady who's grandfather rented the house.

This and the next three photos are from the Urban Explorers Website and show the building from the front, side and inside.

This and the next three photos are from the Urban Explorers Website and show the building from the front, side and inside.

Notice the 'Go Back' graffiti.

Notice the 'Go Back' graffiti.

More graffiti.

More graffiti.

So decayed inside. What a shame!

So decayed inside. What a shame!

If you have six million pounds going spare, and you don't scare easily, you might want to put in a bid for this property.

I also noticed another large house at number 34 Lugard Road on the opposite side of the street. This house used to be called West Crag and was built by Frederick Percy Franklin between 1933 and 1936 as his own residence. During the war this house suffered a lot of damage. After the war, in 1947, it was converted into two self-contained units and later, in 1952, it was converted into three. I thought it was a pretty attractive looking building.

34 Lugard Road.

34 Lugard Road.

View points all along Lugard Road.

View points all along Lugard Road.

Earlier on the road there is another interesting house at 27 Lugard Road. I did not get a good view of the house, as many houses here are hidden behind tall fences. This house was designed by Lennox Bird, who worked for the architectural firm Palmer and Turner. It was originally built as a residence for his brother and was completed in 1914. Later it was sold to Tai Koo Dockyard and Engineering Company and was used as a place of residence for their staff. Recently there have been plans to turn this building into a boutique hotel. However, the myriads of hikers, who walk along Lugard Road, protested against this, fearing an increase in traffic on this largely pedestrianised road. The hotel group claimed they would only use golf carts for guests' luggage. I don't know if the development is still going ahead or if it has fallen victim to the COVID outbreak.

When I reached the little park which is the intersection of many trails, I turned right to stay on the Hong Kong Trail. The path I went on was just above the one I used to get to Pinewood Battery. I was now happy to be on a path I had not walked before.

At the park turn right to follow the trail.

At the park turn right to follow the trail.

The trail here goes through the forest and has occasional pretty views over Hong Kong. At one point, I reached a picnic site, the Lung Fu Shan Country Park Picnic Site 2, and saw a sign for the steep way up Mount High West. I was at the top of this recently, though I ascended from the other side. This area also has a view point, though the view was pretty foggy when I was here.

Lung Fu Shan Picnic Site 2.

Lung Fu Shan Picnic Site 2.

Sign for Mount High West.

Sign for Mount High West.

A View of Mount High West from the Picnic Site.

A View of Mount High West from the Picnic Site.

Lung Fu Shan Viewing Point.

Lung Fu Shan Viewing Point.

Foggy Views From Here.

Foggy Views From Here.

Foggy Views From Here.

Foggy Views From Here.

From the Lung Fu Shan Picnic Site, I went down some steps. The path was very pretty and there were not too many other walkers. Every so often there were places on the path that would be waterfalls in the summer rains. Many of these are currently dry or just have a little water. I imagine parts of this path would be impassable in a rainstorm. One of my favourite things on this part of the walk were the beautiful wooden bridges over the bigger streams which generally did have some water in them.

Stream.

Stream.

Stream.

Stream.

Stream

Stream

There were lots of lovely bridges on this walk.

There were lots of lovely bridges on this walk.

Selfie with Bridge.

Selfie with Bridge.

Another Little Wooden Bridge.

Another Little Wooden Bridge.

Very Small Stone Bridge.

Very Small Stone Bridge.

Bridge.

Bridge.

Along the path there were lots of beautiful flowers, including the pink Chinese New Year Flowers, which I always find hard to photograph. They like to grow over steep, inaccessible edges.

Lovely flowers on route.

Lovely flowers on route.

Pretty Chinese New Year Flowers.

Pretty Chinese New Year Flowers.

Pretty Chinese New Year Flowers.

Pretty Chinese New Year Flowers.

Beautiful Flowers.

Beautiful Flowers.

Fungus on log.

Fungus on log.

Bamboo Grove.

Bamboo Grove.

Every now and again there was a break in the trees and there would be lovely views over Hong Kong.

Views from the path.

Views from the path.

Views from the path.

Views from the path.

View and trail marker.

View and trail marker.

Path and View.

Path and View.

Broken Tree and View.

Broken Tree and View.

It was a little off putting after I had walked around six km to look up and see the Peak Tower very close by, meaning I had actually gone nowhere. Well, I did say the route was circuitous. It's for exercise or enjoying nature, not for getting from A to B.

All the time I was walking along the path, I could hear someone playing the bagpipes in the distance. I've no idea where the music was coming from, but as a Scot, it felt pretty strange to be deep in rural Hong Kong listening to the bagpipes drifting across the country air.

Selfie on the forest path.

Selfie on the forest path.

The Path was shady and pretty.

The Path was shady and pretty.

Forest Path.

Forest Path.

Path.

Path.

This building is part of the waterworks for Pokfulam Reservoir. I came here before after walking down from Pinewood Battery.

This building is part of the waterworks for Pokfulam Reservoir. I came here before after walking down from Pinewood Battery.

This path was described on the sites I researched it on as largely flat. It wasn't steep, but there were still a few ups and downs. I notice these , while others may not, as I find them tough on my knees.

Stairway.

Stairway.

Stairway.

Stairway.

The end of Section One and start of Section Two are on the road I have walked down several times from the Peak to Pok Fu Lam Reservoir. I've often looked at the paths off and wondered where they go, now I know.

Section Two of the Hong Kong Trail goes from Pok Fu Lam Reservoir to Peel Rise. This section is 4.5km long. At first I thought: 'Great a nice flat concrete path to walk on,' but after a few minutes, when I got to a waterworks building, I saw that the Hong Kong trail veered off left, up a huge flight of stairs.

Sign for the start of the trail.

Sign for the start of the trail.

A nice flat path to start on.

A nice flat path to start on.

Non-stop stairs.

Non-stop stairs.

Once I made it to the top, having expended lots of energy and sweat, the trail became pleasant again. It was shaded by trees, had some wonderful flowers, and there were many places that would be amazing waterfalls in the rain. There were also little bridges and streams.

Flower lined path.

Flower lined path.

Look how nicely paved the path is.

Look how nicely paved the path is.

Waterfall.

Waterfall.

Selfie with Waterfall.

Selfie with Waterfall.

I liked this bridge on route.

I liked this bridge on route.

Other side of the bridge.

Other side of the bridge.

Colourful Vegetation.

Colourful Vegetation.

When I was nearing the end of Section Two, I reached a pavilion and viewpoint with lovely views over Aberdeen. From here I went down steps, ended up on a catch water and had great views over Aberdeen for the rest of the walk

Pavilion.

Pavilion.

Catchwater.

Catchwater.

Catchwater.

Catchwater.

View over Aberdeen.

View over Aberdeen.

View over Aberdeen.

View over Aberdeen.

View over Aberdeen.

View over Aberdeen.

View over Aberdeen.

View over Aberdeen.

View over Aberdeen.

View over Aberdeen.

Eventually I reached stairs down to a housing estate. From the description I had read, I could get a bus nearby. I think I walked too far, though. I went through a housing estate, on walkways, down a lift, through a shopping centre. I'd have no idea how to find my way back on to the trail from here. Eventually l found a bus station and took the number 77 which goes to Shau Kei Wan. I got off at Causeway Bay and switched to the MTR. That's the first 12 kilometres of the Hong Kong Trail done.

Stairs down to Tin Wan Estate.

Stairs down to Tin Wan Estate.

Posted by irenevt 12:32 Archived in Hong Kong Tagged hiking hong kong. Comments (6)

Aloha from Hong Kong.

Following the Little Hawaii Trail.

sunny

Today I decided to combine walking the Little Hawaii Trail, with a visit to Hong Kong Velodrome Park and meeting up with my friend Jason.

Little Hawaii is an easy walking trail that wanders past several waterfalls. I initially thought the trail was called Little Hawaii just because the waterfalls and lush green jungle scenery look like Hawaii. This is partly true, but it is a bit more complicated than that.

So how did it get its name? Well, apparently, in 1906 a Canadian businessman, Alfred Herbert Rennie, built a flour mill in Tiu Keng Wan, which is the coastal area below the Little Hawaii Trail (it's now called Tiu Keng Leng). Rennie was helped in this endeavour by two of Hong Kong’s most prominent businessmen, Catchick Paul Chater and Hormusjee Naorojee Mody (who founded the Star Ferry). Rennie needed a source of power and a water supply for his mill so he built a hundred foot dam on the nearby stream and created a small reservoir. The remains of these structures are now part of the Little Hawaii Trail.

Rennie's Mill was not a success and Rennie, faced with the prospect of bankruptcy, committed suicide by leaping off a company boat with a heavy box attached round his neck. Following Rennie's death, the mill was closed down.

Later in 1946 the villagers of Tiu Keng Wan turned the abandoned reservoir and dam area into a private pool, and the village chief named it Little Hawaii Swimming Centre. The swimming centre was popular at first, but then there was a tragic accident and a child drowned here. After that the swimming centre was closed down.

As for the mill building and the houses around it, they became home to large numbers of Kuomintang soldiers who fled from Mainland China after the Communists won the Civil War. The British Colonial Government was not that keen on having all these refugees in case it upset their large, powerful Communist neighbour so they placed them in an area that was at that time quite remote.

To get to the Little Hawaii Trail I went to Diamond Hill MTR and took exit B2 to the transport interchange station. I had intended to get on bus 91 which goes all the way to Clearwater Bay, but a 91M to Po Lam came in first, so I boarded that. I got off at a village called Tseng Lan Shue on Clearwater Bay Road. I crossed the road using the subway and exited to the left. From there I walked just a short way before seeing a sign for the Wilson Trail. I started to follow this. The area around here was lush and green and I was walking along the edge of the small stream that feeds into the Little Hawaii Falls. All around me there were Coastal Coral Trees with huge red flowers.

Sign for the Wilson Trail on Clearwater Bay Road.

Sign for the Wilson Trail on Clearwater Bay Road.

Tseng Lan Shue Village.

Tseng Lan Shue Village.

Tseng Lan Shue Village.

Tseng Lan Shue Village.

Lush Greenery.

Lush Greenery.

Greenery and Coastal Coral Trees.

Greenery and Coastal Coral Trees.

Coastal Coral Tree.

Coastal Coral Tree.

Coastal Coral Tree.

Coastal Coral Tree.

Close up of flowers of Coastal Coral Tree.

Close up of flowers of Coastal Coral Tree.

Close up of flowers of Coastal Coral Tree.

Close up of flowers of Coastal Coral Tree.

Mountainous scenery with Coastal Coral Trees.

Mountainous scenery with Coastal Coral Trees.

Path lined with Coastal Coral Trees.

Path lined with Coastal Coral Trees.

Path and Stream.

Path and Stream.

Small Purple Flowers.

Small Purple Flowers.

After a short walk the path splits near a house surrounded with pretty blue flowers and the Wilson Trail heads off to the right. On the left there's a sign for the Little Hawaii Trail. I followed this and continued to walk along next to the stream. I passed a little shrine near the water's edge.

House near where the road splits.

House near where the road splits.

Pretty Blue Flowers.

Pretty Blue Flowers.

Sign for the Little Hawaii Trail.

Sign for the Little Hawaii Trail.

Mountain greenery and Trail.

Mountain greenery and Trail.

Shrine.

Shrine.

After a short walk I reached the first of the waterfalls. From the broken manmade structures here I would guess this was where the dam used to be. I walked on the remains of the dam wall and also viewed the dam from the pools below it.

Standing on the dam and looking down.

Standing on the dam and looking down.

Standing on the dam and looking down.

Standing on the dam and looking down.

Looking towards the former dam.

Looking towards the former dam.

Looking towards the former dam.

Looking towards the former dam.

Looking across the rocks towards the dam.

Looking across the rocks towards the dam.

Small Waterfall.

Small Waterfall.

Just past these pools there is a small bridge. Near the bridge someone had planted lots of beautiful flowers. It is necessary to cross this bridge to continue on the trail. Before I crossed it I clambered over rocks towards a large waterfall with a view over the Tseung Kwan O area. There is a huge drop here and thus the biggest waterfall, but it is really difficult to view it. I assumed there would be a better view of it from further down, but there isn't really. To see the full extent of the falls you either need a drone or you have to climb up through the stream clambering from boulder to boulder.

I went as close to the edge as I could on both sides, but I must admit it made me feel quite dizzy. Later when I went home I watched a video of someone visiting the falls. They leapt across the rocks onto the rock at the edge then proceeded to stand on one leg in a yoga pose next to the drop. Madness! It made me feel ill just watching it.

Bridge.

Bridge.

Flowers near the bridge.

Flowers near the bridge.

Looking down the stream towards the big drop.

Looking down the stream towards the big drop.

View over Tseung Kwan O.

View over Tseung Kwan O.

View from the rocks on the right side before crossing the bridge.

View from the rocks on the right side before crossing the bridge.

Small falls between bridge and big falls.

Small falls between bridge and big falls.

Looking back towards the bridge.

Looking back towards the bridge.

View over Tseung Kwan O from the rocks on the left after crossing the bridge.

View over Tseung Kwan O from the rocks on the left after crossing the bridge.

View over Tseung Kwan O from the rocks on the left after crossing the bridge.

View over Tseung Kwan O from the rocks on the left after crossing the bridge.

Top of big falls.

Top of big falls.

Top of big falls.

Top of big falls.

After looking at the top of the falls from both sides, I wandered down a path through the forest. I could hear the gushing waterfall but could not see it due to the vegetation all around it. Eventually I reached a crossroads and headed to the right. The path here took me to a bridge at the lower falls. I was expecting to see the huge magnificent waterfall I had been at the top of, but I could not as it was too far back and hidden by all the greenery. It was still very pretty, but not as dramatic as expected

Sign at the crossroads.

Sign at the crossroads.

Approaching Bridge at Lower Falls.

Approaching Bridge at Lower Falls.

Bridge at Lower Falls.

Bridge at Lower Falls.

Bridge at Lower Falls.

Bridge at Lower Falls.

View from the bridge at the lower falls.

View from the bridge at the lower falls.

On the rocks at the Lower Falls.

On the rocks at the Lower Falls.

Looking at the lower Falls from the rocks.

Looking at the lower Falls from the rocks.

Selfie at Lower Falls.

Selfie at Lower Falls.

A pleasant seat on the other side of the lower falls.

A pleasant seat on the other side of the lower falls.

I then walked back to the crossroads, turned right and began to walk down the stairs. I ended up at the lowest bridge of all. This had lovely views over the stream and some small falls. There was a large pool of water here. I continued on the path and descended a small flight of steps into Tseung Kwan O Village. There were some jackfruit growing on a tree here. I passed the sign for the trail at this end of the walk and then I looked for signs to the MTR. There were plenty of signs, but it was actually quite a long way.

View from the lowest bridge.

View from the lowest bridge.

Pool at bottom and view. Again it looks manmade and was probably part of the mill.

Pool at bottom and view. Again it looks manmade and was probably part of the mill.

Pool at the bottom of the falls.

Pool at the bottom of the falls.

Jack fruit.

Jack fruit.

Sign at the bottom of the trail.

Sign at the bottom of the trail.

I'm cheating here. I took this photo from the internet. It was taken in rainy season and by people who were brave enough to climb up the falls. I am just adding it to show you the bits I did not reach. Also, as it's still dry season, even if I had reached them they would not be like this.

I'm cheating here. I took this photo from the internet. It was taken in rainy season and by people who were brave enough to climb up the falls. I am just adding it to show you the bits I did not reach. Also, as it's still dry season, even if I had reached them they would not be like this.

As I walked I phoned my friend Jason. He lives in Po Lam. We had arranged to try and meet up in the Velodrome Park in Tseung Kwan O. He goes there most days and I wanted to see the cherry trees there. I could probably have walked there but I did not know the way, so I took the MTR one stop to Hang Hau and exited through exit B2.

When I exited the MTR I saw the most colourful school ever, then I went into a little park called Hang Hau Man Kuk Lane Park. This is a Chinese style gardens with ponds and lots of flowering trees. There were golden pui trees everywhere. I added the pictures of these to my last blog.

The most colourful school in the world.

The most colourful school in the world.

World's most colourful mural outside world's most colourful school.

World's most colourful mural outside world's most colourful school.

Hang Hau Man Kuk Lane Park Fancy Gateway.

Hang Hau Man Kuk Lane Park Fancy Gateway.

Hang Hau Man Kuk Lane Park Pond.

Hang Hau Man Kuk Lane Park Pond.

Hang Hau Man Kuk Lane Park Pond and tall buildings.

Hang Hau Man Kuk Lane Park Pond and tall buildings.

To get to the velodrome, I exited Hang Hau Man Kuk Lane Park and took the subway under a motorway. This brought me to Tseung Kwan O Sports Centre and Velodrome. I managed to find Jason and we got to catch up on all the gossip as well as taking a stroll around the park. I found the cherry trees, but some of my photos turned out with very strange colours. I think I must have been shooting into the sun.

The Hong Kong Velodrome opened in 2013. It has 250 metre long cycle track inside.

The Velodrome.

The Velodrome.

Entrance to the velodrome closed due to COVID.

Entrance to the velodrome closed due to COVID.

Me wandering around looking for Jason and him photographing me going the wrong way.

Me wandering around looking for Jason and him photographing me going the wrong way.

Jason and I posing with a golden trumpet tree.

Jason and I posing with a golden trumpet tree.

Jason and I in the Velodrome Park.

Jason and I in the Velodrome Park.

Posing in front of the velodrome.

Posing in front of the velodrome.

Cherry Blossom.

Cherry Blossom.

Cherry Blossom.

Cherry Blossom.

Cherry Blossom.

Cherry Blossom.

Blossom.

Blossom.

Beautiful Flowers.

Beautiful Flowers.

Bauhinia Branch.

Bauhinia Branch.

Jason being silly as usual.

Jason being silly as usual.

Bicycle Art in Velodrome Park.

Bicycle Art in Velodrome Park.

Robotic Art at the Velodrome

Robotic Art at the Velodrome

Have you seen my shuttlecock?

Have you seen my shuttlecock?

Then Jason escorted me to the MTR and I headed home while he returned to more wanderings around the park.

Posted by irenevt 09:19 Archived in Hong Kong Comments (6)

Golden Days.

The Language of Flowers.

sunny

The Golden Pui Tree.

The Golden Pui Tree.

Took Peter out to our sports club bar yesterday. It's his birthday month, so we were able to get a free bottle of wine and a discount on our food. Pretty good, I thought. We had to take the wine and food as take away though, because restaurants here close at 6pm at the moment, so we ordered beers, sat looking over the closed swimming pool and waited for our take away order. We ended up with quite a lot of food so I decided it would do two days of dinner.

Enjoying his beer, but wishing he could go swimming

Enjoying his beer, but wishing he could go swimming

I had calmed right down on the lockdown front and we've been eating some of the extra food we had bought in for it, but since I've stopped working, I often wake up at night and sometimes I make the mistake of looking at the news on my phone. There was an article about the whole of Shenzhen, all 17 million people who live there, being locked down for six days and being given only one day's notice. Shenzhen is just across the border from here. In fact it's likely we caused their outbreak, as many Hong Kongers went there to escape the virus here. I think Shenzen only had about 300 cases. We are now on about 30,000 a day. The same article mentioned Hong Kong lorry drivers not being allowed into China any more, due to our sky high infection rate here. All of this started me panicking that we didn't have enough food in. I was intending to go walking today, but ended up shopping instead.

There are two supermarkets where we live. I went to Fusion first and it was really well stocked and not too busy, so I started to think I was worrying about nothing. Anyway I bought vegetables and meat that can be kept frozen for later.

Then I went to Wellcome, the other supermarket here. I use this more frequently. What a contrast! This managed to have absolutely nothing that I wanted or normally buy here. I left feeling really annoyed. When I got home I read another article saying food supplies to Hong Kong will not be affected by the Shenzhen lockdown. Who knows what is going on in life any more? It's all so confusing.

The only good thing about going to Wellcome was that I walked past some stunningly lovely trees, and just in time too, as many had already lost their flowers.

These trees are apparently known as Yellow Pui Trees, though I think they are also called golden trumpet. They are native to South and Central America, and are actually the national tree of Venezuela, though there's quite a few around here, too.

Golden Flower against Greenery.

Golden Flower against Greenery.

Golden Flowers with green and blue background

Golden Flowers with green and blue background

Golden Flowers against Blue Skies.

Golden Flowers against Blue Skies.

Golden Flowers against Blue Skies.

Golden Flowers against Blue Skies.

Golden Flowers against Blue Skies.

Golden Flowers against Blue Skies.

Close up of a flower.

Close up of a flower.

Branch of Golden Flowers.

Branch of Golden Flowers.

The funny thing was I forwarded some of my golden trumpet photos to three friends and two of them instantly replied by sending me golden trumpet photos they had taken in Hong Kong on the very same day.

My friend Jason photographed this tree in Po Lam.

My friend Jason photographed this tree in Po Lam.

My friend Iris photographed Che Kong Temple in Sha Tin.

My friend Iris photographed Che Kong Temple in Sha Tin.

Actually I did not mean to publish this entry yesterday. I was intending to combine it with today's walk, but I accidentally pressed publish. However, now that I've done today's walk, I've decided to do a separate blog on it and put all of today's golden pui pictures here.

Golden Pui and residential blocks.

Golden Pui and residential blocks.

Houses and Flowers.

Houses and Flowers.

Houses and Flowers.

Houses and Flowers.

Golden Pui with Tsueng Kwan O Velodrome.

Golden Pui with Tsueng Kwan O Velodrome.

Golden Pui.

Golden Pui.

Golden Pui.

Golden Pui.

Golden Pui.

Golden Pui.

Golden Pui.

Golden Pui.

Me with a Golden Pui Tree.

Me with a Golden Pui Tree.

Me photographing a Golden Pui Tree.

Me photographing a Golden Pui Tree.

Posted by irenevt 11:54 Archived in Hong Kong Comments (6)

I can see for miles and miles.

Climbing Tai Mo Shan

semi-overcast

Sign For Tai Mo Shan Country Park.

Sign For Tai Mo Shan Country Park.

Today I climbed up Tai Mo Shan, which at 957 metres, is the tallest mountain in Hong Kong. Tai Mo Shan is located right in the middle of The New Territories and is surrounded by a country park which occupies an area of 14.4 square kilometres. Apparently Tai Mo Shan means Big Hat Mountain and it gets this name because its top is often shrouded in cloud. In winter the temperature at the peak of this mountain can drop below zero. There are not many places in Hong Kong where this happens. I remember one cold spell where Hong Kongers flocked up here hoping to see snow. They didn't, but there was frost.

To get to Tai Mo Shan I took the number 51 bus from Nina Mall One Bus Station and got off at Tai Mo Shan Country Park. The bus was just a single decker and was very crowded. Apparently this bus is fairly infrequent, but I must have been lucky. I got it straight away both at the start and end of my hike.

Near the bus stop there is a little park called Tai Mo Shan Rotary Park. There are a lot of cherry trees here, though most of them were not flowering yet. I actually went to this park at the end of my hike.

Tai Mo Shan Rotary Park.

Tai Mo Shan Rotary Park.

Cherry Trees.

Cherry Trees.

There are many routes up Tai Mo Shan, it's even possible to do the whole walk up on the road. I didn't do this. I started by walking to the Tai Mo Shan Visitor Centre which has a snack shop, which is apparently famous for its tofu. Here there are also toilets and a Tai Mo Shan Information Centre. I don't think this was open. I walked past the toilet to the left of the snack shop and began climbing up Maclehose Trail Section Eight. This was the only hard part of my walk as it involved lots of steps.

Maclehose Trail Sign.

Maclehose Trail Sign.

The beginning steps are paved and easy.

The beginning steps are paved and easy.

But they get rougher.

But they get rougher.

And rougher.

And rougher.

And rougher.

And rougher.

There were some lovely flowers. This is India Hawthorn.

There were some lovely flowers. This is India Hawthorn.

And plants on the way up.

And plants on the way up.

Piles of logs.

Piles of logs.

Every now and again there were flat areas at the sides of the steps from where it was possible to enjoy beautiful views. On the day I went up there was a bit of cloud, but the views were still stunning.

Looking over Tsuen Wan and Tsing Yi.

Looking over Tsuen Wan and Tsing Yi.

Looking over Tsuen Wan and Tsing Yi.

Looking over Tsuen Wan and Tsing Yi.

When you finally reach the top of these seemingly endless flights of stairs, you'll get your first view of Tai Mo Shan in the distance. It is very easy to spot as it has an observatory on its peak.

First view of Tai Mo Shan.

First view of Tai Mo Shan.

After climbing all that way, you start to go down a few flights of stairs to reach picnic site number three. From this point I left the trail and started to climb Tai Mo Shan on its road. There is some traffic so it's necessary to proceed carefully.

Signs on the way.

Signs on the way.

Tai Mo Shan is an extinct volcano. There are lots of igneous rocks around.

Tai Mo Shan is an extinct volcano. There are lots of igneous rocks around.

After a short walk up the road, I reached picnic site number four and a lookout point. The views from here are towards Yuen Long. I noticed lots of flowering red trees and realised I was looking at Shek Kong Barracks with their cotton trees. This was where I tried to go on my last walk, but couldn't. I used my zoom to get a good shot of these. There are also good views of Rooster Ridge from here. The lookout point is on top of a sub-peak of Tai Mo Shan called Wo Tong Kong which is 702 metres high. There's a triangulation point here. Behind the lookout point there's a derelict building. I'm not sure what it used to be.

Sign for Picnic Site 4.

Sign for Picnic Site 4.

The Lookout Point.

The Lookout Point.

Viewpoint.

Viewpoint.

The Look out.

The Look out.

View from the lookout point over Rooster Ridge .

View from the lookout point over Rooster Ridge .

Close ups of Shek Kong Barracks

Close ups of Shek Kong Barracks

Close ups of Shek Kong Barracks

Close ups of Shek Kong Barracks

Looking down on the lookout.

Looking down on the lookout.

At the lookout looking up the way.

At the lookout looking up the way.

Triangulation Point and View.

Triangulation Point and View.

The abandoned building.

The abandoned building.

Abandoned Building.

Abandoned Building.

Inside the abandoned building.

Inside the abandoned building.

After enjoying the views from the look out I returned to the road. Soon I reached a barrier. From this point on, only authorised cars can pass, so there's less traffic on the road. The road is really easy to walk on as it meanders back and forth and has a very gentle incline. There are several steep shortcuts if you choose to abandon the road and take a narrow path instead. I didn't do this. I usually find the steep ways exhausting and it's less tiring just to walk further.

At the Barrier.

At the Barrier.

At the sides of the road I started to notice lots of beautiful little flowers. Apparently Tai Mo Shan has quite a lot of orchids, too. The vegetation all around was lovely and colourful.

Beautiful light pink flower.

Beautiful light pink flower.

Lovely dark pink flower.

Lovely dark pink flower.

These purple flowers were everywhere.

These purple flowers were everywhere.

Tai Mo Shan had lots of colourful vegetation.

Tai Mo Shan had lots of colourful vegetation.

Colourful Plants.

Colourful Plants.

Silver grass.

Silver grass.

Foliage.

Foliage.

Colourful foliage lines the path.

Colourful foliage lines the path.

Bright Red Foliage.

Bright Red Foliage.

Colourful Foliage.

Colourful Foliage.

From the road there are beautiful views over Tsuen Wan like the earlier views but further away.

Views over Tsuen Wan From Further Up.

Views over Tsuen Wan From Further Up.

Views over Tsuen Wan From Further Up.

Views over Tsuen Wan From Further Up.

View over Bridges.

View over Bridges.

There are also more views over Yuen Long like the ones from the lookout point and on the other side there are beautiful views over Plover Cove, Tai Po and the giant Kuan Yin statue at Tsz Shan Monastery which is 76 metres high, much bigger than the Big Buddha on Lantau Island.

View over Yuen long from higher up.

View over Yuen long from higher up.



Looking over Plover Cove

Looking over Plover Cove

Looking over the road and Plover Cove.

Looking over the road and Plover Cove.

Looking towards Tai Po and the the giant Kuan Yin Statue.

Looking towards Tai Po and the the giant Kuan Yin Statue.

There were also lovely views up the way towards the observatory itself.

Looking Towards the Observatory.

Looking Towards the Observatory.

When I got right up next to the observatory there were lots of cows grazing on the slopes just below it. Hong Kong has quite a lot of wild cattle. Some of them are the descendants of former dairy cows who were set free when the dairies closed.

Cows and Observatory.

Cows and Observatory.

Close up of one of the cows.

Close up of one of the cows.

I had watched many people struggling to cycle up Tai Mo Shan. It looked much harder work than walking. A group of cyclists were celebrating making it to the top outside the observatory when I arrived.

Cycling up Tai Mo Shan.

Cycling up Tai Mo Shan.

Cycling up Tai Mo Shan.

Cycling up Tai Mo Shan.

Cyclists at the top.

Cyclists at the top.

At the top of the mountain.

At the top of the mountain.

At the top of the mountain the road continues to the other side. I think it goes all the way to Tai Po. I decided to climb up a little path and get as close to the top of the mountain as I could. The private observatory is at the very top. There was just one other person on the path with me. I saw a beautiful bird here and it perched on a wire just in front of me.

At the end of the path one person and view.

At the end of the path one person and view.

View from the very top.

View from the very top.

Bird on a wire. I think it's a kestrel.

Bird on a wire. I think it's a kestrel.

Looking down on the meandering road.

Looking down on the meandering road.

As well as spectacular sweeping views, the mountain scenery here is wonderful, too.

Mountain Scenery.

Mountain Scenery.

Mountain Scenery.

Mountain Scenery.

Of course, I had to have a go at a selfie and the scenery. I'd have asked someone to take my photo, but with COVID cases through the roof people want to keep their distance.

Selfie with view.

Selfie with view.

I spent some time enjoying the views from the top.

View from the top.

View from the top.

Road and View.

Road and View.

View back down the road.

View back down the road.

View from top over colourful foliage.

View from top over colourful foliage.

View towards Lantau.

View towards Lantau.

I think I'm quite slow and I stop to take photos constantly as you may have noticed. It took me about two hours from the bottom to the top of Tai Mo Shan.

Of course on the walk down I got to enjoy the spectacular views all over again. When I reached the Maclehose Section 8 trail I could not believe how many stairs I had climbed up. They were even more painful on the way down, very hard on the knees.

View down the road.

View down the road.

Mellow lighting and colours on the descent.

Mellow lighting and colours on the descent.

Colourful Trees on the descent.

Colourful Trees on the descent.

Colourful Trees on the descent.

Colourful Trees on the descent.

Romantic Viewpoint on the way down.

Romantic Viewpoint on the way down.

Smoke rising in the distance as I make my descent.

Smoke rising in the distance as I make my descent.

On the way back I could see from a distance that the bus was at the bus-stop. There was a long queue of people getting on so I ran for it and amazingly the bus driver waited for me. This is quite unusual in Hong Kong. It was a very pleasant female driver. The bus was really crowded. I stood all the way back and got off at The. Wan Station rather than Tsuen Wan West Station. The 51bus stop is up on the roof of the station.

Cotton Tree near Tsuen Wan Station.

Cotton Tree near Tsuen Wan Station.

Posted by irenevt 14:31 Archived in Hong Kong Comments (6)

Seeing Red.

I Love Cotton Trees.

sunny

Branch of a cotton tree, possibly the most beautiful flower in the world.

Branch of a cotton tree, possibly the most beautiful flower in the world.

Recently I made the mistake of getting so bogged down in hysteria about COVID and running around shopping for our upcoming lockdown, whenever that is, that I temporarily forgot to look around me. When I finally woke up and opened my eyes, I discovered that Hong Kong's cotton trees were in full bloom and I was missing them. I love cotton trees. They are the most beautiful trees in the whole wide world. Today I decided to rectify missing out on them.

They look stunning against a bright blue sky.

They look stunning against a bright blue sky.

Blue Skies and Scarlet Flowers.

Blue Skies and Scarlet Flowers.

There are cotton trees all over the place here. In fact, I think, I first got acquainted with them walking down from my former school every day. In addition, when I travel from my home to Sunny Bay to take the MTR, the road is lined with them, but I would have to walk along the edge of a motorway to reach them. I wanted to discover the best place in Hong Kong to photograph them.

So beautiful.

So beautiful.

How many can grow on a single branch.

How many can grow on a single branch.

Well, nowadays I'm rather into the Google search, so I googled 'Where is the best place in Hong Kong to see cotton trees?' I was informed that there were many places such as: Cotton Tree Drive in Admiralty (there's a surprise), Lai Chi Kok Park (right next to where we got our third vaccination a couple of weeks ago, but I couldn't leave Peter too long, so did not explore on this occasion), Central Library in Causeway bay and, apparently the pièce de résistance, Shek Kong Barracks. I next googled 'How do I to get to Shek Kong Barracks by public transport?' I was told to go to Kam Sheung Road MTR Station (I'm very partial to this area) then take a 77K or 54 bus.

I love them.

I love them.

It began to occur to me that I wasn't really all that likely to be able to wander around a People's Liberation Army of China Military Barracks, armed with a camera. My husband queried this, too. I looked on-line again.There were pictures. I decided there was only one way to find out. I took the MTR to Kam Sheung Road, exited through exit C and travelled four stops on a number 54 bus to Pat Heung Shek Kong Bridge. I got off right next to the barracks and guess what? It was surrounded by a huge fence. There was a guarded entry at one point, but I think, judging from all the 'military area, keep out signs' going up to the guard and saying: "Can I come come in and photograph your trees?"would not work out too well.

Red and Blue.

Red and Blue.

At first, I refused to give up. I tried walking round the rather large barracks looking for a place to view the trees. I could see several through the fence, but not get a good shot of them. Now maybe I'm wrong. Maybe there is an area that's open to the general public where you can photograph the trees, but sadly I did not find it.

Aren't they stunning?

Aren't they stunning?

Not too worry, there were lots of little villages on the other side of the road and I had noticed attractive looking trees over there, so I abandoned the barracks and went to take a look.

Close-up.

Close-up.

The first trees I encountered were not cotton trees, but they were also really beautiful.

I thought this plant was lovely

I thought this plant was lovely

It doesn't all have to be red.

It doesn't all have to be red.

Beautiful White Bauhinias.

Beautiful White Bauhinias.

Bauhinias close up.

Bauhinias close up.

Bauhinias and Mountain.

Bauhinias and Mountain.

Close-up.

Close-up.

So Pretty.

So Pretty.

I then spotted cotton trees at the side of the river so went off to take a look.

Cotton Trees by the River.

Cotton Trees by the River.

Bridge and Cotton Trees

Bridge and Cotton Trees

Cotton Trees and bridge.

Cotton Trees and bridge.

Houses by the river

Houses by the river

Flowers and Steps.

Flowers and Steps.

There were also some behind the village gateway and some in the villages with the mountains behind them

Village gateway and Cotton Trees.

Village gateway and Cotton Trees.

Mountain Scenery and Cotton Trees.

Mountain Scenery and Cotton Trees.

Mountain Scenery and Cotton Trees.

Mountain Scenery and Cotton Trees.

Apparently cotton trees, scientific name Bombax Ceiba, are native to India, Malaysia and the Philippines. It is believed that they may have been introduced to Hong Kong from India. Cotton trees, are also known as hero trees, due to their straight and sturdy trunks. They grow to an average height of twenty metres, though some have grown as tall as sixty metres.

Tall Cotton Trees.

Tall Cotton Trees.

Stunning Cotton Trees

Stunning Cotton Trees

Of course, the name hero trees is also associated with a legend. Long ago, Jibei, an intelligent and brave general, lived on Hainan Island. When his island was attacked by enemies, who wanted to steal its rich natural resources, he helped drive the invaders away. However, he was tricked by a traitor in his camp who persuaded him to go to the top of Wuzhi Shan, or Five Fingers Mountain. The enemy awaited him there and fired hundreds of arrows into his body. Jibei remained standing even as he died and the gods, rewarded his bravery by turning him into a tall straight tree. His blood turned the tree's flowers bright red.

Cotton tree in the village

Cotton tree in the village

Cotton tree in the village

Cotton tree in the village

Such Beauty!

Such Beauty!

Cotton trees bloom in February and March. In April and May they shed their seeds, thousands of them, which fall from the sky like snow or like cotton, hence their name. These seeds can be used to stuff mattresses or upholstery. The seeds blowing on mass across the sky, like the flowers blooming, is incredibly beautiful.

Close-up of a cotton flower

Close-up of a cotton flower

Laden Branch.

Laden Branch.

The flowers of the cotton tree have medicinal properties and are one of the ingredients in Chinese five flower herbal tree. This tea apparently helps alleviate the symptoms of flu.

Beautiful Red Blooms.

Beautiful Red Blooms.

So Elegant!

So Elegant!

When I had finished wandering along the river, I returned to the main road which was filled with auto repair shops. I found a car covered in cotton tree flowers.

Cotton Flower Laden Car.

Cotton Flower Laden Car.

I caught the bus back to Kam Sheung Road MTR Station and was delighted to find this area was full of cotton trees, too. Even the ground was turned into a beautiful red carpet of fallen flowers.

Bridge Near Kam Sheung Road MTR.

Bridge Near Kam Sheung Road MTR.

Bridge Near Kam Sheung Road MTR.

Bridge Near Kam Sheung Road MTR.

River Near Kam Sheung Road MTR.

River Near Kam Sheung Road MTR.

River Near Kam Sheung Road MTR.

River Near Kam Sheung Road MTR.

Cotton flowers fall on a little shrine.

Cotton flowers fall on a little shrine.

Flowers Litter the ground

Flowers Litter the ground

Posted by irenevt 14:37 Archived in Hong Kong Comments (11)

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