A Travellerspoint blog

Hong Kong

Monkey Business at the Fortified Gate

A Walk Around the Shing Mun Reservoir.

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Reservoir Views.

Reservoir Views.

Yesterday I decided to go for a walk around the Shing Mun Reservoir. To get there I took the MTR to Tsuen Wan, exited through exit B1, walked to Shui Wo Street and took minibus 82 to its last stop next to the reservoir. This was the same route I used when I went to the Gin Drinkers' Line last year, though as that was a Sunday, I had to queue for an hour. This time I got straight on board a minibus and even had to wait a while for it to fill before the driver would leave.

As our minibus neared the reservoir, suddenly a large monkey ran across the road right in front of us, then disappeared up and over a wall. This brought back memories, because this is the second time I have chosen to do a walk famous for its huge wild monkey population and though they are cute, I must admit I am also a bit scared of them. If I know I am going into an area with wild monkeys, I will not have a single item of food with me. Last walk I watched a monkey leap onto a guy's back to get into his rucksack. None of them came anywhere near me that walk and I was hoping they wouldn't come near this time either!!!

Before I started walking, I took a photo of the lovely door that marks the entry to the Shing Mun Reservoir route. Then I headed up a monkey-themed staircase.

Shing Mun Reservoir Door Sign.

Shing Mun Reservoir Door Sign.

Monkey Staircase.

Monkey Staircase.

Monkey Staircase detail.

Monkey Staircase detail.

The Shing Mun Reservoirs are located in an area between Tsuen Wan and Sha Tin. There's an upper reservoir and a lower reservoir. I was only planning on walking around the much larger upper one which takes around three hours.

At one time this area was a fertile valley with several farming villages where Hakka people grew rice, tea and pineapples. However, Hong Kong needed more fresh water, so the villagers were relocated and in 1933 construction work began on a dam, which would be 122 metres wide and 85 metres high. The resulting reservoir which flooded the valley has a capacity of over thirteen billion litres. This reservoir was originally called Jubilee Reservoir to commemorate the Silver Jubilee of King George V, but was later referred to as Shing Mun. This was a much older name for the area and means Fortified Gate, as apparently hundreds of years ago a fort was located in this area.

I only intended to walk round the reservoir this time, but there are many walks here including stretches of the Maclehose and Wilson trails.

At the top of the stairs, I set off along the Pineapple Dam Nature Trail, so called because pineapple farms were located here before the creation of the reservoir. The Pineapple Dam Nature Trail is a beautiful dirt track which crosses streams, passes little waterfalls and has the occasional lovely view over the reservoir. On my last visit it was covered everywhere in monkeys. This time there wasn't a single monkey anywhere around. I wondered if it was due to the rather damp drizzly weather, but I wasn't complaining, because, as I said, I'm a little nervous around all these monkeys. What amazes me about this area, and indeed the entire trail, is that it is filled with picnic sites. Who on Earth would be brave enough to try and eat a picnic with a battalion of macaques about to pounce on them?

Signpost for the trail.

Signpost for the trail.

View of the Reservoir from the Pineapple Dam Nature Trail.

View of the Reservoir from the Pineapple Dam Nature Trail.

Fellow Hikers.

Fellow Hikers.

Bubbling Streams.

Bubbling Streams.

At the end of the Pineapple Dam Nature Trail, I climbed some steps up to a paved road. I went right and began my round the reservoir hike. I have done a lot of Hong Kong reservoir walks now and each has its own character. The Shing Mun Reservoir is famous for two things: macaques and paperbark trees. I was about to enter the world of the paperbark tree.

The paperbark tree is a member of the myrtle family. It grows in swamps, in floodplains and near rivers. It has white, peeling, paperlike bark. On this walk, first there is a beautiful corridor lined with these trees. Then, off to the right, there is a sign pointing out waterside paperbark tree. In winter, which is when I visited, water levels in the reservoir are low and the roots of these trees are very exposed. In summer, when it rains copiously every other day, the water level rises and these trees become completely surrounded by water. In both seasons, they look stunning.

The Paperbark Corridor.

The Paperbark Corridor.

A good spot for a photo.

A good spot for a photo.

Sign for the Waterside Paperbarks.

Sign for the Waterside Paperbarks.

People flock here to photograph the beautiful trees.

People flock here to photograph the beautiful trees.

The trees have white trunks and paperlike peeling bark.

The trees have white trunks and paperlike peeling bark.

Close-up of the tree trunks.

Close-up of the tree trunks.

In winter they have exposed Roots.

In winter they have exposed Roots.

Trees line the banks.

Trees line the banks.

Trees and Reservoir.

Trees and Reservoir.

Trees line the shores.

Trees line the shores.

A Beautiful Spot to Rest and Relax.

A Beautiful Spot to Rest and Relax.

Tranquility.

Tranquility.

Reflections.

Reflections.

Roots.

Roots.

Islands.

Islands.

Photo from internet showing paperbark trees after summer rains

Photo from internet showing paperbark trees after summer rains

I wandered past gurgling streams, serene picnic sites and beautiful plants. All I could hear was the trickle of water and occasionally a sudden shower of rain that came and went in moments. Every now and again a bird would dart past on its way from tree to tree. Still no sign of any mischievous monkeys. Thank goodness. Eventually, next to one of the picnic sites, I noticed a path down to a beautiful grassy meadow by the still, blue waters of the reservoir. I wandered along it to enjoy the calm greenery of my surroundings.

Stream.

Stream.

A Splash of Colour.

A Splash of Colour.

Picnic Sites.

Picnic Sites.

Ferns.

Ferns.

Sudden Rainfall on a Pool.

Sudden Rainfall on a Pool.

Fallen tree in grassy meadow.

Fallen tree in grassy meadow.

Water Inlet by the Meadow.

Water Inlet by the Meadow.

Log pile.

Log pile.

After relaxing here for a short while, I continued on round the reservoir At one point I took a short diversion to a lookout point. This lookout point has a little shelter where it is possible to take a rest. It also has spectacular views over the reservoir and towards Tsuen Wan. Below the lookout point sits a little leisure deck. I decided to take a detour to see what it was like.To get there, I wandered down some stairs and along a path. There were beautiful views on the way. When I reached the leisure deck, there were a couple of people exercising there. The views from here were beautiful and there were more steps down towards the water. I did not take these as I didn't want to have to climb all the way back up, though I learned later that I could have walked all the way to a little path that led to the main dam from here. I'm sure it would have been lovely, but then my way was lovely, too, so it didn't matter.

Shelter at the lookout point.

Shelter at the lookout point.

Looking towards the leisure deck.

Looking towards the leisure deck.

Mountains all around.

Mountains all around.

Sign for the leisure deck.

Sign for the leisure deck.

View over the reservoir on the way to the leisure deck.

View over the reservoir on the way to the leisure deck.

View over the reservoir on the way to the leisure deck.

View over the reservoir on the way to the leisure deck.

View over the reservoir on the way to the leisure deck.

View over the reservoir on the way to the leisure deck.

The Path to the Leisure Deck.

The Path to the Leisure Deck.

View over the Shing Mun Reservoir from the Shing Mun Leisure Deck, Hong Kong.

View over the Shing Mun Reservoir from the Shing Mun Leisure Deck, Hong Kong.

View over the Shing Mun Reservoir from the Shing Mun Leisure Deck.

View over the Shing Mun Reservoir from the Shing Mun Leisure Deck.

The next part had a few up and down sections. I loved the little stairways that led up the mountain through the thick jungle foliage. There were lots of these. At one point I passed a huge important looking grave. Not sure who was buried there. Eventually, I reached another viewpoint with seats. Again the view was wonderful. From here it was mainly downhill. I passed the trailhead for Maclehose Section Seven and then I was at the main dam. The walk was nearly over. Still no sign of any monkeys.

I loved these mysterious little stairways which were scattered around.

I loved these mysterious little stairways which were scattered around.

Jungle stairways.

Jungle stairways.

This huge grave was in an extremely scenic spot on the trail.

This huge grave was in an extremely scenic spot on the trail.

One of the many picnic sites which line the reservoir.

One of the many picnic sites which line the reservoir.

View from the next viewpoint.

View from the next viewpoint.

Selfie at the next viewpoint.

Selfie at the next viewpoint.

Section 7 of the Maclehose Trail which goes  up Needle Hill and on to the Tai Po.

Section 7 of the Maclehose Trail which goes up Needle Hill and on to the Tai Po.

The main dam is very impressive. It separates the Upper Shing Mun and Lower Shing Mun Reservoirs. It is, as I mentioned before, 122 metres wide and 85 metres high. The water from here was used to provide drinking water for this area and for Hong Kong Island. There are good views from here over the reservoir on one side and over the Shing Mun Gorge on the other.

At the main dam.

At the main dam.

Across the glory hole towards the dam.

Across the glory hole towards the dam.

Tower and Reflections.

Tower and Reflections.

Looking across the dam.

Looking across the dam.

View over the Shing Mun Gorge.

View over the Shing Mun Gorge.

Looking towards the Lower Shing Mun Reservoir which here is largely hidden by foliage.

Looking towards the Lower Shing Mun Reservoir which here is largely hidden by foliage.

Dam Wall.

Dam Wall.

Looking back across the dam from the far side.

Looking back across the dam from the far side.

Huge Plaque telling the history of the dam.

Huge Plaque telling the history of the dam.

At the far side of the dam, I heard a rustling sound. I looked round and there was a monkey in the trees. It suddenly leapt down and started walking along the fence right next to me. I was pleased that at least I could see one and take a photo of it. After all it was only one. How scary could that be? More rustling. "Ah!" I thought. "Even better two monkeys." Then something else was moving in the trees. Three, four, five monkeys. I took some pictures. To my surprise noone else seemed to show any interest at all in the monkeys.

I paid a visit to the nearby toilet, took a photo of the entry to Maclehose Stage Six where the war relics that make up part of the Gin Drinkers Line are, then started to walk the short distance back to the minibus stop. On the way, to my astonishment, I saw that the trees were filled with monkeys, there was a hut with at least ten monkeys running around on its roof, the concreted over slopes were crawling with monkeys who seemed to be using at as a makeshift slide, a picnic site cordoned off for COVID was swarming with monkeys. No wonder noone else had been paying attention to the first monkeys I had seen. They had just walked past masses of them.

Monkey on a fence.

Monkey on a fence.

Looking for fleas.

Looking for fleas.

Looking for fleas.

Looking for fleas.

I'm king of the castle.

I'm king of the castle.

I guess noone told these monkeys this picnic site was shut.

I guess noone told these monkeys this picnic site was shut.

So fine me then. I don't care.

So fine me then. I don't care.

Monkeying around.

Monkeying around.

Through the bars.

Through the bars.

I've gotta get out of this place.

I've gotta get out of this place.

At last I reached the minibus and headed for home. On the way back the minibus stopped next to this lovely mural. Quite pretty, I thought and that was the end of a very relaxing day out.

Floral Mural.

Floral Mural.

Posted by irenevt 15:03 Archived in Hong Kong Comments (2)

Just in The Nick of Time

A Trip to Lau Shui Heung Reservoir

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I had my walking schedules mapped out for this week, but for one reason or another they changed at the last minute. I research walks on a whole plethora of sites and I have subscribed to some of these. Two days ago, I received a video of a hike to Lau Shui Heung Reservoir. It looked amazing, but what I noted most was the line of autumnal trees reflected in the still waters of the reservoir. The trees were stunning, but they were close to shedding all of their leaves. Should I visit? If I was going to see the autumn colours there, I had better hurry up and the necessity for speed spurred me on to getting up early and going for it.

The only off-putting bit about going to Lau Shui Heung Reservoir is that it's in Fanling and that is pretty far from where I live. I expected it to take ages, but it really didn't. I got a bus from my home to Sunny Bay, took the Tung Chung Line to Nam Cheung, switched to the Tuen Ma line in the direction of Wu Kai Sha and then when the train reached Hung Hom switched to the East Rail Line. The East Rail Line used to be the KCR and when I lived in Sha Tin, it was my main way of travelling. I have a certain fondness for it. To my surprise, it only took me about one and a half hours to get to Fanling from my home, pretty much the same as my commute to work was on a daily basis.

Fanling.

Fanling.

I noticed each station of the East Rail Line now has its own floral motif. This is Fanling's.

I noticed each station of the East Rail Line now has its own floral motif. This is Fanling's.

There are lots of things to see in Fanling and today I wasn't really looking for them, as I just wanted to go and see the reservoir, but I will be back to do Fanling justice later.

To get to the reservoir I exited Fanling Station through exit C. This is on platform level so no need to go to the upper levels to exit. I then looked for green minibus 52B. I was lucky - there was one in and no queue. Now all I had to do was get off at the correct stop, which is the Pat Sin Leng Country Park Roundabout. I worried about missing it, but almost the whole bus wanted off there. They were all going to see the leaves.

My friend sent me this picture of Fanling Minibus Station during a typhoon.

My friend sent me this picture of Fanling Minibus Station during a typhoon.

At the roundabout, it's necessary to head off to the right. The walk to the reservoir is along a paved road with a very slight incline and only takes 15 to 20 minutes. It's an incredibly easy walk. So easy, I could even do it in summer, I think!!! All around the road is the beautiful mountainous scenery of the Pat Sin Leng Country Park. Of course there was also silver-grass and beautiful trees.

Mountain scenery on the walk there. One of my closest friends is from the village in the distance, though I didn't know that till I showed him my photos.

Mountain scenery on the walk there. One of my closest friends is from the village in the distance, though I didn't know that till I showed him my photos.

Everything is peaceful and green.

Everything is peaceful and green.

I loved this tree.

I loved this tree.

A stairway surrounded by silver-grass.

A stairway surrounded by silver-grass.

The Lau Shui Heung Reservoir is famous for two things: its mirror-like reflections on its incredibly calm waters and a row of deciduous cypress trees which change colour in autumn, but would I be in time to see these?

On arrival at the reservoir, there's a lovely viewing spot straight away. There were lots of people here, even on a week day, as everyone loves autumn colours. I could see the row of colourful trees in the distance, but it wasn't easy to capture the colours in photos as they were just too far away. Even without bright colours, the view was wonderful. It was sunny and the reflections were perfect.

Lots of people had come to enjoy the scenery.

Lots of people had come to enjoy the scenery.

The waters were still and the reflections were perfect.

The waters were still and the reflections were perfect.

A slightly more zoomed in view.

A slightly more zoomed in view.

Absolute tranquility.

Absolute tranquility.

The view the other way.

The view the other way.

I assumed I could walk right round the reservoir and headed off to the right. It was beautiful, but I could only go a short way before I hit a dead end. However, there were splashes of autumn colours here, too. There was also a viewing point to climb to, though I didn't go up and there was a tree with a thick, horizontal branch sticking out over the water that lots of people were trying to stand on for a photo.

Autumn colours on the reservoir.

Autumn colours on the reservoir.

Autumn colours on the reservoir.

Autumn colours on the reservoir.

Autumn colours on the reservoir.

Autumn colours on the reservoir.

I walked back to my starting point and then headed in the other direction. There were various trails into the country park, but I stuck to walking round the reservoir as far as I could go. As I got nearer to the famous line of trees, their colours became stronger. At each viewpoint there were lots of people, so I asked someone to take my photo.

At the park entrance there's a choice of ways to go.

At the park entrance there's a choice of ways to go.

I liked the look of this little shelter.

I liked the look of this little shelter.

One of the trails next to the reservoir.

One of the trails next to the reservoir.

Lau Shiu Heung Country Trail Sign. This is the way I went.

Lau Shiu Heung Country Trail Sign. This is the way I went.

COVID Notice. Some people were employed to walk up and down playing information to tell everyone to keep their masks on and maintain social distancing.

COVID Notice. Some people were employed to walk up and down playing information to tell everyone to keep their masks on and maintain social distancing.

Me posing with the trees.

Me posing with the trees.

And again.

And again.

Eventually I found the perfect spot for the classical line of brightly coloured trees photo. I stood here for a while as it was just so lovely. The perfect way to cast away your cares and just enjoy nature.

Classic view of autumn colours at the reservoir.

Classic view of autumn colours at the reservoir.

The line of trees is beautiful from every angle.

The line of trees is beautiful from every angle.

The colours on the line of trees stand out beautifully.

The colours on the line of trees stand out beautifully.

At the far end of the reservoir there are some lovely bridges across a stream. I especially liked the one with the arch that reflected brilliantly on the water below. The other bridge had a sign post in Chinese that everyone liked posing with. From certain angles the bridge looked like it was being overwhelmed by nature.

Bridge across a stream to the far side of the reservoir.

Bridge across a stream to the far side of the reservoir.

This bridge looks like it's in the middle of the jungle.

This bridge looks like it's in the middle of the jungle.

I loved this bridge and reflection.

I loved this bridge and reflection.

Someone rushing by up above.

Someone rushing by up above.

This was a popular place to pose.

This was a popular place to pose.

The stream wasn't moving fast at this drier time of year and it also provided beautiful reflections of the surrounding forest.

Reflections of trees in the stream.

Reflections of trees in the stream.

The roots of the trees near the water grew in a mass of tangles and some formed strange shapes. One even formed a perfect circle. This was another popular photographic prop with many people sitting on it to take photos.

A tangle of roots.

A tangle of roots.

A circle of tree roots.

A circle of tree roots.

A tangle of tree roots.

A tangle of tree roots.

After the stream, I arrived right next to the colourful trees. There were many people taking photos here. The nearest trees were a wonderful fiery orange, the further ones were nearly bare already. I was glad I had come. It seems I pretty much just made it in the nick of time

Colourful trees and peaceful waters.

Colourful trees and peaceful waters.

Burning Orange.

Burning Orange.

Crowds enjoying the trees.

Crowds enjoying the trees.

A lovely place to walk your dogs.

A lovely place to walk your dogs.

People posing by the water.

People posing by the water.

Fiery trees by the water.

Fiery trees by the water.

Looking towards my original viewpoint.

Looking towards my original viewpoint.

I could have happily stayed here longer, but I retraced my steps back to the roundabout and caught the minibus back to Fanling. I decided I would look at the temple near the station before heading home and leave all the other sights for another day.

Fung Ying Seen Koon Temple is a Taoist temple, dating from 1929. It is located close to exit B of Fanling Station. Unfortunately, it was being renovated when I visited and the main temple building was covered in scaffolding and inaccessible. I decided to wander around the other parts of the temple anyway. I entered through the large temple gateway and climbed up the stairs to the first terrace. Here there are twelve statues depicting the animals of the Chinese zodiac. On the other side of the terrace there are plants and the lift.

Temple Gateway.

Temple Gateway.

The temple building was not looking its best. I visited here before, years ago.

The temple building was not looking its best. I visited here before, years ago.

The twelve animals of the Chinese zodiac, starting with the rat.

The twelve animals of the Chinese zodiac, starting with the rat.

And from the other side ending with the pig.

And from the other side ending with the pig.

I was born in the Year of the snake so I took a close-up.

I was born in the Year of the snake so I took a close-up.

Lift if you don't want to climb the stairs from the entrance.

Lift if you don't want to climb the stairs from the entrance.

I climbed up further and then began wandering around the parts of the temple that were open to the public. Like most temples here it was all on different levels with many stairs. There was a little pond filled with brightly coloured fish. This temple has quite a popular vegetarian restaurant and many people seemed to be visiting that. Another reason to come here is to tend to your departed relatives. Behind the temple there are many crematorium niches, each one has a photo of the person whose ashes are inside.

Plan of the temple compound.

Plan of the temple compound.

Temple decorations.

Temple decorations.

The vegetarian restaurant.

The vegetarian restaurant.

Painting near the vegetarian restaurant.

Painting near the vegetarian restaurant.

Colourful temple building.

Colourful temple building.

Colourful Temple Buildings.

Colourful Temple Buildings.

Pond with huge orange fish.

Pond with huge orange fish.

Burial niches.

Burial niches.

Climbing higher again I passed a small shrine and reached a pretty pavilion. In front of it were two Bixi based stele. Bixi was apparently one of the Dragon King's nine sons. He is a dragon with the shell of a turtle. There were good views over Fanling from here. Behind this area there was a little graveyard

Shrine.

Shrine.

Pavilion.

Pavilion.

Pavilion.

Pavilion.

Colourful temple roofs viewed from pavilion.

Colourful temple roofs viewed from pavilion.

View over Fanling from high up on temple.

View over Fanling from high up on temple.

Stele with a Bixi base.

Stele with a Bixi base.

Details on a gateway.

Details on a gateway.

I've no idea what this detail is but to me it looks like a bat with a man's face.

I've no idea what this detail is but to me it looks like a bat with a man's face.

Graveyard at the back of the temple.

Graveyard at the back of the temple.

After visiting the temple, I made my way back home.

Posted by irenevt 08:02 Archived in Hong Kong Comments (10)

A Step by Step Look Over Sham Shui Po.

A walk up Garden Hill.

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Sham Shui Po.

Sham Shui Po.

Today I returned to Sham Shui Po with two goals in mind: I wanted to look at Sham Shui Po Park and I planned to climb Garden Hill.

I began with the park. To get there I walked past a shopping mall called the Dragon Centre and the old-style Sham Shui Po Police Station which dates from 1924. There were lots of murals outside the police station.

The Dragon Centre.

The Dragon Centre.

The Dragon Centre.

The Dragon Centre.

Mural near police station.

Mural near police station.

Mural near police station.

Mural near police station.

Mural near police station.

Mural near police station.

Mural near police station.

Mural near police station.

Sham Shui Po Police Station.

Sham Shui Po Police Station.

In front of the police station.

In front of the police station.

Through the police station archway.

Through the police station archway.

I passed these baskets on the way to the park.

I passed these baskets on the way to the park.

My reason for wanting to go to the park was more to do with its history than its present incarnation. Historically this was the site of a British military barracks. Then between 1941 and 1945, when the Japanese occupied Hong Kong, they turned this into a prison-of-war camp for military prisoners. Later, following the Vietnam War, the barracks became the extremely overcrowded Jubilee Transit Centre for Vietnamese refugees. The old barracks have long since been completely demolished and this park now stands in their place. It was opened in 1984.

Apparently there are two small memorials in memory of the prisoners who lost their lives here and two maple trees planted specifically to remember the Canadian soldiers who died in the war. These were what I wanted to see, but unfortunately, the park was being completely refurbished and half of it was shut down and hidden behind barriers. That half was where the memorials were, so I could not get to see them.

The present park is actually really two parks separated by Lai Chi Kok Road. I had a look at both parts of the park. The bigger one was filled with people performing their morning exercises and there was a colourful kindergarten next to the smaller park.

Plan of the bigger park.

Plan of the bigger park.

Shelters to sit in.

Shelters to sit in.

Shelters to sit in.

Shelters to sit in.

Shelters to sit in.

Shelters to sit in.

Sculpture in the park.

Sculpture in the park.

Map of the small park.

Map of the small park.

Colourful housing next to smaller park.

Colourful housing next to smaller park.

Art outside the kindergarten.

Art outside the kindergarten.

Art outside the kindergarten.

Art outside the kindergarten.

I knew the walk up Garden Hill would just be a short one, so I decided to spend some time wandering around Sham Shui Po first. Sham Shui Po translates as Deep Water Pier, though now due to land reclamation it is no longer right next to the sea. It's an old area, very working class and has not been gentrified in the way many parts of Hong Kong have. Sham Shui Po is famous for markets and different streets specialise in different goods.

Last time I went to Sham Shui Po I wandered around looking for specific sights or streets. This time I just decided to wander and see what I could find. This is a much better policy here. You won't get lost, you'll hit an MTR sign somewhere and you can enjoy the place without getting frustrated by it.

At first I passed many streets filled with stalls selling food. I photographed the fruit and vegetable ones. The meat ones were a bit too gory. There were streets selling clothes, shoes, cloth, kitchenware, all sorts of stuff.

I love fruit and veg shops.

I love fruit and veg shops.

Everything is so colourful.

Everything is so colourful.

Busy Streets.

Busy Streets.

One street specialises in craft materials and fashion accessories.

One street specialises in craft materials and fashion accessories.

This is more to do with kitchenware.

This is more to do with kitchenware.

Cloth Shop. Near the park there was a whole collection of cloth shops all squeezed into a tiny space.

Cloth Shop. Near the park there was a whole collection of cloth shops all squeezed into a tiny space.

Clothes Shops.

Clothes Shops.

A bit of this, a bit of that.

A bit of this, a bit of that.

LED devices.

LED devices.

Obviously the roast goose is good here.

Obviously the roast goose is good here.

And here.

And here.

Food Shops.

Food Shops.

Entrance to a restaurant.

Entrance to a restaurant.

As Chinese New Year is coming up soon, there were many shops selling Chinese New Year decorations. One street, Fuk Wing Street, seemed to specialise in these. As you can see from my photos, red is the main lucky colour here. At Chinese New Year houses are decorated with red decorations and unmarried people are given red packets with money in them. Traditionally brides wear red clothes on their wedding day. It's only recently that some people have started having white weddings here, as white traditionally symbolises death. Yellow is also a lucky colour and is associated with royalty. Green is mixed. If a man wears a green hat, it means his wife is being unfaithful!!

Getting ready for Chinese New Year.

Getting ready for Chinese New Year.

Lanterns for Chinese New Year.

Lanterns for Chinese New Year.

Getting ready for Chinese New Year.

Getting ready for Chinese New Year.

Everywhere is red.

Everywhere is red.

Getting ready for Chinese New Year.

Getting ready for Chinese New Year.

I like that one.

I like that one.

Shopping for decorations for Chinese New Year.

Shopping for decorations for Chinese New Year.

Lanterns and fire-crackers.

Lanterns and fire-crackers.

Lanterns and flowers for Chinese New Year.

Lanterns and flowers for Chinese New Year.

Sham Shui Po still has a lot of old buildings. Here you can still find quite a lot of Tong Lau which literally means Chinese buildings. Tong Lau were popular from the late nineteenth century until the 1960's. They are a kind of tenement building, usually two to five stories high. The upper floors are residential, but the ground floor is commercial, a shop or business of some kind. Some Tong Laus have upper stories that jut out, providing shelter from the rain or sun to those walking the streets below. Some Tong Laus have balconies. Tong Laus were once very common here, but most have been knocked down and replaced by high-rise. Fortunately, in the last few years there has been a movement in favour of preserving some of these and new uses are being found for them, such as restaurants or hotels.

I love this old building. It's over seventy years old and the ground floor is now a Chinese medicine shop.

I love this old building. It's over seventy years old and the ground floor is now a Chinese medicine shop.

Closer View.

Closer View.

Old pawn shop. I keep finding these everywhere.

Old pawn shop. I keep finding these everywhere.

Another pawn shop.

Another pawn shop.

Older, shorter buildings.

Older, shorter buildings.

More older shorter buildings.

More older shorter buildings.

Shorter buildings.

Shorter buildings.

Golden Computer Arcade. This is very famous in Hong Kong.

Golden Computer Arcade. This is very famous in Hong Kong.

Building with jutting out floor.

Building with jutting out floor.

Old Building with balconies.

Old Building with balconies.

Sham Shui Po is apparently home to four temples. So far I have only found two and I found these twice. The first time they were shut, but this time I went inside. The ones I keep finding are the Sam Tai Tsz Temple and the Pak Tai Temple on Yu Chau Street. There were lots of people inside the temple, frantically preparing stuff for Chinese New Year. The Sam Tai Tsz Temple dates from 1898 and is dedicated to a god who saved the area from plague. The Pak Tai Temple dates from 1920, was built by fishermen and is dedicated to the god of the north.

At the temple entrance.

At the temple entrance.

In the larger Sam Tai Tsz Temple.

In the larger Sam Tai Tsz Temple.

Lots of activity inside.

Lots of activity inside.

Many deities.

Many deities.

In the smaller Pak Tai Temple.

In the smaller Pak Tai Temple.

Colourful Candles.

Colourful Candles.

I'll need to visit again to find the other two temples Sham Shui Po is never done. Next I headed towards Tai Po Road. There were decorations up for The Year of the Tiger. I stopped to photograph these.

Decorations for The Year of the Tiger.

Decorations for The Year of the Tiger.

Across the road was Mei Ho House. This was one of eight H shaped buildings built in 1954. These were built as part of the Shek Kip Mei Resettlement program. On Christmas Day in 1953 a huge fire swept through the Shek Kip Mei squatter camps, which were filled with refugees from Mainland China. The squatter camps had no electricity or running water. People lit their homes with kerosene lamps. One of these fell over and started the disastrous fire. The fires left around 53,000 people homeless. The government built resettlement blocks to deal with the situation. This was the start of Hong Kong's public housing program. The H shaped buildings offered very basic accommodation, but could be built quickly. Mei Ho House is now a youth hostel, cafe and museum, but is currently closed due to COVID.

Courtyard of Mei Ho House.

Courtyard of Mei Ho House.

H-shaped Mei Ho House from above.

H-shaped Mei Ho House from above.

H-shaped Mei Ho House from above.

H-shaped Mei Ho House from above.

Shek Kip Mei is right next to Sham Shui Po.

Shek Kip Mei is right next to Sham Shui Po.

The walk up Garden Hill starts right next to Mei Ho House. There is a plaque at the front of the building showing the way. This walk consists of many stairs leading up a concrete slope. The concrete is there to prevent landslides which used to be a huge problem here in the torrential summer rains. It's called Garden Hill because it faces the Garden Bakery which produces most of Hong Kong's bread. This bakery is still in operation, but is undergoing refurbishment at the moment.

The walk up the hill only takes about fifteen minutes, but it provides beautiful views. Near the bottom there were some small shrines.

Sign for the walk up the hill.

Sign for the walk up the hill.

Stairway up Garden Hill.

Stairway up Garden Hill.

Hillside Shrines.

Hillside Shrines.

Hillside Shrines.

Hillside Shrines.

Hillside Shrines.

Hillside Shrines.

Hillside shrine.

Hillside shrine.

Even after climbing just a short way there were great views. In the distance I could see the sea, showing that there's been a lot of land reclamation since Sham Shui Po was a Deep Water Pier. This is a very urban climb and many people come here at night to photograph the sunset and the city lights.

Before the top there is a path with fantastic views over Kowloon. There's also the occasional brightly coloured plant to brighten up the place and even a tiny garden.

At the top there were lots of people exercising and there was a Venetian Mask Sculpture which seemed to have been strangely placed next to a shelter.

View on the climb up.

View on the climb up.

View over Sham Shui Po. The big building is the West Kowloon Magistracy.

View over Sham Shui Po. The big building is the West Kowloon Magistracy.

The red building is the Garden Bakery.

The red building is the Garden Bakery.

Silvergrass made it to here, too.

Silvergrass made it to here, too.

Sham Shui Po.

Sham Shui Po.

View with a bit of greenery.

View with a bit of greenery.

View with flowers.

View with flowers.

Overlooking Shek Kip Mei.

Overlooking Shek Kip Mei.

Flowers.

Flowers.

Trigonometric Marker.

Trigonometric Marker.

Strange place for a sculpture.

Strange place for a sculpture.

Interesting tile at the top.

Interesting tile at the top.

Obligatory Selfie.

Obligatory Selfie.

Obligatory Selfie.

Obligatory Selfie.

Small Garden.

Small Garden.

Wood Pile.

Wood Pile.

Flowers brighten the hillside.

Flowers brighten the hillside.

View on the way down.

View on the way down.

View on the way down.

View on the way down.

When I came back down, I went for a walk in Sheung Li Uk Gardens, which border Tai Po Road. There were good views of the Kowloon Magistracy from here and also over Saviour Lutheran School.

Bauhinias at the bottom of the hill.

Bauhinias at the bottom of the hill.

Sheung Li Uk Gardens.

Sheung Li Uk Gardens.

Sheung Li Uk Gardens.

Sheung Li Uk Gardens.

Kowloon Magistracy.

Kowloon Magistracy.

Saviour Lutheran School.

Saviour Lutheran School.

Finally, I went home and took my husband out for cider and poppadoms.

Cider and Poppadoms are Peter's favourite part of the week.

Cider and Poppadoms are Peter's favourite part of the week.

Cheers.

Cheers.

Posted by irenevt 04:35 Archived in Hong Kong Comments (8)

Bits and Bobs

Things I've photographed recently.

sunny

Hikewise it was a case of trying to do the Ho Pui Family Walk with photos this week, but I did do some other stuff, too.

One of my friends asked a while ago if there were still horses in Discovery Bay, as he is thinking of bringing his children over to see them. The horses are owned by Discovery Bay Resorts and were used for carriage rides and as wedding carriages for brides- there is a wedding chapel next to the Auberge Hotel here.

I realised I hadn't seen the horses around for quite a while. Had they fallen foul of covid? So since their field is behind one of our beaches and not far from the supermarket, I went to have a look when I was going shopping. I was pleased to see the horses were there, happily munching away on their grass. I had a walk along the beach, too since I was there and noticed there are still people camping there even though it's getting a lot colder. In the distance I could see the Tiger's Head that did my leg in.

Horses.

Horses.

Horses.

Horses.

Down on the beach.

Down on the beach.

Down on the beach looking towards The Tiger's Head.

Down on the beach looking towards The Tiger's Head.

After I broke my phone, my generous husband gave me one of his, so I took it out for a walk to test out its camera. To do this I just wandered around Siena Park, Discovery Bay. There are beautiful plants and views there. It is always a pleasant place for a walk.

Colourful plants in the park.

Colourful plants in the park.

Colourful plants in the park.

Colourful plants in the park.

Colourful plants in the park.

Colourful plants in the park.

Colourful plants in the park.

Colourful plants in the park.

Bird Statues in the Pond.

Bird Statues in the Pond.

Bird Statues in the Pond.

Bird Statues in the Pond.

Sea View.

Sea View.

Today, since I wanted to shop in Tsing Yi, I decided to take another walk in Tsing Yi Park and find out if the trees near the pond had finally become autumnal - or not. In fact, I can say they have finally changed colours and are now looking fairly orange. Several old men were out for a stroll and walking their pet birds. I photographed one bird that was enjoying a swing on the trees.

Autumn colours by the pond.

Autumn colours by the pond.

Orange coloured trees by the pond.

Orange coloured trees by the pond.

Autumnal Path.

Autumnal Path.

Autumn is here.

Autumn is here.

Colourful Trees.

Colourful Trees.

Colourful Trees.

Colourful Trees.

Colourful Trees.

Colourful Trees.

Trees lining the pond.

Trees lining the pond.

Touch of Colour.

Touch of Colour.

Touch of Colour.

Touch of Colour.

Statues.

Statues.

Airing your pet bird.

Airing your pet bird.

Flowers, waterfalls and bird statues.

Flowers, waterfalls and bird statues.

Posted by irenevt 07:59 Archived in Hong Kong Comments (8)

Ho Pui, Ho Pui, so good I walked it twice!

A walk around three reservoirs.

semi-overcast

Mirror-like reflections in Ho Pui Reservoir.

Mirror-like reflections in Ho Pui Reservoir.

On Monday I decided to go to Ho Pui Reservoir and walk around it. To get there I took the MTR to Kam Sheung Road Station and then exited through exit C. I was feeling a bit nervous about this hike as I haven't been hiking since I injured my leg. I chose the Ho Pui Reservoir Family Walk as it was supposed to be easy.

When I hike, I always buy plenty of water in the MTR station before I set out. While there is a 7-eleven next to the A and B exit of Kam Sheung Road Station, there isn't at exit C. I didn't know this, so there was nowhere nearby to buy water. "Not to worry," I thought. "I can always buy some in Ho Pui Village."

To get to Ho Pui Village I had to take green minibus number 71. I've read this is infrequent and I managed to arrive just in time to watch one shoot past me. Things were not going to plan. Fortunately, as it turned out, I only had to wait around fifteen minutes for the next one. The minibus route goes through a few little villages with very narrow roads. It's very hard for minibuses and cars to pass each other, but after a few near misses, we finally arrived at Ho Pui Village - thankfully in one piece. There was no sign of anywhere to buy water. "No problem. It's only a short walk," I told myself.

Ho Pui Village.

Ho Pui Village.

I always look up information about how to do my hikes and this time my information came from one of my favourite sources. It told me to walk past The Happy Gathering Restaurant and wander out of the village up a slope. I did this and was surprised that there were no signs for the walk. Also, the research I had done kept talking about a view over the huge MTR Pat Heung Maintenance Centre, but I couldn't see that at all. Surprisingly, the information made no mention of the waterworks department, despite the fact I was wandering along a large catch-water belonging to it. Something wasn't quite right.

The view from my walk.

The view from my walk.

And from higher up.

And from higher up.

Silver grass by the catch-water.

Silver grass by the catch-water.

Well, I knew I should reach a campsite after 20 minutes, so I kept going. After 30 minutes, I still had not reached it, but I did reach a sign post. Yippee! The reservoir should have been around thirty minutes from where I started, but from the direction I had walked it was now one and a half hours away. Oh dear!

I could have gone back, but I decided just to follow the sign. It led me to a dirt trail and that was fine until it began to go up a mountain. The walk was not turning out to be quite so short and quite so easy after all. It would have been nice to have some water, but at least my legs were managing it.

The Mountain Path.

The Mountain Path.

At one point I passed a beautiful mountain spring that made me think of a hotel spa

At one point I passed a beautiful mountain spring that made me think of a hotel spa

So peaceful, so clean.

So peaceful, so clean.

Some parts of the path were mercifully flat.

Some parts of the path were mercifully flat.

It's certainly silvergrass time of year.

It's certainly silvergrass time of year.

Actually, I just kept going. The walk was beautiful with fantastic views, so I was actually really enjoying it and it was a bit shorter than an hour and a half. Not a total disaster then. Eventually I reached the reservoir. It is famous for three things: its mirror-like reflections, its bamboo grove and its curved dam. I decided to save the best for last and walk around in an anticlockwise direction. The walk had several beautiful viewpoints over the reservoir and wonderful flowers that I don't think I have seen on other hikes. There were small patches of bamboo to photograph, but I knew a whole grove was coming up.

The lovely Ho Pui Reservoir.

The lovely Ho Pui Reservoir.

View over the curvy dam and mirror-like reflections.

View over the curvy dam and mirror-like reflections.

View over the curvy dam and mirror-like reflections.

View over the curvy dam and mirror-like reflections.

Mirror-like reflections.

Mirror-like reflections.

The water looked green here.

The water looked green here.

Trees and reflections.

Trees and reflections.

I loved these beautiful flowers.

I loved these beautiful flowers.

I loved these flowers.

I loved these flowers.

Beautiful flowers.

Beautiful flowers.

Flower-strewn path.

Flower-strewn path.

A close-up.

A close-up.

Selfie by the reservoir.

Selfie by the reservoir.

Some passing hikers helped me take this.

Some passing hikers helped me take this.

There are several little bridges and streams.

There are several little bridges and streams.

Me with some bamboo.

Me with some bamboo.

When I reached the bamboo grove, I decided to take a selfie using my selfie stick and just as I was about to click it, guess what? My phone fell off the stick. Around ninety percent of the path round the reservoir is dirt, but, would you believe it? My phone fell straight onto a rock and the screen smashed to smithereens. It was a right off, totally unusable. I knew I should have stayed in bed!

I walked through the stunningly beautiful bamboo grove unable to photograph it. I arrived at the curvy dam and could only look. To make matters worse, Peter decided to phone me at that point, probably to see if my leg was holding up. I tried to answer, but had to input a pin and swipe. Neither of these things were possible and trying to do them was cutting my fingers. I put the phone off. Peter phoned again. I put it off. He phoned again. I knew he had decided something terrible had happened to me, but I couldn't answer to say I was all right.

I walked back to the village, noted that there was a huge sign pointing out the direction of the walk and that I had been about two steps away from it when I had decided to merrily head off in the wrong direction. After a bit of a wait, a minibus came in and I boarded it. My husband, still worried about me, rang again. I couldn't answer it. I pressed off to cut the call, but couldn't switch the phone off. He rang back. I couldn't answer. This went on all journey until I started to fear my fellow passengers might lynch me. What a day! I got home waiting for a telling off, but I only had to show my husband my destroyed phone for him to calm down. What a nightmare!!

The sign I managed to miss.

The sign I managed to miss.

Anyway by Thursday I had decided to do it all again, complete with a new phone and this time going the correct way. I even came carrying a bottle of water. Leaving the minibus on arrival in the village, I went left and walked to the end of the village, then walked left again. The slope up to the reservoir begins here. There were lovely views towards the mountains, Kam Tin, Ho Pui Village and the Pat Heung MTR Maintenance Centre.

Overlooking Ho Pui.

Overlooking Ho Pui.

Overlooking Ho Pui.

Overlooking Ho Pui.

Overlooking Ho Pui.

Overlooking Ho Pui.

Not sure what this tunnel is for.

Not sure what this tunnel is for.

The MTR Pat Heung Maintenance Centre.

The MTR Pat Heung Maintenance Centre.

On the walk up I passed a campsite and an organic farm. The organic farm was not open, but I think it sometimes is and it is possible to buy vegetables here. Eventually I arrived at the reservoir. This time I walked around it in a clockwise direction. This meant I began by walking across the reservoir's unusual curvy dam.

Sign for the campsite.

Sign for the campsite.

Organic farm.

Organic farm.

Organic farm.

Organic farm.

Organic farm.

Organic farm.

Ho Pui Reservoir Sign.

Ho Pui Reservoir Sign.

Curvy dam.

Curvy dam.

The curvy dam.

The curvy dam.

The other side of the dam.

The other side of the dam.

I wandered through the woods around the reservoir. This area is filled with trails and there are many leading away from the reservoir trail. Once again I enjoyed the beautiful flowers, little bridges crossing gurgling streams and weird shaped rocks. There are some shaped like a tent.

Lots of trails lead off the main path.

Lots of trails lead off the main path.

Tree Stumps.

Tree Stumps.

Little bridges over streams.

Little bridges over streams.

More beautiful flowers.

More beautiful flowers.

Tent-shaped rock.

Tent-shaped rock.

Selfie with tent-shaped rock minus disgraced selfie stick.

Selfie with tent-shaped rock minus disgraced selfie stick.

Eventually I reached the huge bamboo grove where I had previously smashed my phone. This time I held on extremely tightly and tried to be very careful.

Bamboo Grove.

Bamboo Grove.

Shady Bamboo Grove.

Shady Bamboo Grove.

Bamboo Grove.

Bamboo Grove.

Bamboo Grove.

Bamboo Grove.

In the bamboo grove.

In the bamboo grove.

Bamboo lines the steps.

Bamboo lines the steps.

Bamboo-lined steps.

Bamboo-lined steps.

Close-up of bamboo.

Close-up of bamboo.

Green Bamboo.

Green Bamboo.

Green Bamboo.

Green Bamboo.

Bamboo Selfie.

Bamboo Selfie.

I really enjoyed the bamboo groves and then I continued all the way round the reservoir again. It wasn't quite as bright as on my previous visit so the mirror effect was not quite as clear. There were so many beautiful flowers and everywhere was so peaceful. At one point three older Chinese ladies asked me to take their photo which I did.

More Bridges.

More Bridges.

Looking Towards a Grave with a View.

Looking Towards a Grave with a View.

More Beautiful Flowers.

More Beautiful Flowers.

Peaceful Reservoir Views.

Peaceful Reservoir Views.

Peaceful Reservoir Views.

Peaceful Reservoir Views.

More Flowers.

More Flowers.

I wonder what these will be used for.

I wonder what these will be used for.

Ferns.

Ferns.

When I had finished with the reservoir, I walked down to the campsite where there was a beautiful waterfall. I bumped into the three Chinese ladies again and they got me to take more photos of them. We joked that I was their official photographer for the day. Then they took photos of me and insisted I tried to pose in each one which I never do. They were quite funny.

I was made to pose.

I was made to pose.

I was made to pose.

I was made to pose.

I then walked along the road from the campsite towards a waterfall. To my surprise there was a man standing in the middle of it.

Waterfall.

Waterfall.

Waterfall.

Waterfall.

Instead of going back the way I had come I decided to walk to the nearby Tsing Tam Reservoir. There were beautiful views over Kam Tin from here.

Pathway along the catchwater.

Pathway along the catchwater.

Views.

Views.

Views.

Views.

Views.

Views.

Flowers and trees.

Flowers and trees.

Autumn colours line the pathway.

Autumn colours line the pathway.

It took around half an hour to walk to Tsing Tam Reservoir. There is an upper and a lower part. Perhaps the light had changed by the time I got here, but this reservoir had excellent mirror-like reflections. This reservoir was much smaller than Ho Pui Reservoir.

Tsing Tam Reservoir Sign.

Tsing Tam Reservoir Sign.

Lower dam.

Lower dam.

Lower Reservoir.

Lower Reservoir.

On Tsing Tam Reservoir Dam.

On Tsing Tam Reservoir Dam.

Looking down from the lower reservoir.

Looking down from the lower reservoir.

Tsing Tam Upper Reservoir Dam.

Tsing Tam Upper Reservoir Dam.

Mirror-like Reflections in Tsing Tam Upper Reservoir.

Mirror-like Reflections in Tsing Tam Upper Reservoir.

Mirror-like Reflections in Tsing Tam Upper Reservoir.

Mirror-like Reflections in Tsing Tam Upper Reservoir.

Mirror-like Reflections in Tsing Tam Upper Reservoir.

Mirror-like Reflections in Tsing Tam Upper Reservoir.

Mirror-like Reflections in Tsing Tam Upper Reservoir.

Mirror-like Reflections in Tsing Tam Upper Reservoir.

Instead of walking all the way back to Ho Pui Village, when I had finished looking at the reservoirs, I followed a path downhill to Kam Tin. This path went through farmyards and villages. Eventually I reached a main road, caught a bus back to the MTR and went home.

Farms.

Farms.

Farm and irrigation device.

Farm and irrigation device.

Banana Trees.

Banana Trees.

Banana Trees.

Banana Trees.

Village House.

Village House.

Village stream.

Village stream.

Village street.

Village street.

Colourful entranceway to village house.

Colourful entranceway to village house.

Posted by irenevt 00:31 Archived in Hong Kong Comments (8)

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