A Travellerspoint blog

Hong Kong

Tyger, Tyger Burning Bright

A Walk to Mui Wo via the Tiger's Head

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Only the rocky blob on the left is the tiger's head. I thought that was an ear and the head was the bit to the right. I can even see the eye.

Only the rocky blob on the left is the tiger's head. I thought that was an ear and the head was the bit to the right. I can even see the eye.

Yesterday I decided to climb the tall mountain behind my house. It is known as Lo Fu Tau or Tiger's Head and once up there, there are trails to Mui Wo and Tung Chung. Lo Fu Tau is the tallest mountain in Discovery Bay with a height of 465 metres above sea level. There are beautiful views over Discovery Bay from it.

I started off by walking into the centre of Discovery Bay to get water. Then I walked up Discovery Valley Road to the lookout pavilion. There are shorter ways up to the lookout than by the road, but I wanted a smooth road rather than a rough path or stairs as most of the walk I was about to do would be those. At the lookout pavilion a couple asked me to take their photo then they took mine. They were doing the same walk as me and we bumped into each other repeatedly all day. All around the lookout pavilion and in many other parts of the walk there was lots of tall silvergrass. This grows here in the winter months and people seek it out to photograph just like they do with autumn leaves.

Tai Pak Beach, Discovery Bay.

Tai Pak Beach, Discovery Bay.

Waterfall next to Discovery Valley Road.

Waterfall next to Discovery Valley Road.

In summer it's hard even to get to this lookout tower.

In summer it's hard even to get to this lookout tower.

Lookout Tower.

Lookout Tower.

Silvergrass lines the path.

Silvergrass lines the path.

Silvergrass.

Silvergrass.

Silvergrass.

Silvergrass.

From the lookout tower it's necessary to find a small path that leads to the climb up Tiger's Head. The way up isn't easy. It's very steep and covered with loose rocks. It took me quite a while to climb it. The mountain is called Tiger's Head because there is a rocky cliff sticking out of it at one point that, with a bit of imagination, looks like a tiger's head. The tiger's head isn't actually the top of the mountain, there's a climb behind it, too. I have always misunderstood the name as I look out on this mountain from my window. The part that is the head I thought was an ear and the hill next to it the head.

The path up is steep and rocky like this.

The path up is steep and rocky like this.

The Tiger's Head is the rocky cliff on the left. It's not very tiger-like from this angle.

The Tiger's Head is the rocky cliff on the left. It's not very tiger-like from this angle.

Getting nearer to the tiger.

Getting nearer to the tiger.

It's probably easier to get up than to get back down.

It's probably easier to get up than to get back down.

Looking down on the buildings where I live.

Looking down on the buildings where I live.

The hikers I met repeatedly all walk, in the distance.

The hikers I met repeatedly all walk, in the distance.

View from the Tiger's Head.

View from the Tiger's Head.

View from the Tiger's Head.

View from the Tiger's Head.

Selfie on the Tiger's Head.

Selfie on the Tiger's Head.

There are views over Discovery Bay Reservoir off to one side.

There are views over Discovery Bay Reservoir off to one side.

I can see the resemblance to a tiger's head from this angle.

I can see the resemblance to a tiger's head from this angle.

Standing on the tiger's back looking towards its head.

Standing on the tiger's back looking towards its head.

I got some fellow hikers to take a picture of me above the Tiger's Head.

I got some fellow hikers to take a picture of me above the Tiger's Head.

Rock Formation.

Rock Formation.

I was quite proud of myself for making it up that mountain. I know lots of people do it every day, but I'm not that good at hiking. Once the climb is over, it's possible to wander off to the right to Tung Chung or to the left to Mui Wo. I went to the left. The walk from this point wasn't too bad, but I began to notice there was something wrong with my left leg. It started to hurt and got worse and worse as I walked. By this time I was on top of a mountain more or less in the middle of nowhere, so I could either rest, go back or keep going. I kept going, because I was afraid that if I stopped my leg might seize up and I was afraid of trying to get back down that steep cliff I had just got up.

The path I was on was very pretty. It overlooks Discovery Bay Golf Course and Reservoir on one side. On the other side, it looks over Tung Chung and the airport. Whenever it went through bushes there was a very loud sound of bees buzzing all around. There seemed to be thousands of them going about their business of pollinating plants. It was like wandering through a giant hive.

Trigonometric marker at the top of the mountain.

Trigonometric marker at the top of the mountain.

Information boards to tell you what you are looking at.

Information boards to tell you what you are looking at.

Information boards to tell you what you are looking at.

Information boards to tell you what you are looking at.

Views towards the airport. It wasn't the clearest of days.

Views towards the airport. It wasn't the clearest of days.

Towards the Airport.

Towards the Airport.

Discovery Bay Reservoir on the other side.

Discovery Bay Reservoir on the other side.

Discovery Bay  Reservoir.

Discovery Bay Reservoir.

Crisscrossing paths.

Crisscrossing paths.

Mountain scenery.

Mountain scenery.

More Silvergrass up here, too.

More Silvergrass up here, too.

More Silvergrass.

More Silvergrass.

At one point the path reaches some interesting rock formations. They are all near each other and are collectively known to hikers as Rock City. They have all been given names depending on their shapes. One is known as the Peach Rock, another the Sword Testing Stone and the third the Duck Rock.

Peach Rock actually stands right in the middle of the path. I don't think I would instantly have thought of peaches when I saw it, but peaches are special in Chinese stories - they symbolise longevity. The peach tree of immortality grew in the garden of Xiwangmu, the Queen Mother of the West. The peaches on her tree only ripened once every three thousand years. Whenever they did, Xiwangmu would host a banquet to celebrate and the eight immortals of Chinese mythology would attend. Any mortals who had impressed the goddess could be given the fruit of her peach tree and gain immortality.

Duck Rock is actually a group of rocks and one balances between the others making a sticking out ledge that looks like a duck's beak. Personally I think it looks more like a woodpecker, but noone asked me.

The sword testing stone looks like it has been sliced down the middle using a gigantic sword. There are actually a few of these around. Sliced rocks that is, not gigantic swords.

I would have examined the rocky area here more thoroughly, but my leg was getting worse and worse.

Rock City on top of the hill.

Rock City on top of the hill.

Duck Rock.

Duck Rock.

Duck Rock closer up.

Duck Rock closer up.

The Sword Testing Stone and the hikers I kept bumping into.

The Sword Testing Stone and the hikers I kept bumping into.

This looks like a smaller sword testing stone.

This looks like a smaller sword testing stone.

Peach Rock from one side.

Peach Rock from one side.

Peach Rock. I think it's more peach like from this side.

Peach Rock. I think it's more peach like from this side.

After this point the walk goes quite close to Discovery Bay Golf Course before starting to descend into Mui Wo. At the end of the Lo Fu Tau Trail, the Olympic Trail starts. This used to be called the Tung Mui Ancient Trail and stretches from Mui Wo to Tung Chung. It was renamed in 2008 when China hosted the Olympic Games and the equestrian events were in Hong Kong. In olden days these ancient trails were how people got from place to place. There are many of them.

Mui Wo is also known as Silvermine Bay because at one point there were several silver mines around this area. The silver mines here belonged to the Tamchow and Tai-yu-Shan Mining Company. They started blasting rock here in search of silver in 1886. The company was owned by Ho Amei who lived from 1838 to 1901. He had previously worked in the gold fields of Victoria, Australia. He later used his knowledge of mining to reopen an abandoned silver mine in Tamchow, Canton then later still in Mui Wo.

Looking across Discovery Bay Golf Course.

Looking across Discovery Bay Golf Course.

Autumn Trees and Silvergrass.

Autumn Trees and Silvergrass.

A Field of Silvergrass.

A Field of Silvergrass.

A Field of Silvergrass.

A Field of Silvergrass.

Mountain scenery.

Mountain scenery.

Tiny Streams and bright red berries.

Tiny Streams and bright red berries.

Colourful Ferns.

Colourful Ferns.

I reached the end of the Lo Fu Tau Trail.

I reached the end of the Lo Fu Tau Trail.

I was suffering more and more from the pain in my left leg, but I still wanted to see Silvermine Cave, Silvermine Waterfall and the Man Mo Temple before going to the bus stop to get home. The walk passed through a little village with lots of crops growing in its fields. I could not find Silvermine Cave and was later furious with myself as I had walked right past it without noticing. Mind you, I was in pretty extreme pain by then.

Some hikers took my photo as I walked down towards Mui Wo.

Some hikers took my photo as I walked down towards Mui Wo.

There were good views over Mui Wo from here.

There were good views over Mui Wo from here.

Village House.

Village House.

Outside a Village House.

Outside a Village House.

Village Shrine.

Village Shrine.

Mui Wo's silver mining cave is right next to this pavilion, but I walked right past without noticing.

Mui Wo's silver mining cave is right next to this pavilion, but I walked right past without noticing.

Silvermine Waterfall.

Silvermine Waterfall.

Silvermine Waterfall.

Silvermine Waterfall.

Rock Pools near the falls.

Rock Pools near the falls.

Sign for the Olympic Trail.

Sign for the Olympic Trail.

The Olympic Trail has markers depicting Olympic sports.

The Olympic Trail has markers depicting Olympic sports.

I next went through a gateway into Pak Ngan Heung, which means White Metal Village, another reference to silver mining. This village is home to a small Man Mo Temple, which is over four hundred years old. It was here that disputes over silver mining were settled in the past. The temple had some lovely paintings on the outside.

Hong Kong Olympic Trail.

Hong Kong Olympic Trail.

Signpost near the waterfall.

Signpost near the waterfall.

Village Fields and Bauhinias.

Village Fields and Bauhinias.

Entrance to Pak Ngan Village.

Entrance to Pak Ngan Village.

Man Mo Temple, Pak Ngan Heung.

Man Mo Temple, Pak Ngan Heung.

Man Mo Temple, Pak Ngan Heung.

Man Mo Temple, Pak Ngan Heung.

Man Mo Temple, Pak Ngan Heung.

Man Mo Temple, Pak Ngan Heung.

Man Mo Temple, Pak Ngan Heung.

Man Mo Temple, Pak Ngan Heung.

Man Mo Temple, Pak Ngan Heung.

Man Mo Temple, Pak Ngan Heung.

Man Mo Temple.

Man Mo Temple.

I then limped painfully through Mui Wo to the bus terminus. I passed a huge water buffalo on the way. Cattle and buffalo roam freely around Lantau Island, so it's not unusual to see them.

Water Buffalo.

Water Buffalo.

Water Buffalo.

Water Buffalo.

Village House.

Village House.

Village House.

Village House.

Village House.

Village House.

Flower Stall

Flower Stall

The Church of Christ in China.

The Church of Christ in China.

Village Street.

Village Street.

The River Silver.

The River Silver.

It's amazing how far the bus terminal seemed due to my sore leg. When I was queueing up, the hikers I had passed several times came and queued right behind me and we shared a few laughs about how we kept bumping into each other. Eventually I got on the bus and the rest from finally getting to sit down seemed to stop the pain in my leg, but when we arrived in Tung Chung and I tried to get off the bus my leg had seized up almost completely and I had terrible trouble moving it. I made it home - eventually, and Peter got me ice to put on my leg and cushions to put under it to raise it. This morning it seems to be a lot better. I can almost walk normally, though I think resting my legs for a few days is definitely in order.

Posted by irenevt 04:23 Archived in Hong Kong Comments (10)

Meanwhile back in the village

A Trip to Tak Wah Park

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The Old Houses in Tak Wah Park, Tsuen Wan, Hong Kong.

The Old Houses in Tak Wah Park, Tsuen Wan, Hong Kong.

Today l wanted to go shopping for a few things that I can't get in Discovery Bay, so I decided to go to Tsuen Wan. My main logic for going there was that I also wanted to visit Tak Wah Park, which has been on my long to do list for quite some time.

The area where this park is located used to be a Hakka village called Hoi Pa Village. This village dated from the late eighteenth century and was home to several different Hakka clans. When the British were building Tsuen Wan New Town, they removed several indigenous villages and relocated them in the nearby hills. Somehow this village managed to escape being completely destroyed; parts of it were kept and the area around it was turned into a park. The original parts of the village which remain include the Chan Yi Cheung Ancestral Hall and a row of Old Houses dating from 1904.

Main Entrance Gate.

Main Entrance Gate.

Jockey Club Tak Wah Park.

Jockey Club Tak Wah Park.

This was the Entrance Gateway I used.

This was the Entrance Gateway I used.

One of the historic buildings here is the Chan Yi Cheung Ancestral Hall, which was built in the late nineteenth century. It is made from a mixture of timber and grey and black bricks. Its tiled roof has beautiful plant motifs under it. This building is classed as a Grade 3 Historic Building. It is not possible to go inside.

Ancestral Hall.

Ancestral Hall.

Ancestral Hall.

Ancestral Hall.

Pond and viewing platform.

Pond and viewing platform.

The Old Houses were built in 1904. The houses are made of rammed earth, timber and grey and black bricks. They are a typical example of the prevalent style of architecture found in South China at the end of the nineteenth century. The Old Houses became a Declared Monument in 1986. Again it's not possible to go inside.

Old Houses.

Old Houses.

Old Houses.

Old Houses.

Old Houses.

Old Houses.

Old Houses.

Old Houses.

The park is surrounded by old village walls, which would have originally been built for protection. In the grounds there are ponds, waterfalls, a camelia garden, rock sculptures and lots of beautiful old trees. There are plenty of shady places to sit.

Village Walls.

Village Walls.

Waterfall.

Waterfall.

Waterfall.

Waterfall.

Magnificent Trees.

Magnificent Trees.

Stone lantern and trees.

Stone lantern and trees.

Building in the park.

Building in the park.

Building in the park.

Building in the park.

Building in the park.

Building in the park.

Building in the park.

Building in the park.

Buildings on the pond.

Buildings on the pond.

Pond.

Pond.

Relaxing in the park.

Relaxing in the park.

Old Building. The front of this had been covered in scaffolding which was in the process of being removed so I couldn't go close and am not sure what it is.

Old Building. The front of this had been covered in scaffolding which was in the process of being removed so I couldn't go close and am not sure what it is.

Actually just found out this is the old house that was home to Yau Yuen-cheung, a scholar, who lived from 1865 to 1937 and is now Tsuen Wan Environmental Resource Centre. When bamboo scaffolding is removed here, it's hurled towards the ground and everyone has to get out of the way so I could not go too near unfortunately.

Little Bridge.

Little Bridge.

The park has many doorways to pass through and each seems to be a different shape. Traditionally most Chinese doorways were round to look like the full moon.

Different Shaped Doorways. This one reminds me of a thistle.

Different Shaped Doorways. This one reminds me of a thistle.

Doorway.

Doorway.

Looking from one doorway to another.

Looking from one doorway to another.

Clover shaped doorway.

Clover shaped doorway.

The ponds in this park were filled with turtles and brightly coloured fish. In Chinese culture, turtles are one of the four auspicious beasts together with the phoenix, the tiger, and the dragon. Turtles symbolise knowledge, perseverance, prosperity, and long life.

Turtles and Reflections.

Turtles and Reflections.

Turtles.

Turtles.

Turtles.

Turtles.

The area around this beautiful peaceful park is crowded, built-up and modern. I found two beautiful cats making themselves at home in one of the shops I visited.

Modern glass towers loom over the park.

Modern glass towers loom over the park.

I liked the murals on the tower building.

I liked the murals on the tower building.

I liked the murals on the tower building.

I liked the murals on the tower building.

Cats can do anything they like.

Cats can do anything they like.

Cats can do anything they like.

Cats can do anything they like.

Back in DB I went out for dinner with Peter and a friend. I took some pictures of the Christmas trees by night.

Christmas tree at night.

Christmas tree at night.

Christmas tree at night.

Christmas tree at night.

Posted by irenevt 08:56 Archived in Hong Kong Comments (2)

Christmas Time Gatherings.

In and around Discovery Bay.

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Christmas Day this year was a relaxing one, as I had cleaned our house and roasted our turkey on Christmas Eve. At lunchtime we went down to the North Plaza armed with a turkey sandwich picnic. I also took a stroll along to the nearby beach and it seemed to be party time down there as lots of people had brought their tents, music was playing and everyone seemed to be having a good time.

Down in the Plaza.

Down in the Plaza.

At the beach.

At the beach.

Stream at the Beach.

Stream at the Beach.

Later we had a traditional Christmas dinner: turkey, roast potatoes, Brussel sprouts, roasted parsnip, carrots, sweet corn and gravy. Then we pulled our ultra-expensive, luxury Christmas crackers, which I had foolishly decided to buy at the last minute and had paid a ridiculously high price for as there was only one brand available. These turned out not to bang and to largely fall apart as soon as you looked at them. They were a dreadful purchase but made up for it in the amount of laughter they created. One contained a kazoo and I played Christmas carols on this making Peter guess what they were. Large amounts of wine helped make this game fun.

Christmas Dinner.

Christmas Dinner.

Christmas Dinner.

Christmas Dinner.

Christmas Dinner.

Christmas Dinner.

Christmas Dinner.

Christmas Dinner.

The day after Boxing Day my friend came to DB with her husband, her kids, plus her friends and their kids. After lunch the kids wanted to ice-skate in the new ice-skating rink in our main plaza. On the way back home, I took some photos of more Christmas decorations.

With my friend, Maggie.

With my friend, Maggie.

With My Friend, Maggie.

With My Friend, Maggie.

The ice-skating rink.

The ice-skating rink.

The ice-skating rink.

The ice-skating rink.

Christmas decorations.

Christmas decorations.

Christmas decorations.

Christmas decorations.

Christmas decorations.

Christmas decorations.

On Tuesday 28th December I met up with four friends and hiked with them from Mui Wo back to Discovery Bay where I live, so they could come round and visit Peter. We met up at pier six in Central and took the fast ferry to Mui Wo. When we arrived, we started off by grabbing some food in Macdonald's then wandered along the beach to the furthest end where we saw a sign pointing to Discovery Bay. The last time I visited this beach, it was closed due to covid. Now it's open and peaceful and beautiful again. There were many colourful flowers next to the beach, despite the fact it is winter here.

Old Postbox, Mui Wo.

Old Postbox, Mui Wo.

Mui Wo Beach.

Mui Wo Beach.

Mui Wo Beach.

Mui Wo Beach.

Boats on Mui Wo Beach.

Boats on Mui Wo Beach.

Silvermine Bay Hotel.

Silvermine Bay Hotel.

Windmill Outside Silvermine Bay Hotel.

Windmill Outside Silvermine Bay Hotel.

Sheena and Derek.

Sheena and Derek.

Jason and Phoebe.

Jason and Phoebe.

The far end of Mui Wo Beach.

The far end of Mui Wo Beach.

The far end of Mui Wo Beach.

The far end of Mui Wo Beach.

The far end of Mui Wo Beach.

The far end of Mui Wo Beach.

Beautiful Flowers.

Beautiful Flowers.

Beautiful Flowers.

Beautiful Flowers.

I liked the colour of these buildings.

I liked the colour of these buildings.

I liked the colour of these buildings.

I liked the colour of these buildings.

Houses at The far end of Mui Wo Beach.

Houses at The far end of Mui Wo Beach.

At the sign for Discovery Bay, turn left, wander up a slope and then start climbing up a seemingly never ending stairway. Every so often have a rest and look back the way for spectacular views over Mui Wo. Eventually you will arrive at a little pavilion where you can have a seat if you need to get your breath back. Near here from the flat hilltop there are beautiful views over Lantau's mountains, over the island of Peng Chau and towards Hong Kong Island, visible on clearer days.

Looking back the way.

Looking back the way.

Mui Wo Beach from a distance.

Mui Wo Beach from a distance.

Many stairs on the climb up.

Many stairs on the climb up.

Jason and Phoebe.

Jason and Phoebe.

Stairs, stairs, stairs.

Stairs, stairs, stairs.

Taking a photo of me taking a photo of Jason, taking a photo of me ...

Taking a photo of me taking a photo of Jason, taking a photo of me ...

Colourful Tree.

Colourful Tree.

This looks like mistletoe.

This looks like mistletoe.

Hilly Terrain.

Hilly Terrain.

Autumn Colours.

Autumn Colours.

Apparently this windmill represents turning bad luck into good.

Apparently this windmill represents turning bad luck into good.

On Top of the World.

On Top of the World.

Peng Chau behind us.

Peng Chau behind us.

Peng Chau.

Peng Chau.

From here it's pretty much downhill all the way. The descent leads past some old abandoned buildings to Our Lady of Joy Abbey which used to be known as the Trappist Monastery and, at one time, was home to one of Hong Kong's best known dairies. The dairy still exists, but is in a new location in Yuen Long. I wrote about this in a previous blog when I walked from DB to the monastery in the summer. At the moment, due to covid, you cannot go inside the monastery, but it is beautiful from the outside and there's a garden nearby with a statue of the Virgin Mary.

Starting our descent.

Starting our descent.

Beautiful plants on the descent.

Beautiful plants on the descent.

A gurgling stream.

A gurgling stream.

Ruined abandoned buildings.

Ruined abandoned buildings.

Our Lady of Joy Monastery.

Our Lady of Joy Monastery.

Our Lady of Joy Monastery.

Our Lady of Joy Monastery.

Our Lady of Joy Monastery.

Our Lady of Joy Monastery.

Stations of the cross.

Stations of the cross.

In the Monastery Garden.

In the Monastery Garden.

Monastery Pond.

Monastery Pond.

Beautiful flowers at the monastery.

Beautiful flowers at the monastery.

Beautiful flowers at the monastery.

Beautiful flowers at the monastery.

After the monastery, the walk goes through the village of Nim Shue Wan, along the beach and through some lovely little organic farms. This time we stopped in a farm called Grandpa's Garden and bought some vegetables. Sheena bought carrots and I got some spinach. Jason pointed out a lovely cat resting under the table.

Nim Shue Wan Village is a small Hakka village, dating back to the early nineteenth century. At one point it was almost totally destroyed in a huge typhoon. After the typhoon, there was an outbreak of disease and the villagers began moving away, leaving the village deserted. It wasn't until the 1940's that some Hakka people moved back there and began making their living from growing vegetables or breeding pigs. The village has a small Tin Hau temple.

A Festive Signpost points the way.

A Festive Signpost points the way.

Nim Shue Wan Village.

Nim Shue Wan Village.

Overgrown house in Nim Shue Wan.

Overgrown house in Nim Shue Wan.

Organic farms.

Organic farms.

Organic farms.

Organic farms.

Hibiscus Flowers at the Organic Farms.

Hibiscus Flowers at the Organic Farms.

Organic farms.

Organic farms.

Organic farms.

Organic farms.

Prayer Flags over the Organic farms.

Prayer Flags over the Organic farms.

Bananas.

Bananas.

Sunflowers.

Sunflowers.

Tin Hau Temple in Nim Shue Wan. When we arrived, a large bird was feasting on those apples.

Tin Hau Temple in Nim Shue Wan. When we arrived, a large bird was feasting on those apples.

Beach and Peng Chau.

Beach and Peng Chau.

Almost home. Beach with Discovery Bay in the background.

Almost home. Beach with Discovery Bay in the background.

Discovery Bay.

Discovery Bay.

Then we all went to my house for drinks and snacks - a beautiful, happy day.

Posted by irenevt 02:51 Archived in Hong Kong Comments (6)

Catching Up.

Meeting friends from school.

rain

It's now Christmas holiday time, so everyone I used to work with is currently on holiday. This gives me a chance to catch up with some of my friends.

On Monday I met up with four friends and two of their kids for dim sum in Shau Kei Wan. Going out for a dim sum brunch is very popular here. I only like to do it when I am with Chinese friends as they know what they are doing and what to order.

Dim sum literally means 'touch heart' and refers to dining on a wide variety of small portions of food often served in bamboo baskets that are placed in the centre of the table and shared among the whole group. Dim sum is always accompanied with tea and drinking this tea is known as having 'yum cha'. For our dim sum we had congee, a variety of different dumplings filled with pork, shrimp and vegetables, spring rolls, green leafy vegetables, custard buns decorated with little faces and slices of turnip cake.

Before beginning a dim sum meal, Chinese people rinse all their utensils in tea to sterilize them. This uses up most of the first pot of tea. To get more it is customary to remove the tea pot lid. This is a way of communicating to the wait staff that it's time for a hot water refill. The tea pot can be refilled many times during a meal.

In some restaurants diners are given a form listing all the different kinds of dim sum. They then just tick what they want. In other restaurants wait staff wheel around a steam cart filled with different kinds of dim sum and diners order what they want as these carts pass by.

Outside the restaurant.

Outside the restaurant.

Enjoying our dim sum together.

Enjoying our dim sum together.

Enjoying our dim sum together.

Enjoying our dim sum together.

Dumplings in a spicy sauce.

Dumplings in a spicy sauce.

Siu mai which are open pork or prawn dumplings and tea, of course.

Siu mai which are open pork or prawn dumplings and tea, of course.

Congee and leafy greens.

Congee and leafy greens.

Turnip cake.

Turnip cake.

Spring Rolls.

Spring Rolls.

When someone pours tea for you at yum cha, it's customary to thank them by tapping the table twice with bent fingers. There's a legend about why this is done.

Long ago in Ancient China there was an emperor named Qianlong who grew tired of constantly being waited upon. He wanted to experience, even briefly, life the way a normal, non-royal person would, so he took off his fine robes and dressed as a commoner. Then he set out into the world with some of his most trusted servants. The emperor insisted that these servants treat him as an equal, so that his people would not know who he was. After some time, the group grew thirsty and tired and stopped in a restaurant to drink some tea. The emperor insisted on humbling himself by pouring tea for each of his servants. To be waited on by an emperor was such an unbelievable honour for them, that the servants wanted to bow down before him to express their gratitude, but to do so would reveal the emperor's identity, so they showed their respect instead by tapping their bent fingers on the table after the tea had been poured. This tradition, known as finger kowtowing, continues to the present day and indicates gratitude and respect towards the person pouring the tea.

After we had eaten our fill of dim sum, we headed to one of my friend's new flat. She has moved their temporarily while having the flat she owns renovated. One of the most annoying things about living in Hong Kong is having to endure the noise and mess of people around you having their flats renovated, but the renovations are actually necessary as the climate here is very brutal towards everything with its high levels of humidity. It's amazing how quickly things discolour and fall apart here.

The block that my friend has moved to had very attractive Christmas decorations. Apparently there is a little model train that travels around the teddy bear at night.

Christmas tree in the mall where we ate dim sum.

Christmas tree in the mall where we ate dim sum.

Teddy, Christmas tree and railway.

Teddy, Christmas tree and railway.

Yang posing with the Christmas teddy.

Yang posing with the Christmas teddy.

In my friend Linda's new home.

In my friend Linda's new home.

Lai enjoying a warming cup of tea.

Lai enjoying a warming cup of tea.

Next day, which was Tuesday, I went to Lamma Island again to meet up with friends for a barbecue and a wander around Lamma. The barbecue was in my friend Adrian's garden and the stroll involved going up to a beautiful viewpoint on the top of Lamma Island with 360° views all around. It was possible to see Hong Kong Island, Cheung Chau and Lantau Island from up there.

Beautiful cat.

Beautiful cat.

Our group out for a walk.

Our group out for a walk.

And at the top of the island.

And at the top of the island.

Stone throwing competition.

Stone throwing competition.

Playing at the top of the world.

Playing at the top of the world.

Views.

Views.

Views.

Views.

Views.

Views.

Views.

Views.

Views.

Views.

White Butterfly Flowers.

White Butterfly Flowers.

Papayas.

Papayas.

On the way back down we walked through Tai Ping Village. This is the highest of the villages that make up Yung Shue Wan. Apparently in the olden days people lived up here to try and avoid the pillage and destruction of pirate attacks. The village's name means peaceful place on flat land and it certainly is very peaceful here. There was an amazing garden filled with flowers, vegetables and sculptures here.

Tai Ping Village.

Tai Ping Village.

Tai Ping Village.

Tai Ping Village.

Tai Ping Village.

Tai Ping Village.

Beautiful garden in Tai Ping Village.

Beautiful garden in Tai Ping Village.

Beautiful garden in Tai Ping Village.

Beautiful garden in Tai Ping Village.

Beautiful garden in Tai Ping Village.

Beautiful garden in Tai Ping Village.

Beautiful garden in Tai Ping Village.

Beautiful garden in Tai Ping Village.

We then walked down to the village and grabbed a quick beer before catching the ferry back to Central. We sat outside Dale Candela a Spanish tapas restaurant.

Quick drink in Spanish tapas restaurant before boarding ferry.

Quick drink in Spanish tapas restaurant before boarding ferry.

Quick drink in Spanish tapas restaurant before boarding ferry.

Quick drink in Spanish tapas restaurant before boarding ferry.

It was the shortest day so by the time I got home the sun was setting.

Wintery sunset over Discovery Bay.

Wintery sunset over Discovery Bay.

Wintery sunset over Discovery Bay.

Wintery sunset over Discovery Bay.

Posted by irenevt 01:11 Archived in Hong Kong Comments (8)

From a Sok to a Shue.

The Lamma Family Walk from Sok Kwa Wan to Yung Shue Wan.

sunny

On Wednesday I had a quick walk along Tung Chung waterfront and a look at the massive Carribbean Coast which is a residential estate there. It was the first rainy day we've had for ages.

The Cable Car to the Big Buddha.

The Cable Car to the Big Buddha.

Tung Chung Ferry.

Tung Chung Ferry.

Looking towards the airport.

Looking towards the airport.

Fishing on the waterfront.

Fishing on the waterfront.

Boats on the waterfront.

Boats on the waterfront.

Art on the waterfront.

Art on the waterfront.

Art on the waterfront.

Art on the waterfront.

Art on the waterfront.

Art on the waterfront.

It's raining bauhinias.

It's raining bauhinias.

Caribbean Coast.

Caribbean Coast.

Caribbean Coast.

Caribbean Coast.

On Thursday I returned to Lamma Island again. This time I was doing the much shorter and easier walk between Sok Kwa Wan and Yung Shue Wan. I've done this walk, though the other way round, many many years ago.

Just like last time, I caught the 8.35am ferry from Central to Sok Kwa Wan. I sat on the opposite side from last time and photographed West Kowloon Cultural District and Green Island on the journey. Green Island and Little Green Island are islands off Kennedy Town. It's possible to see them well from the Sai Wan Swimming Shed. Green Island has a lighthouse on it. Little Green Island is totally uninhabited.

Busy Harbour.

Busy Harbour.

West Kowloon Cultural District.

West Kowloon Cultural District.

Green Island.

Green Island.

And its lighthouse.

And its lighthouse.

This time when I got off the ferry, I turned right and walked along the main street of Sok Kwa Wan past all the fish restaurants. Sok Kwa Wan means Bringing in the Net Bay, as it was originally a fishing village. Nowadays it is popular with people looking for seafood meals. It also has an attractive Tin Hau Temple which is more than a hundred and fifty years old. Inside the temple there's the preserved body of a giant oarfish. At the temple there is a steep path up the mountain which is a fast way of getting up to Ling Kok Shan where I went last time, but I didn't do that. I went on the more gentle walk along the coast.

My Ferry.

My Ferry.

View on Arrival.

View on Arrival.

View from the pier.

View from the pier.

Sok Kwa Wan Sign.

Sok Kwa Wan Sign.

Loso Kitchen. All I want is love, peace and two beers.

Loso Kitchen. All I want is love, peace and two beers.

Loso Kitchen.

Loso Kitchen.

View from a Restaurant.

View from a Restaurant.

Village Art.

Village Art.

Village Christmas Tree.

Village Christmas Tree.

Tin Hau Temple.

Tin Hau Temple.

Temple Lion.

Temple Lion.

Inside the Tin Hau Temple.

Inside the Tin Hau Temple.

Giant Oarfish in Tin Hau Temple.

Giant Oarfish in Tin Hau Temple.

Leaving Sok Kwa Wan I noticed there were lovely views back over the village and its bay. There was a little beach with many dogs. I was too scared to go on there, as while most village dogs in Hong Kong are placid, I have been extremely wary of dogs when they are in packs ever since being attacked by a pack of dogs just outside Mui Wo. This was many years ago and I was with Peter. The dogs did not bite us, but were very ferocious and we had to double back rather than pass them.

Just on the outside of the village are the Kamikaze Caves. During the Second World War there was a large Japanese presence on Lamma. The Japanese filled these caves with speed boats that packed full of explosives. Their plan was that if any Allied ships ventured towards Hong Kong, they would launch surprise suicide attacks on them and sink them. Fortunately, these speed boats were never used.

Sok Kwa Wan.

Sok Kwa Wan.

Sok Kwa Wan.

Sok Kwa Wan.

Sok Kwa Wan.

Sok Kwa Wan.

Flowers in Sok Kwa Wan. Bouganvillia and Chinese peony.

Flowers in Sok Kwa Wan. Bouganvillia and Chinese peony.

Looking back over Sok Kwa Wan.

Looking back over Sok Kwa Wan.

Looking back over Sok Kwa Wan.

Looking back over Sok Kwa Wan.

Sok Kwa Wan Bay.

Sok Kwa Wan Bay.

Kamikaze Caves.

Kamikaze Caves.

Kamikaze Caves.

Kamikaze Caves.

Kamikaze Caves.

Kamikaze Caves.

The next place I reached was Lo So Shing Village. The older parts of the village are more than three hundred years old. Lo Sing may refer to a kind of grass or reed that grew plentifully here. The original villagers were members of the Chan family and share a common ancestor - Chan Tsz-fat. They made their living by farming. I made a slight diversion to visit Lo So Shing Beach which is pretty, though like almost everywhere on Lamma it has views towards the huge power station. Some of the houses in the village had lots of cheerful Christmas decorations.

Lo So Shing Village Sign.

Lo So Shing Village Sign.

Lo So Shing Village.

Lo So Shing Village.

Lo So Shing Village.

Lo So Shing Village.

Christmas Decorations in Lo So Shing Village.

Christmas Decorations in Lo So Shing Village.

Christmas Decorations in Lo So Shing Village.

Christmas Decorations in Lo So Shing Village.

Papayas Lo So Shing Village.

Papayas Lo So Shing Village.

On the way to Lo So Shing Beach.

On the way to Lo So Shing Beach.

Lo So Shing Beach Sign.

Lo So Shing Beach Sign.

Lo So Shing Beach.

Lo So Shing Beach.

Lo So Shing Beach.

Lo So Shing Beach.

Lo So Shing Beach.

Lo So Shing Beach.

After visiting the beach, I returned to Lo So Shing Village and got back on the family walk. The walk wended its way uphill for a bit and eventually reached a pavilion with good views over Lamma and its coastline. Below the pavilion there is an abandoned cement factory belonging to the Far East Cement Company works which opened a plant near Sok Kwa Wan in 1980. This closed down in 2001. It was built on reclaimed land and had two 20,000 tonne capacity domed cement silos and a jetty.

Looking down towards the pavilion.

Looking down towards the pavilion.

Looking down towards the pavilion.

Looking down towards the pavilion.

Sok Kwa Wan from the pavilion.

Sok Kwa Wan from the pavilion.

Cement works from the pavilion.

Cement works from the pavilion.

View from the pavilion.

View from the pavilion.

View from the pavilion.

View from the pavilion.

After enjoying the views from the pavilion, I walked further and saw a sign for a second pavilion. It wasn't far, but it also was not worth visiting as there were no views from it. On the way though I did see an absolutely beautiful tiny yellow bird. It was gone before I could photograph it, unfortunately.

Second pavilion.

Second pavilion.

Continuing on the walk I came to a third pavilion with beautiful coastal views and views over Lamma's hideous powerplant. I guess the powerplant provides jobs, but it's a bit of an eyesore and lots of explosive noises come out of it disturbing the serenity of Lamma Island. Lamma Power Station, dating from 1982, is the second largest power station in Hong Kong. It is a coal and gas-fired power station which provides power to Hong Kong Island and Lamma Island. It has been expanded several times.

Pathway.

Pathway.

Third Pavilion.

Third Pavilion.

Enjoying the view.

Enjoying the view.

View from the pavilion.

View from the pavilion.

Looking over the powerplant.

Looking over the powerplant.

Beautiful fried egg plant flowers on the walk.

Beautiful fried egg plant flowers on the walk.

The walk starts to descend after this pavilion and wends its way towards Hung Shing Yeh Beach. There are beautiful views and lots of flowers along the way. This is apparently the most popular beach on Lamma Island. It has changing rooms, toilets and shark nets. It has beautiful, clean, soft sand but is unfortunately very close to the power station. There's an attractive looking hotel here called the Concerto Inn.

Coastal views on the walk.

Coastal views on the walk.

Coastal views with a slash of colour on the walk.

Coastal views with a slash of colour on the walk.

Emoji Rock!!!

Emoji Rock!!!

Bamboo grove on walk.

Bamboo grove on walk.

The Pathway.

The Pathway.

Beautiful flowers on the walk. Apparently this is called Ivy Tree.

Beautiful flowers on the walk. Apparently this is called Ivy Tree.

Beautiful frangipani flowers.

Beautiful frangipani flowers.

At the weekend there are stalls selling food to hikers. No-one mans them on weekdays. This one sells Lamma honey.

At the weekend there are stalls selling food to hikers. No-one mans them on weekdays. This one sells Lamma honey.

Hung Shing Yeh Beach.

Hung Shing Yeh Beach.

Hung Shing Yeh Beach.

Hung Shing Yeh Beach.

Hung Shing Yeh Beach.

Hung Shing Yeh Beach.

Hung Shing Yeh Beach.

Hung Shing Yeh Beach.

The Concerto Inn.

The Concerto Inn.

Hibiscus next to the beach.

Hibiscus next to the beach.

Flowers next to Hung Shing Yeh Beach.

Flowers next to Hung Shing Yeh Beach.

View of power station from beach.

View of power station from beach.

By this stage I was close to Yung Shue Wan, where I was heading, but I decided to take a diversion and go and visit Lamma Winds. Lamma Winds is a single large wind turbine created by HK Electric as a source of clean renewable energy. There was some attractive scenery on the walk to it and lots of huge plants and fruit trees. On the way I passed some interesting houses. One looked abandoned but was decorated with a huge multicoloured dreamcatcher, mannequins and a n enormous dragon. Next to the wind turbine there is a sign pointing to yet another pavilion. From here there are the best views of the wind turbine.

This building on the way to Lamma Winds had fresh fruit for sale. Probably picked from the fields round about it.

This building on the way to Lamma Winds had fresh fruit for sale. Probably picked from the fields round about it.

Papayas.

Papayas.

Fresh Bananas.

Fresh Bananas.

Fresh Bananas.

Fresh Bananas.

Huge Plants on way to Wind Farm.

Huge Plants on way to Wind Farm.

Trees against the clear blue sky.

Trees against the clear blue sky.

Climbing plants covered the trees.

Climbing plants covered the trees.

Plants seem to grow well here. I think this is a cluster fig.

Plants seem to grow well here. I think this is a cluster fig.

I liked this House across a little bridge.

I liked this House across a little bridge.

Dragon.

Dragon.

Dragon and Mannequin.

Dragon and Mannequin.

Dreamcatcher.

Dreamcatcher.

Lamma Winds.

Lamma Winds.

Windturbine.

Windturbine.

Windturbine.

Windturbine.

The Pavilion.

The Pavilion.

Steps down from the pavilion.

Steps down from the pavilion.

Flowers near the pavilion.

Flowers near the pavilion.

I returned to where I had gone on my detour. The next part of my walk went through several little villages which were more or less joined together and joined on to Yung Shue Wan. There were lots of cafes, restaurants, shops, stalls selling handmade craft items. Each village had its own little sign to preserve its identity. Each village also had its own earth god shrine. Wang Long Village was once a farming and fishing village. Its inhabitants are descended from Chow Kai-man. Film star Chow Yun Fat was born here. Sha Po has an old village and a new village. The old village is of archaeological interest because a whole hard geometric pot was unearthed here by the Archaeological Society in 1970.

Village on the way to Yung Shue Wan.

Village on the way to Yung Shue Wan.

Village Sign on way to Yung Shue Wan.

Village Sign on way to Yung Shue Wan.

Village Sign on way to Yung Shue Wan.

Village Sign on way to Yung Shue Wan.

Village Sign on way to Yung Shue Wan.

Village Sign on way to Yung Shue Wan.

There were lots of craft stalls on the walk through the villages to Yung Shue Wan.

There were lots of craft stalls on the walk through the villages to Yung Shue Wan.

Craft Stalls.

Craft Stalls.

Arts and Crafts Shop.

Arts and Crafts Shop.

Sitting out area in one of the villages on the way to Yung Shue Wan.

Sitting out area in one of the villages on the way to Yung Shue Wan.

Village Shrines.

Village Shrines.

Village Shrines.

Village Shrines.

Village Houses.

Village Houses.

Yung Shue Wan means Banyan Tree Bay. It is the largest village on Lamma with a population of around six thousand. Many are Chinese and many are expat. It's known for seafood restaurants, cafes, bars, Western, Chinese and other Asian food, art and craft stalls. It's a relaxed place. Yung Shue Wan has an interesting Tin Hau Temple guarded by western rather than Chinese lions. The temple is around one hundred years old.

Shop on Yung Shue Wan Main Street.

Shop on Yung Shue Wan Main Street.

Village Street.

Village Street.

Village Street.

Village Street.

Yung Shue Wan Street.

Yung Shue Wan Street.

Holiday Resort.

Holiday Resort.

Houses in Yung Shue Wan.

Houses in Yung Shue Wan.

Yung Shue Wan Tin Hau Temple.

Yung Shue Wan Tin Hau Temple.

Inside the Tin Hau Temple.

Inside the Tin Hau Temple.

Burners in the temple.

Burners in the temple.

Western lion guarding the temple.

Western lion guarding the temple.

Yung Shue Wan Waterfront.

Yung Shue Wan Waterfront.

Yung Shue Wan Waterfront.

Yung Shue Wan Waterfront.

Powerplant from Yung Shue Wan Waterfront.

Powerplant from Yung Shue Wan Waterfront.

Tanks in seafood restaurants on the waterfront.

Tanks in seafood restaurants on the waterfront.

Tanks in seafood restaurants on the waterfront.

Tanks in seafood restaurants on the waterfront.

Tanks in seafood restaurants on the waterfront.

Tanks in seafood restaurants on the waterfront.

After a good look around the village I headed to the ferry pier. Ferries are much more frequent from here than from Sok Kwu Wan. I jumped on a ferry and headed home.

Ferry Terminal and Pier.

Ferry Terminal and Pier.

Now where did I leave my bike? Bike stand next to the ferry pier.

Now where did I leave my bike? Bike stand next to the ferry pier.

Goodbye from the ferry.

Goodbye from the ferry.

Stilt houses viewed from the ferry.

Stilt houses viewed from the ferry.

Posted by irenevt 11:10 Archived in Hong Kong Comments (4)

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