A Travellerspoint blog

It's A Jungle Out There.

Spending a day in Tai Po Kau.

sunny

The Way through the forest.

The Way through the forest.

I'm beginning to think I should just move to Tai Po. It would save time as I always seem to be there. Today I went there yet again. This time I wanted to visit Tai Po Kau.

Tai Po Kau is an area to the south of Tai Po. At one time Tai Po Kau had its own railway station and a pier from which it was possible to take a variety of boat trips around the Sai Kung area. I did not know this till I started writing this blog. When the KCR electrified their lines in 1983, the station here was demolished. Nowadays trains simply hurtle through this area without stopping. On route they pass an extremely striking building, but I'll get to that later. The pier that was here long ago still stands, though it is shorter than before due to land reclamation. No boat trips leave from this pier any more, but it is still popular with fishermen.

Nowadays this area is not as bustling as it once was, but there are still reasons to come for a visit. My reason was to visit the Tai Po Kau Nature Reserve.To get there I travelled to Tai Wo Station, then took the number 72 bus to Chung Tsai Yuen. This name is sometimes written Tsung Tsai Yuen and means Pine Tree Garden. After alighting from the bus, I crossed the road and headed right towards the nature reserve.

In front of the nature reserve there is a small park where a terrible tragedy occurred. On the 28th of August 1955, a group of teachers and pupils from St. James Settlement were having a picnic on the final day of their week long camping trip in this area. It suddenly started to rain. Now when it rains here in the summer time, it is normally torrential and you can go from dry to totally soaking in seconds. There was no place to shelter, so they stood under a little bridge next to the park, as it was the only covered spot. However, tragically for them, the downpour caused a landslide and many of the group were swept away. Twenty-eight people were killed in this incident, most of them children.

The bridge the school party sheltered under used to be called Hung Shiu Kiu which means Bridge of Flooding because in rainy season it could be covered with water. Following this terrible event, the bridge is now known as Mang Gui Kiu or Ghost Bridge. People in Hong Kong are very superstitious and any place where a tragedy has occurred is going to be filled with ghosts. Drivers in this area at night claim to have seen mysterious ashen faced children waving at their cars and to have been startled by eerie white lights appearing and disappearing on the road in front of them. Similar reports have been made by hikers who have stayed in the area after dark. Many people do stay here late, because the nature reserve is known for fire flies. Locals claim to have seen their own children talking to imaginary friends and holding hands with people who are not there.

There's also a story about a bus driver on his final trip of the night, who was driving his empty bus through this area when he saw a woman with an ashen face and long dark hair waiting by the bus stop. He stopped and she boarded the bus, but when he looked in the money box, there was only joss paper. (This is money people buy and burn so that it will travel up to their ancestors giving them money to spend in the afterlife.) The driver called out to the passenger to pay the correct fare, but when he looked round, saw that his bus was empty. Nervously he continued to drive. Suddenly he saw that someone had pressed the bell to alight, so he stopped and opened the door. He saw noone leave, but heard a ghostly voice call back a loud thank you to him.

Of course I don't really believe in ghosts, but you wouldn't find me hiking here at night. I took a look at Ghost Bridge. It's a replacement one as I believe the original one was damaged in other floods. The government carried out work on damming the stream higher up to prevent anything like this ever happening again. The park next to the bridge now has several shelters where you can escape the sun or the rain and there is a plaque to those who were killed in this disaster. It was hoped that by placing the plaque here, the spirits of the dead might be placated. It may not have worked, as the road here is apparently notorious for car crashes.

Ghost Bridge.

Ghost Bridge.

Memorial Plaque.

Memorial Plaque.

Shelter in the park next to the nature reserve.

Shelter in the park next to the nature reserve.

After a quick look around this area, I headed into the nature reserve. Tai Po Kau Nature Reserve occupies around 460 hectares on the eastern slopes of Grassy Hill, stretching from the top of this hill all the way down to Tai Po Road. The reserve's height above sea level ranges from 50 metres to 647 metres. At one time, the slopes of this hill were bare, as all the trees had been chopped down. However, in 1926 the government began an afforestation campaign in the New Territories. The main tree planted here was the Chinese Red Pine, which is why the area is known as Pine Tree Garden. Other trees here include the Camphor Tree, China Fir, Taiwan Acacia, Giant Bean, Sweet Gum and the Paper-bark Tree.

The Tai Po Kau Nature Reserve is home to many animals including: cattle, wild boars, monkeys, porcupines, barking deer, the leopard cat, a hundred and sixty different species of birds, a hundred and two types of butterflies and fifty kinds of dragonflies.

From the entrance you can either choose to walk up the road or divert onto the nature trail. At the end of these there are four colour coded walks to choose from. The longest at ten kilometres is the yellow walk which takes about three and a half hours, then the brown walk which is about seven kilometres and takes two and a half hours. The blue walk is four kilometres and takes one and a half hours and the red walk is three kilometres and takes one hour.

Signs for the four colour coded walks and the forest trail.

Signs for the four colour coded walks and the forest trail.

I decided to walk up the forest nature trail rather than the path. Before I reached it, I saw my first animal of the day, a rather large cow with dangerous looking horns that strolled right past me. Fortunately, it seemed very docile. The nature trail is about a kilometre long and involves climbing lots of steep stairs. There are information boards at intervals, giving details of the animals and plants on the reserve. I found quite a few trees or logs with fungi growing on them both here and later on the colour coded walk. I thought these were quite beautiful.

Sign for Tai Po Nature Reserve.

Sign for Tai Po Nature Reserve.

Passing Cattle.

Passing Cattle.

Entry to Tai Po Nature Trail.

Entry to Tai Po Nature Trail.



Stairs on the nature trail.

Stairs on the nature trail.

Fern lined path.

Fern lined path.

The Way through the forest.

The Way through the forest.

Fungus on a tree stump.

Fungus on a tree stump.

Fungus on a fallen tree.

Fungus on a fallen tree.

Fungus on chopped down trees.

Fungus on chopped down trees.

Fungus on a tree stump.

Fungus on a tree stump.

Fungus on a chopped down log.

Fungus on a chopped down log.

More fungi.

More fungi.

More fungi.

More fungi.

On the forest nature trail I felt like I was in the heart of a jungle. The light all around me was filtering in through the green leaves and the trees were shading me from the sun. It didn't feel particularly humid like it did on the four waterfalls hike. It was very peaceful with only the sounds of insects and birds around me.

Shady forest path.

Shady forest path.

In the heart of the forest.

In the heart of the forest.

At the end of the forest trail I had the choice of four walks. The yellow and brown are the longer ones. They are supposed to be beautiful with occasional viewpoints, but they have the least wildlife. The blue and red trails are shorter and easier with more chance of seeing wildlife as they are near the water. I decided to give myself a break and do the shortest and easiest hike, i.e. the red trail. There were several reasons for this and they weren't all that I was being lazy. My reasons were: it's getting pretty hot nowadays, I was hoping to see some wildlife and finally there were two other things in Tai Po Kau I wanted to see apart from the nature reserve and if I did the long walk I wouldn't have time.

The red path is mainly on the flat with just a few stairs here and there. It is not completely flat though and would not be suitable for a wheelchair user or a pushchair. It is a lovely shaded walk. It passes by streams, so there's quite a bit of water around. There are some picnic sites on this trail.

Map of the red and blue routes.

Map of the red and blue routes.

Bridge over the stream.

Bridge over the stream.

Ponds and streams on the red walk.

Ponds and streams on the red walk.

Picnic Site.

Picnic Site.

While I was walking, it was mainly very peaceful and I was really enjoying looking at all the plants and trees. Occasionally I could hear animals moving around in the trees. At one point I heard what sounded very much like barking. It actually sounded quite ferocious. I think it must have been a warning cry. It was very loud and very near. I wondered if it was a barking deer, but then I saw something climbing up the branches, so it was more likely to have been a monkey.

Looking at the trees.

Looking at the trees.

Looking up at the sky through a gap in the trees.

Looking up at the sky through a gap in the trees.

Flower strewn path.

Flower strewn path.

Fronds mark the start of the path.

Fronds mark the start of the path.

Rocks line the path.

Rocks line the path.

It's nice and cool on the forest paths.

It's nice and cool on the forest paths.

Selfie in the forest.

Selfie in the forest.

There were lots of ferns lining the path. Some of these were really big. I always like to see ferns. They add a sort of primeval atmosphere to a walk. When you see lots of huge ones, you can imagine that you have been transported back in time to the origins of the Earth.

Ferns.

Ferns.

Ferns.

Ferns.

Ferns and other leaves.

Ferns and other leaves.

Selfie with ferns.

Selfie with ferns.

I saw several spiders, which for some reason I could not photograph. They were always in the wrong position for the light. I also saw a cute little brightly coloured beetle. He at least was willing to pose for me.

Beetle on a fern.

Beetle on a fern.

I began to think it wasn't really possible to find animal life. They had so many places to hide, so I decided to concentrate on the flora and let the fauna go about its own business. There was certainly a wide variety of different plant life to see and enjoy. I don't know why but I tend to like plants that use other plants to stay alive, such as creepers and epiphytes. I think I like these because to me they are so tropical looking. They are my idea of what any self-respecting jungle must have. I also came across some trees with huge seed pods.

Creepers and moss on a rock.

Creepers and moss on a rock.

Creeper climbing up a tree.

Creeper climbing up a tree.

Mini-habitat on a tree stump.

Mini-habitat on a tree stump.

Epiphytes.

Epiphytes.

Plants growing on other plants.

Plants growing on other plants.

Looks like this leaf has had a hard life.

Looks like this leaf has had a hard life.

Pretty tree.

Pretty tree.

Tree with large seed pods.

Tree with large seed pods.

Tree with large seed pods.

Tree with large seed pods.

Suddenly I saw a monkey sitting in the tree right in front of me. I lined him up to get a shot and just at that exact time a large group of very, very noisy hikers came up behind me. When the monkey heard them, he panicked and leapt from his tree right across the path just above my head into the trees on the other side. Although it happened right in front of them, the talkative group didn't even seen to notice. I was left stunned that a monkey had leapt pretty much right over me.

Monkey in a tree. This little chap jumped right over my head.

Monkey in a tree. This little chap jumped right over my head.

I was nearly at the end of the red trail and when I reached the roadway, I decided I would walk down it rather than go back through the forest trail. I noticed there were quite a few houses around, either on or next to the reserve. I think some of them may still be lived in, but others were abandoned, falling down and gradually being overtaken by nature.

Houses on the nature reserve.

Houses on the nature reserve.

Houses next to the nature reserve.

Houses next to the nature reserve.

Overgrown buildings in the nature reserve.

Overgrown buildings in the nature reserve.

House next to the nature reserve.

House next to the nature reserve.

House next to the nature reserve.

House next to the nature reserve.

House near the nature reserve.

House near the nature reserve.

At several times on this walk I suddenly saw larger groups of people standing around holding huge cameras. I assume they were bird watchers.

Bird watchers.

Bird watchers.

On the walk back to the main road I saw so many monkeys. They were all over the place, swinging madly through the trees and making lots of noise. I spent ages trying to photograph them, but every time I lined up a shot, it was as if they just went nah, nah,nah,nah,nah and disappeared. I gave up in the end.

There is a nature centre on this reserve and I'm sure it would be worth a look, but I did not visit this time. When I arrived back at the entrance to the reserve, I was both surprised and delighted to see a monkey sitting happily among the cars. Now he really did not mind posing for a few shots.

Monkey in the carpark.

Monkey in the carpark.

Monkey in the carpark.

Monkey in the carpark.

Monkey in the carpark.

Monkey in the carpark.

There were two nearby places I had read about and wanted to see, but they were in opposite directions. I decided I would try and do them both. The first involved crossing Tai Po Road and heading right. I very quickly came across the cow I had met earlier. It was happily munching grass by the roadside. I stopped to photograph it and it looked at me and then crossed the road towards me. I quickly made my excuses and left, though as I said before, it wasn't in any way aggressive, just curious.

Happily munching grass.

Happily munching grass.

Where's it going?

Where's it going?

Seems to be crossing towards me.

Seems to be crossing towards me.

I'm off.

I'm off.

I came across a little park I didn't know existed. It was simply called Tai Po Kau Park and it was very pleasant with flowers, shelters and a fountain. I came across someone else's photos taken here and they had fantastic shots of colourful birds in the flowering trees. This is a lovely place to sit and relax. This park has clean toilets, too.

Tai Po Kau Park.

Tai Po Kau Park.

Tai Po Kau Park.

Tai Po Kau Park.

Tai Po Kau Park.

Tai Po Kau Park.

Tai Po Kau Park.

Tai Po Kau Park.

Fountain in Tai Po Kau Park..

Fountain in Tai Po Kau Park..

The bus stop after Chung Tsai Yuen is called Chung Tsai Yuen Lookout as there are good views from here over Tolo Harbour. It's also possible to see the giant Kuan Yin Statue near Tai Mei Tuk.

View from Chung Tsai Yuen Lookout

View from Chung Tsai Yuen Lookout

View from Chung Tsai Yuen Lookout.

View from Chung Tsai Yuen Lookout.

View from Chung Tsai Yuen Lookout.

View from Chung Tsai Yuen Lookout.

View from Chung Tsai Yuen Lookout.

View from Chung Tsai Yuen Lookout.

Zooming in on Kuan Yin.

Zooming in on Kuan Yin.

I was heading for a house known as Tai Po Lookout. It is located at number 11 Lookout Link. It was built by British engineer Lawrence Gibbs at the beginning of the twentieth century and has a lookout tower on its roof. The lookout tower provides fantastic views over Tolo Harbour and towards Pat Sin Leng. The tower also functioned as a water storage tower. Gibbs diverted water from a nearby stream and even used this to fill the swimming pool in his garden. Over the years Tai Po Lookout has had many owners. In 1933 it was sold to John Alexander Fraser, a British judge. During the Japanese Occupation of Hong Kong, Fraser was interned as a prisoner of war in Stanley Prison where he died. His house was requisitioned by the Japanese, who used it as a torture chamber. After the war this building was used as a residence by Hong Kong government officials, such as the head of the secret service of the police. In 1996 the Lookout was converted into a hospice for AIDS patients. The hospice closed in 2000 and the Lookout became a private residence once again. It still is. The Lookout was declared a grade II historical building in 1985. Nowadays there is a proposal to raise it to grade I status. As the building is a private residence, I could only peer at it over its fence and hope I wasn't arrested as a potential burglar.

Lookout Link Sign.

Lookout Link Sign.

Lookout House.

Lookout House.

Lookout House.

Lookout House.

After looking at the Tai Po Lookout, I headed in the opposite direction, past Tai Po Kau Nature Reserve, then downhill to see the Little Egret Nature Centre, which seems nowadays to also be called Kerry Lake Egret Centre and Lake House. On the way I passed a rather attractive residential complex called Constellation Cove. The Little Egret Nature Centre is a very striking building. I had noticed it many times from the KCR before I ever knew what it was. In the first few years that I worked in my school, we used to take the children on school trips to the Little Egret Nature Centre. They would learn about nature, do team building games, feed the pet goats and look at the ethnology museum here. One of the teachers always insisted we ate in the restaurant here, as it had very nice food. Nowadays the centre has been spruced up, but it only seems to open at weekends and on public holidays, so it obviously no longer does school trips. The restaurant here has got posher, too. It's called Billow Restaurant. There are nature walks around this area and many beautiful white egrets can be found here. Apparently in early spring the gardens here are filled with tulips. I didn't know this or if definitely have visited. This area is also near to the location of the old Tai Po Kau Station.

I struggled to find any information about the history of Lake House. It turns out that it only dates back to the mid 1990's. Property developers, Kerry Properties, bought the land here to build Constellation Cove, but because the lake and nearby mangroves were a conservation area they were told they would have to preserve them. They built Lake House next to the lake as a nature centre, event venue and restaurant.

Constellation Cove.

Constellation Cove.

Constellation Cove.

Constellation Cove.

Constellation Cove.

Constellation Cove.

River next to Little Egret Nature Centre.

River next to Little Egret Nature Centre.

Billow Restaurant in the Little Egret Nature Centre.

Billow Restaurant in the Little Egret Nature Centre.

Billow Restaurant in the Little Egret Nature Centre.

Billow Restaurant in the Little Egret Nature Centre.

After a quick look around here. I was getting hot and tired so I returned to the main Tai Po Road and took a number 72 bus to Cheung Sha Wan and from there caught the MTR and a bus back home. This was a much faster and cheaper way than I had come to the area.

Posted by irenevt 14:21 Archived in Hong Kong Comments (4)

Journey To The Very End.

A Visit to Tai Mei Tuk.

sunny

Beautiful flowers.

Beautiful flowers.

Yesterday, I decided to return to Tai Po to visit the nearby area of Tai Mei Tuk. Tai Mei Tuk translates into English as The Very End. Apparently it's called this, because it is the furthest of fourteen inhabited villages situated along the coast here

Tai Mei Tuk is located in an area of outstanding natural beauty. It is on both the Tolo Harbour and the Plover Cove Reservoir. The Pat Sin Leng Mountain Range forms its backdrop.

Pat Sin Leng means Ridge of the Eight Immortals. It is a mountain range with eight peaks and each peak is called after a different immortal from Chinese mythology. I have not hiked this trail yet. It's supposed to be a pretty tough trail with lots of steps to climb up at the beginning and down at the end. In addition, hikers must repeatedly go up and down while walking along the ridge, but the views from here are supposed to be spectacular. There are different ways to walk Pat Sin Leng, but many people do it following the Wilson Trail Section Nine starting from the Hok Tau Reservoir and finishing near Tai Mei Tuk. This trail is around 12 kilometres long and takes around 5 hours.

There was a terrible tragedy here in February 1996 when wild fires suddenly broke out and surrounded a group of teachers and pupils who were out on a school excursion. Two teachers and three pupils died in this incident and thirteen people were injured. A pavilion, known as the Spring Breeze Pavilion, was built as a memorial to those who lost their lives in this tragedy.

Pat Sin Leng. Count the bumps, there should be eight.

Pat Sin Leng. Count the bumps, there should be eight.

To get to Tai Mei Tuk, I travelled to Tai Po Market Station, walked to the nearby bus station, and boarded a 75K bus which terminates at Tai Mei Tuk Bus Station.

On the journey to Tai Mei Tuk, I passed through the Tai Po Industrial Zone, which is located behind the Tai Po Waterfront Park that I visited in my last blog. Most of this, as you would expect, was nondescript and grim, but there was one piece of industry that had really attempted to turn ugly into beautiful and in my view had succeeded. Do you agree?

I like that they've tried to make this look nice.

I like that they've tried to make this look nice.

The other interesting thing to look at on the journey is the Tze Shan Monastery with its huge Kuan Yin Statue. Kuan Yin is the goddess of mercy in Buddhism. This monastery was created by one of Hong Kong's richest men, Li Ka Shing. He spent HK$1.5 billion on it and it took twelve years to complete. It's not possible to just turn up here to visit. The monks want to maintain an atmosphere of peace and quiet. They do not appreciate crowds. You must pre-book and there's a waiting list to get in. It's free to visit though and I'm considering trying to sign up. The monastery occupies 500,000 square feet. The Kuan Yin Statue is 76 metres tall, which makes it the biggest Kuan Yin in the world. She is twice the size of the Big Buddha on Lantau Island. I haven't been there yet but apparently Tsz Shan Monastery also has a Grand Buddha Hall, a Universal Hall, a Great Vow Hall, a lecture hall, a bodhi tree, beautiful gardens and a pond.

Kuan Yin peering out of the trees

Kuan Yin peering out of the trees

Kuan Yin looming above the village.

Kuan Yin looming above the village.

Kuan Yin looming above the village.

Kuan Yin looming above the village.

When I arrived at Tai Mei Tuk, I headed towards Tolo Harbour. There were boats for hire here. Many of them were shaped like swans or ducks . There were also kiosks where you could book boat trips or water sports activities. Some of these kiosks were also cafes. In addition there were picnic and barbecue sites, all currently sealed off due to COVID. There were beautiful views out over the water from here. This whole area is very peaceful.

Tolo Harbour Waterfront.

Tolo Harbour Waterfront.

Tolo Harbour Waterfront.

Tolo Harbour Waterfront.

Tolo Harbour Waterfront.

Tolo Harbour Waterfront.

Pier on Tolo Harbour.

Pier on Tolo Harbour.

Boats on the harbour.

Boats on the harbour.

Bikes by the harbour.

Bikes by the harbour.

View over Tolo Harbour.

View over Tolo Harbour.

Pavilion where you can sit in the shade

Pavilion where you can sit in the shade

Waterfront Kiosk.

Waterfront Kiosk.

Waterfront Kiosk.

Waterfront Kiosk.

Barbecue Site, Tai Mei Tuk.

Barbecue Site, Tai Mei Tuk.

It is possible to cycle all the way to Tai Mei Tuk from Tai Wai on cycle paths. The cycle tracks get very busy at weekends and even on a week day there were many cyclists around. This area is also popular with people learning to cycle, as I observed when I was watching people fall off their bikes on the dam later. I'm not too good at cycling myself.

Cycling past the village.

Cycling past the village.

Cycling to Tai Mei Tuk.

Cycling to Tai Mei Tuk.

Tai Mei Tuk is a village and there are lots of attractive village houses here. I think it would be a very pleasant and peaceful place to live from Monday to Friday, not so sure about Saturday and Sunday though, when the crowds descend.

Village houses.

Village houses.

Village houses.

Village houses.

After looking at the waterfront, I headed left towards Plover Cove Dam. On the way I passed the Bradbury Youth Hostel. Since there are many beautiful, but very long walks from here, it may be a good idea to stay overnight.

Near the Bradbury Youth Hostel the walls were covered with pictures about road safety designed by high school students.

Near the Bradbury Youth Hostel the walls were covered with pictures about road safety designed by high school students.

Near the Bradbury Youth Hostel the walls were covered with pictures about road safety designed by high school students.

Near the Bradbury Youth Hostel the walls were covered with pictures about road safety designed by high school students.

Near the Bradbury Youth Hostel the walls were covered with pictures about road safety designed by high school students.

Near the Bradbury Youth Hostel the walls were covered with pictures about road safety designed by high school students.



The Bradbury Youth Hostel.

The Bradbury Youth Hostel.

On the way to the Plover Cove Dam, I saw a sign for the Tai Mei Tuk Family Walk. I had read that this was quite easy and involved four beautiful viewpoints. When I visited it was 33 degrees and there was absolutely no breeze. It wasn't even easy to put one foot in front of the other, but I decided to give the family trail a go nonetheless.

I'm nearly positive that I read a description of this trail as flat. That's an odd word here. To me that implies if you were in a wheelchair or pushing your child in a stroller, you could do this trail easily. To a Hong Konger, it seems to mean it isn't as high as many other trails. This is an easy and short trail. I would highly recommend it. It is really beautiful, but it does have some, admittedly not many, but some stairs.

I could not remember how long this trail was supposed to take and I could not see a signpost with distances or estimated times. I read later it should take around forty minutes. It took me exactly forty minutes and that included stopping to take lots of photos. I began by climbing some stairs. although it was hot for most of this walk I was in the trees, so it was shaded.

Signpost at the start of the family walk.

Signpost at the start of the family walk.

Boat house near the start of the walk.

Boat house near the start of the walk.

Start of the walk, define flat?

Start of the walk, define flat?

After a very short time, around just five or ten minutes, I arrived at viewpoint number one. This looks out over the Plover Cove Dam. To the right of this dam is Tolo Harbour, to the left is the Plover Cove Reservoir.

Plover Cove Reservoir is quite special. It is the second largest reservoir in Hong Kong and it was apparently the world's first reservoir in the sea. To create this reservoir, engineers built a two kilometre long dam to cut off a sea inlet, pumped out all the sea water to the left of the dam and filled that area with fresh water. The reservoir now has a capacity of 230 million cubic metres. Long ago before the creation of the dam, this area was well known for pearl production.

Viewpoint One looks out over Plover Cove Dam.

Viewpoint One looks out over Plover Cove Dam.

Viewpoint One looks out over Plover Cove Dam.

Viewpoint One looks out over Plover Cove Dam.

The walk from Lookout Point One to Lookout Point Two was mercifully short in the heat. There is a little covered pavilion at Lookout Point Number Two, so you can actually sit here and be out of the sun.

The information board here explains that prior to the construction of Plover Cove Reservoir, there were six Hakka villages situated in this area. The villages were home to about one thousand people. These villagers were relocated to Tai Po New Town when their homes were covered by water. In the distance it's possible to see a second smaller dam.

Climbing up to Lookout Point Two.

Climbing up to Lookout Point Two.

View from Lookout Point Two.

View from Lookout Point Two.

Lookout Point Two.

Lookout Point Two.

Lookout Point Two. There's a smaller dam in the distance.

Lookout Point Two. There's a smaller dam in the distance.

When I was walking from Lookout Point Two to Lookout Point Three, I suddenly noticed a family walk sign with a monkey on it. Since monkeys are common in certain areas of Hong Kong and since they can be annoying and even aggressive if you have food, I thought it was a warning sign. I looked around me wondering where the monkeys were. As I walked on a bit, I came across a similar sign but with a chicken on it. This totally threw me for a moment, as I puzzled over why I should beware of the chicken. Then I suddenly realised that the signs were following the order of the Chinese zodiac from rat to pig and were not warning signs at all.

Family Walk Post Monkey.

Family Walk Post Monkey.

Family Walk Post Rooster.

Family Walk Post Rooster.

Lookout Point Three looks over the village of Tai Mei Tuk and towards the Pat Sin Leng Mountain Range. As this point had a trigonometrical marker, I take it it must have been the highest point of the walk. The views are certainly lovely from here.

View from Lookout Point Three.

View from Lookout Point Three.

Lookout Point Three.

Lookout Point Three.

Lookout Point Three.

Lookout Point Three.

Lookout Point Three.

Lookout Point Three.

Zoomed View of Kuan Yin from Lookout Point Three.

Zoomed View of Kuan Yin from Lookout Point Three.

View from Lookout Point Three.

View from Lookout Point Three.

Trigonometrical marker at Lookout Point Three.

Trigonometrical marker at Lookout Point Three.

Selfie at Lookout Point Three.

Selfie at Lookout Point Three.

Walking between Lookout Point Three and Four I past a large village grave where some pretty flowers had fallen onto the ground from the surrounding trees

Fallen flowers near a village grave.

Fallen flowers near a village grave.

Fallen flowers near a village grave.

Fallen flowers near a village grave.

Lookout Point Four looks out over Tolo Harbour and several of its islands. There are also good views of the new artificial beach and far in the distance the Kuan Yin Statue.

Looking out over Tai Mei Tuk and the new Lung Mei Beach .

Looking out over Tai Mei Tuk and the new Lung Mei Beach .

Looking out over the islands.

Looking out over the islands.

View from Lookout Point Four.

View from Lookout Point Four.

View from Lookout Point Four.

View from Lookout Point Four.

Zooming in on the new beach from Lookout Point Four.

Zooming in on the new beach from Lookout Point Four.

Zooming in on Kuan Yin from Lookout Point Four.

Zooming in on Kuan Yin from Lookout Point Four.

View over new beach from Lookout Point Four.

View over new beach from Lookout Point Four.

View over Tolo Harbour from Lookout Point Four.

View over Tolo Harbour from Lookout Point Four.

Next to Lookout Point Four there were some very beautiful flowering bushes.

Beautiful flowers.

Beautiful flowers.

Beautiful flowers.

Beautiful flowers.

Beautiful flowers.

Beautiful flowers.

Very soon after leaving the final lookout point, I found myself back at the start of the trail. When I looked at the trail marker with the year of the rat on it. I understood why I had not realised these were zodiac animals. It looked more like a scribble than a rat.

Does that look like a rat to you? I wasn't impressed.

Does that look like a rat to you? I wasn't impressed.

I decided to walk to the Plover Cove Reservoir Dam. This area is popular with walkers, cyclists and kite fliers. Although this was a very still day, it must get very windy here, judging from the number of kites tangled up in the trees.

Kite graveyard next to the reservoir.

Kite graveyard next to the reservoir.

Kite graveyard next to the reservoir.

Kite graveyard next to the reservoir.

Momentary gust of wind at the Kite graveyard next to the reservoir.

Momentary gust of wind at the Kite graveyard next to the reservoir.

The Plover Cove Reservoir Dam is 2 kilometres long and 28 metres high. It joins Tai Mei Tuk to an island in the Tolo Harbour. I went about halfway across, as it was soooo hot and there were other things I wanted to see before I got sun stroke. There's a water sports centre near the start of the dam.

Plover Cove Reservoir was built because Hong Kong did not have enough natural inland bodies of water to meet the water consumption needs of its growing population. As I mentioned before, this area was once a sea inlet, surrounded by land on three sides, so only one side needed to be cut off by a large dam - the Plover Cove Main Dam. Three smaller service dams were also built. The cove was then drained and converted into a freshwater lake. Construction work was completed in 1968. The reservoir catches rain water and also stores water imported by pipes from the East River in China. The fresh water in the reservoir is supposed to be a different colour from the sea water on the other side of the dam. Not sure that I really noticed this at the time, though I can see it in my photos. It may be more pronounced in certain lights.

There's a long and difficult walking trail here, too - the Plover Cove Reservoir Country Trail. This is an 18km trail that encircles Plover Cove Reservoir. It crosses many mountain ranges and ends up at the Plover Cove Reservoir main dam.

Commemorative plaque at the start of the dam.

Commemorative plaque at the start of the dam.

View of the dam.

View of the dam.

Bicycles everywhere.

Bicycles everywhere.

Can you see a difference in colour? I can in my photos, not sure I was so aware of it in reality.

Can you see a difference in colour? I can in my photos, not sure I was so aware of it in reality.

The Plover Cove Reservoir Side.

The Plover Cove Reservoir Side.

The Tolo Harbour Side.

The Tolo Harbour Side.

Walkers and cyclists crossing the dam.

Walkers and cyclists crossing the dam.

Cyclists crossing the Plover Cove Main Dam.

Cyclists crossing the Plover Cove Main Dam.

Wonder if this cyclist popped off for a swim.

Wonder if this cyclist popped off for a swim.

Fisherman deciding where he'll get the best catch.

Fisherman deciding where he'll get the best catch.

Selfie on dam.

Selfie on dam.

Looking back from the Plover Cove Dam.

Looking back from the Plover Cove Dam.

Water Sports Centre.

Water Sports Centre.

Looking back towards Tai Mei Tuk.

Looking back towards Tai Mei Tuk.

After looking at the dam, I wondered back to Tai Mei Tuk Village. I walked along the waterfront and wandered along the main road looking at the restaurants that line it. You can get many different kinds of food here. The restaurants are generally supposed to be good and they are certainly in a beautiful setting.

The Village of Lung Mei next to Tai Mei Tuk.

The Village of Lung Mei next to Tai Mei Tuk.

Restaurant.

Restaurant.

Restaurant.

Restaurant.

Restaurant.

Restaurant.

I next took a look at Lung Mei Beach.This is a 200 metre long artificial beach on Tolo Harbour. It's construction was very controversial, with environmentalists saying it would destroy many marine habitats and locals saying it would bring even larger crowds at weekends. It opened in July 2021.

At the moment this beach is sealed off behind huge plastic barriers, just like Big Wave Bay Beach. I noticed an overheated kid sitting near the beach, berating his mum because she wouldn't let him go swimming. I knew just how he felt and just how frustrated his mum must have felt trying to explain that it's government policy to close everything down you can swim in. It is claimed that swimming will return to Hong Kong some time in May. I certainly hope so.

This beach has changing rooms, toilets, showers and Life guards.

Lung Mei Beach.

Lung Mei Beach.

[Lung Mei Beach.

Lung Mei Beach.

Lung Mei Beach.

Lung Mei Beach.

Lung Mei Beach.

Lung Mei Beach.

After looking at the beach, I jumped on a 20C minibus back to Tai Po. The driver was really grumpy, or perhaps just deaf. A woman called out to get off and when he didn't stop, the whole minibus called out on her behalf. The driver then had a tirade about not stopping because noone had asked him to. This tirade went on for some time and he kept driving all the way through it. Fortunately, the woman concerned found it funny and didn't seem to mind walking all the way back to her stop.

I wanted to get off before Tai Po Market Station, because I wanted to visit the railway museum. However, I accidentally got off too soon and ended up in modern Tai Po on the other side of the Lam Tsuen River. I didn't mind as I had not really investigated here. It's a bit concretey and samey with the rest of built-up Hong Kong. I did visit Tai Po Central Town Square which had fountains and an interesting statue. I also found some nice art work on the walls of a school.

Tai Po Central Town Square.

Tai Po Central Town Square.

Tai Po Central Town Square.

Tai Po Central Town Square.

Art work Tai Po Central Square.

Art work Tai Po Central Square.

Art work on school wall.

Art work on school wall.

Art work on school wall.

Art work on school wall.

Art work on school wall.

Art work on school wall.

Art work on school wall.

Art work on school wall.

It took me a while to orientate myself and find my way back to the river and old Tai Po. I passed a little rest garden I had not noticed before then headed to the Railway Museum.

Tai Po Rest Garden.

Tai Po Rest Garden.

When I tried to visit this museum a couple of days ago it was closed, because it was a Tuesday. I made the effort to go all the way back and was delighted to see it was open.

To get into almost anything here at the moment, you need a vaccine pass on your phone. I've been using that successfully until last Wednesday. Peter and I went out for a meal, scanned the QR-code for our vaccine pass and it flashed up unvaccinated. We've both had three vaccines. The waitress was very apologetic and polite, but we had to leave the restaurant without getting served. To try and fix this I ended up returning my phone to factory settings and losing so much stuff. I reinstalled the leave home safe app and my vaccination certificates. It appeared to be working all right. I put my phone on the QR-code scanner for entry to the museum and would you believe it, it flashed up unvaccinated. I was livid.

I explained to the museum staff that I was vaccinated. They said no problem, just show us the paper copy of your certificates. I said those are in my house. Anyway eventually they let me in by scanning the QR-code on a photo I had taken of my certificate. What a palaver. I'm so frustrated with that app.

Anyway, enough of my moaning. The Hong Kong Railway Museum centres around the old Tai Po Market Railway Station which was built in 1913. It is designed in traditional Chinese style with a typical pitched roof. It looks rather like a temple. This station was taken out of service in 1983 when the Kowloon Canton Railway was electrified. The new Tai Wo Station was built north of this station and the new Tai Po Market Station was built south of it.The old station building was preserved as a heritage building and opened as a museum in 1985.

Inside the station building there are some historical items and photos related to the old KCR or Kowloon Canton Railway, which started operation in 1910. I liked that stored value passes were on display as a historical item. I had these for my first few years in Hong Kong before the octopus was introduced. Talk about feeling old. Wonder what other commonplace items from my past are now museum exhibits.

As well as the exhibits inside the station, there are also several old trains on display. You can get on one of these and wander through the carriages. You will see what first, second and third class compartments looked like in the past. There's also an old steam locomotive and a 1950's Australia-made diesel electric engine. They also had the old-fashioned hand operated pump cars you see in black and white, silent movies. I felt like leaping on and chasing some baddies.

The Hong Kong Railway Museum is free to enter. It is located at 13 Shung Tak Street, Tai Po.

Old Tai Po Market Station Sign.

Old Tai Po Market Station Sign.

Old Tai Po Market Station Sign.

Old Tai Po Market Station Sign.

The old station building.

The old station building.

The old station building.

The old station building.

Old booking office window.

Old booking office window.

Inside the station.

Inside the station.

Inside the station.

Inside the station.

Old Photo showing Kowloon Canton Railway Terminal in TST. Only the clocktower still remains.

Old Photo showing Kowloon Canton Railway Terminal in TST. Only the clocktower still remains.

Old Photo of the KCR.

Old Photo of the KCR.

Old Photo of the KCR.

Old Photo of the KCR.

Museum Display.

Museum Display.

Museum Display.

Museum Display.

Stored value passes.

Stored value passes.

In the outdoor area of the station you can see the first diesel-electric locomotive in Hong Kong, the Sir Alexander, called after former governor Sir Alexander Grantham. It was introduced in 1955 and retired from service in 2003 after a new batch of diesel locomotives arrived in Hong Kong. KCR staff spent more than 1000 hours restoring it to its original 1955 appearance. This involved removing rust, repainting it dark green, and restoring the traditional logo. The locomotive was donated to the museum in 2004.

The First diesel-electric locomotive in Hong Kong.

The First diesel-electric locomotive in Hong Kong.

The first diesel-electric locomotive in Hong Kong marked the KCR's transition from steam to diesel.

The first diesel-electric locomotive in Hong Kong marked the KCR's transition from steam to diesel.

The locomotive was called "Sir Alexander" after former Governor Alexander Grantham.

The locomotive was called "Sir Alexander" after former Governor Alexander Grantham.

Lady Maurine Diesel Electric Locomotive No.52 named after Governor Grantham's wife.

Lady Maurine Diesel Electric Locomotive No.52 named after Governor Grantham's wife.

Selfie with station.

Selfie with station.

There is an old steam engine, an A W. G. Bagnall 0-4-4PT narrow gauge steam locomotive, which used to run on the narrow gauge Sha Tau Kok Railway line between Fanling and Sha Tau Kok. When that closed down, the engine was sold to the Philippines who used it for their sugar mills. It was repurchased from there and restored in 1995. A second steam engine was also repurchased at the same time and was supposed to be restored to working order, but it ended up being donated to a narrow gauge railway in Wales.

Actually I looked up the Sha Tau Kok Railway Spur Line as I had never heard of it. It operated between Fan Ling and Sha Tau Kok from 1912 to 1928. It travelled through five stations: Fanling, Hung Leng, Wo Hang, Shek Chung and Sha Tau Kok. It took 55 minutes for the 12kms route. Many people used it to visit a large cemetery at Wo Hop Shek, so they could tend their ancestral graves there. The line was closed in 1928 when a road was built connecting these areas.

Old Steam Engine.

Old Steam Engine.

Old Steam Engine.

Old Steam Engine.

Old Railway Building.

Old Railway Building.

There are seven different carriages you can board and even sit in to get an idea of what the old trains were like. I believe these compartments come from seven different trains, all representing different historic periods.

Old train and old railway line on left, new modern MTR line on right.

Old train and old railway line on left, new modern MTR line on right.

Old train compartments.

Old train compartments.

Old train compartments.

Old train compartments.

Old train compartments.

Old train compartments.

First class compartment.

First class compartment.

Selfie in third class.

Selfie in third class.

Second class compartment.

Second class compartment.

Third class compartment.

Third class compartment.

I then did a bit of shopping and headed back home.

Posted by irenevt 06:39 Archived in Hong Kong Comments (6)

Running Away in Big Steps.

Exploring Tai Po.

sunny

Spiral Lookout Tower.

Spiral Lookout Tower.

Yesterday I went to Tai Po in the Eastern New Territories.

In Cantonese words change their meaning depending on which tone they are said in. Tai means big and Po means port or seaside so Tai Po probably means Big Place on the Sea Side. However, Po pronounced in a different tone means steps or strides, so there is a joke here that Tai Po means Big Steps, as it's so far out in the wilds and there are so many wild animals that the inhabitants are constantly running away from them in big steps. You may have to be Cantonese to find this funny, but I thought it was quite cute.

Tai Po originated as a market town. The first market here was located near what is now Tai Wo Station. It was controlled by the very powerful Tang Clan. They charged high rents to stall holders and demanded discounts for themselves on many goods. They also controlled access to the market by owning the ferry boat many people had to use to get there. In 1892, seven years before the British leased the New Territories, a group of seven villages united together to form the Tsat Yeuk or Alliance of Seven. They were tired of the Tangs' monopoly and wanted to create their own market. The new market was centred around Fu Shin Street on the other side of the Lam Tsuen River. In addition to creating the market the Tsat Yeuk built the Man Mo Temple, a well and the Kwong Fuk Bridge across the Lam Tsuen River.

I began my explorations of Tai Po at the Lam Tsuen River. This river originates on the slopes of Tai Mo Shan. In fact it's the river I was exploring on my waterfall hike in my last blog. It is around 10.8km long and empties into the Tolo Harbour near Tai Po. There are several beautiful bridges crossing this river in Tai Po. Two of the most attractive are the Kwong Fuk Bridge and the Tai Wo Bridge.

The Kwong Fuk Bridge was originally built in 1896 to allow people easy and free access to the markets on both sides of the river. The original bridge has been replaced and the new bridge is in a slightly different position. The Tai Wo Bridge is similar in style to the Kwong Fuk Bridge, but I can find no information about when it was built. I suspect it may not actually be very old. Anyway I found both bridges rather beautiful.

Tai Wo Bridge.

Tai Wo Bridge.

Tai Wo Bridge.

Tai Wo Bridge.

View along Lam Tsuen River.

View along Lam Tsuen River.

Kwong Fuk Bridge.

Kwong Fuk Bridge.

Kwong Fuk Bridge.

Kwong Fuk Bridge.

Kwong Fuk Bridge.

Kwong Fuk Bridge.

Boats on the Lam Tsuen River viewed from the Kwong Fuk Bridge.

Boats on the Lam Tsuen River viewed from the Kwong Fuk Bridge.

People enjoying resting in the shade on the Kwong Fuk Bridge.

People enjoying resting in the shade on the Kwong Fuk Bridge.

Around both bridges there were lots of small boats and many beautiful wading birds: mainly egrets and herons.

Egret.

Egret.

Heron.

Heron.

Although we used to come to Tai Po a lot when we lived in Fo Tan (because our favourite Indian restaurant was located here), I don't know where all the historical buildings are, so I was pleased to see lots of pink tourist signs. These helped me find everything I wanted to see.

The next sight I found was the Man Mo Temple. This is dedicated to Man Tai, god of literature, and Mo Tai, god of war. It was built in the 1890's by the Tsat Yeuk. It is located on Fu Shing Street, right in the middle of the market. The temple was originally used as an arbitration centre to settle any disputes between stall holders and customers. A set of scales were kept here for this purpose. It was also believed that people would not cheat others right in front of their gods. In 1984, the temple became a declared monument, making it the first building in the New Territories protected by the Antiquities and Monuments Department.

Entrance to the Man Mo Temple.

Entrance to the Man Mo Temple.

Incense burner.

Incense burner.

Inside the temple.

Inside the temple.

Inside the temple.

Inside the temple.

Incense coils.

Incense coils.

Next, I wandered around the market stalls on Fu Shing Street. You can buy all sorts here: fruit, vegetables, meat, dried goods. It was quite colourful and bustling. While I was wandering around taking photos, a large group of police or possibly health inspectors turned up and started taking photos. This was enough to drive me away.

Busy market street.

Busy market street.

Vegetable stall.

Vegetable stall.

Fruit and vegetables.

Fruit and vegetables.

Fruit.

Fruit.

Dried goods.

Dried goods.

Dried goods.

Dried goods.

Market stalls.

Market stalls.

Market stalls.

Market stalls.

Market stalls.

Market stalls.

I was disappointed with the next sight as it was closed and I really wanted to see it. I assumed it's closure was due to COVID, but have since found out it was only closed because I visited on a Tuesday and that museums have in fact opened up again. This is great news for me, as I will just go back on another day. This museum is the Hong Kong Railway Museum. It is located in the old Tai Po Market Station and displays several old trains. I will add photos after I visit.

This museum is open-air and occupies 6,500 square meters. The old Tai Po Market Railway Station was built in 1913. It has a traditional Chinese pitched roof. It was opened as a museum in 1985.

Sign for Railway Museum.

Sign for Railway Museum.

I walked from the Railway Museum to Tai Po's main square which is known as Tai Ming Lane Square. This is where four busy lanes: Kwong Fuk Lane, Tai Wing Lane, Tai Kwong Lane and Tai Ming Lane, come together to form a square. There were lots of people sitting around enjoying the open air here. There was also a very beautiful flowering tree. Before the 1960's this square was the site of watercress fields.

Tai Ming Lane Square.

Tai Ming Lane Square.

Tai Ming Lane Square.

Tai Ming Lane Square.

Tai Ming Lane Square.

Tai Ming Lane Square.

Flowering tree in the square.

Flowering tree in the square.

I then did a bit of aimless wandering around. I found a huge, modern, glass building called the Tai Po Complex which contains government offices, a library, leisure facilities, a market and the Tai Po Cooked Food Centre. Then, I found an old looking building I thought looked nice, but I don't know what it is and next to that there was a lovely church called The Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, which dates from 1961. I also found some attractive looking village houses.

Tai Po Complex.

Tai Po Complex.

Not sure what this old building is, but I liked it.

Not sure what this old building is, but I liked it.

The Immaculate Heart of Mary Church.

The Immaculate Heart of Mary Church.

Virgin Mary statue outside The Immaculate Heart of Mary Church.

Virgin Mary statue outside The Immaculate Heart of Mary Church.

Art outside The Immaculate Heart of Mary Church.

Art outside The Immaculate Heart of Mary Church.

Street art with egrets. I saw lots of these.

Street art with egrets. I saw lots of these.

Village Houses.

Village Houses.

Wan Tai Tong Square.

Wan Tai Tong Square.

Flowers brightening up a Tai Po street.

Flowers brightening up a Tai Po street.

After this I went to see two important historical buildings in Tai Po. I never used to be interested in Hong Kong history, so on all of my earlier visits to Tai Po I didn't even know these existed.

On the 9th of June 1898, British Colonial Secretary, James Stewart Lockhart, and a representative of the Qing Emperor signed the Second Convention of Peking. This granted the British a 99-year lease of the New Territories. Members of the Punti Clans living in the New Territories, mainly around the Kam Tin and Tai Po areas, were opposed to the British takeover, as they were worried about land use, preserving their customs and their traditional inheritance rights.

In April 1899, the British set up mastheads on Flagstaff Hill, Tai Po for a flag raising ceremony, but members of the Punti Clans burnt these down. 125 Indian soldiers of the Royal Hong Kong Regiment were sent in to sort this out, but they were quickly besieged by villagers. These events led to The Six Day War which lasted from April 14th to 19th 1899. The British were much better armed than the Punti Clans and rapidly repelled the rebellion. Around five hundred Chinese clansmen were killed in the fighting, but the British wanted peace in the New Territories, so they made concessions about customs and land inheritance to the indigenous peoples there. Even now some of the laws in the New Territories are different to laws in the rest of Hong Kong.

The first lovely old building I went to see was the Old Tai Po Police Station. This was completed in 1889 and this was the site where the flag raising ceremony to mark British control of the New Territories was supposed to take place. This is the oldest surviving police station in the New Territories. During the Japanese Occupation of Hong Kong, the police station was abandoned. Its windows, doors and wooden floors were looted by nearby residents. After the war, the building was restored and it was used as a police station again until 1987. Nowadays this building is known as the Green Hub. It is under the management of The Kadoorie Farms and Botanical Gardens Group. It is a centre for conservation and sustainable living.

The Old Tai Po Police Station is made up of three single-storey buildings: the Main Building, the Staff Quarters Block and the Canteen Block. It was declared a monument in 2021. Again, because it was Tuesday, I could not go inside, so I just took some photos through the fence.

Entrance to  Wan Tau Kok Playground at the foot of Flagstaff Hill, but marked Tai Po Primary School.

Entrance to Wan Tau Kok Playground at the foot of Flagstaff Hill, but marked Tai Po Primary School.

Wan Tau Kok Playground at the foot of Flagstaff Hill.

Wan Tau Kok Playground at the foot of Flagstaff Hill.

Tai Po Old Police Station.

Tai Po Old Police Station.

Tai Po Old Police Station.

Tai Po Old Police Station.

Just across from the Old Tai Po Police Station, there is another beautiful old building. This one is The Old District Office North. It was built in 1907 and was the earliest seat of the colonial civil administration of the New Territories. There was a magistrates court here right up until 1961. Nowadays this building is home to the Law Ting Pong Scout Centre. This building was declared a monument in 1981.

Tai Po North District Offices.

Tai Po North District Offices.

Tai Po North District Offices.

Tai Po North District Offices.

The next part of my explorations involved quite a bit of walking. I visited Yuen Chau Tsai Park. Chau means island and, prior to land reclamation, this area was an island in Tolo Harbour. There's a lovely temple here and a beautiful old house called Island House. Yuen Chau Tsai Park is a pleasant park with little pavilions, a waterside walkway, dragon boats, greenery and flowers.

Boats on the river on the walk to Yuen Chau Tsai Park.

Boats on the river on the walk to Yuen Chau Tsai Park.

Beautiful flowers in Yuen Chau Tsai Park.

Beautiful flowers in Yuen Chau Tsai Park.

Beautiful flowers in Yuen Chau Tsai Park.

Beautiful flowers in Yuen Chau Tsai Park.

Pavilion, Yuen Chau Tsai Park.

Pavilion, Yuen Chau Tsai Park.

Yuen Chau Tsai Park.

Yuen Chau Tsai Park.

Flowers.

Flowers.

Island House was built in 1905 as the residence for the first British Police Magistrate. It later became the official residence of the North District Officer and the residences of District Commissioners for the New Territories. The last resident of Island House was Sir David Akers-Jones, who was the Chief Secretary of Hong Kong from 1985 to 1987. Island House is now home to the World Wildlife Fund of Hong Kong. It is possible to visit here on a tour. I believe they do some craft and conservation related workshops, too.

Island House.

Island House.

Island House.

Island House.

Coastal view next to Island House.

Coastal view next to Island House.

Coastal view next to Island House.

Coastal view next to Island House.

Coastal view next to Island House.

Coastal view next to Island House.

Coastal view next to Island House.

Coastal view next to Island House.

Coastal view next to Island House.

Coastal view next to Island House.

Coastal view next to Island House.

Coastal view next to Island House.

Hut next to Island House.

Hut next to Island House.

Helipad near Island House.

Helipad near Island House.

World Wildlife Fund Notice.

World Wildlife Fund Notice.

The temple here is the Tai Wong Yeh Temple. It dates from the middle of the Qing Dynasty. Originally there was just a stone tablet here, but later a group of fishermen raised funds to build a temple to Tai Wong Yeh. There's a pleasant little garden with a statue of Kuan Yin, goddess of mercy, a water feature and some orchids at the back of the temple.

At the entrance of the Tai Wong Yeh Temple.

At the entrance of the Tai Wong Yeh Temple.

Lanterns inside the temple.

Lanterns inside the temple.

Lanterns inside the temple.

Lanterns inside the temple.

Inside the Tai Wong Yeh Temple.

Inside the Tai Wong Yeh Temple.

Incense coils.

Incense coils.

Kuan Yin Statue in the temple garden

Kuan Yin Statue in the temple garden

Kuan Yin Statue.

Kuan Yin Statue.

Orchid in garden of Tai Wong Yeh Temple.

Orchid in garden of Tai Wong Yeh Temple.

Panel at front of temple

Panel at front of temple

The best thing about this area were the egrets, lots and lots of egrets. There were so many of them just off shore when I visited. They were really beautiful to watch.

Lots of egrets.

Lots of egrets.

Lots of egrets.

Lots of egrets.

Egret on a branch.

Egret on a branch.

Egret about to take off.

Egret about to take off.

When I reached the end of Yuen Chau Tsai Park I was right on the river. I could see my next destination, Tai Po Waterfront Park on the other side of the water, so I had to wander over the nearby bridge.

Bridge between Yuen Chau Tsai Park and Tai Po Waterfront Park.

Bridge between Yuen Chau Tsai Park and Tai Po Waterfront Park.

Bridge between Yuen Chau Tsai Park and Tai Po Waterfront Park.

Bridge between Yuen Chau Tsai Park and Tai Po Waterfront Park.

Tai Po Waterfront Park is a really beautiful park, filled with lots of greenery and flowers. It opened in 1994. It's pretty big, occupying twenty-two hectares, and apparently it cost around HK$210 million to build. The park is located between Tai Po Industrial Zone and the Tolo Harbour. There are lots of different gardens here such as: the rose gardens, western gardens, kite flying lawns, water feature gardens. There are also children's play areas, a jogging track and a cycling track. It's possible to hire bikes here. There's a cycle track from here all the way to Tai Mei Tuk in one direction and to Tai Wai in the other. Plus there is an Insect House. The most famous part of the park is the Spiral Lookout Tower, which is 32.4 metres high and provides excellent views over Tolo Harbour. I noticed a couple of cafes where you can have light refreshments, though I didn't try these.There's also a 1.2 kilometre promenade along the waterfront. I walked right to the end of this.

There were several parts of this park I really wanted to see and the spiral lookout tower was one of them. It's located in a garden with ponds. There's a bridge in front of it and it looks out over Tolo Harbour, the industrial estate and Tai Po. I loved the views and even liked the inner view of the tower itself.

Spiral Tower.

Spiral Tower.

Spiral Lookout Tower.

Spiral Lookout Tower.

Inside Spiral Lookout Tower.

Inside Spiral Lookout Tower.

View from Spiral Lookout Tower.

View from Spiral Lookout Tower.

View from Spiral Lookout Tower.

View from Spiral Lookout Tower.

View from Spiral Lookout Tower.

View from Spiral Lookout Tower.

I also rather liked the so called Western Garden. What I enjoyed here was that parts of the garden were life sized paintings of natural scenes, but they had plants growing over them - a sort of blurring of nature and art - quite clever I thought. There were also lots of statues in this garden.

The western garden.

The western garden.

In the western garden.

In the western garden.

In the western garden.

In the western garden.

In the western garden.

In the western garden.

Statue in Western Garden.

Statue in Western Garden.

There were other examples of art, too in the form of graffiti art and small paintings that you could scan an app to see in 3-d. I didn't try this.

Graffiti.

Graffiti.

Elephant.

Elephant.

This cat can be made to look 3-d.

This cat can be made to look 3-d.

As you would expect the gardens were home to some really beautiful trees and flowers. There were lots of splashes of colour everywhere.

Bougainvillia.

Bougainvillia.

Flowering tree.

Flowering tree.

Beautiful flowers.

Beautiful flowers.

Beautiful flowers.

Beautiful flowers.

Lovely blue flowers.

Lovely blue flowers.

Flower.

Flower.

Flowers.

Flowers.

Flowers.

Flowers.

I decided to walk all the way along the waterfront which was quite pretty. It ends at Tolo Corner and an area where you can fish or enjoy the views. I loved the yellow flowering plants which lined the waterfront. There were some pavilions on route where you could rest in the shade. Someone was playing the violin in one of these. Rather incongruously behind the waterfront promenade there are lots of factories in Tai Po Industrial Zone.

Pavilion.

Pavilion.

People fishing in Tolo Harbour.

People fishing in Tolo Harbour.

View across Tolo Harbour.

View across Tolo Harbour.

Walking along the waterfront promenade.

Walking along the waterfront promenade.

On the Waterfront Promenade.

On the Waterfront Promenade.

Monument on the Waterfront Promenade.

Monument on the Waterfront Promenade.

Monument on the Waterfront Promenade.

Monument on the Waterfront Promenade.

Tolo Corner at the end of the waterfront promenade

Tolo Corner at the end of the waterfront promenade

Fish that swim in Tolo Harbour.

Fish that swim in Tolo Harbour.

Tai Po Industrial Zone behind the park.

Tai Po Industrial Zone behind the park.

Looking towards Ma On Shan.

Looking towards Ma On Shan.

Looking towards Ma On Shan or Saddleback Mountain.

Looking towards Ma On Shan or Saddleback Mountain.

Looking up towards Tai Mei Tuk.

Looking up towards Tai Mei Tuk.

Looking up towards Tai Mei Tuk.

Looking up towards Tai Mei Tuk.

Other things I noticed about the park were it had a large open air arena, there were many wooden models of animals, there were several lawns and one of these was popular with people flying their kites.

On the kite flying lawn.

On the kite flying lawn.

Stone Lantern.

Stone Lantern.

Wooden bird.

Wooden bird.

Wooden birds

Wooden birds

Wooden deer.

Wooden deer.

Water garden.

Water garden.

Arena

Arena

I decided to walk back to the centre and the MTR station, but I took a different route along the river. I was surprised and fascinated to see several bridges covered with people's drying washing. I think this is a great idea, but you don't see people drying stuff outside like this in many parts of Hong Kong.

Washing drying on the bridge.

Washing drying on the bridge.

Washing drying on the bridge.

Washing drying on the bridge.

Washing left out to dry on the bridge.

Washing left out to dry on the bridge.

Back in the centre I passed a pub that is supposed to be very popular with ex-pats. Of course it was closed as bars are still forced to shut down due to COVID regulations.

I liked this house.

I liked this house.

The Bobby London Pub.

The Bobby London Pub.

I took the train back home from Tai Po Market Station. When I switched lines in Hung Hom, I took a picture of the flower decorations that are on the walls of East rail line stations. Hung Hom is represented by the hibiscus.

Hibiscus Art at Hung Hom Station.

Hibiscus Art at Hung Hom Station.

Posted by irenevt 12:41 Archived in Hong Kong Comments (10)

Don't Go Chasing Waterfalls.

A hike to the waterfalls of Ng Tung Chai.

semi-overcast

Middle Fall.

Middle Fall.

I've been thinking about doing the Ng Tung Chai Waterfall Hike since last September, but I keep making excuses and doing other hikes instead. I rationalise this by constantly telling myself the water level at the falls won't be high enough, but in reality I think the true reason I've been avoiding this hike is because it sounded quite hard. Anyway, yesterday, I finally got around to doing it.

Ng Tung Chai is a village situated on the lower slopes of Tai Mo Shan, the highest mountain in Hong Kong. Behind the village the Lam Tsuen Stream tumbles its way down the mountains in a series of waterfalls. Most people visit the four main ones, though there are actually several more.

To get there, I travelled to Kam Sheung Road MTR Station, exited through exit C and then took bus 64K in the direction of Tai Po Market. I got off at Ngau Len Wo.

It was quite a pleasant journey and took around twenty minutes. From the bus I took a picture of a monument in Sheung Tsuen Park, not sure what it commemorates.

Sheung Tsuen Park. I think this is a Reunification Memorial celebrating Hong Kong's return to China in 1997.

Sheung Tsuen Park. I think this is a Reunification Memorial celebrating Hong Kong's return to China in 1997.

When I got off at Ngau Len Wo, I crossed the road and immediately saw a sign for the Ng Tung Chai Waterfall Hike. I was delighted, as I often waste so much time and effort trying to find the start of hikes. As I later noticed many times on this walk, the whole route was incredibly well signposted.

I followed the direction of the sign up a sloping road and into the village of Ng Tung Chai. I only passed a couple of village houses as the path to the waterfalls left the village very quickly. There were some lovely flowers and trees in some of the gardens and I liked the fancy mailbox at one house.

Sign for the village as soon as I crossed the road.

Sign for the village as soon as I crossed the road.

Beautiful tree.

Beautiful tree.

Bougainvilia.

Bougainvilia.

Bamboo.

Bamboo.

Bamboo.

Bamboo.

Broad Leaves.

Broad Leaves.

Decorations and fancy mailbox outside a house

Decorations and fancy mailbox outside a house

Decorations.

Decorations.

Fancy Post Box.

Fancy Post Box.

Ng Tung Chai Village.

Ng Tung Chai Village.

House and dog in Ng Tung Chai Village.

House and dog in Ng Tung Chai Village.

House in Ng Tung Chai Village.

House in Ng Tung Chai Village.

I left the village via a very steep road with views over a couple of small farms. There were a few well kept village graves on the hillside. I soon reached a large arched gateway which indicated that there was a temple nearby.

Village grave.

Village grave.

Temple gateway.

Temple gateway.

Temple gateway.

Temple gateway.

Little farms.

Little farms.

Little Farms.

Little Farms.

One of the little farms.

One of the little farms.

Farms.

Farms.

Silver grass.

Silver grass.

Banana flower.

Banana flower.

The temple is called Man Tak Yuen. It is a Taoist temple and is supposed to be lovely inside. Unfortunately, this temple was closed due to COVID. Just past the temple there is a little bridge and on the far side of this, I saw the first waterfall of the hike. The Ng Tung Chai Waterfall hike is called the Four Waterfalls Hike in English. This is not one of the four waterfalls, but it was quite pretty nonetheless. The trail to the waterfalls starts from next to this waterfall and comes with its very own warning sign. There was a slight tree obscured view of the temple from the stairs up to the start of the walk.

Temple entrance.

Temple entrance.

Temple entrance.

Temple entrance.

Shrine in front of the temple.

Shrine in front of the temple.

Inscription outside the temple.

Inscription outside the temple.

Bridge next to the temple.

Bridge next to the temple.

Waterfall next to the temple.

Waterfall next to the temple.

Sign for the waterfalls.

Sign for the waterfalls.

This sign did little to reassure me about the hike ahead.

This sign did little to reassure me about the hike ahead.

Looking back towards the temple from the hill.

Looking back towards the temple from the hill.

Looking back towards the temple from the hill.

Looking back towards the temple from the hill.

Very quickly into the walk the trail divides into two. To the right there is a way up Tai Mo Shan without passing the waterfalls. On the left is the way to Tai Mo Shan via the waterfalls. I had no intention of going all the way to the top of Tai Mo Shan on this hike. I just wanted to see the waterfalls, so I took the path on the left.

Soon this path starts to get a bit steep with lots of stairs, but it wanders through the beautiful greenery of the jungle and is perfectly pleasant. I believe this route gets busy at weekends and on public holidays, but yesterday it was fairly quiet. All I could hear as I climbed, was the buzzing of insects, birds singing and water trickling down the hillside. It was very peaceful. Some hikes are friendlier than others. Here everyone I passed said hello.

The path splits at the Tai Mo Shan Country Park sign.

The path splits at the Tai Mo Shan Country Park sign.

Don't take this path on the right. It misses out the waterfalls. It's the route I came back by.

Don't take this path on the right. It misses out the waterfalls. It's the route I came back by.

Follow the sign for the waterfalls on your left.

Follow the sign for the waterfalls on your left.

Some stretches of the path had stone steps.

Some stretches of the path had stone steps.

The way was mainly shaded and surrounded with greenery.

The way was mainly shaded and surrounded with greenery.

Stone steps through the jungle.

Stone steps through the jungle.

Tree roots growing across the path.

Tree roots growing across the path.

Moss covered rocks.

Moss covered rocks.

Giant ferns.

Giant ferns.

Epiphyte growing out of a tree.

Epiphyte growing out of a tree.

I loved wandering through the jungle.

I loved wandering through the jungle.

Some bits were trickier than others.

Some bits were trickier than others.

Some bits were trickier than others.

Some bits were trickier than others.

After about thirty minutes of walking I arrived at the first of the four waterfalls this hike is named after. This is called Bottom Fall. To reach it, you have to leave the path and climb down some steps. I had the whole waterfall to myself. It's shady next to the falls and there are lots of moss covered rocks. I found it very relaxing here.

Bottom Fall Sign.

Bottom Fall Sign.

Bottom Fall.

Bottom Fall.

Selfie with Bottom Fall.

Selfie with Bottom Fall.

Bottom Fall.

Bottom Fall.

Epiphyte at Bottom Fall.

Epiphyte at Bottom Fall.

Once I had made it to Bottom Fall, I knew I could certainly reach the second waterfall as it is only around five minutes further on. This one is called Middle Fall and it's a lot taller than Bottom Fall. There were two other hikers sitting on the rocks here.

Sign for Middle Fall.

Sign for Middle Fall.

Middle Fall.

Middle Fall.

Selfie at Middle Fall.

Selfie at Middle Fall.

I took a slight rest here, as it was the next section of the hike I was worried about. I've read lots of blogs on this walk and adjectives used to describe the section between Middle Fall and Main Fall are commonly words such as gruelling, dreadful, exhausting, daunting. These had not inspired me with confidence. I had promised myself that if I was really tired by this stage, I would turn round and go back down. I could tell anyone who might read this blog that Ng Tung Chai is known as the Two Waterfalls Walk and they would never be any the wiser. However, to my surprise, I was not really all that tired and I was actually enjoying the walk. I ploughed on.

The stretch between Middle Fall and Main Fall is gruelling and exhausting and everything else it has been described as, but it has one thing in its favour - it is also amazingly beautiful. It really is the jungle now. I felt like Jane wandering around wondering where Tarzan had got to. I stopped frequently to catch my breath and photograph everything. The beauty all around me distracted me from the difficulties of the walk.

The path was steep and slippy and in many places incredibly narrow. This would not be fun if it were crowded, as there are many places you cannot pass someone coming the other way. I only passed two other hikers before I reached Main Fall.

I realised that I was drenched in sweat from the humidity even though it was not a particularly warm day. I was also getting eaten alive by mosquitoes. I had forgotten to bring repellant.

This part of the walk took me forty minutes. Near the end of this stretch, the path descends around the edge of a cliff with a bit of a drop off to the left hand side. In places you have to sit down and lower yourself to the next part of the path below. At this point I was beginning to question my sanity and that's when up ahead I saw the incredibly tall Main Fall and knew I had made it.

In some places the path was narrow.

In some places the path was narrow.

In some places it was rocky.

In some places it was rocky.

Some parts of the path ran along beside the stream. There were little waterfalls every now and then.

Some parts of the path ran along beside the stream. There were little waterfalls every now and then.

Moss covered rocks next to the stream.

Moss covered rocks next to the stream.

Different colours of mosses and lichens on the rocks.

Different colours of mosses and lichens on the rocks.

Being here all alone made me feel like an intrepid explorer.

Being here all alone made me feel like an intrepid explorer.

As you can see I got totally carried away photographing my surroundings.

As you can see I got totally carried away photographing my surroundings.

Jungle path.

Jungle path.

Jungle path.

Jungle path.

Stairs through the jungle..

Stairs through the jungle..

Stairs through the jungle.

Stairs through the jungle.

Vegetation lined path.

Vegetation lined path.

Rocky Path.

Rocky Path.

Selfie on the jungle path.

Selfie on the jungle path.

Fallen log.

Fallen log.

Flowers.

Flowers.

I believe Main Fall is the highest falls in Hong Kong. The water drops down from a height of thirty-five metres. People swim in the waterfall pools at all four of the waterfalls in summer time. I actually wore my swimming costume yesterday, but we haven't had much rain for a long time and the pools did not look that deep. Add to that, that having got really warm just before Easter, it has mercifully cooled down again. Yesterday was not at all hot.

Sign for Main Fall.

Sign for Main Fall.

Main Fall.

Main Fall.

Selfie with Main Fall.

Selfie with Main Fall.

Zoom view of the top of Main Fall. Someone died here taking a selfie last year.

Zoom view of the top of Main Fall. Someone died here taking a selfie last year.

Main Fall.

Main Fall.

After enjoying Main Fall for a while I crossed over the stream flowing out of it. You have to do this on the rocks. There isn't a bridge. I was heading for the last of the four falls - Scatter Fall. I wasn't sure if I would be able to get here as I read some blogs saying the path between Main Fall and Scatter Fall had been wrecked by a typhoon and was impassable. That may have been the case before, but it has been cleared now. There were warning signs about landslips and advice not to go here in rainy weather.

Warning sign on the way up to Scatter Fall

Warning sign on the way up to Scatter Fall

The path from Main Fall to Scatter Falls is short but steep and quite challenging in parts. There were lots of banana trees all around it. It only took about ten minutes between the two waterfalls. Scatter Falls is just above Main Fall. I passed a cave on the climb up, when I investigated it from close up, I discovered it was flooded. There was another cave right next to Scatter Fall. The falls are not exactly imaginatively named: Bottom Fall, Middle Fall, Main Fall. I can only imagine Scatter Falls is called this because it is wide and so the waterfall is scattered across several rocks. Some people have suggested it looks like locks of long hair scattered across a pillow.

The path up to Scatter Falls.

The path up to Scatter Falls.

The path up to Scatter Falls.

The path up to Scatter Falls.

The path up. Those rails came in handy.

The path up. Those rails came in handy.

The path up. Where did it go?

The path up. Where did it go?

The path wasn't always easy.

The path wasn't always easy.

Vegetation on the walk up to Scatter Fall.

Vegetation on the walk up to Scatter Fall.

Banana Trees.

Banana Trees.

Banana Trees.

Banana Trees.

In places water flowed over this path and bits of it were quite wet.

In places water flowed over this path and bits of it were quite wet.

Wet Path.

Wet Path.

Flooded cave on way up.

Flooded cave on way up.

Flooded cave on way up.

Flooded cave on way up.

When I finally got to Scatter Falls, two Chinese girls came along and started taking photos. I offered to take their photo so they could be in the shot together. Then they took my photo. Then one of them wanted her photo taken with me. For a while we were all hopping around all over the place like idiots posing in front of the waterfall. Then we said goodbye and I set off, but suddenly they called me back. One of them had lost her i-phone and they thought I might have taken it. I don't mean they accused me of stealing it. They thought I might have taken it by mistake with all the passing around of phones. Now I must admit I am one of the world's most scatterbrained people. Even I thought I might have taken it by mistake and was wondering how I would be able to explain: 'I'm not a thief, just an idiot.' I began searching frantically through my bags. Anyway it turned out the girl had dropped her phone next to the stream and she finally found it. Then of course they were really apologetic in case they had offended me, but they hadn't. It was all just a big mix up. I thought that girl was really lucky that she had realised right away she had lost her phone or she would never have found it again.

Scatter Fall Sign.

Scatter Fall Sign.

Opposite Scatter Falls is the top of Main Fall.

Opposite Scatter Falls is the top of Main Fall.

Cave next to Scatter Falls.

Cave next to Scatter Falls.

Scatter Falls.

Scatter Falls.

Side view of Scatter Falls.

Side view of Scatter Falls.

Me in front of Scatter Falls.

Me in front of Scatter Falls.

Photo before the great I-phone mystery.

Photo before the great I-phone mystery.

Selfie with Scatter Falls.

Selfie with Scatter Falls.

I had made it, and what's more I had really enjoyed this walk. However, in many places the path had been like a sort of assault course. I wasn't really relishing trying to get back down it again. I had three choices. I could retrace my steps. I could go up further, then head left and continue on till I reached the road up to Tai Mo Shan. Or I could head up further, then head right. This way would eventually lead me down to the place where the two paths diverged just after the temple. In other words this was the path up Tai Mo Shan that didn't go via the waterfalls. I chose the latter option.

At first this way was very pleasant. It followed a flat path. At one point the path even cut through a ruined building. Then after around fifteen minutes or so, I reached stairs down the mountain. I must admit I did not enjoy this path. The stairs were uneven and difficult to walk on, so I had to concentrate on them fully in order not to trip. This meant I could not enjoy my surroundings. Also they seemed endless and they were really jarring on my knees. I was beginning to think I should have continued on to the Tai Mo Shan Road, but who knows, maybe this way would be difficult, too. I did pass some colourful flowers on the way down and the occasional distant view. I was delighted when I finally reached the bottom.

To get down first I had to go further up

To get down first I had to go further up

Passing through a bamboo grove on the flat path.

Passing through a bamboo grove on the flat path.

Ruin on the path.

Ruin on the path.

Ruin on the path.

Ruin on the path.

Choices, choices.

Choices, choices.

Nonstop stairs down. I hated this path. My knees hate me for taking it.

Nonstop stairs down. I hated this path. My knees hate me for taking it.

View on the way down.

View on the way down.

Flowers on the way down.

Flowers on the way down.

Flowers on the way down.

Flowers on the way down.

Flowers on the way down.

Flowers on the way down.

Selfie on the way down.

Selfie on the way down.

It was wonderful to finally be done with those awful stairs. I caught the bus back to the MTR and returned home to rest my weary legs and feet

Excellent signposting right to the end.

Excellent signposting right to the end.

Posted by irenevt 08:29 Archived in Hong Kong Comments (14)

Sharks and Parks.

Visiting Shark Rock and Diamond Hill.

sunny

Shark Rock.

Shark Rock.

Today I didn't really feel like doing anything, but aware that Easter weekend is about to start and that all the hiking trails will be heaving with people for a while, I decided to get out and about before that happened. My left leg has been a bit iffy since I completed the Rhino Rock Assault Course, so I opted for a short walk involving another weirdly shaped monolith and headed out to Shark Rock near Diamond Hill.

Just as an aside, why is Diamond Hill called Diamond Hill? Well it's not because it's got any diamonds. Apparently this area was known for mining in the past and the Cantonese word for diamonds is the same as the Cantonese word for to drill, only using a different tone. The British misunderstood the local area name which was based on drilling and thought it referred to diamonds. I like that the MTR station name is sparkly to go with the idea of diamonds.

Diamond Hill MTR, note the sparkly bits.

Diamond Hill MTR, note the sparkly bits.

Getting to Shark Rock is easy, take the MTR to Diamond Hill and leave via exit C. Walk towards Nan Lian Gardens, but when you reach them, don't go in, instead cross to the other side of Fung Tak Road. Go right. You will pass lots of sights: the Nan Lian Gardens, the Chi Lin Nunnery, Hammer Hill Park. I promised myself I would do them all on the way back. After a while Fung Tak Road becomes Hammer Hill Road, follow this. It will change again to Po Kong Village Road. Eventually you will reach Fu Shan Bus Station. It sounds long, but to get there from the MTR only takes around 15 minutes.

Hammer Hill Road becomes Po Kong Village Road.

Hammer Hill Road becomes Po Kong Village Road.

Just past the bus station you will see a barrier across a road on your right. Go round this barrier and walk downhill towards the stream.

This is the barrier you go round.

This is the barrier you go round.

Follow the stream and where the road splits, go left.

The water level in the stream is low at the moment.

The water level in the stream is low at the moment.

After a short walk, you will reach a cemetery, go left and walk through it. This is Diamond Hill Urn Cemetery. I'm one of those weird people who actually like cemeteries and this one is old and peaceful, so I enjoyed passing through it.

Diamond Hill Urn Cemetery.

Diamond Hill Urn Cemetery.

Diamond Hill Urn Cemetery.

Diamond Hill Urn Cemetery.

Diamond Hill Urn Cemetery.

Diamond Hill Urn Cemetery.

Diamond Hill Urn Cemetery.

Diamond Hill Urn Cemetery.

Towards the end of the cemetery you will see a tree hanging precariously across the path, walk under this.

Tree looming over the path.

Tree looming over the path.

Tree looming over the path.

Tree looming over the path.

Selfie with tree.

Selfie with tree.

Not far after this there is a path down to the stream. This is not the way you want to go, though I investigated this way on the way back and found it had some nice little bridges.

Bridges over stream.

Bridges over stream.

I was starting to really enjoy the lush jungle vegetation all around me and the fact that earlier manmade structures: buildings, stairs, walls, paths were being reclaimed by the jungle. The whole area felt a bit like exploring the temples of Angkor Wat, minus the temples, if that makes sense. Overall I think the jungly nature of the surroundings were the highlight of the walk.

It's a jungle out there.

It's a jungle out there.

Pathway through the rocks.

Pathway through the rocks.

Fallen logs and broad leaved plants.

Fallen logs and broad leaved plants.

Tree roots overwhelm a wall.

Tree roots overwhelm a wall.

Stairway to nowhere.

Stairway to nowhere.

Stay on the path or the jungle will get you.

Stay on the path or the jungle will get you.

Beautiful Leaves.

Beautiful Leaves.

Beautiful Trees.

Beautiful Trees.

Dense Vegetation.

Dense Vegetation.

Are you staying on that path?

Are you staying on that path?

Gorgeous flower near the path.

Gorgeous flower near the path.

Gorgeous flower near the path.

Gorgeous flower near the path.

It takes around twenty-five minutes from the barrier at the start of the walk to a little bridge where you will find the hollow tree. This is a weird attraction that someone somewhere decided to step inside, get their photo taken and post it on Instagram. They started a trend. On some days I believe there are long queues. There were only two people there when I arrived. I got them to photograph me. It was a bit of a disaster. I forgot to put my bags down before climbing in and I've put on so much weight since middle age and COVID both hit me at the same time. I think I was too fat for the hollow tree, but I got the picture anyway.

Bridge with hollow tree on its far side.

Bridge with hollow tree on its far side.

This is where you climb in.

This is where you climb in.

This is where you stick your head out.

This is where you stick your head out.

This is the result if you don't quite fit.

This is the result if you don't quite fit.

Not far past hollow tree is Shark Rock. There was a serious photo session going on when I arrived involving numerous people and a dog. I'm always way too impatient to wait, so I just photographed the people doing the photo session and got them to photograph me. If I hadn't, I might still be there queueing even now.

Shark Rock is supposed to be shaped like a great white shark leaping out of the water. People have added pebbles for the teeth to enhance the effect. My friend Catherine thought it looked like a frog. (My friend Jason thought Rhino Rock looked like an alien.)

Close up of Shark Rock.

Close up of Shark Rock.

Shark Rock with people and pet dog.

Shark Rock with people and pet dog.

Lots of people at Shark Rock.

Lots of people at Shark Rock.

Posing with Shark Rock.

Posing with Shark Rock.

It's possible to continue the walk to the top of Hammer Hill and onto Jat's Incline, but I wasn't sure of the way and it was hoooot, so I just came back.

I passed a very attractive looking church building on the way back. This is the Abounding Grace Baptist Church.

The Abounding Grace Baptist Church.

The Abounding Grace Baptist Church.

Then I entered Hammer Hill Gardens. There was a magnificent brightly coloured bougainvillea bush here and several pretty irises. I managed to photo a little bird that was hopping around on the grass.

Entrance sign for Hammer Hill Park.

Entrance sign for Hammer Hill Park.

Bougainvillea bush.

Bougainvillea bush.

Bougainvillea bush.

Bougainvillea bush.

Iris.

Iris.

Iris.

Iris.

Bird in Hammer Hill Park. I think it is an oriental magpie robin.

Bird in Hammer Hill Park. I think it is an oriental magpie robin.

Bird in Hammer Hill Park.

Bird in Hammer Hill Park.

The Chi Lin Nunnery is just past Hammer Hill Park. I have been here once before, but it's lovely so I was happy to visit again. The Chi Lin Nunnery was founded as a retreat for Buddhist nuns in 1934. The nunnery building is made of cypress wood and no nails were used in its construction.

Chi Lin Nunnery.

Chi Lin Nunnery.

Chi Lin Nunnery.

Chi Lin Nunnery.

Chi Lin Nunnery.

Chi Lin Nunnery.

Selfie in Chi Lin Nunnery.

Selfie in Chi Lin Nunnery.

Doorway Chi Lin Nunnery.

Doorway Chi Lin Nunnery.

In front of the nunnery there is a lovely garden filled with ponds and bonsai trees. My favourite thing here was the magnificent waterlilies which filled the ponds. I think it's safe to say I got carried away photographing them.

Bonsai Chi Lin Nunnery.

Bonsai Chi Lin Nunnery.

Pond and water spouts Chi Lin Nunnery.

Pond and water spouts Chi Lin Nunnery.

Close up of water spout.

Close up of water spout.

Pond Chi Lin Nunnery.

Pond Chi Lin Nunnery.

White Waterlilies.

White Waterlilies.

Yellow Waterlilies.

Yellow Waterlilies.

Pink Waterlilies

Pink Waterlilies

Pink Waterlily.

Pink Waterlily.

Pink Waterlilies.

Pink Waterlilies.

Purple Waterlily.

Purple Waterlily.

Beautiful Waterlily.

Beautiful Waterlily.

Waterlilies on stripy lily pads.

Waterlilies on stripy lily pads.

This flower looks so fragile. Apparently it's Nymphoides indica or Water Snowflake. How lovely!

This flower looks so fragile. Apparently it's Nymphoides indica or Water Snowflake. How lovely!

This flower looks so fragile.

This flower looks so fragile.

Next I wandered into Nan Lian Gardens which are attached to the nunnery via a bridge. These were opened to the public in 2006. They are built in Tang Dynasty style and occupy an area of about 3.5 hectares. The gardens have ponds, the pavilion of absolute perfection, tearooms, a vegetarian restaurant, a watermill, museums and lots of beautiful rocks and plants.

Bridge connecting Nunnery and Gardens.

Bridge connecting Nunnery and Gardens.

Bonsai on bridge connecting Nunnery and Gardens.

Bonsai on bridge connecting Nunnery and Gardens.

Museum and Bonsai.

Museum and Bonsai.

The pavilion of absolute perfection

The pavilion of absolute perfection

The pavilion of absolute perfection

The pavilion of absolute perfection

Temple like building.

Temple like building.

Bird statue on roof of temple like building.

Bird statue on roof of temple like building.

Artificial waterfall

Artificial waterfall

Waterwheel.

Waterwheel.

Beautiful leafy plants.

Beautiful leafy plants.

Rock Garden.

Rock Garden.

Rock lined path.

Rock lined path.

I loved these beautiful rocks.

I loved these beautiful rocks.

Sun dial.

Sun dial.

Sparrow Nan Liang Gardens.

Sparrow Nan Liang Gardens.

Sparrow Nan Liang Gardens.

Sparrow Nan Liang Gardens.

Chinese wisteria.

Chinese wisteria.

Chinese wisteria.

Chinese wisteria.

Brightly coloured koi fish.

Brightly coloured koi fish.

Brightly coloured koi fish.

Brightly coloured koi fish.

Brightly coloured koi fish.

Brightly coloured koi fish.

From the gardens I could see the rainbow coloured Choi Hung Estate. People like to photograph themselves with the basketball court here.

From the gardens I could see the rainbow coloured Choi Hung Estate. People like to photograph themselves with the basketball court here.

After enjoying the gardens for a while I wandered back to the MTR. I had a quick look at Plaza Hollywood Shopping Mall on the way. Then I travelled back home.

Plaza Hollywood Shopping Mall.

Plaza Hollywood Shopping Mall.

Plaza Hollywood Shopping Mall.

Plaza Hollywood Shopping Mall.

Plaza Hollywood Shopping Mall.

Plaza Hollywood Shopping Mall.

I loved this painting near the lifts.

I loved this painting near the lifts.

Posted by irenevt 15:18 Archived in Hong Kong Comments (6)

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