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Ghost villages and feral cows: island-hopping adventures in Hong Kong | Travel

Fields of inexperienced

Grass Island is called Tap Mun in Cantonese, that means “pagoda door” – the island’s rock formations are mentioned to resemble the doorways of a stupa or pagoda. In English, the title is moderately extra self-explanatory – the island options patches of verdant grass overlooking the ocean, a departure from Hong Kong’s often rugged tropical foliage. All that open grassland makes for a gentle year-round breeze, a welcome aid within the sweltering months.

A big meadow on the island’s primary path is a well-liked tenting, kite-flying and picnic spot. You’ll have to be slightly cautious with a picnic, although: the island’s wild cows roam freely and can assist themselves to something that appears sufficiently scrumptious. Make positive to look into the deserted King Lam School: when it closed in 2003 it had a grand whole of 1 scholar. The island’s primary restaurant, Sun Hong Kee, dishes up a seafood feast to reward all that arduous mountain climbing.

Getting there: Take bus 96R from Diamond Hill MTR station to Wong Shek Pier. From there it’s a 20-minute ferry trip to Tap Mun. Tickets value HK$9.50 (weekdays), HK$14 (weekends).

Built on matchsticks

Enjoy the quiet life: Peng Chau’s Discovery Bay Marina. Photograph: Alamy

It could not appear to be it nowadays, however the crescent-shaped Peng Chau was as soon as an industrial centre. After many years because the centre of Hong Kong’s lime business – an outdated kiln nonetheless exists on the island – it turned the positioning of the town’s largest match manufacturing facility. The Great China Match Plant employed nearly the whole inhabitants of the island till it shut down within the 1970s, when the rise in recognition of a budget cigarette lighter snuffed out the demand for matches.

After the manufacturing facility closed, Peng Chau reverted to a quiet island lifetime of fishing and farming. The island’s older inhabitants nonetheless shoot the breeze within the open sq. by the grocery store, whereas the principle drag of Wing On Street is full of conventional eateries – strive Fai Che (53 Wing On Street) for glorious basic Cantonese fare. Wilderness reigns to the north and south, with well-maintained paths surrounding the island. Its highest level, Finger Hill, presents panoramic views of the large Tsing Ma Bridge and the moderately smaller Hong Kong Disneyland on Lantau Island, in addition to the town’s city confusion on a transparent day. Grab a pint on the Old China Hand pub (75 Wing On Street) earlier than catching the ferry again.

Getting there: Regular quick ferry providers depart from Central’s Pier No 6 and take 30 minutes to succeed in Peng Chau. Tickets value HK$29.60 (£2.60) weekdays and HK$43.50 at weekends.

Ghosts of the previous

Abandoned houses in Yim Tin Tsai, Hong Kong

Abandoned homes in Yim Tin Tsai, Hong Kong. Photograph: Yoyochow23/Getty Images

Yim Tin Tsai means “Little Salt Pan” – it was initially settled again within the 1700s by the Chan clan, who made their dwelling farming salt. Once upon a time this little island had as many as 1,000 inhabitants, however that dwindled to zero by the 1990s. The island remains to be home to loads of abandoned village homes, deserted with crockery nonetheless on counter tops and televisions nonetheless on cupboards.

In the previous 5 years, nonetheless, the ghost city has been resurrected, with youthful members of the Chan household respiratory life into the island by way of conservation work, and profitable Unesco plaudits.

They’ve revived Yim Tin Tsai to create a snapshot of village life in instances gone by, even placing the salt pans again into manufacturing. Although loads of spooky deserted homes stay, the as soon as deserted village college is now a heritage centre, and a path across the island leads you previous the refurbished Catholic chapel, inbuilt 1890 by missionaries. A bridge additionally connects Yin Tin Tsai to neighbouring Kau Sai Chau, which options the one public golf course in Hong Kong.

Getting there: Yim Tin Tsai is a 20-minute ferry trip from Sai Kung Pier. Return tickets value HK$50 and run solely on weekends and public holidays.

Climbing the dragon

Eastern Dragon Island provides a challenge for rock climbers.

Eastern Dragon Island offers a problem for rock climbers. Photograph: TungCheung/Shutterstock

Bring your bag of chalk with you to Tung Lung Chau. The romantically named “Eastern Dragon Island” is extensively regarded as one of the best rock-climbing spot within the territory, and the craggy “Technical Wall” is usually swarming with Hong Kong’s most completed climbers.

The island additionally holds the ruins of the Tung Lung Chau Fort, constructed within the 1700s to defend Hong Kong from the pirates who marauded the coast. There’s a campsite with barbecue pits subsequent to the fort, and some shops promoting necessities. The island’s primary path winds as much as a hilltop, with lovely views out over the channel and the fabulously costly Clearwater Bay Golf and Country Club simply past it. The path additionally passes by the oldest, largest rock carving in Hong Kong, mentioned to be a prehistoric rendering of a dragon — though it may be exhausting to discern fang from tail.

Getting there: Ferries to Tung Lung Chau run semi-frequently from Shau Kei Wan Typhoon Shelter (tickets value HK$55) or Sam Ka Tsuen Pier on weekends and public holidays (HK$45). Journeys take about 30-40 minutes.


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