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Ma Wan is another hidden gem in Hong Kong. This offshore island is located close to Tsing Yi (青衣). Ma Wan is a small island that you can explore on foot. It’s suitable for a short day trip when you are in Hong Kong.
You can reach Ma Wan by either taking a ferry from Central Piers, or you can ride Hong Kong MTR and alight at Tsing Yi (青衣) station, then board the bus 330 at Tsing King Road exit bus stop. This bus serves between Park Island (a private residential housing area within Ma Wan) and Tsing Yi MTR Station.
What to do in Ma Wan? You can pay a visit to “Noah’s Ark” to enjoy some of the activities and attractions such as visiting the exhibition hall and it’s nature garden. You can take a stroll to the old fishing village of Ma Wan, which was abandoned as people moved away to the new housing estate. You can spend some time on the sandy beach and enjoy the sunrise and sunset. You can also get up close to the Tsing Ma Bridge here in Ma Wan. It’s a good place for a casual getaway, so do drop by the next time you are visiting Hong Kong.
The second “off the track” location I visited was “Shek Lung Kung Mountain” (石龙拱山) located some where in “Tsuen Wan” (荃湾). Yes, you probably have not even heard of this place before when you are in Hong Kong. It’s one of the Hong Kong MTR train station and it’s fairly easy to access from everywhere, but it’s right at the far end away from the city.
Once you arrived at the train station, exit the station and head to the bus stop below the train station (not the bus terminus opposite), look for bus 39M or 39A, board it, and then alight in front of a hospital. From there, you will then take the staircase located opposite of the hospital, and slowly climb yourself up the slope. You will see signboard stating “元荃古道” (which simply means old path that connects Tsuen Wan 荃湾 and Yuen Long 元朗), just follow it and hike your way up to the top.
Along the way, there are a few small resting area for you to catch your breath, otherwise it is a fairly steep but well maintained stairway that allows you to hike at your own pace. When you are nearing to the top, the path is not fenced up at the side, so please be extra careful when you walk through this area.
Once you reached to the top, there’s a small resting area with a signboard stating “Shek Lung Kung Mountain”, and from there you can catch the magnificent view of the three bridges that connect cities within Hong Kong, namely Tsing Ma Bridge (青马大桥), Kap Shui Mun Bridge (汲水门大桥) and the Ting Kau Bridge (汀九桥). Weather plays an important role here, sadly it was rather hazy when I managed to climb to the top that day. Nevertheless, it was a torturing yet enjoyable hike.
From here, you can choose to continue your path which will leads you descending to another town call Sham Tseng (深井), but I decided to head back from where I came from as I was running out of supplies and water. Perhaps I will be back here some other days to complete the whole path.
The first “off the track” location I visited in Hong Kong was the “Tiger Mountain” (虎山) located in “Tai O” (大澳). Everyone came to Tai O to experience the lifestyle and culture of fishing village, I was rather surprised that there’s such a hiking trail hidden at the back of this fishing village. The hike was rather short and not too physically demanding.
When you reach Tai O bus terminus, look for the signboard that guide you towards “Tai O Historic Hotel”. Along your way, you will see “Shao Lin Centre” on your right, and of the left of the entrance you will find a small staircase with signboard stating “This way to the Tiger Mountain”. Follow the steps and hike your way up. You will walk pass a few cemeteries so just be aware, be careful and be respectful. At normal pace you can probably reach the peak in 30 minutes of so. The climb wasn’t that steep, most of the trails are proper stairway so it’s fairly easy to get to the top.
There’s a small hut at the top for you to rest. It’s a very nice view on top as you get to see the ocean at one side and greenery on the other side leading towards the fishing village of Tai O. Besides that, if you are lucky, you will be able to see “Chinese dolphin” swimming and playing in the sea. Aside from dolphin watching, there’s nothing much to do on top, but the breeze and the serenity alone is enough of a reward for your hard work.
To descend the mountain, just follow the original path of where you came from. This is indeed a refreshing experience for me. My first hike in Hong Kong ended up a fruitful and rewarding one, and this was the first time I’m experiencing what the nature can offer in Hong Kong, something different from the usual concrete jungle. So the next time when you pay Hong Kong a visit, try and see if you can spend some time here.
Hong Kong is a city well known for it’s skyscrapers and streets. It’s common for people to visit places like Central, Causeway Bay, Tsim Sha Tsui, Mongkok and so on as these are probably the attractive locations that are heavily promoted by travel guide and tourism board.
I can’t deny the fact that they are indeed very good places for you to get a concentrated feeling of Hong Kong’s life and culture. And for people who lives in other cities like Singapore, they probably will find Hong Kong to be extremely similar to where they live, perhaps too similar until they find it boring to pay a visit.
In 2016, I was visiting Hong Kong for the third time, and I can’t help but keep asking myself “what else can Hong Kong offer other than vibrant city and busy streets?” To answer my question, I had spent some time in researching what other places and things I can do in Hong Kong and plan them into my itinerary. I’m not trying to be too adventurous, and I still miss all the street foods and local market, hence I’m visiting the “usual” places while sparing two days for some unknown adventure.
I’ll share the details a little more in my coming post, so do stay tune for more. Till then, happy shooting.