re: back at it in Hong Kong

don’t go chasing waterfalls.

For my friends, returning back to Hong Kong after 2 weeks in Thailand, meant meeting up with people for goodbyes, eating as much food as possible and ticking off places unchecked on their list. I was glad to be returning here for couple of days after travelling around for a bit more, but even so couldn’t help but feel sad that my time abroad was coming to an end!

One place we had yet to go was Sheung Luk Stream in Sai Kung! It’s one of the few waterfall spots in Hong Kong, with tiered pools of fresh water to swim and go cliff-diving in. Makes for a great getaway from the thronging city life and if you follow the instructions [link] properly, shouldn’t be too difficult to get there! In our case, things didn’t quite go to plan and what should have been a one-hour hike, turned into 4.

There had been some landslides in the area and instead of getting dropped off at Sai Wan Pavilion we were brought to another location (unknown) but was assured by the taxi driver that we could reach the waterfalls this way. Technically she wasn’t wrong. The hike was got off to a thrilling start with a heavy downpour (really, again?), kept momentum during a tense encounter with a herd of cows blocking the trail, before we stopped for an energy break – with everyone low key considering calling for a helicopter rescue. 3 hours into the hike, we had given up hope of reaching these now mystical waterfalls, being more concerned about getting back home – no one really fancied doubling back on ourselves. It was asking a random passerby coming from the opposite direction, that our spirits were thankfully lifted! It was 30 minutes ahead where we would reach Sai Wan and get a boat back to Sai Kung, then to the nearest MTR station.

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Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

With dark clouds looming ahead, we ended up discovering that we were really close to the waterfall! Not wanting the day to be a complete failure, we set off to find it. It’s quite hidden away, but this website has great instructions on where to go. Managing to spend only ten minutes in the pool before the downpour resumed was a great end to the day! The boat ride back was especially fun – the stormy weather creating gigantic waves that lifted our tiny boats (and us, its passengers) into the air.

Sheung Luk Stream is one of those great alternative places to visit when in Hong Kong if you’re tired of the city or just want something different to do! I would definitely return (in better weather) and Sai Kung’s waterfront makes for a nice place to recuperate from the hike with mountains of seafood!

 

re: hiking

going walkabout.

I have never been one for the gym, but this year I vowed to be more active and what better way to do it than go hiking? Fortunately Hong Kong has so many great hiking trails, some easier than others, but each providing a variety of stunning landscapes to cheer you on. I’ll admit that for me, the idea of hiking (seeing beautiful views, getting away from the city) greatly eclipses the reality of the actual workout involved. Which is why it might have been a better idea then to start off with something relatively easier than Tai Mo Shan, HK’s highest peak. But in my mind, hiking = walking, walking = easy, therefore hiking = easy! (Has psychology taught me nothing on illogical thought processes?!?)

Googling directions on how to get there, my friend and I both came across the same blog with instructions to head to Tsuen Wan MTR station and catch a taxi to a point called Lead Mine Pass, where we could start the trail (MacLehose 8). However, upon hailing a couple of taxis, it was clear that the drivers did not know of this place (or did not want to take us??). To be clear, we had the Chinese translation, Cantonese speakers and even pulled the location up on Google maps, but alas it was to no avail. Luckily, a man came to offer help and here I will relay the instructions that got us to the hike’s starting point.

  • Exit A of Tsuen Wan MTR station. Turn left and look for stairs heading up to the highway overhead.
  • Catch the 51 bus (double check that it’s going the right way!)
  • Ride 9 stops and get off at the stop County Park.
  • Walk a little downhill towards the Country Park Visitor Center for the starting point of MacLehose trail 8.

With Hong Kong’s harsh temperature drops, I was overly cautious in wearing 5 layers of clothes, which I promptly had to strip, as we were fortunate enough to be blessed with sun! It was really the perfect weather for this hike, no humidity and warm enough to wear a t-shirt comfortably. We passed some people along the trail ambling by, casually decked out in warm fleeces and sweaters and I don’t know how they weren’t overheating O-O.

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If you’re thinking of attempting this, make sure to bring lots of water (and snacks), since the majority of the hike is made up of stairs going up the mountain. Going up the hike, it may be advisable to save taking pictures until you pass the picnic area/carpark. The best views are from this point onwards and unless you want an abundance of identical photos, each increasing only slightly in viewpoint I would just save the photo-breaks until then. Here, there’s a rock a stone throw away (heh) from the main viewing point, where you’re free to take a musical interlude and act out that iconic opening scene from Disney’s The Lion King, (lion cub not provided). Another cool thing to look out for is Shenzhen! Spending most of my time on the island side, it’s easy to forget that Hong Kong is actually, physically a part of China.

After this point, you can choose to hike up to the weather observatory and carry the hike on from there. Limited by time, we chose not to hike the rest of the trail and instead re-traced our steps to catch the bus back to the MTR station. Choosing to carry on, I think you would end up in Tai Po within 1 or 2 hours. Altogether, it was a really enjoyable hike and it’s currently 01.00am and I can’t think of a witty way to end this post, so I’ll just leave you now, with the promise of more hikes in the future! (Any recommendations?)