A monsoon has come to Guangdong province and it is affecting our weather here in HK. The temperature has dropped to about 17 C, bringing with it a thick, soupy fog that hugs the city. It hasn’t bothered us, though. We’ve been hiking in some of the city’s best parks and hiking trails and the cooler temperature makes it very pleasant, indeed. Plus, we’re still fresh out of the frozen hell of Toronto; 17°C is downright balmy compared to March anywhere in Canada. So obviously we’re good with it.
Most people, when they think of Hong Kong, what comes to mind is beautiful mechanical watches, high-end shopping, nightlife, and fantastic food. Anthony Bourdain (or somebody else) once said, “One simply cannot go hungry in Hong Kong… food is everywhere.” We haven’t done much shopping, although Scott the watch nerd has done some drooling in the windows of IWC, Zenith, Omega, Rolex, and a bunch of other watch stores. We have enjoyed more than our fair share of good food…
The thing we didn’t know about Hong Kong is that it also has incredible parks and hiking trails. To balance out all the dim sum, noodle soup, dumplings, and a copious variety of sweets we’ve been hiking quite a bit. Our first major outing was to Lamma Island.
A short 30 minute ferry ride from Central pier in Hong Kong, the great thing about Lamma Island is that it’s 100% car free. And it has a large, well-maintained network of biking and hiking trails. Imagine a Chinese Hornby Island. It’s a bit of an alternative lifestyle, community-oriented type of place. Without the dreadlocks and drug stupidity.
We walked from Yung Shue Wan, a small village on one side of the Island, to Sok Kwu Wan, another village on the other side of the Island, then back again. We earned our lunch.
We decided to do more hiking the next day. This time we tackled Victoria Peak. Most people take the Peak Tram from Central, a stylish vintage rail car goes up the steep side of the mountain. We skipped the tram and instead caught a city bus to the other side of Hong Kong Island, to a place called Aberdeen. From there we hiked up the mountain to the summit, and then down the other side back down to Central in downtown Hong Kong. For those of you who know Hong Kong (like one woman we stopped near the Peak to ask for directions) you might think we’re nuts. But honestly, it wasn’t too difficult and we saw no other tourists. Highly recommended. Here are the details:
Nerd Alert: Scott created the little map above, and if you click on it you’ll be taken to the actual Google Map where you can see the route we took.
We started the trip by taking bus #70 from Central Terminus (Exchange Terminal) in downtown Hong Kong.
The short ride to Aberdeen, located on the south-east side of the island, afforded us great views of the unique Hong Kong landscape.
The bus lets you off on Aberdeen Main Road , a short walk from the start of the walking trail. Signage was pretty good and our map was pretty clear. Once on the trail, you leave all the hustle and bustle of HK behind you. Almost immediately, you’re surrounded by nature; and it’s quiet.
Every once and a while you catch a glimpse of the dramatic contrast of Aberdeen’s skyline.
But as we got closer to the summit, the fog began to roll in… making it quite difficult to see things… In fact, we got a bit lost at the top because we couldn’t see more than a few meters ahead.
The Peak thoughtfully provides telescopes so visitors can view the world famous skyline of Hong Kong… Karen couldn’t help herself and rushed over for a look…
And here’s the famous view:
We couldn’t help but laugh… people were taking photos with the “city” as a back drop…. so we did, too! Beautiful.
After photos, we had lunch at some nondescript ‘Italian’ place – the food was terrible. Then we started our hike back down the mountain to Central. People thought we were crazy. Especially when this beautiful Tram could so conveniently take you there….
No stinking tram for us.
Despite being denied the world famous view from the summit, it was a great hike. We were totally wiped, so we’ve decided to take it a bit easier the next few days – returning to see the Tian Tan Buddha at Po Lin Monastery on Lantau Island, going on a sort of self-guided walking tour of Hong Kong, spending some time in a coffee shop reading, and checking out one of Hong Kong’s newest city parks… the aptly named Hong Kong Park!