Saturday, August 30, 2014

Hong Kong Surprises

A quick visit to Hong Kong to visit our younger daughter who has been working there, was a week full of surprises.  There is the constant rush of the urban area but with a bit of effort it was easy to find a different side to this region.
Our first excursion was to the island of Cheung Chau, reached easily by ferry from the Central Piers, on Hong Kong island.  The 10 kilometre crossing taking about 30 minutes.  The central part of the island is well developed and appeared pretty crowded so we made our way to the east coast beaches, with the intention of doing some paddle boarding.
 The first surprise was the presence of shark nets, they can be seen running out to sea from near the rocks.  In 1995 3 swimmers were killed by sharks in 10 days so the Hong Kong authorities installed shark nets on a large number of beaches.  There have been no fatalities since.  This was the area that Hong Kong's only Olympic Gold medalist trained.  Lee Lai Shan won gold in windsurfing at the 1996 Olympics. 
 The southern and northern portions of the island consist of granite hills, just like paddling in Jersey, just the sea was a bit warmer.
 Taking a break with the main urban area of Hong Kong visible behind, hopefully the sharks have taken a day off as we dangled feet in the water.

On another day we visited Lantau Island to see the statue of Buddha at Ngong Ping, the cable car ride is nearly 6 kilometres long and gives great views.  After seeing the statue we dropped down to the village of Tai O, which many people also do.  After a walk around the village we left the crowds behind and headed into the hills, for the Tai O infinity pools.

The first section of the walk followed the coast west and south, fortunately most of the route was in the shade but it was still very hot.
After several kilometres of reasonably flat walking, the trail headed upwards.  Every now and again there were distant glimpses of some waterfalls.  On the walk in we only saw 4 other people.
On arrival at the waterfalls it was obvious that quite a few people had made the effort to walk to this delightful spot.
 The pools provided a great place to cool off, following the heat of the walk in from Tai O.  Technically you are not supposed to swim here, there is a sign saying that swimming is not allowed but I think in reality it can be ignored.
Looking over the lip of the dam.  The water behind is part of the Pearl River estuary
 and it was possible to see the building works for the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge link, which went it opens in 2016 will be 50 kilomtres long.

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