My mom and two of my aunts were visiting Hong Kong earlier this month and emailed pictures of the hikes they were doing every day. I had no idea there were so many hiking trails in Hong Kong. When I was in college and spent my summers interning in the Tax Department at Coopers & Lybrand, now PricewaterhouseCoopers, I stayed within the boundaries of this vertical metropolis and spent my free time exploring the concrete jungle. After I saw the photos my mom sent, I decided I wanted to hop on a plane and hike Hong Kong.
Actually, it was more like 2 planes. I transferred through Incheon, South Korea for a total of 16 hours travel time, which really wasn’t as bad it sounds. When I arrived in Hong Kong, the weather was cool and foggy, but it got progressively clearer and warmer. My uncle (dad’s younger brother) took us on a 5 hour hike on the 2nd day after I got in. My mom, Aunt Jean, and I took the MTR or the subway to Diamond Hill where we met up with another aunt (one of dad’s younger sisters) and then took Bus #92 to a town called Sai Kung. We met my uncle, his wife, and another aunt (another of dad’s younger sisters) in Sai Kung. We had something light to eat and then took a mini-bus to Sai Wan Pavilion, which was at the trail head.
We started on the Tai Long Wan Hiking Trail and ended up on the MacLehose Trail. The trail was paved for the most part, except parts on the beach, but there were some pretty steep inclines for a large part of the hike. MacLehose Trail was rated Difficult in one of the hiking books we had. I haven’t hiked in a while but I do work out regularly and run when I can and this hike had my heart pounding.
The first part of the trail was actually paved really nicely and even had stairs to make it easier. It is hard to tell in the picture but the inclines were pretty steep, and after a while it became quite a workout. I was told the reason why this trail is paved is because there are villages along the way and this path is used by the villagers to get around.
About 1/4 of the way, we reached a beach and my uncle wanted to take us to the fresh water pools. Only Aunt Jean and I followed my uncle up the slippery muddy rocks. When it rains there is a waterfall that runs into and replenishes the pools. My uncle comes here in the summer to swim. I imagine there to be quite a few people here in the summer or when the waterfall is flowing because, like Hawaii, people cliff dive off the waterfall.
We caught up with the rest of the group and after another hour or so of steep ups and downs, we descended upon another beach.
After we got down to the beach, there was a small village where we took a lunch break. This is the first time I ever sat down and ordered a meal in the middle of a hike. The trails in Hawaii don’t normally go through villages so this was a first for me. When you first look at the shack that is a restaurant, it looks rather run down.
Probably the majority of the people I know would not stop here for a bite to eat. However, in Hong Kong, it is rather normal and in fact, the food was quite good! We ordered stir fried udon with beef, stir fried vegetables, Singapore fried noodles, and pineapple chicken fried rice.
After lunch, we hiked about another hour or so and came upon another village right by the water. The water was so clear we could see the reflection of the house and boat.
We were nearing the end of the hike and one of my aunts was afraid we would miss the mini-bus so she pretty much speed-walked the rest of the way, which was a steep incline to the end of the trail. It was hard to keep up with her! After everyone made it to the end, we hopped on the bus and headed back to Sai Kung for a seafood dinner.
Sai Kung is a fishing village and known for their seafood. You can buy seafood from the seafood markets where everything from the fish to the clams to the shrimp are alive. Once you purchase your seafood, the person from the market brings your seafood to the restaurant of your choice. You then tell the waiter what you ordered and how you would like each dish to be cooked. Everything was delicious. This is really how seafood should be eaten.
The clams were cooked in fresh garlic and noodles. That garlic piled on top was so good, but it didn’t take away from the sweetness of the clams.
The shrimp was huge. It was almost the size of the salad plate. The shrimp was stir fried in a sweet soy sauce. It was really tasty and had a lot of meat.
The fish was fileted and stir fried in green onions, vegetables, and ginger. It was perfectly seasoned and so tender. This was probably my favorite dish.
The crab was also stir fried with green onion and probably soy sauce. The crab had a lot of meat, which was really tender and sweet.
After dinner we walked around the town and went for dessert. I didn’t get any pictures of dessert but it was only ok. We then hopped back on the bus and MTR and headed home. My goal was accomplished. I hiked Hong Kong AND ate delicious food!