Monday, October 31, 2016

Grass Island (Tap Mun - 塔門)

1 hour (1 km)

Difficulty: 1/10

Cel phone coverage: Everywhere

Water needs: 1 liter

Appreciation: 7/10. While it is very far and not easily accessible, Tap Mun is quite pretty and populated with friendly feral cows. Nice local food to have on the island as well. Snacks from the aunties (no uncles in sight for some reason)

Transportation: Ferry from the Ma Liu Shui @ University MTR station, or from the Wong Shek pier in Sai Kung. About 1h15 ferry

Why it's worth it:

The island is so small that I won't bother with trails there; there's one that circles the part of the island open for visit. Instead, I'll show you how to get to the island itself.

First way:
On weekends and public holidays, the bus 96R will take you from Diamond Hill MTR to Wong Shek Pier. Then take the ferry to Tap Mun from there

Second Way:
Take the ferry from University MTR station

University MTR exit A. Exit and go left
Stop by the sign right at the exit on the left

Here's how to get to the pier. About 10 minutes walk

Around and over the highway

Over the highway again, down the stairs on the left, then through. Then go through the parking lot. Once you are through all the roads, head left

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Braemer Hill (寶馬山) short hike

2 hours (7 km)

Difficulty: 2/10

Cel phone coverage: Everywhere

Water needs: 1 liter

Appreciation: 7/10. There are not a lot of viewpoints but the ones that are there are unusual. And the trail itself is easily accessible, short, and mostly shaded. So that's a nice and easy summer trail for a Saturday morning, or, right at sunset, the main view would be quite spectacular.

Transportation: Take minibus 24M from Admiralty MTR exit A, get off at the terminus at the Mount Butler Estate. Return via Taikoo MTR.

Why it's worth it:

Admiralty MTR station, exit A

The minibus stop is right off the exit, on your left. 24M. Ride should be about 15 minutes

You will be dropped off here at the terminus. Get out of the estate and head right on Mount Butler Road.

About 200m on Mt Buttler road, you'll be heading left at the junction. Still on Mt Buttler Road

Mount Buttler Road sort of merges into Sir Cecil's Ride. Go straight

After about 500m on Sir Cecil's ride, there will be a path on the left, just before the road curves on the right. There's a little sign with Chinese lettering. Take that path on the left.

Vistas will open up on your left

After about 1 kilometer on Sir Cecil, you'll reach this point (the little loop at marker 2.62km on the map). Go on the bushwack path on the left first to get to the peak and have the nice view. Then retrace your steps to come back to this fork, don't climb the stairs but instead continue on the path (right on the picture above)

Nice view. Would be even nicer on a clear day, or night.
Unfortunately, lots of morons left their rubbish there

This is despicable and by extension, IF YOU left your litter there, YOU ARE freakin' despicable!
There are no valid excuses! You brought it with you, bring it back and dispose it in a trashcan somewhere. I hope I would like to believe that no-one reading my blog would do this. But you can help in telling anyone you catch leaving trash behind that they have to pick it up. Sorry, done ranting now, but it makes my blood boiling that some idiots would think that they can make beautiful pictures but completely trash the environment in which they take these pictures
Follow Dan's directions, he knows his stuff! (Yeah right...)

Then, pretty straightforward, just keep going on
Sir Cecil's trail

Follow the map instructions, you'll eventually merge into the Quarry Bay Jogging Trail

Then follow your lovely hosts Dan and May's directions towards Mount Parker's Road.

Little shrine

Straight thru at the shrine, don't go right

There you go, Mount Parker road! Head left. You will come by a building, The Woodside, which has a small but nice exhibit on Hong Kong's fauna. Worth spending 20 minutes there. They keep going on Mount Parker road until you hit King's road in Taikoo, go right and the Taikoo MTR will be about a 200m walk on King's road.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

A lighthouse, a whale, and a few caves at Cape d’Aguilar (Hok Tsui - 鶴咀) - the easy way

3 hours (9 km return)

Difficulty/難度: 1/10

Cel phone coverage/手機覆蓋: Everywhere/無處不在

Water needs/建議帶水: 1 liter / 1升

Appreciation/欣賞: 7.5/10. A lighthouse, caves, the ocean breeze, and a whale's bones (fake but hey, who cares), what else do you need?

Transportation/交通: Bus #9 from Shau Kei Wan MTR and back. Get off a Cape D'Aguilar Road.

Why it's worth it/去看看吧:


Take the MTR to Shau Kei Wan (Hong Kong Island line), exit at A3.
The find boarding station 'J' where you will take bus #9. It gets quite busy on weekends as it is the same bus that will take you to the beginning of Dragon's Back.
找到登巴士站'J',坐9號巴士。 在周末會很多人,因為這巴士也是去龍脊的。

Get off at Cape D'Aguilar Road (鶴咀道).Then just follow Capre D'Aguilar.
A bit boring until you get to the end but really easy.
在鶴咀道(Cape D'Aguilar Road)下車,然後一路隨鶴咀道走。

About 1.5km in, you'll get to the only major intersection.
Do not turn left, stay on Cape D'Aguilar Road (straight).
Afterwards, there will be some smaller paths going off, just stay on the same road
Keep going straight at the village's mailboxes
見到村民的郵箱, 繼續直行
Another few hundred meters and you'll see the radio towers at a distance

The you will reach the HKT H.F. Radio Station. You won't be able to stay on the road.
Just bypass on the left, as instructed above
然後你將到達鶴咀高頻無線電發射站。 你將無法留在路上。
After the fence, just get back on the road that went through the radio station's grounds.
Don't climb the path to the hill.
Little bit further down Cape D'Aguilar road, you'll reach this fork. On the right is the way to the Institute of Marine Science and the whale's bones. But we decided to go to the lighthouse first, on the left.
在鶴咀道再走一點,你會到達這個分叉路。 在右邊是通往海洋科學研究所和鯨魚的骨頭。 但是我們決定先往左是去燈塔
After about 150m, you'll see a few houses and a path to the right. Take it and the lighthouse will be in sight.
There will be a set of stairs on the left.
Once you are done taking half a million photos of the lighthouse, trace your steps back to the fork and head towards the Institute of Marine Science (the sign says "Cape D'Aguilar Marine Reserve")
Before long, you will see the white building of the Swire Institute of Marine Science at a distance, and the island of Kau Pei Chau on the right.
Just before you arrive to the building (about 150m), you'll see an opening on the left.
That's the "secret" path to the cave. A little bit dirty but an interesting rock formation.
這是往洞穴的“秘密”之路。 有點骯髒,但岩層頗有趣的
The cave. Once you are done, retrace your steps and head to the white building of the Institute of Marine Science.
The bones of Miss Willy (海威骨架), in front of the institute.
Explore the surroundings.

Another cave, underneath the rock pile. Once you are done enjoying the sights, retrace your steps to the bug stop.
Take #9 back to Shau Kei Wan.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Sharp Island (橋咀洲), in Sai Kung


75 minutes (3.5 km return)

Difficulty: 3/10

Cel phone coverage: Everywhere

Water needs: 1 liter

Appreciation: 6/10

Transportation: Bus 92 from Diamond Hill to Sai Kung and back. There's also a red minibus from Mongkok that gets to Saikung and back:
You can take little boats (Kai-tos) to Sharp Island from the Sai Kung Public Pier. About HKD $30 return. Last one returns at 6pm.

Why it's worth it:

If you chose to take the red minibus to Sai Kung (definitely the fastest way there short of taking a cab), your only hope to get in as at the terminus on Dundas street. Right next to the Kwong Wah Hospital. Closest MTR is Yau Ma Tei exit A1

HKD $16 to get to the Sai Kung pier. Lineups on weekends. Be mindful that the red minibus returns from Sai Kung at the car park in Sai Kung, not at the minibus terminus you will be dropped-off at.

At the Saikung pier, get to one of the various booth selling ferry tickets to Sharp Island. Should be $30 HKD per person. Your trip will take about 15 minutes. Lowest tide is around 3pm. I suggest you take the ferry around noon so you can hike to Hap Mun beach, and return, then cross by foot to Kiu Tau (橋頭)

Right off the Kiu Tsui pier, head right and follow the paths that borders the beach. You'll get to stairs. Go up, then left. The path will eventually go back to the right. Can't really get lost, there's just one path all the way to Hap Mun Bay. The one way hike to Hap Mun Bay is about 1.7km
The path's tallest point is about 150m so, nothing to be too worried about. Only about 1/3 of it is shaded however so, sun and hot temperature will play a factor here
About 25-40 minutes in, Tap Mun Bay is in sight

Enjoy. You can buy drinks and snacks by the beach. There are showers too. Enjoy

When you are done, return whence you came and the rock bridge to Kiu Tau should be formed and ready for you to cross

Some interesting rock formation. Make sure you come back to Kiu Tsui within 60 minutes of the lowest point of the tide. Take your return boat to Sai Kung.
Hope you had fun!

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Please, don't litter!

Hiking is about communion with nature. So please pickup after yourself. There's no excuse to leave plastic bags, water bottles or any rubbish on or around the trails; if you managed to bring it, you can manage to bring it back!