Hong Kong : Beyond the Skyscrapers

It was cloudy when I had my start. Around 9:30AM, I arrived at Pier 4 in the Central Ferry Terminal just in front of IFC tower in Central Hong Kong island. Pier 4 is the terminal for ferries going to two towns in Lamma Island: Yung Shue Wan and Sok Kwu Wan.

Ticketing at Pier 4

Around 11AM, the ferry docked on Yung Shue Wan. As soon as I set foot, I am instantly enamored by the quiet, laid back, rural atmosphere of the island. It’s hard to believe that it’s just minutes away from the cosmopolitan Hong Kong island. Yet, it’s a different world out here. From the boat I walked towards the pier, entering Yung Shue Wan main street.

Yung Shue Wan Pier

The shops have just opened up and the early patrons were already on their seats looking at the menus on the various seafood restaurants. The main street is narrow with a lot of turns. Walking further, I encountered various shops selling groceries and DIY goods. But what I like most are the art themed shops of ranging from cafes, bookstores, memorabilia shops and art galleries. There’s also a Tin Hau temple at the end of the street. This made my innards getting excited and I spent time looking around.

Reading the signs leading to the Family Trail, I turned left, leaving the main street. The shops become fewer and I realized I entered the village area when I saw houses and their small fences by the road. The houses were whitewashed white or off white colors, painted with colorful patches of salmon or blue around the windows or doors. I exited the village leading up to the trail going inland. Walking around 10 minutes or so, there was a fork on the road, one leading to the Lamma winds, the other straight to Sok Kwu Wan. I went to Lamma Winds first.

It was the most tiring 15 minutes I had since the road going to LW is constantly uphill. At the top, situated on the back end shore of Yung Shue Wan is the Lamma Winds, a single windmill, source of wind power. It was a lone sight, not as breathtaking as the group of windmills in some places,. Nevertheless it stood there looking proud, hovering over the east Lamma Channel and Hong Kong island at the distance. I spent around 30 minutes poring over the printed material found at the base of the windmill and taking a rest at the nearby pavilion.

When I had my start downhill back to the fork of the road, drizzle started pouring in. It was around 12;15pm and Sok Kwu Wan is still a 50-min away from the fork. I walked further, meeting several tourists coming from Sok Kwu Wan. Several minutes later, the road went downhill until it all became yellowish sand. There was a beach littered with low level trees and the sea was in sight. It was quite a forlorn-looking beach despite the presence of people having picnic and seaside shops around. Perhaps it’s the wildness of the seascape that overwhelmed the ambiance, with its rustling waters and rocky shore. The descending fog over the distant shore made by the rain even made the seascape more dark and dreary. The imposing sight of Lamma island Power Plant seemed like a few meters from the far horizon.

After a brief excursion to the beach, I proceeded back to the family trail, this time the road going uphill. It was a grueling 20 minute climb. There were several pavilions situated on some lookouts to the best views of the western Lamma shore. A high cliff was on sight and sounds of lone birds were heard. It was the most peaceful thing. By some minutes further on, the road become flatter and the landscape changed from trees to small shrubs, there was mountainside carved with weird looking rock formations.

Several minutes later, I passed by a bridge and on both sides I can see the shores of east and west Lamma channels. This must be the “neck” of the island dividing the north and the southern part. To my left, I can see the town of Sok Kwu Wan, like a small speck of dust at the bottom of the hill covered with fog. I think it’s still 20 minutes away downhill.

By the time I made descent, the rain already stopped and the fog has started to lift from the foot of the mountains. Down below were the turquoise colored waters of Sok Kwu Wan bay, clearing, as the mist evaporated. Drawing closer I could see the small buildings which seemed like shops supported by stilts. And in front of them were lots of colorful boats.

It was around 2PM when I entered Sok Kwu Wan main street and I was right that the buildings on stilts were either shops or restaurants. I was so hungry then, so I decided to eat at one of the restaurants there, ordering a plate of calamari and dried salted fish rice for a whopping HK$105! Well, it was touristy place and the food was tourist price but the food was great! I have never eaten squid so big and fresh as this. I was seated on the harborfront where I had a great view of the boats which are actually houses of the town dwellers. This, while enjoying my food with free flowing pot of jasmine tea, I get to witness the day to day life activities of the boat dwellers.

HK-MACAU-2012-616
HK-MACAU-2012-574

Tired from walking, I looked for seat at the nearby park and waited for the ferry from Hong Kong by the pier. Some local kids were playing basketball, the other hikers that were with me earlier were also gathering up, getting ready for the trip back to Hong Kong. I took one last picture of Sok Kwu Wan bay when I heard the boat approaching by the dock. I fell asleep during the entire time of the trip back to Hong Kong.

Directions

  1. Go to Pier 4 in the Central Ferry Terminal. If you’re coming from MTR Central station, follow the signs going to IFC Mall. When you reach IFC2, follow the signs going to the pier. Pier 4 is around 2 minutes from the end of the walk way.
  2. Fare to Yung Shue Wan is HK$16.20. If you don’t have coins, change your paper bill at the coin exchange counter at the rightmost part of the pier entrance. Drop your coins at the coin slot to enter.
  3. In Yung Shue Wan, follow the signs leading to the family trail. Don’t be shy to ask help from the locals.
  4. Fare from Sok Kwu Wan is HK$19.80, you will not pay the fare as you embark the ferry but need to drop the coins prior to exit of Pier 4 back in Central Ferry Terminal. There is a staff present who will assist you if you don’t have the exact amount.

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4 thoughts on “Hong Kong : Beyond the Skyscrapers

    1. That’s too bad. Maybe you can do it but before the typhoon months of August to November.
      This trail is really nice, you should try it.

      Like

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