ultramarinus – beyond the sea

Posts tagged “Shek O

BRIEF TASTE OF MOUNTAIN AND SEA, Pottinger Peak (砵甸乍山) to Shek O (石澳), Hong Kong

When we are short of time but still want to have a brief getaway from the city of Hong Kong, we often hop on a bus to Siu Sai Wan (小西灣), a relatively new residential district at the eastern end of Hong Kong Island for a short hike over Pottinger Peak to the cozy surfing beach of Big Wave Bay (大浪灣) and Shek O (石澳).  The hike takes a little over an hour, and is relatively simple, involving two sections of stepped path, one going up the Pottinger Peak and one descending down to the beach.  No matter how many times we have walked this route, it was always a pleasant surprise to reach the top of the Pottinger Peak and have the first glimpse of the turquoise water south of Hong Kong Island.

DSC_2899The trail begins in Siu Sai Wan (小西灣), a residential neighborhood at the eastern tip of Hong Kong Island.

DSC_2917Looking north during the ascend to the Pottinger Peak, the Victoria Harbour outside of Junk Bay (將軍澳) is busy with cruise ships and boats of all sorts.

DSC_2919Looking down from the uphill trail, the residential area of Siu Sai Wan looks quite densely populated.

DSC_2924 croppedWatching beautiful butterflies hopping between flowers is a pure delight.

DSC_2931Looking south from Pottinger Peak, the peninsula of Shek O and Tai Tau Chau (大頭洲) lie right ahead.

DSC_2933A ruined shelter on Pottinger Peak has been used as a temporary shrine.

DSC_2934It seems that the temporary shrine is dedicated to Guan Yin, the goddess of mercy.

DSC_2936Walking ahead, one can clearly see that much of the seaside land between the Big Wave Bay and Big Wave Bay.

DSC_2944On the downhill route, there are several Camellia trees (茶花) by the trail. 

DSC_2947The stepped path continues to the hill adjacent to the Big Wave Bay.  The noise of the crowds and public announcement from speakers can be heard long before we reach the beach.

DSC_2948.JPGBig Wave Bay (大浪灣) is a decent little beach at the southeast of Hong Kong Island.

DSC_2949The natural rock formations around the area of Big Wave Bay are quite interesting.

DSC_2955Though the beach can get a little crowded during summer weekends.  For the rest of year, it’s popular for surfers.

DSC_2967Some prefer to stay away from the crowds on a rocky slope near a BBQ site.

DSC_2985For families, small streams out to the sea can be an interesting playground with small fish and seaside creatures.

DSC_7696About half an hour of walk south of Big Wave Bay, there is a Tai Tau Chau (大頭洲), a tied island linked to the mainland of Shek O Village by a tombolo.  On the tombolo, a narrow blue bridge is built for pedestrians who wish to visit Tai Tau Chau.  The area is popular for couples taking wedding photos.

DSC_8048At one side of the tombolo, a peaceful tidal pool acts like a perfect mirror.  The colours of the rocks around the pool reveal the varying water level from time to time.

DSC_7698The coastal granite of Tai Tau Chau (大頭洲) are quite interesting after so many years of natural erosion and carving by the waves.

DSC_7740Despite the occasionally scary waves at this part of Hong Kong, many still brave the danger and climb onto the uneven coastal rocks for wedding photos.

DSC_7816The waves at Tai Tau Chau are beautiful but also terrifying sometimes.

DSC_7885Like the Geoparks in Sai Kung and Northeast New Territories, the coastal rocks at Tai Tau Chau are quite unique.

DSC_8856Just a stone throw from Tai Tau Chau lies the bigger beach of Shek O, a really popular outdoor destination for city dwellers of Hong Kong.

 


SHEK O (石澳) – Walking on the Dragon’s Back (龍脊), Hong Kong

For a city known for long working hours and bustling nightlife, hiking in one of its 24 country parks has quietly emerged as a popular alternative to shopping, karaoke, or watching a movie as a local weekend activity.

On a fine day in early April, I set out on a half day journey to hike in the southern part of Hong Kong Island.  Compared to the northern shoreline of Hong Kong Island where the downtown is located, the south is dotted with sandy beaches and hill forests.  I had a few hours’ time before sunset to do the hike, and I picked the Dragon’s Back hike in Shek O Country Park.  Recognized by some magazines as one of the best urban hikes in Asia, the Dragon’s Back Hike has become really popular among locals and tourists.  Just like many other hikes in Hong Kong, the trailhead of Dragon’s Back Hike can be easily accessed by public transportation.  In this case, the trailhead at To Tei Wan can be reached by frequent public buses from Shau Kei Wan MTR Station.

It took me less than three hours to hike from To Tei Wan to Big Wave Bay, and then another half an hour to walk from Big Wave Bay to Shek O Village.  After reaching the highest point of Dragon’s Back at 284m, the magnificent panoramic view of Shek O and the South China Sea was rewarding.  The descend journey to Bay Wave Bay was largely done in shaded paths.  By the time I reached the renounced surfing beach, the sun was about to set.  I stayed at Big Wave Bay and continued on to finish my journey at Shek O, a mere 20-minute walk from Big Wave Bay.  At Shek O, I climbed onto a rock hill adjacent to the beach to take in the scenery and watched the people enjoying themselves on the beach under the setting sun.

Image龍脊 – Dragon’s Back is a scenic trail along the ridges of folding mountainsImageNo wonder why the undulating hike along the Dragon’s Back ridge has been recognized by guidebooks and magazines as one of the best urban hikes in Asia.  The view toward Shek O Village and Beach, and the rocky islands of Tai Tau Chau and Ng Fan Chau is the biggest reward for climbing up to the Dragon’s Back.ImageImageImage
Paragliding in mid-air or surfing along the Big Wave Bay (Tai Long Wan) – people choose different ways to enjoy themselves outside the city centre.ImageAerial view to the Big Wave Bay (Tai Long Wan), a popular surfing spot in HK.ImageImageImageImageImage