On the northern slope of Tai Mo Shan (大帽山) at a place called Pak Ngau Shek (白牛石) in the area of Lam Tsuen (林村), 148 hectare of organic farms, botanical gardens and mature forests terracing up to the summit of Kwun Yum Shan (觀音山) reveal over half a century of efforts by the Kadoorie Farm (嘉道理農場). Established in 1956, Kadoorie Farm has always stood at the forefront of Hong Kong’s agriculture, experimenting on new techniques and providing agricultural aid to farmers in need of support. In 1951, the Kadoorie brothers (Horace and Lawrence) established the Kadoorie Agricultural Aid Association (KAAA) in an attempt to help the sudden influx of Mainland farmers into Hong Kong during the Chinese Civil War in the late 1940’s. They picked Pak Ngau Shek (白牛石) near Lam Tsuen (林村) to establish an agricultural facility engaging in experiments on profitable and effecting farming and animal breeding, and training the new farmers with their developed techniques. Today, Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden (嘉道理農場暨植物園) diversifies their effort to promote organic farming, sustainable living, nature conservation and education. They also run extensive rehabilitation program for wild animals in Hong Kong.
Linked by 9 km of roads and 8 km of trails, various highlights of the Kadoorie Farm spread over the slope of Kwun Yum Shan (觀音山).
One of the big highlights at the lower section of Kadoorie Farm is the “Eco Garden” (生機園), exhibiting different types of self sufficient and compact farming in a community scale.
The garden presents natural and organic ways to maintain soil’s nutrients and insect control, and the best combination of vegetables for each season.
Other than its freshness and taste, the organic vegetables such as the purple cabbages are also beautiful.
Spherical bird scarers are hung over a cluster of rainbow chards in the Eco Garden.
A wavy fence separates the Eco Garden with the other terraced farms and botanic gardens.
Other than organic farming, more innovative planting techniques are also examined at the Eco Garden. Some farming techniques that requires less space or soil may suit urban living well.
At the Piers Jacobs Wildlife Sanctuary, native mammals such as a Barking Deer or Muntjac (麂) have been rescued as an orphan and raised in the sanctuary.
The wild boar is also another rescued orphan at the sanctuary. Both wild boars and barking deer can be found in the forests in and around Kadoorie Farm.
In the old days, pig breeding was an important work at the Kadoorie Agricultural Aid Association (KAAA). Today a few Da Hua Bai Pigs (大花白豬) are kept at the farm for educational purposes.
Amphibians and reptiles are both vulnerable groups of wildlife in Hong Kong due to habitat loss. Kadoorie Farm has a few of the native species at the Amphibian and Reptile House and Reptile Garden.
Interesting pavilions and artworks are all over the farm, including a dragon boat pigeon house.
And also the fish mosaic at the Cascade Garden near the Chicken House.
As the farm terraces up the hillside of Kwun Yum Shan (觀音山), the view to the surrounding landscape becomes more spectacular.
The Butterfly Path winds up the hill through dense forests and open terraces, following part of an old trail which led the locals up the hill of Kwun Yum Shan (觀音山) for a religious blessing.
In order to preserve the natural feel, there is minimal modern safety infrastructure provided at the Butterfly Path.
9 km of roads circulate up and down the Kwun Yum Shan (觀音山), going through some densely forested areas, the habitat for some native species in Hong Kong, such as the barking deer.
… and the wild boar.
At 550m above sea level, the summit of Kwun Yum Shan (觀音山) is the highest point in Kadoorie Farm. For centuries, farmers came up to the summit to seek blessings from the goddess of Kwun Yum.
The summit of Kwun Yum Shan (觀音山) allows visitors to have fine view of the New Territories and even Shenzhen on a fine and clear day.
The summit of Kwun Yum Shan (觀音山) is at 1812 ft, or 550 m.
Kwun Yum Shan (觀音山) is sandwiched between Tai To Yan (大刀屻) to the north and Tai Mo Shan (大帽山) to the south.
Heading downhill, visitors can either take a shuttle bus or walk down a winding road.
Along the downhill road, sounds of monkeys can often be heard. Occasionally visitors may spot monkeys jumping from one tree to another.
Once arrived on Taquile, we were greeted at the dock by the father of the home-stay family. We had difficulties understanding each other completely, but we could still communicate with simple facial expressions and hand gestures. Our host suggested us to take our time to walk uphill to the village centre, while he would go ahead of us to prepare our lunch at a village restaurant. Since we weren’t totally acclimatized to the 3,800m altitude, we took our time and slowly walked uphill from the dock to the village centre. The journey took less than half an hour. We walked along through terraced farmland ascending from the dock to the top of the hill. The view was gorgeous along the way, with terraced farmlands everywhere along the slope of the island.
Soon we reached the plaza at the village centre, where we found our host. He led us to a local restaurant and ordered each of us a dish of local trout. After lunch, our host guided us to his home where we would stay the night. We were introduced to the host’s family. Then we dropped off our bags and followed our host to the island’s elementary school where some sort of festival activity was going on. Standing behind rows of local spectators, we watched groups of Taquile students engaged in some kind of acting and dancing performance. Despite we couldn’t understand Quechua, we enjoyed the funny acting of the innocent Taquile children that made everyone laughed.
After the performance at Taquile’s school, our host took us to the highest spot on Taquile, where the ruins of an ancient buildings still remained. After the visit, we wandered around Taquile on our own until the sun was set. We followed the main path into the village. Along the way, we were greeted by the villagers, most of them with a smiley face. In late afternoon, we walked pass the main village square once again, where the pink Artisan Centre stood. Taquile is renowned for their textile art. In 2005, the UNESCO declared the textile art of Taquile as one of the world’s Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. The centre was closed for the day. We would come back the next day to check out the textile art.
In the evening, we dined at our host’s place with three other fellow travelers, two from Belgium and one from France. In the candle lit dining room, we had a simple meal with soup, egg omelet and rice. After dinner, the entire host family including the kids performed their traditional music for us. Away from any electronics and digital devices, the night was simple yet surreal. Inside the dining room, it was warm and full of music and laughter. Outside the house, it was freezing cold and extremely quiet on an island in Lake Titicaca at 3,800m above sea level. Before bed, we took turns going to the toilet hut in the courtyard in front of the house. The full moon was climbing over our heads as we retired to our bedroom. Our bedroom was on the upper level accessible only via an external stair. Wrapped under three to four layers of wool blankets, the four of us had a very soundly sleep until the next morning.
It was a 20 minute walk from the pier to the main square of Taquile, passing by farming terraces and the boundless Lake Titicaca. Amantani, another island popular with tourists, stood prominently in the distant.
The slope of the hills became terraced farmland.
Taquile is living village and we love the sense of community on the island.
The host took us a small restaurant in the main square for lunch. He ordered the local trout dish for us. The fresh water fish is slightly pan fired. The meat was sweet and tender. The fish was served with fries, rice and steamed vegetable.
After lunch, the host guided us to his place where we met his family and left our luggage. He then brought us to the the local school. There was actually some festival performance there.
Children with traditional costumes were doing dance and act performances.
We followed our host up to the high part of the island.
The highest spot of the island stood a series of ruined buildings and our host had no idea when they were actually built.
School building in Taquile.
Taquile is a peaceful living village with a great sense of community. Most of the foreign visitors made one-day trip to the island. After the tourists left with the last boat, the island became peaceful again.
We love Taquile for its sense of community. Most islanders here would greet us warmly when they walked past us.
The Artisan Centre at the main square of the island.
Gateway leading to the main square of the village.
Photovoltaic panels to supply electricity was becoming more popular when we visited Taquile.
We passed by the school complex once again before we returned to our host’s place.
At our host’s place, the four of us stayed at the upper room (the one with the door open). The family prepared new woolen blankets to keep us warm for the night. Accommodation was simple but we had a good night of sleep after all the walking.
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Read other posts on Peru Trip 2010
1. Peru Trip 2010
2. Bumpy Arrival, Lima & Arequipa, Peru
AREQUIPA & COLCA CANYON
3. Monasterio de Santa Catalina, Arequipa, Peru
4. Plaza de Armas, Arequipa, Peru
5. Volcanoes and Vicuna, Pampa Canahuas Natural Reserve, Patahuasi, and Patapampa, Peru
6. Yanque, Colca Canyon, Peru
7. Cruz del Condor, Colca Canyon, Peru
8. Farming Terraces, Colca Canyon, Peru
PUNO & TITICACA
9. Road to Titicaca, Colca Canyon to Puno, Peru
10. Afternoon on Taquile Island, Titicaca, Peru
11. Morning on Taquile, Titicaca, Peru
12. Inka Express, Puno to Cusco, Peru
CUSCO & SACRED VALLEY
13. Pisac & Ollantaytambo, Sacred Valley, Peru
14. Salinas de Maras, & Moray, Sacred Valley, Peru
15. Lucuma Milkshake & Plaza de Armas, Cusco, Peru
16. Saksaywaman, Cusco, Peru
17. KM 82 to Wayllabamba, Inca Trail, Peru
18. Wayllabamba to Pacamayo, Inca Trail, Peru
19. Pacasmayo to Winay Wayna, Inca Trail, Peru
20. Winay Wayna to Machu Picchu, Inca Trail, Peru
21. Machu Piccu, Inca Trail, Peru
22. Machu Picchu in Black and White, Inca Trail, Peru
23. Afterthought, Inca Trail, Peru
LAST DAY IN CUSCO & LIMA
24. Farewell to the Incas, Cusco, Peru
25. Last Day in Peru, Lima, Peru