Hong Kong December 2005

Helen Rose Hill Diary

Photo: Brolly. For many years, I have thought about visiting Hong Kong and finally got around to it last month. Patricia and I decided to go on holiday together but as we have both travelled so much we had difficulty in finding somewhere we both had not visited, hence Hong Kong. It was a two week walking holiday with Ramblers Holidays. It has vastly improved my knowledge of the geography of Hong Kong. I will give you a description of Hong Kong and then describe a trail walk there.

The trip runs in November as this is generally the driest month with lower humidity. However, this year the humidity was high and also the temperatures so it was not the best weather for taking trail walks and usually I walked with the umbrella up to protect me from the sun. We were glad of the air conditioning on buses, trains, hotels etc.

Photo: Tower Blocks. Hong Kong is an area comprising many islands and a peninsula on the mainland of China. Kowloon is on the southern peninsula and leads to the New Territories and over to Shenzhen in China. The main island is Hong Kong Island across the bay from Kowloon but there are many islands, mostly uninhabited. I visited Cheung Chau, Lantau and Lama. Wherever you go in Hong Kong there are concentrations of apartments in tower blocks, some dizzingly high, built on precipitous land, a major feat of building. There are many walking trails throughout Hong Kong and lovely sandy beaches.

The most memorable visits to the islands were the moving street escalators travelling up high on the Hong Kong Island Peak with the final stage to the top by tram, the delicious seafood on Cheung Chau, the very large bronze Buddha on Lantau and the laid back, almost hippie style village at Lama. These islands are on very busy shipping lanes and we hopped off and on ferries like buses. In Kowloon, the highlight was afternoon tea at the Peninsula Hotel serenaded by an orchestra!

Photo: Beach. The walk I will describe is the Hong Kong Island Trail supposed to be the finest short hike in Hong Kong. We travelled from Kowloon by bus, underground train and then another bus on Hong Kong Island to Shek O on the north east of the Island. The trail is a fine pathway and well sign posted. The first part was fairly steep though trees and bamboo. It then flattened out onto the part called the Dragons Back which was undulating. This took us around a mountain and down to Big Wave Bay. There are views over to the other islands which are mainly hills covered in trees. We spent some time at the bay before catching a bus back to the train station where we opted to ride on a tram for about ten miles back to the Star Ferry terminal and back over to Kowloon.

Photo: Macau. I can?t finish without mentioning my trip over to Macau where I was very impressed by the beautiful buildings, a legacy of the past Portugese colonisation. The buildings were painted all the colours of the rainbow and the pavements were lovely mosaic designs similar to Lisbon. However, the main feature was the number of casinos catering for mainly visitors as gambling is banned in Hong Kong

Coming attractions; Cairngorms again, Arran, Largs and mountain terrain

Contact me at [email protected]

Thanks to Frances Rickus for the photos

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