The Greener Side of Hong Kong – the Path Less Travelled

To many visitors,  the impressions of Hong Kong is one of  densely populated city where capitalism is practiced to the extreme. High rise buildings, neon signs, poor air quality and concrete jungle everywhere; people always in a hurry. The truth is that 40% of the territory is designated as Country Park. No matter where you are, within approximately  30 minutes  drive you are out into green environment, some even of pristine quality (for instance, the island with white egrets in the above image).

Today is a busy and interesting day, with the Ruby Sevens, the HK Chief Executive election and horse racing  all happening on the same day. It is an ideal day to be out of town, far away from the maddening crowd; leaving the hustle and bustle of the city behind.

We headed out to our “secret island “which is only 30 minutes drive from where we live; to watch the many egrets on an island and hike from Luk Keng, up the Sir Youde Pavilon and down to Nam Chung in the northern part of the New Territories.

It was a bit hazy. The sun was already out oozing a warm breeze on everyone when we made our accent from Luk Keng. Approaching the end of  March, some of the leaves are still brown, which contrast sharply with a big patch of green flat land left over from an old fish pond.

After an hour of hiking, we reached the Sir Youde Pavilion where we took a rest. Looking down from the pavilion it is hard to believe that we still have fish ponds nestled within the hills and valleys. The fish ponds were bunded by an intricate network of raised footpaths. In the background, we could see the Pak Sin Range (Peaks of the Eight Fairies).

At this time of the year, some of the trees leaves look so young, fresh and green. We passed by this funny old village house, half of which was constructed 60 years ago and the adjoining half (the ugly half) was only  reconstructed in recent years.

No photo would do this tree justice. Over the years, I have always tried to photograph it but have never been able to catch its form or elegance. It leans out so much to the serene waters as if  it is reaching out for something.

Finally, we reached our destination, the A Chau island with many egrets. This island  has always attracted us coming  back; it is enjoyable to watch egrets fishing, wading in the water at low tides, resting on the island, flying alone or in a formation.

There are lots of places in HK which are unheard of by tourists but nevertheless  are green and picturesque. Driving down town, we stepped back into another world. . . . . . a fast-paced city, bright lights, high-tech shops, endless boutiques and glistening skyscrapers . . . . . . . . . .