A hike on the Lamma Island Family Trail had been high on our list of things to redo during our stay in Hong Kong. We remembered walking the popular route last time and had especially liked the mixture of charming villages on either side of the island with a stop on the beach in between away from the traffic of the main city. We went to the Central ferry terminal straight after breakfast for the short boat ride to the island. We had packed some snacks and water and very important, our swimming stuff into our backpack to take along. Many tourists do not venture outside of the main Hong Kong and Kowloon areas but visiting the other islands and districts gives a very rewarding experience and I can certainly recommend finding the time for that if you are there.
The walking tour can be started either by taking the ferry to Yung Shue Wan or Sok Kwu Wan village. We did the latter, the time before we had taken the walk from the other end of the island. We decided to start at this end of the island, as the ferries from Yung Shue Wan were more frequent. Having boarded our ferry at pier number 4, we chose seats on the deck outside, to get some fresh air and enjoy a window less view during our ride. There were a number of other hikers and a few locals with us on the boat when we left the pier. The skyline of both Hong Kong Island and Kowloon was still shrouded in misty clouds as we chugged out of the docks, but we could see that further away from the city the sky was blue and the sun was shining, another benefit of escaping the high rises in the centre. We admired the soaring buildings and tower blocks from afar, with “The Peak” rising up behind and Jerome took a special interest in the passing boats.
On the way out of the main harbour we spotted the Star Ferries, some junks sailing up and down the harbour and the fast ferries to Macao, lifted up in the air, overtaking us at superfast speed. There also were some car ferries, laden with trucks and huge container ships waiting to enter the massive container port at Kowloon. After a short while we left Victoria Harbour and the bay of Hong Kong behind and were out at sea where we could see some of the outlying islands on the horizon. Lamma Island can easily be recognised by the three tall power station chimneystacks towering over the islands hilly landscape. After sailing past a lush, green hill with a winding road the outskirts of Aberdeen were visible to our left. Ocean Park came into sight, where we had spent some fun times on the crazy rides a few days before.
Shortly after the boat turned into Picnic Bay. We could see the stilt houses of Sok Kwu Wan village and the fishing rafts of the Lamma Fisher Folk ahead of us. After exiting the ferry we walked past the many restaurants that are raised over the water here and make the village a popular food destination. I particularly liked the row of restaurant with their checked tablecloths and plastic flowers but we have yet to have the chance to enjoy lunch or dinner there.
After a short walk through the village we soon had come to the end of the small settlement and reached Tin Hau temple, which dates back to 1826.
Once outside the village we got a better view of the Fisher Village on floating rafts in the bay. Sadly the number of traditional fisherman in Hong Kong has been on the decline for years now but here at Sok Kwu the community has set up a new concept to attract tourists and therefore help to support the local fisherman and their families. Unfortunately the set up for the Fisherfolk Village was not yet finished during our stay but I am sure it would make a great addition to the Family Trail on Lamma Island to learn more about the history and daily life of the people here on these floating rafts.
We crossed a little bridge, with residential houses on either side and walked along the trail next to the shoreline. Jerome had remembered the caves and soon enough we could see the dark entrance to one of them. These caves, also called “Kamikaze” caves date back to WWII. Jerome and I ventured into one of them and were slightly disappointed to find they looked just like any ordinary cave, dark and damp. They were built by the Japanese occupying forces and were supposed to house motorboats loaded with explosives to disrupt allied shipping during the war, however, these were never used. From here on the path slightly inclines and passes a modern pavilion next to a rubbish-strewn beach. This is one thing we noticed during our entire stay again and again in Hong Kong in different places that rubbish would just be left everywhere.
Higher up we strolled through the small settlement of Lo So Shing, consisting of a few houses and some locals working in their fruit and vegetable gardens.
The higher we got the better the view of the bay, with the many boats and rafts and the houses below. Once we had reached the highest point of the trail we finally got a view of the chimneystacks poking out behind the hills and with the outline of Cheung Chau, one of the many other islands in the calm waters of the South Chinese Sea. We could also see a deserted beach, which is accessible from the path by a longer detour but as we had not brought a full picnic and lots of drinks with us we gave it a miss.
We walked a bit further and found a quiet spot where we had a break and ate some of the dried mango and refreshing water from our knapsack looking at the view. Perhaps we should have waited slightly longer before resting, because as we turned a corner and reached a Chinese style pavilion, there was a lady with her cart, selling fresh pineapple and coconuts in the middle of no where. We bought a fresh coconut and an ice-lolly for Jerome.
Part two will follow very soon, I decided to divide the post into two parts, as I had too many photos…