Hong Kong, Outdoor Activity, Outlying Islands

Hiking: Lantau Trail Stage 7

We are still planning to finish the Lantau trail this year, but it is looking to become difficult – there are not many more weekends that Monica and I are both in Hong Kong and have no plans, other than to go hiking. But we’ll see! We’ve got six stages in total and some of them are quite short, so we could do two together. Anyway, let’s start with stage 7 which is from Tai O all through the Lantau South Country park until Kau Ling Chung.

This is a 10.5km hike and the estimated time it should take to hike is 3 hours. We started off quite late, as we had to take the ferry from Tung Chung to Tai O and then we spent the morning strolling through Tai O, which is an amazing fishing village. There’s lots to see and do, but more about this on another day. To get to the start of the hike we left the town and walked south in the direction of Nam Chung Tusen.

The first part of the hike runs along side the coast, with hills on one side and sea on the other. For the first few kilometres we walked past a few village houses, but these then stopped and we left all trace of human habitation behind. The sea was stretching out to the horizon and we were looking into the direction of Macau, but could not see anything.

The path then leaves the coast and goes through woodland with lots of trees – it is nice and shady, but also full of mosquitos, so we had to walk quickly and could not stay too long to take any pictures. At this point, there are signs saying that the path continues through private land, where the landowners have not given permission to the authorities to clean the path and keep it intact – but you are allowed to walk along it. The only problem, which you can see in the later pictures, is that the path is very overgrown and difficult to navigate. If you don’t want to across this more difficult area, you can leave at marker L058 and follow the Country Trail which heads over the crest of Nga Ying Shan via Man Cheung Po to meet the original trail again at marker L074 near Kau Ling Chung.

We continued on the Lantau Trail and stepped across a few puddles and soggy marshland, so either it had rained a lot recently or the water is coming in from the sea and just stays inland, turning the soil into a big breeding ground for insects. So again, no stopping!

We then came to the overgrown parts of the path and we had to look carefully where to step and go. The path was pretty hidden in some occasions!

We kept navigating our way and followed the markers and occasionally path signs. These took us past the very basic Tsin Yue Wan campsite at L068. There was a sign to go to Fan Lau, which is an almost abandoned village, so we followed it.

Fan Lau means ‘Division of Flows’ a reference to the waters on either side of this headland. It is here that the brown muddy currents of the Pearl River Estuary meet the deep blue of the South China Sea.

In front of us, we could see Crescent Bay, a really beautiful sand beach – shame that we had no bathing suits with us!

At L070 we reached Fan Lau Village. First, we heard some village dogs barking.

Then we saw the old ancestral hall ad followed the trail past old houses – a few villagers or visitors were out and about, having a drink with their neighbours, planting in their garden or just sitting on the steps and watching people (us!) going past.

The trail then went upwards, and gave us a nice view over the surrounding beaches. There is a Royal Navy Obelisk somewhere close to the path, but we did not follow the footpath up there. This marked the furthest extent of what had been British waters, until 1997. The treaty was flawed, as it left a large portion of Lantau sticking out into international waters and junk crews from China made use of this anomaly up until 1997 to sell vegetables at Tai O.

Stage 7 ends at the catchment above Kau Ling Chung. It took us about 2,5 hours to get there, as we did not make any stops and kept going. It was a really nice, scencic hike that we all enjoyed.

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