Yesterday I joined a group of fellow hikers who were all ready to explore the South of Lantau Island. We started off at the Shek Pik reservoir and walked parts of the Lantau Trail backwards, stages 7 and 8, to reach Tai O. The hike was 18km long and it was hot and sunny, so we walked slowly and made frequent stops. It took us about 5 hours walking time plus 2 hours of break time to complete this hike.
Lantau trail stage 8 is boring – it starts at the Shek Pik reservoir and is then a 5km hike next to the water catchment. It is easy, straightforward, flat and long. We walked fast to leave this boring start quickly behind us.
At Lantau trail marker 76 we left the catchment area and walked downhill to reach the camp ground at Fan Lau Tung Wan – we walked all the way down to the beach, which was in a poor state. Lots of rubbish had been washed up to the shore and the beach is really waiting for a beach clean-up to happen soon! So back up we went, along the country trail, and we looked over to the South China Sea and Fan Lau Tung Wan.
It is a beautiful area of Lantau, but very remote. You can only get here by hiking, biking or taking a boat. We walked along the hill and then down again, to the beach. We walked to the West end of Fan Lau Tung Wan bay where the beach was a little cleaner and we briefly jumped into the sea to cool us down.
Then we walked uphill to reach the Fan Lau stalagmite. By the way Fan Lau means the parting of the currents and it refers to the place where the yellow Pearl River waters inter and separate from the blue-green Pacific.
Next we visited the old Fan Lau Fort. Earliest accounts of this military position are from the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). The ruins belong to structures built by Emperor Kongxi in the latter years of his reign (1722). It is a rectangular structure that ceased operation in the 1900’s.
The Fan Lau Lighthouse standing atop the hill near the Stone Circle is a key navigation facility that guards the southwestern sea border of Hong Kong. We only saw it from a distance – as we did with the Tin Hau temple in Fan Lau. Do you remember? Tin Hau is the Empress of Heaven, watching over the seafaring people, so one finds Tin Hau temples in nearly every village in Hong Kong.
The hike then took us through Yi O San Tsuen, which should have been a quiet valley – but there was lots of building noise. The area had been cleared and houses were started to being built. We asked what they are building, the answer was an organic farm. Yes, that would be nice.
Unfortunately one of our fellow hikers said this is just temporary – once that’s been erected, it will be torn down in a few years with owners claiming it’s not profitable. Then they can say the land is already easy to reach, we might as well build houses here. That’s what happens all over the remote areas of Hong Kong and it is very sad to see all the nature being destroyed.