NORTHEASTERN ISLANDS EXPEDITION
This exclusive excursion is a combined walking and boating trip exploring the Plover Cove Country Park, the Yan Chau Tong Marine Park and
the Kat O, Ap Chau and Tap Mun islands. The outing will take you to remote, yet inhabited islands, a number of old villages - some abandoned,
others not - interesting countryside and beautiful coastal sceneries.
To fit it all in, an early start is required. From Tai Po Market Railway Station, we catch taxis to the trail head at Wu Kau Tang, a village made up
of several villages built by Hakka clans in the early Qing Dynasty. The villagers once built a stone wall to segregate the fields. Shortly after the
wall had been completed, a large hole appeared as many rocks went missing. A serious investigation solved the mystery: Some of the
“rocks” that had been used were in fact tortoises which later crawled away. Tortoises were once very common in the area, so much so that
the area was known as Tortoise Field. When villagers traded in the rural market, they were often nicknamed “tortoise heads”. Determined to
end this humiliation, village elders asked a scholar to rename the village and, thus, it is now known as Wu Kau Tang. In Chinese, it means a
formidable dragon in motion.
Leaving Wu Kau Tang, we enter Plover Cove Country Park which is one of the best places in Hong Kong to get away from it all. Our mostly
unsurfaced path takes us through narrow valleys, across streams and along mangrove-clad coast line to the tiny hamlet of Sam A on the
shores of the Yan Chau Tong Marine Park. On the surface, Sam A might seem rather insignificant but, to us, the village is very much the focal
point of the day. It is from here that we board the boat which will take us around the Northeastern Islands. It is also here that we will enjoy a
multi-course lunch. Finally, Sam A is the only place you can go swimming on this outing....
After a brief stop for a cup of tea and to unload any excess luggage, we board a speedboat for Crooked Island, a.k.a. Kat O. The Hakka first
settled here, then called Gu Chau (Lone Island), during the early Qing dynasty. There are two schools of thought as to why the island was
renamed Kat O; one being that the inhabitants used the word kat, meaning prosperity, for luck. The other being that there was an abundance
of mandarine (pronounced kat) trees growing on the island. The British later called it Crooked Island inspired by its shape.
There are six villages on the island: Tung O, Chung Kan O, Sai O, Kat O Sheung Wai, Au Pui Tong and Chek Kok Tau inhabited by members of
the Lam, Tsang, Chow, Yau, Cheung and Chung clans. Officially, fishing was the major industry...
Next to Crooked Island is Ap Chau, meaning Duck Island but also known as Robinson Island. The island once had over 1,000 inhabitants.
These were all Tankas, an originally non-Chinese ethnic minority who were mostly fishermen, but most moved to cities in the United Kingdom
such as Newcastle upon Tyne, Leicester, Sunderland and Edinburgh some 30-40 years ago. Incidentally, all inhabitants these days are
members of the True Jesus Church.
Beyond Ap Chau and its unique geological features, we reach Lai Chi Wo, the largest traditional village still standing in all of Hong Kong. More
than a hundred years ago, it was a poor village. On the advice of a geomancy expert, a fung shui wall was built around the village to retain
wealth and ward off bad luck. Soon the village’s luck changed. Lai Chi Wo produced a number of famous scholars and residents were better
off financially. Since then the villagers of Lai Chi Wo have become faithful believers in fung shui and use every effort to protect their fung shui
wood, including marking boundaries and banning the destruction of local forests. Anyone causing damage to the fung shui wood would be
fined and publicly denounced. For only one or two days in a year, villagers are allowed to enter the wood to gather sticks for firewood. This
may well be the reason why Lai Chi Wo’s fung shui wood has remained lush and verdant until today.
It is just a short walk along concrete village paths from Lai Chi Wo to lunch at Sam A. Lunch will be a leisurely multi-course affair so as to
allow those who so desire to go for a refreshing swim off the village pier. (FYI, showers are available at the restaurant afterwards).
Once everybody is ready, we re-board our boat for the relatively long cruise through the marine park and the Red Rock Gate (Hung Shek Mun)
and across the mouth of Tolo Harbour to the old pirate lair of Grass Island, a.k.a. Tap Mun. The Chinese name means Stone Pagoda and the
island's main attractions are, indeed, its rocks and the very well-maintained Tin Hau Temple. We will explore as much of Tap Mun as time
allows, before concluding our cruise at the public pier at Wong Shek (Yellow Rock) in time to catch the 5:30 pm bus to the city - well, to Sai
|... exploring Hong Kong's other side...
|Click on map and check|
the red and blue lines
for an idea of where
this outing will take you.
||2 out of 10
|Approx. Altitude Change:
||Gain: 160 metres
||Loss: 265 metres
||includes speedboat transfers,
refreshments and ferry from Tap
Mun to Wong Shek pier.
Lunch and other transport are not
|Time Spent on Trail/Islands:
||Actual walking: 4.5 hours
|Meeting Time & Place:
||at Tai Po Market Railway Station
|Finishing Time & Place:
||in Sai Kung Town
||Price for this hike as a Private Event on request
|Food & Drink:
||Refreshment break on Crooked Island - included.
Lunch at restaurant at Sam A Tsuen (11 km) - not included.
Refreshment break on Grass Island - included.
||Due to the cost of renting the boat and to its limited seating, this outing requires a minimum of 7 participants,
while being restricted to no more than 9 participants.
|Participants on all Hansen's Events' hikes and rides take part entirely at their own risk. By joining any of our events all participants are automatically seen to
have agreed to have entered into a disclaimer which exonerates the outing leaders and the organizers from any personal or public responsibility whatsoever
and for any claims, injuries or damages arising thereof.
|by Hansen's Events
|Due to work commitments, holidays and other personal issues,
Hansen's Hikes & Rides has decided to SUSPEND all operations until further notice.
Apologizing for any inconvenience caused,
we hope to partially resume our outings towards the end of the year.