Sunday, June 10, 2012

Long Ke and Lion Rock

These last couple weeks, I saw two places in Hong Kong that made me think, “How the hell haven’t I been here after eleven months?!” Their scope and overall beauty were among the most impressive I’ve witnessed in HK yet.

The first was a beach called Long Ke. I’d been hearing about this beach for some time, yet had never made the trek due to its tricky location. But after reading about it being voted as the number two beach in Hong Kong by HK Magazine, I decided to finally check it out. Perhaps the number one, even more isolated Dai Long Wan will come later.

To get there, my girlfriend and I took the train one brief stop from Tai Wai to Shatin, took a 45-minute bus ride to Sai Kung and a winding 30-minute taxi ride to the trail head, about as far east as you can get in the Hong Kong SAR. From there, it was about a 30-minute hike down to the beach. But once we finally reached our destination, it was surreal. It was like we had left Hong Kong and plopped back down in the idyllic island of Palwan, where we had been five months ago.

The sand was fine, the water was crystal clear, the handful of other people there were laid-back, and the beach was BIG. There was plenty of room to play Frisbee and no concern about leaving our stuff on the beach while we swam in the not-too-cold-but-not-too-warm water. Those of you Seattleites reading this probably can’t imagine ocean water that’s too warm, but in Hong Kong, it happens. No joke. The beauty of this place was enhanced by the fact the rarity of beaches like this in Hong Kong. Most of the ones I’ve been to are either tiny, packed with people or littered with trash from the ocean. 

Here are some photos of the beach and the hike up there. The only down side of the outing was that the taxi ride out there added up to a hefty sum, so next time, we might invite a bigger posse and split the taxi cost. It’s the only possible way to access Long Ke, aside from permitted vehicles driven by employees of the surrounding Geopark and nearby rehab facility.

A group of feral cattle


This is what one might call camouflage

Hard to believe we're in one of the densest cities on Earth
The other place I went to was much less of a time commitment. Just a fifteen-minute walk from my apartment lies one of the entrances to the Lion Rock Country Park. The Lion Rock is one of the highest points on the HK mainland at 495 meters, and divides the densely populated Kowloon peninsula from the more rural New Territories. Though I didn’t originally intend to do so due to the heat, I hiked to the highest point that people can safely access, a stone’s through—no pun intended—from the peak of the rock, which actually does look a bit like a lion.

From here, I got one of the best views of Hong Kong I’ve had yet. At some 1,600 feet above sea level, I was able to see a full panorama of Kowloon and a hazy silhouette of HK Island’s north shore. Victoria Peak may have the fame and the glitz of the island’s architecture, but Lion Rock has a scenic hike, infinitely greater isolation and in my opinion, better scope due to its distance inland. My camera doesn’t do it justice, but here are a few shots.

Lion Rock

Kowloon from above

Camera facing south over the green New Territories

Reminds me of Avatar for some reason

Whoah! Didn't know that existed!
Please don't steal my stuff

Aside from my outdoor adventures, nothing too exciting has happened to me as of late. Still working hard at my school, trying to keep writing words and music when I can, and fantasizing about future trips around Asia. Thanks too all those who are reading this. I love reading your comments and hearing about your lives as well!

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