Hong Kong has long been promoted as an economic and gastronomic wonderland, abounding in unique and cheap shops and restaurants. However, for Dr Martin Williams, a person who has lived in Hong Kong for 25 years, Hong Kong is rich with unique natural scenery and rich ecological resources.
Dr Williams introduces the great outdoors of Hong Kong to locals and tourists though his writing, photography and his website, Hong Kong Outdoors. Through his efforts, he hopes to bring people closer to nature and to promote the protection of Hong Kong’s beautiful natural landscape.
In 2008, Dr Williams was awarded “Outstanding Earth Champion” by the Earth Champions Foundation, an international non-profit organisation that seeks to promote local solutions to environmental problems facing communities around the world.
Hong Kong’s Abundant Resources for Eco-Tours
Dr Williams loves to go hiking. In 1995, he published a bestseller about hiking in Hong Kong, Hong Kong Pathfinder. Recently he published Enchanting Hong Kong, which introduces Hong Kong’s various scenic spots. Dr Williams also writes for several well-known publications, including Wildlife, Discovery and Reader’s Digest.
Hong Kong’s metropolitan area actually only accounts for one-quarter of the land, explains Dr Williams. Three-quarters of Hong Kong is country-side, covered with many types of ecological systems, including forests, reservoirs, wetlands, the ocean and islands.
“Though Hong Kong is a small place, it provides many kinds of outdoor experiences,” says Dr Williams. One can enjoy outdoor activity year round in Hong Kong, such as hiking, bird watching in the wetlands, surfing and diving. The traffic is convenient and it doesn’t take much time to get from the concrete jungle to the wide outdoors.
Best Hiking Routes
To go on an eco-trip, Dr Williams’ first choice is the Tai Long Wan Trail.
“Some people say that this is the most beautiful place in Hong Kong. It has clear water and sandy beaches that are surrounded by green mountains. There is a village nearby where you can get food. It’s a bit far and will take you almost one day, but it is definitely worth going,” he says.
Another good trail is the Dragon’s Back on Hong Kong Island. “It’s easy to get there if you are on Hong Kong Island. The trail is short and easy to walk. The scenes are marvelous. You can see the south of the island and the South China Sea. If you go down the mountain towards Shek O, a small village with a beach, it’s gorgeous there.”
Dr Williams also says that there are further trails in southwest Lantau Island. The mountains there are not tall, he admits, but the scenes are enchanting. “Not many people know the place but if you go there, you are sure to find it amazing,” he says.
The Tai Long Wan Trail
The Tai Long Wan trail, in the new territories, once ranked number one on the official list of “Hong Kong’s Best Ten Scenic Sites.” It’s 7.5 miles (12 kilometres) long, but there are several villages along the way where you can rest and get supplies, including Sai Wan, Ham Tin Wan, and Chek Keng. It’s a trail suitable for people of all ages.
How to get there: you can take the 96R bus from Diamond Hill MTR station and get off at Pei Tam Chung. Go To Chan Man Street in Sai Wan and take the 29R bus or a taxi to Sai Wan Pavilion, where you can find the starting point of the trail. It takes approximately 1.5 hours to get to the end of the trail. You can also rent a boat to go to Tai Long Wan (a.k.a Big Wave Bay.
How to get back: The trail ends at Pei Tam O. Make a left turn and 100 feet (30 metres) down the road there are buses to go back to Sai Kung, Diamond Hill and Siu Sai Wan.
The Dragon’s Back Trail
The Dragon’s Back trail is located in the east of Hong Kong at Shek O. In 2004, it was ranked “The best urban hike in Asia” by TIME Magazine. Dragon’s Back trail is 5.3 miles (8.5 kilometre) long. The shape of the mountain resembles the backbone of a giant dragon laying on the ground. There is no shade along the trail and care must be taken to prevent sunburn.
How to get there: Take bus 9 (going to Shek O) at the A3 exit of Shau Kei Wan MTR Station. Get off at the To Tei Wan stop. Here you will find the starting point of the trail.
How to get back: Take the Red bus from Big Wave Bay back to Shau Kei Wan. You can also walk along the Tai Long Wan trail back to Shek O. From there take bus 9 to go to Shau Kei Wan.
Translated by Hsin-Yi Lin
For more information, visit: http://www.hkoutdoors.com/
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