It has been a long hot summer in Hong Kong, with weeks on end of Hot Weather warnings. Several hikers, some young and fit, and others who were elderly, but experienced walkers, who thought they could handle the conditions had to be rescued. Sadly, several of them did not survive. Then the weeks of hot weather were followed by weeks of torrential rain. It was a very frustrating time. Then came September and things started to cool down a bit.
September, while it is still quite warm (it was 30 degrees when we set out for this walk), is traditionally the start of the hiking/camping/rock climbing season. So, with this in mind, we decided the start the season with a familiar route from San Tsuen to the Wishing Tree at Fong Ma Po.
This short walk takes you along the upper reaches of the Lam Tsuen River which is quite beautiful and offers you great views of the countryside.
The walk was just over 1.5km and took us less than an hour, even with the rest breaks. As mentioned, it is still quite warm so we took plenty of water with us in reusable bottles.
In order to get to the start of the walk you can take the 64K KMB bus from the Tai Po Market Bus Terminus, or, take the 24K Green Minibus from the Tai Wo MTR station. If you are using the minibus, tell the driver you want to go to San Tsuen. It is one of the regular stops.
Cross the road, avoiding the temptation of the Kwan Yick Store to your right, and carry on down the footpath.
Very soon you leave the traffic noises behind you and enter some quiet greenery.
Sadly, the Community Garden appears to have stopped operating. They had been offering plots for organic gardening. I thought it was a wonderful idea that, while every vacant lot in the area was rapidly being given up for housing projects, that this company would be brave enough to attempt a commercial organic garden.
After passing the Community Garden follow the footpath down, bearing left, and you will soon come to the Lam Tsuen River.
We had visited this farm once before and, as it was starting to get warmer we carried on along the river.
We came across several nicely maintained, private gardens along the way.
On the hillside opposite, apart from several commercial farms, we notice two fairly new traditional horseshoe graves. This is despite the government having banned their construction in the 70s. It doesn’t surprise me that the indigenous residents of the New Territories ignore this rule, as history tells us that they were displaying their ‘independence’ back in the late 1800s.
The following is an excerpt from a historical note in the novella, The Isle of the Rat, written and published by the author in 1994:
‘The New Territories were leased to Great Britain in 1898. Occupation did not commence until early 1899 and did not go smoothly, as the landowning clans saw the introduction of British laws and customs as a threat to their power. (No doubt this attitude has carried over to the present day).
Comprised of over 350 square miles, the Territories extended from the Kowloon peninsula to the new border with China, which ran from the Shum Chun River in Deep Bay to Sha Tau Kok in Mirs Bay. The lease also included numerous islands around Hong Kong.
One reason for the leasing of the New Territories was the need for a security buffer in the event of Russian and European expansion in the Far East.‘
At this point we were nearing the end of the walk but the tranquility of the Lam Tsuen River still brought a sense of peace as it flowed gently towards Tai Po.
Finally we arrived at the turn off for Fong Ma Po and the Wishing Tree.
Note: I intentionally did not bring a walking stick with me today, despite the fact that I was aware that this last section was very steep. The reason being that I knew that there were good, solid hand railings all the way up. Unfortunately for me, the railings had just been painted, and the paint was still wet. The photos really don’t capture the steepness of the ascent.
However, we were soon at the entrance to the Wishing Tree area and Fong Ma Po.
To complete the walk, carry on through Fong Ma Po in the direction of Lam Kam Road. To the left of the photos is the Wishing Tree and to the right of there are several restaurants selling good food and cold drinks. All are welcoming, if slightly expensive.
To return to Tai Wo, or Tai Po, turn right at the road and you will come to a bus stop where you can pick up either the 64K or the 24K green minibus. If you are not familiar with the area please be aware that the 24K does not go all the way to Tai Po Market Station, but stops in the middle of the town.
This walk could be done in conjunction with a visit to the Tin Liu Ha Valley which is another short and pleasant walk. Please click on the link for further information. I recommend doing Tin Liu Ha first as the walk brings you out onto Lam Kam Road close to the San Tsuen Bus Stop, and then continuing on to this one.
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