Hong Kong

Tales from the Fragrant Harbour: Kiu Tsui Chau and the Tombolo, Hong Kong

Having hopped on a ferry in Tap Mun Chau, I arrived at Wong Shek Pier only to find myself stuck in a long queue waiting for a bus under the hot, scorching sun. Half an hour later, the only bus to civilization arrived. The double-decker bus was quickly filled to the brim with sweaty hikers and some locals living in the small towns scattered along the route. Thankfully, the bus was air-conditioned and brought a much needed relief from the strong afternoon sun. Soon, I found myself in Sai Kung, a fishing town at the eastern part of Hong Kong and the starting point for trips to the Sai Kung Volcanic Rock Region of the Hong Kong Geopark.

I walked to the waterfront and took a peep at the row of sampans filled with fresh catches of the day, ready to be bought and cooked in the nearby restaurants.

Sampans filled with fresh seafood for sale

I had every intention to make my way back to the hotel then but it was not meant to be. “T’bolo, t’bolo!” hollered a guy with his loud-speaker practically pointing next to my ear. “The boat to the tombolo is leaving! It was on TV you know…quick,the boat is leaving now!” he shouted to all and sundry (in Cantonese of course).  I paid the $20 and he hurried me to the kaido.

Speeding to Sharp Island / Kiu Tsui Chau, on a kaido

Inside the very posh kaido with its open-air concept

Landing on the volcanic rocks of Sharp Island/Kiu Tsui Chau

The tombolo connecting Sharp Island to Kiu Tau, the tiny island at the other end

The tombolo

From the top of Kiu Tau Island

Evening arrives at Sharp Island

Tales from the Fragrant Harbour: Tap Mun Chau, Hong Kong

It’s hot. Really, really hot…and humid. My tiny water bottle seems to have only about 3 sips left in it. I can’t believe I had left my plush,air-conditioned room in a 5-star hotel for this. Three hours ago I had made my way to the subway station.  2 subway lines and 1 ‘train’ later, I had alighted with 3 other passengers in a station, it seems to me by Hong Kong standard, in the middle of nowhere.
“Just follow the road,” the teller at the ticket counter instructed me with a grumpy face when i inquired how to get to the pier. I followed the instruction but the road lead me to no pier. I backtracked in the scorching August heat and after walking in what seemed to be a maze, the Ma Liu Shui pier finally appeared before me.
It was deserted, save for an old couple and two men watching a fisherman casting his line on the steps of the pier. I took a seat and decided to enjoy the cool breeze, my faithful iPod for company. Close to noon, a group of young campers trailed in and soon it was abuzz with hikers and trampers. At precisely 12.30 noon, the ferry chugged in. Soon, the journey through the Tolo Channel (a part of the Hong Kong Geopark) began.
An hour and a half hour later, here I am.

The view that greeted me as the ferry chugged into the pier of Tap Mun Island/Grass Island

Dotted with beautiful, pristine beaches and pictured here with Sharp's Peak in the background, Tap Mun presented a side of Hong Kong that is yet 'unspoiled' by human development

The island is really covered with grass and here you can even see a cow grazing

Fishing used to be the main livelihood of the villagers but now it appears that only tourist-related trade exists