This week, HK graced us with yet another public holiday (the 4th or 5th one I’ve had in 2 months here!) so I took the opportunity to go out to Lamma Island, one of the popular destinations for beaches, seafood and hikes and only a 35min ferry ride from the Central pier. Such was my determination to see this place, I even gave up an invitation to the launch party of a new Spanish restaurant with free flow alcohol (the shock, the horror) the night before, to guarantee a fresh state for Lamma (in contrast to the other Lamar, who probably could’ve benefited had he been able to say no to his vices).
The plan was to get out there, hike the Family Trail and then explore the fishing village of Sok Kwu Wan and Tin Hau temple, before heading back to HK Island to see off my Vegas friends, Abi and Jason, who permanently returned to the States on Thursday (boohoo.. 😭)
But in the spirit of spontaneity, the plan didn’t exactly go to plan!
Along the trail are local vendors. Though this lady looks nothing like my mum, watching her work felt like a soothing familiar sight – she just exuded this kindness and warmth that reminded me so much of mum! #mommasgirl
Little goldfish, crafted with love
I finished the Family Trail (which, as the name suggests, has lots of kids, resulting in plenty of backlog on those narrow paths) and, rather than continue straight onto Sok Kwu Wan, thought it’d be a good idea to quickly do the Ling Kok Shan trail before returning to explore the village – Admittedly, I didn’t know how long it would take me to finish but assumed it’d be fine with 3 hours to go before nightfall.
As I hiked through the hills, taking in the beautiful, peaceful surroundings (and graveyards..), I came to a fork in the road – one small path going straight down to the beach, while the other path veered upwards to the mountains. Signage and google didn’t really help indicate which way to go, so I took a punt and opted for the lazy option – the small flat path. After around 10mins walking, I realised that no one was around. As much as that would be a valuable moment to cherish in somewhere like HK, I decided it would be too risky to continue any further.
So I turned around, and hit the fork again to reassess the options. At this point, a group of locals who I had overtaken earlier in my haste to complete the hike approached me – they asked if I was managing my time ok and had a flashlight in case it got dark. This got me into a silent panic – It was 4pm and I was confident I’d be back by nightfall! After assuring me that I’d be fit enough to finish the hike before dark if I wanted to, they invited me to join them to climb the mountain and take photos of the sunset. I obliged, as they had all seemed pretty friendly and considerate when I overtook them before. And you know, the fact that I didn’t want to be stranded alone on a trail lined with graveyards in some parts.
As it turns out, they were in fact not a huge Chinese family, but a group of photography hobbyists who met on Facebook and were out on an excursion to take photos together. I had mentioned earlier that a lot of the cool things to do in HK are organised through FB events, so it’s worth talking to locals to find out what activities are going on out there – this was another example of the cool recreational things on offer here! Luckily I happened to have my camera with me so was more than happy to join them.
It ended up being really relaxing and nice being perched up in the mountain waiting for the sunset, playing around with the cameras and chatting to the group, who were of all different ages and backgrounds, but had a mutual interest in photography. Hiking can be uncomfortable enough, but I admire the commitment these people had to do it with heavy cameras and tripods (some in their 50’s-60’s too!). The hospitality I’ve received in HK has been second to none, and again, this was exemplified by the fact that these strangers welcomed a lone foreign traveller into their group, shared their stories (and their food), shouted me a beer and even gave me their contacts in case I need recommendations on where to buy photography gear in HK.
The evening ended up being a little overcast so the sunset wasn’t as spectacular as we hoped, but it was still a really pleasant experience, and I definitely drew some inspiration from the group’s creativity. By the time we got down, it was nightfall so I didn’t get to explore the fishing village and temple as planned.
But for new friends and this view? Worth it.