Deserted Beaches Hiking Tour
Sai Kung East Country Park, New Territories, Hong Kong
Taking in part of the famous MacLehose hiking trail, our guided walk takes us out to the tip of the Sai Kung peninsula, where we make our way to white sandy beaches and clear blue waters, hiking through the remote villages of Sai Wan and Ham Tin in the Sai Kung Country Park. Locally the area is known as Tai Long Wan, or big wave bay, and is a popular surfers destination.
Our hike takes us along coastline backed by lush tropical vegetation and forested ridges offering spectacular mountain and coastal sea views. Following a network of paved paths, often on inter-village routes, we pass fascinating old Hakka clan villages. The Hakka farmers nurtured feng shui woods which provide a great breeding environment for native species and we can see many examples of natural reforestation.
The Sai Kung uplands and coasts have always been sparsely populated and, from the 1970s, many villagers left their ancestral lands in favor of city lives. The Deserted Beaches Hike offers a unique insight into the homes, lands and beaches these villagers left behind. Although just 20km from Kowloon, this tour will make you feel a world away. Access is restricted to walking or boat.
At the end of our walk we can explore the historical village of Chek Keng. Though deserted, it is not truly abandoned as some former villagers occasionally return to check on their ancestral homes. Furniture and cooking utensils stand still in time, as if one day life in some of these homes might be resumed. There is even a Catholic church, built in 1867 – the entire Sai Kung peninsula was converted in the 1860s. But today these sit abandoned.
The woodlands behind the village contain stunning bamboo groves, and is home to a great number of fiddler crabs. The wild life today includes the village cows, dogs and passing packs of monkeys that live in the general area. During WWII, villagers in Chek Keng brought items such as old clothes, kerosene, matches and cigarettes to be smuggled into mainland China, where they then bought much-needed food products such as sugar, oil and rice.
Highlights: Nothing but green hills, amazing views over the ocean, simple lunch at a beach, glimpse into fast disappearing former rural Hong Kong.