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HK’s great outdoors offers healthy, inexpensive respite from pandemic

15 July 2020

Little Hawaii Falls in Tseung Kwan O is an easy walk from the Polam MTR station

In these times of heightened alert against the coronavirus contagion, when most of Hong Kong people’s favorite outdoor leisure venues are closed, looking for a place to go to unwind is a bit problematic.

The Leisure and Cultural Services Department closed all venues and facilities temporarily starting today, Jun 15, in keeping with the additional social distancing measures adopted by government to contain the third wave of Covid-19 infections.

Facilities that most OFWs go to in summer for picnics and socializing, such as beaches and country park barbecue sites, are among those fenced off to the public.

Sports grounds are also closed, preventing the sport-lovers among the workers from warming up and practicing on the ballpark pitches on their day off.

Fortunately for the less heat-averse, about half of Hong Kong’s territory remains wide open to adventurers, hikers and nature lovers. This is a boon to Filipino domestic workers who love to roam the great outdoors after being cooped up in the employers’ flats for a week.

For a tiny place like Hong Kong, it is amazing to find out that it has nearly 300 kilometers of hiking trails with picturesque views of the city’s business districts and population centers, as well as its coastlines and peaks.

A hiker who starts off on Hong Kong island can go up a flight of concrete stairs, or take the giant escalator in Central to hit either Wilson Trail or Hong Kong Trail, and start the fun.

Hong Kong Trail is a 50km concrete and dirt path carved out on slopes of The Peak and winds up and down several mountains on south side of the island before it ends in Big Wave Bay in Chai Wan.

The trail at several points crisscrosses Wilson Trail, a 78km path that starts at Stanley in southeastern Hong Kong Island and ends at Nam Chung in the New Territories.

The 78km Lantau Trail snakes up and down slopes on Lantau Island, taking hikers along Hong Kong’s most dangerous mountain paths as it treats them to breath-taking views of the city’s rural and coastal areas.
Castle Peak in Tuen Mun is at the end of the challenging MacLehose Trail, but can be accessed at various points along the way
The most challenging of the paths, however, is the 100km MacLehose Trail, which starts in Pak Tam Chung in Saikung and ends at the foot of Castle Peak in Tuen Mun.

Hong Kong, a city built on hilly terrain, also boasts of more than a dozen waterfalls that offer a perfect setting for people looking for a peaceful picnic place or selfie site.
Tseung Kwan O, a new town built on reclaimed land on Junk Bay in Eastern Saikung, has two waterfalls that are just a short walk away from the population centers.

Little Hawaii Falls is just about 2km away on an easy trail from Polam MTR station. Lohas Park Falls, according to OFW hikers who had been there recently, is just a few hundred meters behind the Lohas Park residential development.

Hong Kong’s more popular waterfall hikes are the Ng Tung Chai on the slopes of Tai Mo Shan in Taipo, Bride’s Pool, Tai Yuen Stream, Silvermine Waterfalls in Mui Wo, Tai Tam Mound in eastern Hong Kong Island, Pin Nam Stream in Fanling, Lotus Waterfall in Tai Lam and Sheung Luk Stream or Rock Pool in Saikung.
For all their awesome natural beauty, all these scenic trails and spots are just a walk or a bus ride away from where one lives and are an inexpensively healthful way of shaking off the boredom arising from stricter health protocols.

Just look out for “no entry,” “no swimming,” “no smoking,” and other warning signs in parts of the areas you visit and observe social distancing and other health protocols against Covid-19.

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