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HK’s two easy, breath-taking trails for families and beginners

01 October 2020

By Vir B. Lumicao

 

Picture-perfect Pineapple Dam can be reached even by children

From the heights, it is a virtual emerald lake in the cusp of mountains above Tsuen Wan as the sky reflects on its glassy surface. But save for its refreshing beauty, Shing Mun Reservoir is not the place to be for hardened hikers.

The 9-kilometer Pineapple Dam Nature Trail, which is partly on Wilson Trail Section 7 that snakes through canopies of green around the reservoir, is one of Hong Kong’s numerous easy trails that are meant for family treks and exploration by nature lovers.

About 23km to the east in Po Lam, another family trail with mild ascents leads to what could be perhaps Tseung Kwan O’s best kept secrets, the Little Hawaii Waterfalls and Lin Yuen Terrace Waterfalls on the slopes of the Razor Hill.

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The cataracts cascade between volcanic boulders down the steep slopes of the hill and in some sections form basins that provide pools of cool, pristine waters for hikers who want to wade and cool themselves.

We visited these two trails consecutively on the last two Saturdays in September, when summer’s heat was gradually doused off by daily showers and thunderstorms.

On the hike at Pineapple Dam Nature Trail, this writer went with two regular hiking buddies from the DWC Saturday Group. With more clouds than sunshine this time of the year, the hike was not as energy-sapping as it was in the hot months.

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Taking the green minibus 82M from Shiu Wo St in Tsuen Wan at 9:30am, we were at the site in barely 15 minutes. A group of monkeys hurried down the trees, hoping to grab food from us as soon as we got off the minibus.

One woman was targeted by an aggressive male that tried to grab her backpack from behind. The simian backed off when the target’s male partner shooed it away with a stick.

We realized that was the wrong place to begin a hike. It’s safer to go right up Pineapple Dam Road and enter the dam gate a few hundred meters from the bus stop.

Hiking down to the reservoir is easy, but one should be wary of wild monkeys along the way

The dam offered gorgeous views of the reservoir, its surrounding hills including Needle Hill, and Lion Rock in the distance. The trail was flat and easy, obviously the reason why parents and their young children were among the several groups we met on the way.

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It took us more than two hours to find a meadow beside a stand of towering paperbark trees near the northern tip of the reservoir. We were bringing out our lunch when an old monkey appeared and got near. It went away after we stuffed the food back in our bags.

When we had finally eaten our lunch away from the view of monkeys, lightning began to crack, followed by thunder and pouring rain. We all were wet when we completed the reservoir loop and got back to the bus stop.

 

The beautiful Lin Yuen Waterfalls in Saikung is another easy trek

The next Saturday, Sept 26, my son joined me in a late afternoon quick hike to Lin Yuen Waterfalls not far from our village. We reached the falls in half an hour of leisurely walk via Tsui Lam Road and Wilson Trail Stage 3.

 On the path downhill to the main cascade, we met adult pairs young and old, parents with their primary school-age kids, as well as lone joggers already making their way back to the road. Only a few youngsters were at the waterfalls then, as dusk was approaching.

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 After taking a few dozen photographs, we retraced our steps back to our village.

The waterfalls have been in that previously seldom visited part of Saikung District long before the reclaimed cove of Junk Bay was turned into a bustling new town called Tseung Kwan O.

Hikers and picnickers, including Filipino workers, noticed the hidden scenic spot only after the old Yau Yue Wan trail was developed and officially added to the Wilson Trail by the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department a few years ago.

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To get to the waterfalls, take the MTR to Polam, get off at the end of the line, then walk to Tseung Kwan O Village. Follow the Little Hawaii Trail next to village houses beside a rotunda. Villagers will readily direct you to the trail if you ask for help.  

For those coming from Tsuen Wan, take KMB bus 290, 29A or 290X and get off either at Ma Yau Tong Village and take Tsui Lam Road then turn left to Little Hawaii Road. A downward path on the right side of the road will take you to Lin Yuen Waterfalls.

From Kwun Tong, take KMB 93A, 93K and 98A and alight at Ma Yau Tong bus stop and then take Tsui Lam Road.

Alternatively, hikers can get off at Tseung Kwan O Village and cut the distance to the falls by about a kilometer.

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