Author: moonshooter

Nine hidden Hong Kong islands [Copy link] 中文

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Tung Lung Chau(东龙洲)

Climbing paradise

Rough, rugged and wild, Tung Lung Chau is the craggy cousin of Hong Kong's island family and is regarded as the best place for rock climbing in the territory. There's a campsite on the northeast of the island, about 20 minutes' walk from the ferry pier. Close to the campsite is what now remains of Tung Lung Chau Fort – built between 1662 and 1722, it used to defend the island from pirates.

There's one main paved trail on the island, which loops from the pier to the top of a hill, offering great views. This trail passes by the largest and oldest rock carving in Hong Kong – measuring 1.8m by 2.4m, it's (apparently) a depiction of a dragon and said to be over 5,000 years old.

The main path isn't too challenging, so if you want some adventure you can try out one of the smaller trails back down from the hill. Be warned, however – these can get tricky. If you're interested in climbing here, there are several local groups who make regular trips.

Don't miss The climbing.

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Kat O(吉澳岛)

Step into another world

Lying close to the Chinese Mainland, in the northeast of Plover Cove Country Park, this far-flung, 2.4sqkm island is also known as Crooked Island, thanks to its irregular shape. Getting here from central Hong Kong is far from easy, but that very fact makes it all the more interesting – and quiet.

You should first stop by at Kat O Geoheritage Centre (142 Kat O Main St) – open every Saturday, Sunday and public holiday (except Lunar New Year) from 10am-3.30pm. Opened in 2010, it celebrates the island's geology and cultural history (see bit.ly/katogeoheritage).

You can also take a wander along the Kat O Nature Trail – this short path winds through the villages before heading upwards and finishing at a pagoda. Look out for the ancient temples, ancestral halls and three corroded cannons along your way.

Don't miss Kat O Geoheritage Centre. It's definitely worth a look.

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Yim Tin Tsai(盐田仔岛)

Abandoned Hakka village

A 15-minute boat ride from Sai Kung, Yim Tin Tsai wins hands down if you're into the abandoned vibe. The island was originally populated in the 1740s by a Guangdong family whose descendants developed salt farms on the island – the island's name literally means 'small salt field'. There were once around 1,000 inhabitants but the salt industry declined, the salt farms were converted into fish ponds in the 1960s and, by the 1990s, no-one was left living there.

Thanks to a regular ferry service, however, it's now a popular place with day trippers. The island, which is surrounded by mangroves, is also connected by a bridge to a public golf course on neighbouring Kau Sai Chau.

You can easily explore most of this tiny isle in a few hours – it's only 0.24sq km. Once you arrive at the pier, check out the nearby, photogenic St Joseph's Chapel, which was built in Romanesque style in 1890 and is now a Grade III listed building. Next door is the tiny 1920s Ching Po School which closed in 1990 due to a lack of pupils. It's now the Yim Tin Tsai Village Heritage Exhibition, which houses a modest collection of artefacts.

You can follow the trail around the abandoned houses (technically still owned by the villagers' descendants). These still offer somewhat spooky remnants of every day life from when they were inhabited, including television sets, beds and crockery.

The path takes a loop past the abandoned salt pans/fish ponds before coming back to the pier, where there is a small kiosk selling tasty and chewy Hakka sweets.

Don't miss The fascinating abandoned houses.

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