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Lamma Island

HONG KONG | Wednesday, 26 November 2008 | Views [1159]

Yesterday was a fine enough day. I found the one of the world's longest escalators (hello vertigo!), ate the hottest tom yum Thai noddle soup in existance, got lost in a bewilderingly huge shopping mall and drank beers with some members of the U.S. Navy (one of whom explained to me how to put a gun together...instructions I soon forgot.)

When I woke up this morning I had an urge to get out of the city and visit one of the smaller islands to do some walking, so I took a ferry to the beautiful Lamma Island. Lamma Island is southwest of Hong Kong Island; its 13.55 square kilometres and has an estimated population of 6,000. Lamma Island is very different to Kowloon and Hong Kong Island - buildings higher than three storeys are prohibited and there are no cars. Its very peaceful there with only a few small fishing villages dotted along its coastline.

The ferry ride was very bumpy and people were getting quite worried, especially as we headed towards open water. Hong Kong is a fairly wealthy city so I see no reason why they can't throw a few quid towards getting some more seaworthy ferry's.

Once I was on the island I waited until the rest of the people from the ferry had headed off RIGHT into the village and then I walked in the other direction. I really didn't want to be walking with other tourists and I certainly got my wish. For the first hour of my trek I didn't see a single soul - it was fantastic! Walking next to the coast with cliff to one side and mountain to the other, it was quite beautiful. The first village I came across was Mo Tat Wan. It pretty much consisted of a few houses and one combined shop/resturant/bar. Some of the locals were sitting by the beach cleaning fish or looking out at the ocean and some other visitors were eating an early lunch in the resturant. It was a lovely sleepy little village. I walked to the end of the pier and then back up to the walking track.

I was soon walking through almost tropical, jungle-like terrain with the huge granite mountains looming in the distance. Butterflys danced in the sunshine around me and eagles soared overhead. Walking this track made me feel truely peaceful - it made me feel alive. I climbed the track up one of the mountains and sat down on the grass to eat lunch. I ate my sandwich and drank my juice as I looked out over the South China Sea - one of the best lunches I've ever had. :)

The next little village I walked through was Old Mo Tat, called such because there is now a NEW Mo Tat, which was the first village I found. Old Mo Tat is basically deserted apart from a few gardens tended by farmers from other villages. I have no idea why Old Mo Tat is deserted, I didn't see anything wrong with the place. The old village buildings are delapitated but still quite grand, and most of them date back to the 1930's. I loved looking at the old school house and I tried to imagine what it must have been like to live in the tiny inland village in the 30's. Its quite an eerie village because it looks as if people just picked up and left. A lot of tools and belongings lie discarded around the village pathways.

After walking another few tracks up and down mountains and hills and through banana plantations, I came across Yung She Ha, another fishing village. The beach of Yung She Ha was a lot nicer than the others - it has much less rubbish. Lamma Island is really quite clean and they even have their own land care team, that dedicate them selves to keeping the island rubbish free. Sadly, it's hard to control the large amount of rubbish from Hong Kong Island that washes up on the shores. Apparently many of the locals reuse some of the washed up debris as building materials. Seeing some of those structures is incredable. When you look at them from the outside they look as if a small gust of whind could blow them away, but walking through them - well they look well made. I'm not sure if they're stand up to a strong typhoon though. But well...at least they wouldn't be heard to rebuild.

After three and a half hours of walking, I was staring to get quite tired and I wondered when the track I was on would lead me either back to where I started or back to another ferry dock!

Sok Kwu Wan village. Taken from the end of the main pier.

Sok Kwu Wan village. Taken from the end of the main pier.


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