One always imagines Hong Kong as one of the most densely populated places on earth and indeed the city itself and its near neighbour Kowloon are just that, but the rest of the area consists of wild mountainous terrain and marsh land and some 235 islands to explore.
Of these island only a very tiny number are inhabited due to the lack of freshwater and that again leaves great possibilities for the walker and outdoor enthusiast. There are also excellent public and private transport links to take you to some of the remoter areas plus nearly everyone speaks English and is desperate to please. Honk Kong may be a millionaire’s playground but the walker and outdoor enthusiast will also have a great time.
The New Territories are separated from the urban sprawl of Kowloon by the Lion Mountains and one of the delights of this area is the archipelago of small islands that you can visit on an “Island Hopping tour.” These islands are virtually untouched by tourism and you can get superb walks on them. One of the delights of Hong Kong are the birds and all the way on this trip you are accompanied by Giant Egrets dazzling white against the sun. Sea eagles sit on posts and Kingfishers the size of crows seems to be all around.
Pulling in at Tap Mun Island Crested Mynah birds flew around us in large flocks. Tap Mun Island has a small seafood restaurant” in fact it’s more like a local bar with Formica tables and basic amenities but the local beer is tremendous after an hour of walking around! A short walk is available here across to the other side of the island that gives you superb views all around.
This tour has been specifically designed for the person with an interest in nature and on Lai Chi Wao you can walk on a raised walkway through the mangrove forest to look at trees and plants clearly labeled. However the people here are also fascinating as they carry on a way of life that despite the marvels of the electronic age has changed little over the centuries.
Other islands to the south of Hong Kong Island should not be ignored. Lamma Island is just a forty minute ferry ride to the south of the city. No cars are allowed here and it has an easy 6km walk of some two hours with some of the most stunning scenery you will see anywhere. Cheung Chau Island, about an hour on the regular ferry, has a moderate walk of 7.5km. and will take you about 3 hours to complete.