This is day two of my first weekend in Hong Kong. It includes a boat ride to Lamma Island with Jim and Janice, then a quick trip to the giant bird cage at Hong Kong Park.

More Pictures of Weekend Two in Hong Kong

Sunday morning Joe left early to do some shopping. Janice had flown in late yesterday and this was her only day in Hong Kong, so Jim and Janice were looking for something exciting to do. I decided I wanted to see Lamma Island, so that's where we headed.

Lamma Island is a quick ferry ride south of Hong Kong Island. There are no cars on the island but a three mile hiking trail connects the two villages. We crossed over to Central on the Star Ferry, then grabbed the Lamma ferry on Dock 4. We got there just as it was loading, but didn't have exact change and the attendant told us to go around the corner to get some. We returned a minute later, but still couldn't figure the combination of coins (we couldn't use dollars). We pooled our change and got enough for Janice and me but Jim had to hand the attendant a handful of change and have her pick out the right amount. She seemed exasperated but held up the ferry long enough for us to make it on board.

We steamed into the harbor and headed west past all kinds of small freighters tugs and other local boats. As we swung around the west side of the island we got a great perspective of Hong Kong, the mainland and some of the nearby islands, changing mile by mile as we floated past. Unlike the Star Ferry, this one actually goes somewhere, and is also faster and bounces on the freighter wakes a lot more. This makes a more interesting experience but makes it tough to take pictures - I have to shoot everything wide angle to be sure of getting it in the frame.

Even still, it's a load of fun. There are a lot of ships and islands to see and a ferry to the outer islands would be a great way to spend the morning - just hanging over the side watching the world go by. We rounded the island and headed toward Lamma, directly south of Hong Kong and surprisingly close.

We pulled up to the dock and everyone spilled out, past a huge collection of bikes for rent and into the small village of Yung Shue Wan backing up the harbor. There's not much to this place, just a long string of mom & pop stores following the curve of the harbor. Like tourist towns everywhere it was a gauntlet of stores and restaurants, but it was charming and friendly. Just off the main drag was another row of tidy little houses tucked away on the street behind them. It was all surprisingly clean and colorful - tiny little houses that looked like summer cabins, and clean narrow streets too small for a car to get through. We headed south, hoping that was the road out of town.

Once off the main street the scenery turned from quaint village to jungle choked farms. These tiny plots were growing the local veggies, surrounded by creeks, bushes, trees, and vines. It was cooler in the thick cover but still steamy with chirping birds everywhere. The footpath was nicely marked with frequent signs pointing the way, so there was no danger of getting lost. There were a lot of hikers on the trail and occasional bikers, but on this short three miles biking didn't make much sense to us.

About a mile from the dock we sprung out of the forest and onto a beach. This surprisingly clean beach is Hung Shing Ye, a long crescent of sand dotted with trees. It even has a snack bar, hotel and showers - which seems mighty generous for a location that can only be supplied by foot. We lingered for a while, while Jim debated American geography with one of the locals. Somehow the old-timer was convinced that Boston was the capital of Massachusetts. (It's Springfield.)

As soon as we left this bright happy beach we were out of the tress and into the scorching hot bushlands, slogging nearly a mile up the spine of Lamma. As we climbed the slope we were getting great views of the island with boats in the bay below us and Lantau across the gulf. Below us was also the huge Lamma Power Plant. Way too big for this tiny island, it must be selling power to nearby Hong Kong. We passed a refreshment stand half way up, then crested the ridge in grove of trees.

The trip down had a lot more shade, weaving through thick trees past occasional view points. As we rounded the bay, we could see the next town on the opposite side. So we just followed the trail down to the shore, then crossed the inlet on a cement causeway across the creek. Sok Kwu Wan is smaller than the first town but had a harbor full of docks and fishing boats.

We strolled into town right in front of the town's temple (where I got yelled at for taking a picture) then past a long row of restaurants on the dock. All of these places had freshly caught fish, right off the boat. Some places had big tanks set up, stuffed with fish of all kinds - some fish too big to fit in the tank. We picked a spot and had a surprisingly good lunch of clams and scallops, then caught the next ferry back to Hong Kong.

Back in Hong Kong, we still had several hours to kill before we had to catch the train to China, so we took a hike through downtown and up the hill to Hong Kong Park. Hong Kong has several huge parks and this one features a gigantic bird cage that we can walk through.

The aviary seems about an acre with a fine net dome over the top. An elevated walkway zig-zags through the middle, about 20 feet off the ground so we get a good view of the action from above. This is branch level, so the birds are mostly flying about our level, with plenty more on the ground below. And there's a big selection of birds - white minahs, red & green lorris, fancy pigeons, and even pelicans. As we walk the platform we can examine all corners of the cage from any number of angles. And though it's less than a hundred yards, we spent a good hour taking it all in.

But it was over all too soon, and we had to run and catch the ferry back to Kowloon, grab our luggage, and hop the train back to China.

Hong Kong Map
Dongguan China 2007       A weekend tour of parks, gardens and islands.
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