Covered or mentioned in this post:
Local street markets, Dragon’s Back, Stanley and the Gold Coast Hotel.
Day 5 – and rather than rest up after a hectic four days Gina has decided to take us on a hike and I suspect that being called Dragon’s Back we’re not talking about a stroll on the flat and level here. It is Saturday so Andy isn’t working but has wisely decided that a two hour trek in 30+ degrees isn’t what he needs for his day off and is staying in the air conditioned comfort of the boat.
We catch our bus to the city, which as always turns up at the bus stop a few minutes after we arrive. They really have the bus system sorted here.
Our trip takes us through the city and drops us at a MTR station for a quick final train trip which will drop us close to some weekend markets where we are to catch a local bus for the final climb to the start of Dragon’s Back.
The markets were a short distance from the MTR station. I always enjoy visiting the “everyday” places as it gives one a far better feel for real life in a foreign country than all the shopping malls put together. I have a good friend who makes sure she does a cooking course in every country she visits, which is also a great way to connect to the local culture, make new friends and get a good feed as well.
Jumping on the local bus Gina asked the driver to give us a shout at the stop where we needed to get off for the starting point of the hike.
Back to topic – Dragon’s Back is described as:
Not only does the Dragon’s Back score high for its cool name, it has also been voted the ‘Best Urban Hiking Trail in Asia’ by Time (Asia Ed.). A short hop from the bustle of Hong Kong East, the trail provides stunning views of Shek O, Tai Long Wan, Stanley, Tai Tam, and the South China Sea.
We did this walk in reverse to that shown on the map but I think it was generally the same otherwise.
Straight off the bus there are a long set of steps to get you warmed up and then the path starts seriously once you leave the concrete. The walk is shaded for the first third and you could be hiking an Australian bush track.
Not all people on this hike are here just for the walk. These guys were taking their electric off-road cars for a run. How sweet. At least they were outside and enjoying themselves and not stuck in front of a computer.
At this point of the hike you only got glimpses of the views through the trees giving you a taste of what was to come once the path opened up on the headland.
After a while, just after I said to Gina that this was a nice easy walk because it was cooler in the shade, the path opened up and both the views and the sun came into full prominence. Luckily there was a light sea breeze which made it feel cooler so we got the benefit of a clear sunny day without being too overwhelmed by the heat.
You can get the feel from these photos as to how much the path has opened up. Low shrubbery as you’d find on headlands around the world where they are more exposed to the weather.
Gambling is illegal in Hong Kong so there are ships available that will take you into international waters so you can lose your money there. This looks more like a cruise ship but who knows.
Overall a great experience and gets one away from the concrete and shopping, which wouldn’t appeal to some, but I would recommend it. Make sure you take all the usual protective gear and water. The exit point for us provided us with a taxi very quickly and it was a relief to have that cold blast of air conditioning. There is only so much nature one can take!
Our next destination was Stanley for lunch, a twenty minute ride alongside the coast. Stanley itself is a smart beachside suburb and the restaurant area could be from anywhere in the world.
The markets are a permanent undercover affair and are good quality with a small but classy range of goods. Reviews of the market can be found HERE.
The best way to quickly get a feel for this part of Hong Kong is to take the bus and get on the top deck at the front if you can. From there you get to look over walls and hedges and get some great glimpses of what you get for your housing dollar. Also some sweeping views over places like Repulse Bay.
Just on the subject of swimming. I have made mention a couple of times about swimming at city beaches. This is based on Gina’s advice that not much of the sewage is treated here. It is just pumped into the ocean. For example although the marina where Gina and Andy have their boat require the use of onboard storage of waste, when it comes to emptying time it is pumped out and then the truck takes it around the corner and dumps it straight into the sea! Now I don’t know about you but that sort of behaviour would slightly put me off swimming anywhere within the harbour area.
Day 6 our final day in Hong Kong before we flew back to Chiang Mai on the Monday. It involved no buses, taxis, trains and almost no walking! Instead we settled in for a wonderful buffet and all you can drink champagne at the Gold Coast Hotel next to the marina where we were staying. All I can say is that we slept well that night! The following photos give you a sense of the event.
This is my final in a series of stories about Hong Kong. Thank you Gina and Andy for hosting us and Gina for your sterling effort in showing us around the place so efficiently. Gina has had to play the host for so many visitors that I am surprised she agreed to let us come and stay. We are pleased she did and look forward to returning the hospitality when she comes over to help us establish our garden in Si Bun Ruang come the time. I guess she is missing getting her hands dirty in the earth. Not much chance of that living on a boat.
Thanks for reading and I will now change channel back to Thailand and our travels there.