Hiking Route: Shek Pik Reservoir -> Kau Ling Chung ->Fan Lau ->Yi O->Tai O
Date: 7 September 2013
This hiking route comprises section 8 of Lantau Trail (鳳凰徑) from Shek Pik Reservoir （石壁水塘） to Kau Ling Chung (狗嶺涌), and Section 7 from Kau Ling Chung to Yi O (二澳）and then Tai O（大澳）. It was a tough walk because the distance is long, about 18 kilometres, and took me and my friends six hours to finish (we were slow, of course). It was tought also because section 7 had part of the trail covered in water, making it very muddy. This may be because the preceding days had been raining heavily.Regardless of raining or not, the section of trail leading to Yi O from Fan Lau is quite off the beaten path and is redolent of remoteness. Approaching Yi O, a village abandoned since 1990’s, a sign was put up, asking people not to enter for safety reason. Undeterred, we pressed on, and came to the site of old Yi O village, which saw traces of construction and farming on a vast stretch of land without any trees.The sign was put up by the former Yi O villagers, I later learnt. They have argument with the Government over land use, and have burned down a large area of trees, avowing to stop all other people from entering their village.
From Yi O, you have to pass a couple of crossroads before landing on a concrete pavement leading to Tai O. There is no signage (well, it is understood if the villagers do not welcome visitors). We decided to follow the path where bicycle ruts could be seen as we saw previously villagers biking. This worked and we soon left the muddy path and were on the paved way to Tai O.
At the intersection of Yi O and the paved way is an expanse of marshes. It is starkly beautiful and quiet there.
The starting section, i.e. section 8 from Shek Pik to Kau Leng Chung, is a bit boring, as the trail is mostly along a catchwater. After leaving the catchwater, the walk was getting more interesting. A number of waterfalls caught our attention.
This hiking route’s culmination is Fan Lau, which is at the southwest end of Lantau Island and Hong Kong territory.
The waters at Fan Lau, a peninsula, are brown as they are close to Pearl River Estuary. A number of sites of historic value dot Fan Lau, including Fan Lau Fort which is a declared monument and was built in Qing Dynasty for defense.
There is a hiking trail through Fan Lau, but on the day of hiking, it was such sweltering heat that my friends and I decided not to deviate from Lantau Trail to explore Fan Lau. And we were very grateful that at the mostly abandoned Fan Lau Village, a Mr Chan, a retired fireman, is running a small store to provide hikers with much cherished drinks and instant noodles. Imagine no place to unwind during a 6-hour gruelling walk under intense heat. Mr Chan’s store felt like an oasis for us.The store has a nice terrace looking out to a big garden. Mr Chan grows chili in the garden and makes chili paste and sells to hikers. He also grows custard apples (番鬼荔枝) in his garden. Asked why he chooses this fruit, “my mother left me with the trees,” he said. He gave each of us a custard apple for tasting.
The hike ended at Tai O’s bus station. Walking on the long bridge leading to the bus station one could still see some refreshing unique scenery. It ended on a pleasant note.
It is about 1 hour 40 minutes to walk from Shek Pik Reservoir to Kau Ling Chung, and 1 hour from Kau Ling Chung to Fan Lau, and another 3 hours from Fan Lau to Tai O via Yi O.
How to get to the starting point:
Take bus No. 11 from Tung Chung MTR station, and get off after you see Shek Pik Reservoir. There are signs near the bus stop pointing to Tai Long Wan Tsuen (大浪灣村) and Wang Pui Road (宏貝路). Follow the road and you will be on section 8 of Lantau Trail.