Date: 19 October, 2013
Strangely, for such an enchanting island, I did not visit it until recently. It captured my heart when I began to climb its hill. I started from Tin Hau Temple (turning left after leaving the pier).
Near the temple, there is a rugged trail with metal chains as handrails along the way. The climb was extremely interesting and a bit exhausting with spectacular view meeting your eyes. Dotting the way are some fascinating rock formations for which Po Toi is famous, as well as signposts ensuring that you will not get lost.After about 1.5 hours of walk, you will come to an intersection with a pavilion at not far distance. You can either go up to the pavilion and walk a longer distance before heading back to the pier, or go the easier route which will take you to the pier in half an hour.
I was so smitten by the scenery and had spent longer time than expected on the route taking photos and resting that I decided to go the easier route – I did not want to miss the ferry scheduled for 4pm leaving the Island. It took me two hours in total to reach the pier again when it normally takes 1.5 hours. If you go the longer route, it will be about 2.5 hours in total.
Po Toi Island, a fishing village in the old days, is now inhabited by a very small population. So the ferry service is very infrequent. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, there is only one ferry service to (10am) /from (2pm) Po Toi from Aberdeen. I went there on a Saturday. The ferry departs Aberdeen at 10am and 3pm , and leaves Po Toi at 2pm and 4pm on Saturdays. The obvious option for me was taking the 10am ferry and returning at 4pm. Sundays have more services though, and the services are mainly between Stanley and Po Toi: leaving Stanley pier at 10am, 11:30am, 3:30pm and 5pm, and leaving Po Toi for Stanley at 9:15am, 10:45am, 3pm and 4:30pm. Please view the timetable below for details:
The ferry service to Po Toi Island is provided by Tsui Wah Ferry (tel: 2272 2022). You can call the company if you have any question. Ferry time from Aberdeen to Po Toi is one hour and slightly shorter if it is between Stanley and Po Toi.
I spent leisurely time in a small dessert restaurant near the pier after 2-hr walk. The restaurant was run by an old lady who made and sold really delicious bean soup and who has lived on the island for most of her life. Must not miss her green bean soup and purple rice soup. She made the dessert using wood fire. “The gas is so expensive. I cannot afford it. I just use the wood collected from the hill.” She said. She said she had been making bean soup for twenty years and saw the spike in bean price in recent years. “For all those years, I did not raise the price. I only added HK$2 to the price recently. I really put in a lot ingredients into the dessert soup,” she said.
For the delicious bean soup packed with ingredients, she charged HK$12 only. You won’t find such delicious sweet with such good price anywhere else in Hong Kong. In fact, I noticed that all the dessert restaurants on the Island have similar price. I must say, the prices on the island are very reasonable, compared to other outlying islands in Hong Kong. This island’s people have a touch of simplicity and sincerity.
The Island is known to produce the best seaweed in Hong Kong. Green bean soup with seaweed is a common and traditional Chinese dessert and that explains why Po Toi Island has quite a few dessert restaurants with green bean soup being the main and most attractive item on the menu.
How to get to the Aberdeen pier for ferry
The ferry pier is near the children playground at Aberdeen harbourfront, towards the fish retail market.
How to get to the Stanley pier for ferry
Ferry to Po Toi Island leaves Blake pier in Stanley near Murray House every Sunday or on Public Holidays.