As I was saying in my previous post, Hong Kong lets you enjoy city life but at the same time it also has places to get away from the chaos of a metropolis and retreat into nature. Only a short distance from the main Hong Kong Island, you can escape to hills, valleys or the beautiful blue sea or both at the same time.
One of the days on our recent visit to HK, we took the MTR to get to Lantau Island. From there, we got onto the cable car to get to Ngong Ping Village and Big Buddha on top of a hill. The cable car was amazing actually. It is one of the longest and the highest cable car rides I’ve ever been on. The authorities say it’s totally safe but when I was riding on it, seeing the valley floor underneath, I couldn’t help wonder about what happens if the cable breaks. A cable car is hanging from just this one cable, right? What happens if something goes wrong? What’s the rescue mechanism for such incidents I had wondered.
Anyway, we rode both ways enjoying the views without anything untoward happening. The ride is made up of three ascents and as we went up the third one, the clouds closed in and it felt like we were the only ones amongst the clouds in the middle of nowhere. It was beautiful but also kind of eerie.
I must warn you though that it can be very crowded if you go on a public holiday or weekend as it will be swarmed by tourists from mainland China. Choose a weekday to go ideally. If it isn’t possible for some reason, then try to go early in the morning. Advance online tickets will be good so that you only have to queue to get inside the car. We had to queue twice – first to purchase the tickets and then to get onto the ride and then to get back down as well. It was a really long and painful wait and we had almost quit on the idea of going up there. Miraculously, we kept going and did manage to enjoy the ride.
The other outdoor activity I quite enjoyed was the hike to Dragon’s Back hill top. To get there, we took the MTR to Shau Kei Wan station and from there Bus no. 9 to Tei Wan on Shek O Road. This is where the hike starts from. Initially, as we started to climb the steps and the inclined path, we were sweating through all our pores. I had to actually stop to catch a breath very early on along the trail. But as we gained some height, we started to catch glimpses of these beautiful views. We took a quick rest at one of these viewing points. The short rest and seeing fellow hikers gaining ground boosted me to continue up the trail.
Luckily, it wasn’t too hot that day and we had a slight cloud cover – just enough to not block the view but keep the sun away. After a while as I kept going, the body adjusted to the rhythm and we finally reached the top. It was a good feeling and a teeny-tiny sense of achievement at that point. I wouldn’t call the hike very challenging but it was still good to know that I was fit enough to do this kind of a trail without any training. I’m the type who doesn’t even exercise regularly so yes it was a happy realization!
So these two good experiences along with city stuff and our holiday was complete!
Such activities are something that I do miss in Singapore. SG is great but once in a while you do miss getting away from the city over the weekend.