Hong Kong: Hiking Again

Things have quietened down a bit now for me in Hong Kong as I’ve actually got to settle down and do what I came for (apparently it’s studying; I beg to differ) but life is still eventful. I experienced my first ever Halloween in a foreign country this weekend, as well as a couple of stunning hikes, hence my attempt to wittily combine hiking and horror in the post title. It was pretty apt that my most recent hike took place on Halloween weekend as between gigantic spiders and attacking plants, it was quite the horror show…

The Good…

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My earlier hike, walked last weekend, was more of a success, though it was hard work. I headed over to do Sections 1 and 2 of the Wilson Trail, which runs through Tai Tim Country Park. It starts at the bottom of Hong Kong Island (near Stanley) and ran all the way to Tai Koo MTR station. Getting to the start was a breeze, as the number 6 bus runs from Exchange Square in Central to the entrance of both Sections 1 (Wong Nai Chung Reservoir Park) and 2 (Wilson Trail, Stanley Gap Road). Section 2 is the more publicised of the two, but I had the full day so decided to start at the first section.

When I looked it up online, it said it was quite difficult but, having done all of about 5 hikes, I saw myself as an experienced walker and decided to give it a go anyway. They were right – it was tough. Section 1 was almost completely uphill, with steps after steps after steps. I felt as if I was dragging myself up by the end. Also, the stunning views were behind me so I didn’t have the motivation in front of me, though it did mean I could frequently stop to ‘appreciate the view’ (ie. stop the impending heart attack). It was nice to be challenged though and it was fantastic once I got within the hills, especially as few people were around. I was also motivated by seeing an Australian family with two young children doing the hike. The kids were bounding through the trail like it was a playground whilst the 20 year old Englishman sweated and panted behind them. I was giving the Brits a bad name.

The Wilson Trail with the HK skyline in the distance.
The Wilson Trail with the HK skyline in the distance.

Naturally, I was thrilled when I finished Section 1 and realised I still had Section 2 to do, but a quick stop-off to get a bottle of water (and almost going in completely the wrong direction) and I was raring to go again. Section 2 was easier, though the strain of having just done the first section made it a bit tougher. There must have been some sort of trail race going on as loads of runners kept going past, their fast-paced runs putting my meandering walk to shame. Still, I managed to finish the hike in good time and wound up at Tai Koo MTR station, around 13km away from my starting point. I resisted the urge to grab a McDonalds and headed home, tired and sweaty but having thoroughly enjoyed yet another scenic Hong Kong hike.

The Bad…

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Halloween in LKF. Photo Credit: Hong Kong Hustle

It was mid-term assessment period at uni so the weekend was my escape from a busy week, though we did have another Hall High Table Dinner, followed by a fun night at one of Hong Kong’s many rooftop bars. The big event this week though was Halloween, which is a pretty big deal in Hong Kong. We naively thought we could head down to LKF (the main party district) to join in the big street party there, but were greeted by some of the biggest crowds I’ve ever seen on a night out. It was absolutely rammed. The police had created a one way system with barriers, so if you left one bar, you struggled to get back onto the street.

In the end, we gave up and headed to Wan Chai, another lively area further in the city. It was still busy but much less so than LKF. You could actually get into places and order a drink and dance. I found it crazy just how huge Halloween is. It’s getting bigger in the UK, but not on this scale, though it did have to be said that most of the people partying were foreigners rather than locals, so I guess it’s just a mish-mash of all the Westerners celebrating. It was a good night anyway, and it’s always great to see other country’s takes on major events. Apparently Hong Kong goes large for Christmas too so that’ll be interesting to see.

The Ugly…

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After recovering from the events of Halloween, I decided to head off for another hike. This time I followed this blog and got the ferry over to Mui Wo on Lantau Island (Central Ferry Pier 6) in order to hike from Mui Wo to Sunny Bay, the home of Hong Kong’s very own Disneyland. Whilst I didn’t intend to have a fun-filled day with Mickey and pals, towards the end of the trek you get views over the theme park, though the never-ending pain I had to go through to get there made the view slightly sour.

Whilst it wasn’t that bad, I felt as if the blog hadn’t completely detailed just what sort of a trail this would be. In fact, ‘trail’ is a bit of an overstatement. Whilst it begins on a proper route, it eventually descends into just a set of very large hills, meaning you have to clamber through bushes, trees, sticks and slippery rocks, all whilst barely being able to see your feet. I was quite proud that I only fell over twice (especially as, as per, I was dressed in renowned hiker’s footwear, a pair of Vans) whilst I feel if my legs could talk, they’d have been doing nothing but swearing as I virtually skied through brambles and spiky leaves, causing my legs and arms to resemble pin cushions by the time I got out. It’s almost as if this walk was themed for Halloween.

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There were lots of nice views and plenty of cheery hikers who shared a pleasant greeting as they passed, all of which made the 15km hike much nicer. It just was a shame that I missed the majority of the views on account of looking where my feet were going. Despite the stress, it was all a good adventure. I think my day was most aptly summed up when, having just completed the hike, I walked face-first into a huge cobweb which had just been weaved by the biggest spider I have seen outside of the Harry Potter films. It was absolutely huge and I was now wearing its house as a face mask. To make matters worse, I had taken a wrong turn so I had to later meekly walk past the angry spider whose home I’d just destroyed, hoping it was big on forgiveness and wouldn’t lunge at me.

Still, I didn’t regret doing it, even as I sat on the MTR home, conscious that this bloodied, cobwebbed, sweaty mess was sitting on the tube coming from Disneyland. I can only imagine what the others thought Mickey and Minnie had done to me.

Towards the end of the hike, I crossed paths with a group of Chinese hikers (who were obviously far more prepared for this hike than I was). One of the men asked me if this was my first time doing that particular hike and if I was hiking alone. When I said yes, he gave a worried laugh.

‘That’s brave.’

I think the word he was looking for was stupid…

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