Showing posts with label Hong Kong Hikers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hong Kong Hikers. Show all posts

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Macau: A Leisurely Sightseeing Hike

Believe it or not, there's more to Macau than casinos and shopping.

Best known as the Las Vegas of China because of the giant casinos lining the Cotai Strip, Macau is home to a number of hiking and nature trails. On Friday mrC and a few of our Discovery Bay hiking friends joined the Hong Kong Hikers group for a leisurely sightseeing hike in the southern part of Macau, Coloane.

We met the group at the Macau Ferry Terminal in Hong Kong and then took the 70 minute Cotai Ferry to Taipa. After passing through immigration (Macau is an autonomous part of China), we grabbed taxis to take us to our starting point.

Macau Giant Panda Park - A perfect starting point because we were able to view the pandas, use the restrooms, and then hit the trail from inside the park. Plus the place was practically empty. Entrance was free, but we did pay MOP 10 (or $1.25USD) to enter the panda viewing pavilions.

Coloane Hiking Trail - Just south of the Cotai strip of flashy casinos, this 8km trail circles the hills of Coloane at an average elevation of 100m and is where we spent most of our hike. It is one of a network of trails that overlap making it easy to side step to popular attractions which is what we did. There were several observation points for taking a rest and taking in the views.

Reservoir Fitness Trail - We connected with this trail in order to loop the reservoir. Along the trail we passed several exercise stations before reaching a fun suspension bridge that took us across the reservoir. At the reservoir there were facilities for paddle boats and canoes that looked like a refreshing way to cool off.

Climb the pole, ring the bell ---> he did it!

Love my Oiselle shorts for hiking. Just awesome!

A-Ma Statue and Cultural Village - the most challenging climb of the hike led us to the cultural complex. First we saw the 19 meter statue carved in white marble of the Chinese goddess of seafarers and fisherman (aka Tin Hau - read about the festival I went to here). A little further on we reached the village where we were able to explore the courtyard and temple.

Hac Sa Beach - lunch at Fernandos - the chosen spot to end our hike because of the access to locally favored restaurants. Hac Sa Beach, named because the sand here turns black during the winter months and Hac Sa is Cantonese for black sand. We had an authentic Portuguese lunch at the famously recommended Fernando's (Anthony Bourdain says to eat here) and it was really good. I love eating family style and sharing dishes with a large group. Here's what we ordered: Fernando's style clams,  oven roasted suckling pig, charcoal-grilled codfish, Macau fried rice, charcoal grilled chicken, and boiled green veggies

With the temperatures and humidity climbing, this was a perfect hiking adventure.

Other hiking posts of interest:
Lamma Island

Where have you been and explored a "hidden" side?


Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Hiking: Lantau Trail Stage 1 and 2

While on a hike with the AWA hiking group in November, another hiker recommended the hiking group Hong Kong Hikers (dot org). HKH is a social hiking group that organizes a variety of hikes all over Hong Kong and the territories.

I took her advice and signed up with the group (it's free) and then promptly started receiving email invites to all kinds of hikes. All kinds! They hike nearly every day during the winter it seems.

Last week, mrC and I joined what HKH called the First Friday Social Hike of 2017 ---> to hike Lantau Trail from Pak Kung Au to Mui Wo via Sunset Peak at a social (aka slow) pace. Sunset Peak is the third highest peak in Hong Kong at 869 meters above sea level. Lantau Trail is a 70km trail loop that begins and ends at Mui Wo. We hiked stages 1 and 2 in reverse in two groups: the moderate group (us) and the easy group that hiked along the South Lantau Trail.

Starting from Pak Kung Au at around 340m, the beginning of the hike was a steep climb up some 500 meters to Sunset Peak ridge. The climb was a mix of steps of varying heights mixed with some rocky trail. mrC and I learned that our fast pace was the group's slow pace, at least at first. The group got slower as the hike went on.

Once at the top, the views were amazing. We were lucky that the skies were so clear that day, too. Not a guarantee in the winter. Not that it was feeling much like winter that day with temps in the high 70s.

Less than 100 meters more to get to the actual summit of Sunset Peak (behind us in the pic below). Even though I was tired as hell, I would've gone to the top but our group leader said (something like) we didn't have time (we had to meet up with the group that took an easier hike), the summit was a small space, and the views were basically the same from where we were on the ridge. OhhhhKaaaay?

After a short break and picture taking, we hiked along the ridge passing a number of huts scattered over the slopes. I heard someone say they were built by missionaries working in China, but are now available to be rented for overnight stays. I could never do that! We followed the trail down to Nam Shan.

At Nam Shan we met up with the group that had taken the South Lantau Trail and together we all followed Lantau Trail section 1 into Mui Wo. Most of this trail was covered which we needed desperately because neither one of us remembered sunscreen ---> and we did get sunburned.

We saw a group of water buffalo right off the path as we entered town. This was my first big wild animal sighting.

It was good thing I had a big protein smoothie before leaving the apartment. It held me over nicely until we had a late lunch in Mui Wo at The Kitchen ---> a great place by the way. We had smoothies and pizza that were really good. It's right on the waterfront and the service was very good.

Travel details: From Discovery Bay, mrC and I took the DB01R bus to Tung Chung to meet the group at Starbucks outside the Metro. Our group of abut 30 hikers then loaded onto the #3M bus to Pak Kung Au where we would start the hike. At the bus stop, we walked uphill a few minutes to a set of steps on the left that lead to the trail head. Starting at Pak Kung Au meant that the bus gave us a 300+m head start to the Sunset Peak ridge.

GPS from MapMyHike app:

This hike was hard, but totally worth it. Now I'm looking forward to hiking more of the Lantau Trail.