Hong Kong’s green lungs – Pat Sin Leng Nature Trail
When thinking about “Hong Kong” huge skyscrapers, crammed streets, shopping malls, restaurants and outrageous real estate prices will come to mind. Bad air as well. But Hong Kong is more than just shopping and eating. If you want, you can find some of the most stunning green spots. Hiking for hours without meeting anyone is possible, especially if you go during the week.
We set of on a Saturday. The weather forecast predicted rain, so almost no one was out apart from us. We took the minibus 20C from Tai Po Market Station to “Tei Mei Tuk”, a famous place for BBQs, water sports and cycling. You can either take the minibus or the KMB bus 75K. After you arrived at the Tei Mei Tuk bus terminus, it’s just a 5 minute walk up Brides Pool Road where Pat Sin Leng Nature Trail starts. You’ll see the visitor centre on the left side, the entrance to the trail is right behind.
“Hiking” in Hong Kong can be quite a boring affair. For reasons unknown to me, Hong Kong’s government thinks of its citizens as stupid, incompetent, “Hello Kitty loving” maroons not able to take over any responsibility. So it comes as no surprise that the persons in power go to great length to remove any risk in daily activities.
There are TV ads that warn you about your mobile data allowance on your mobile phone (no joke), and on the metro during rush hours you’ll have two persons in front of every door with a “stop” sign that tells you not to board the train once there are too many on board (as if I don’t eyes to see that myself).
Hiking must really be a hell of a dangerous affair. To alleviate this dangerous environment, concrete is poured everywhere and slopes are replaced by steps. Strictly speaking, you won’t need proper shoes for hiking in Hong Kong, a pair of flip flops is enough as you’re either walking on a paved road or concrete steps.
Pat Sin Leng Nature Trail is still a “wild trail” in parts though. The first few steps are easy, a normal Hong Kong trail consisting of stone steps. However, after around 10 minutes into the trail the pavement disappears and you’ll find something what would qualify as “hiking” in other parts of the world as well.
The trail winds up from Tai Mei Tuk northwards and allows nice views on the water reservoir. The whole trail is 4km and take around 2 hours if you walk very leisurely. We didn’t run either and it just took us 1.5 hours to finish it.
There around three or four water streams you will cross on the trail. Normally no issue at all, but we just arrived after a few days of heavy rain. The streams turned into rivers. And judging from the trail, the night before those rivers where massive!
It’s quite amazing to see what a few rain showers can lead to. At the last river crossing we were just about to take off our shoes only to realize that there’s a path downstream next to the river. 200m down we arrived at a bridge. A sign warned “do not cross the bridge when it’s under water”. The bridge wasn’t under water, but just the thought that it CAN be under water taught me a lesson about the rainy season in Hong Kong. Just stay away from mother nature after thunderstorms.
We continued and came to a crossing. One direction finished the trail (20 minutes to go), the other direction went to a different location, another 3 hours hike. We opted for the former. One reason was our stomachs – we were hungry. The other reason was the trail as such – it just looked boring. Like a Hong Kong trail (or a Roman road for that matter). This part clearly had been taken care of by Hong Kong’s government – you can even wear flip flops.
We finished the nature trail and arrived on “Bride’s Pool Road”. This street is a favourite street for sport cars, motorbikers and cyclers as it features a stunning view and, most important – a lot of corners.
We decided to walk back to Tei Mei Tuk but there’s also a bus stop on the street from where you can take a minibus back. Having arrived at Tei Mei Tuk we visited a few of the countless restaurants and gained all those calories we just burned…