Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Po Fook Shan Columbarium, Shatin

For anyone who has visited Shatin, 10000 Buddha Monastery is probably one of the main reasons for taking their trip - although I hasten to add there is a whole bunch of other stuff to see too. And so it was with me too during my first trip to Hong Kong back in November 1995. This was in the days before all those rather tacky but amusing Arhan figures appeared on the path up. And what a path up it was - several hundred steep steps that left you feeling a little bit weak by the time you go to the top.

So imagine my delight when I read on a subsequent trip (probably in 1996) that the monastery now had a nice set of escalators to whisk you to the top of the hill without all that huffing and puffing. Taking the rather well-regarded travel literature at face value, on a subsequent trip I opted for the escalators and only by virtue of my previous trip, realised that I was totally in the wrong place! I had actually stumbled into a neighbouring complex called Po Fook Shan.

Po Fook Shan entrance gate

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Ping Shan Heritage Trail, Yuen Long

The Ping Shan Heritage Trail is the better of two official 'heritage' trails in the New Territories. Compared to Lung Yeuk Tau in Fanling (the other trail) it is easier reach and navigate, better organised, better maintained and has some quite unique sites of interest at both ends. If you are pushed for time and are weighing up a trip to Ping Shan or Lung Yeuk Tau then I wholeheartedly recommend Ping Shan.

The trail is actually quite short, probably less than 1km, but the fact that there is lots to see means to can spend some meaningful time exploring what there is to see rather than tramping around between sites getting lost. At one end of the trail is the Tsui Shing Lau pagoda – one of HK’s oldest man-made structures (if not the oldest) – and at the other is the excellently restored and maintained Ping Shan Police Station, now operating as a museum for the local area’s history and culture. More on the police station later because we started our visit at the pagoda end.

Tsui Shing Lau

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Hong Kong Scuba Diving - Tung Ping Chau

I haven't been diving in HK that regularly over the past couple of years for various reasons (one of which involved a snapped toe and an inability to wear my fins for most of the diving season) although I did do some surprisingly excellent stuff last year with Emilie, as well as some N.A.S training, so I haven't been too idle. However, you may recall that a few years ago I did pen a small and humble article for Time Out on the best places to go diving in Hong Kong.

Whilst researching that particular piece I was put in contact with a local Marine Conservationist, Apple Chui, who is one of the foremost diving authorities of the area around Tung Ping Chau in the far north of HK's territorial waters. She also provided some nice pictures and some great information that formed a worthy post on its own. So here it is, rescued from the largely submerged wreck of my former blog. All photos were taken by Apple and reproduced with her permission.


Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Exploring Ho Hok Shan, Yuen Long

I'm going through all the posts on my old blog, seeing what is worth salvaging. Unfortunately, with hindsight, most of it was fairly uninteresting, however this one is worthy of keeping and may be of interest to any military buffs out there (HK has a lot - not surprising given its experience of the Japanese occupation). Actually, this trip was covered in much better detail by David Bellis over at Gwulo.com, but I figured I would add my two cents seeing as I tagged along for the ride as well.

I take no credit for finding this location – for that we have to thank Thomas who found what he thought were trenches circling the various contours of the hill. This suspicion was also echoed by Rob (a NZ-based ex-Hongkonger who spent much of his time in HK exploring and documenting a vast number of ex-military structures around HK and the NT) who had an old aerial photo the same hillside which showed lots of dark and rather squiggly lines all over the hillside. So off we all went.

Ho Hok Shan is the hill seen centre-right