A VISIT TO TUNG LUNG CHAU
By the HK Natural History Society on Sunday 10 July 2022.
In September 1985 the Society arranged a private hire boat trip from Blake’s Pier, Central to Tung Lung Chau and charged just HK $50 per participating Member. By October 2002 the Society needed to charge HK$140 per Member but included a stopover at Po Toi as well as visiting Tung Lung Chau. Now that one- day junk hires from Central cost around HK$ 10,000 while the public kaitos charge just HK$ 55 return for adults or HK$ 2 each way for seniors from Sai Wan Ho to Tung Lung Chau, your Committee decided to try out using the kaito.
In the event just four Members and two guests came but all enjoyed a wonderful day out.
There are two ferry piers at Sai Wan Ho. One has ferries plying directly to Tung Lung Chau on Saturdays, Sundays and Public holidays, and part of our group used the services of the Blue Sea Ferry Co. from this pier. The day was brilliantly clear and the ferry took just over half an hour, sailing through the Lei Yue Mun Gap. The other part of the group chose to use the other, larger pier and took a ferry to Lei Yue Mun before connecting to a later kaito to Tung Lung Chau. Both ferries call at both the public ferry piers on the island at Nam Tong and at Fat Tong Mun Pier and the groups connected at Nam Tong. This is a pleasant village on the north of the island with a few simple restaurants and with fine views to the Clearwater Bay Golf and Country Club.
From Nam Tong is a delightful one kilometre walk south west through woods and open scrub along paved footpaths to a viewpoint commanding great vistas back into the Lei Yue Mun Gap, to Shek O and across Joss House Bay.
Sterculia about to open up and reveal its black shiny seeds
Melastoma attracting insects and land crabs.
From here a winding staircase takes you down to the coast and an ancient rock carving (one of the nine ancient rock carvings in Hong Kong). The carving is on a vertical rock face about 1.8m high and 2.4m wide. It was mentioned in the Xinan Gazetteer of 1819 and is thought to date from Hong Kong’s Bronze age, about 3,000 years ago. The difficulty was the 470 steps back up to the viewpoint which in the sun and 34 degrees heat was overwhelming and not recommended at this time of year. At least the steps illustrate the blackish pyroclastic and volcanic rocks dominant on the island. Back on the footpath, Nam Tong was soon reached and further refreshment very necessary.
Following the footpath, to the north east, past a Hung Shing temple down on the coast, we soon come to the restaurants that have sprung up above the Fat Tong Mun Pier and close to the Tung Lung Fort Special Area.
The walk to the old fort is pleasant and relatively easy. A nearby stone house contains an exhibition about the fort, its history and conservation. The fort is at the north east corner of Tung Lung Chau and guards the Fat Tong Mun Passage separating the island from Clearwater Bay. It was built in the early 1700’s to suppress pirates and continued to be. manned. till 1810. It fell into ruin till archaeological work started in 1979 and it was declared a monument in 1980. It is 33m by 22m with one gate through the stone walls at the flatter north side. The fort is on a natural promontory, surrounded on three sides by steep cliffs. The interior of the fort has been reduced by time to low sandy walls with some bricks though the layout is still clear. The surrounding stones walls still stand some 3 to 4 m high. The internal layout is now protected by a covered roof.
Returning to the restaurants further cooling refreshments were called for while some enthusiastic members of the group headed out to one of the promontories where there is oner of the two beacons, or lighthouses on Tung Lung Chau.
There is a good bathing beach here, beside the ferry pier at Fat Tong Mun where we caught our ferry back to Central.