China · China travel · Travel

Hong Kong geopark and a journey to the past

Earlier this year after Chinese New Year, I went to Hong Kong and Shanghai, with a brief day trip to Shenzhen in between, for a short holiday. I met up with family, friends, and took the time to think about things regarding work and the future. While in Hong Kong, I went on a trip to see a place where my father’s family lived in, which is a small remote Hakka village in the Northeast New Territories. Remote as in you get there by boat or by hiking hours through forest. This village is mostly empty now with some homes still there, but in different stages of decay. I’ve often had to tell other people that Hong Kong is more than just tall buildings and shopping, and this place is a great example. It’s in the Northeast, near the Sai Kung area, which is a large nature park filled with islands, forest, and coves.  In fact, much of Hong Kong is actually forested, mountainous, and uninhabited or sparsely. Most of this is in the New Territories, which is very wide open, but also features villages that have histories of over 300 years, long before Hong Kong itself came into being.

The exact place is also part of a United Nations Hong Kong Geopark due to its Jurassic Period millions-year-old (not a typo) coastal volcanic rocks. My cousin was good enough to take me there, and we had to take a ferry which only comes only two or three times a day. This ferry goes to several places and islands, including Tap Mun (Grass Island), a popular place for camping. The ferry was full when we took it on a Sunday morning, with many dog lovers and their canine companions. This wasn’t exactly a travel trip for me, as I really wanted to visit this place to get an idea of how my father and his family grew up, but I have to say there are really good sea views and hiking trails there. For people who want to get a really tranquil experience of Hong Kong, places like these are pretty good.
Download this fine guide for more info on Hong Kong hikes and the Geopark (Warning: it’s a PDF that’s over 50 MB).

The ferry to where we’re going comes. The rows of highrise apartments are a common sight in Hong Kong.


But all this is Hong Kong as well. Volcanic sedimentary rock coastline with wilderness all around.



Some of the homes still had people, though most were probably visiting for the Chinese New Year holiday.


This home definitely received a touchup for Chinese New Year.


More closeups of this volcanic rock, formed from over 140 million years ago.



Two of the little dogs that were in attendance waiting for the ferry. While I think it’s a bit silly to dress up dogs too much, it is cool that these owners were taking their dogs out to a far place to play.


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