The Tung O Ancient Trail

The Tung O Ancient Trail is a footpath on the northern shore of Lantau Island that connects Tung Chung with the Tai O fishing village. Also known as the Tung Tai trail, this was the main route between the two villages before the urbanization of Tung Chung New Town. Today, most of the trail is a paved cement footpath that is used mostly by locals who still live in the small villages along the way. Only the last section is an actual mountain trail, so this 13km trail is more a leisurely walk than a hike.

Tung O Ancient Trail

The route along Lantau’s north shore.

Starting at Tung Chung, you’ll immediately begin to notice the changes that rapid urbanization has brought to the island. We pass through the mangroves at Tung Chung Bay, where the local fish population has dwindled. Along the way there are abandoned buildings where presumably the villagers have left for the city. Across the narrow channel to the north, there is the constant roar of airplanes taking off from the busy airport. There is also heavy construction and pollution on the water due to the Hong Kong-Macau-Zhuhai mega bridge project.

Despite the encroaching modernization, quiet traditional life still continues in the remaining village hamlets. The stores at Sham Wat Wan Bay cater now to hikers on the trail, providing refreshments and light meals. And in Tai O, the traditional stilt houses built on the water are a major tourist attraction.

Click on the photos for a better view. These were processed in Lightroom with the Old Polar colour filter.

Tung O Ancient Trail

We start the walk on the bike trail at Tung Chung New Town.

Tung O Ancient Trail

Hanging laundry at Yat Tung Estate. Many residents here were moved from Chek Lap Kok village when the airport was built.

Tung O Ancient Trail

Old traditions die hard. Dried citrus peels are a lucrative business.

Tung O Ancient Trail

Meagre fishing at Tung Chung Bay.

Tung O Ancient Trail

Fiddler crabs in the mangrove.

Tung O Ancient Trail

Village housing beneath the Ngong Ping 360 cable car.

Tung O Ancient Trail

Abandoned buildings near Ngau Au. Yat Tung Estate in the background.

Tung O Ancient Trail

Shan Tau Village. More dogs than villagers.

Tung O Ancient Trail

The village school, also abandoned.

Tung O Ancient Trail

Remnants of a different time…

Tung O Ancient Trail

Low tide and oysters at Hau Hok Wan.

Tung O Ancient Trail

Buddha and fish graffiti?

Tung O Ancient Trail

At Sha Lo Wan Tsuen village.

Tung O Ancient Trail

Old tin roofing and rusty shacks.

Tung O Ancient Trail

San Shek Wan village, about half way through the hike.

Tung O Ancient Trail

Typical of the makeshift homes built in the area.

Tung O Ancient Trail

Fishing on the pier at Sham Wat Wan bay. Here you can stop for refreshments before the last section of the hike.

Tung O Ancient Trail

Looking south from Sham Wat.

Tung O Ancient Trail

Bananas for sale – honour system! The road, one of the few in the area, heads to Ngong Ping village.

Tung O Ancient Trail

Looking back, Sham Wat Wan bay at low tide.

Tung O Ancient Trail

Small bamboo grove at Tit Tak Shue. Here the concrete soon turns to a mountain trail.

Tung O Ancient Trail

On the water the construction of the massive Hong Kong-Macau-Zhuhai bridge has begun.

Tung O Ancient Trail

The last few kilometres of the hike is a beautiful mountain trail.

Tung O Ancient Trail

Approaching Po Chue Tam and our final destination, Tai O, in the distance.

Tung O Ancient Trail

The Yeung Hau Temple at Po Chue Tam. It is the biggest and most important temple in Tai O, built in 1698.

Tung O Ancient Trail

The village of Tai O nestled in the valley.

Tung O Ancient Trail

The “Venice of Hong Kong” with traditional stilt houses.

Tung O Ancient Trail

This area is less frequented by tourists. You can still catch a glimpse of old village life.

Tung O Ancient Trail

Evening at the fishing village. Dinner time.

Tung O Ancient Trail

As night falls the tourists go home and the village returns to its quiet slumber.

 

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