by Joanne
just experience | just sights | just blah | just write
all photos, travelogues and journals are made available for non-commercial use only. © 2000 JSL
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HONG KONG - PEARL OF THE ORIENT
Lamma Island | Lantau Island | New Territories | Sai Kung Peninsula | Victoria Harbor | Cheung Chau Island
Map of Hong Kong

 

HONG KONG - NEW TERRITORIES

Occupying the far northeastern corner of the New Territories, the country around Plover Cove is remote and wild. Even when agriculture was flourishing across the region, the valleys there were cut-off and the land unyielding.

Northeast of Tai Po lies some of Hong Kong's wildest country. Long ago the region had a pearl fishery, and some 300 years ago Hakka clans settled its valleys. But, because of rugged terrain, it was never more than thinly populated. Even today, despite the New Territories cities on its outskirts, these northeastern lands are mostly remote and empty.

Pat Sin Leng peak command views of an untouched wild, with grand peaks interspersed with nestling valleys. So rugged is the country that one can easily imagine how South China tigers and leopards once roamed here. In fact, tigers still occasionally visited in the early 1900s, and in 1931 a leopard was trapped in the region. Still today wild boar and barking deer live in the wilder parts, but sighting them along the trails is rare.

When rice farming was the mainstay of village life, smaller animals continued to inhabit the lowland agricultural lands. Paddy fields provided invaluable wetland habitats — for insects, frogs, worms, small fish, freshwater snakes and birds. The water birds flourished and egretries were widespread. However, as agriculture declined in the past decades, most of the paddy wetlands have been lost to small scale development, and there has been a resulting sharp decline in the numbers of waders.

From the head of Starling Inlet, a wide block of land extends out into Mirs Bay. Some of the most remote villages in Hong Kong are found here, many of them along the deeply indented coast. Beyond Kai Kuk Shue Ha, a path skirts the coast until it reaches the long valleys that face towards Crooked Island — So Lo Pun and Lai Chi Wo. There is great variety in the coastal scenery, and the vegetation includes stands of dwarf mangroves.

The parks are still hikers and climbers' haven. Most of the Hong Kong Asia Action Challenge sports trails are still organized here and is a favorite spot for college students during summer and autumn seasons. Perhaps this is one of the most enchanting place if I can say that, that Hong Kong has that is so different from its south east Asian countries. It has terrain and landscape that is untouched and a buzzing city life that is beyond the delight of one's eyes.