Posted by: Sam Olsen | April 4, 2012

Tomb-Cleaning Day

Today is Qing Ming Festival, a conveniently placed bank holiday meaning that by taking Thursday 5th off, us HK-ers get almost a week off for work just one day’s annual leave. Qing Ming Festival translates as ‘Tomb-Cleaning Day’ where the Chinese tend to the graves of their ancestors, and get a nice day outside to enjoy the spring weather into the bargain.  The guidebooks advise tourists and expats to stay away from any sight-seeing in graveyards and cemeteries so we set out on another New Territories adventure instead. This time we headed to Sai Kung, on the excellent advice and directions of the Parkers. Taxi to Central, tube to Hang Hau, long queue for minibus, so taxi instead to Sai Kung which is a small town/large village on the East Coast of the New Territories. Stopped for coffee (typical local style – strong, instant, in a glass) and a bun at a local caff. Inspected various boats promising ferry trips to an island that was full of nature and ‘good for students to understand and write projects and presentations’. Brilliant! Didn’t tempt us, we headed instead to Sai Wan, which is a remote village on the far Eastern side of the Sai Kung Country Park.

You can either take a bus or taxi, but they only go some of the way there, and then dispatch you at Sai Kung Pavilion where you must proceed on foot; the walk is lovely. It’s very green, nice paved path (even buggy friendly – but we realised why later on – this and boats are the only route in for provisions, as far as we can tell), lovely views over a reservoir, and an easy walk. Not too many people around either. After an hour or so we reached the seaside village of Sai Wan. The beach is really lovely, big waves, sweeping open sand, more reminiscent of somewhere in the UK than HK. Lawrence played for a bit in the waves, refused to pose nicely for some Chinese tourists ‘how can i trap him?’. I’d rather you didn’t, thanks, he’s just hanging out! We had lunch at the  beach-front restaurant, fried rice and fresh coconut milk all round.  After seeking the advice of some keeno looking hikers, we decided we’d have to go back the way we came. The route ahead either involved four more hours hiking or a rather illegal speedboat ride, which may or may not be on offer. So, back we came, one bus, then a second, then the MTR, and finally a taxi.  A bit of a hike but definitely worth it for the relatively empty beach and lovely GREEEEN! 

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