5 Wild Places
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TSING YI –The isle of bridges
IN THE MAY ARTICLE OF OUR MONTHLY COLUMN IN SAI KUNG/SOUTHSIDE/EXPAT PARENTS MAGAZINES; WE EXPLORE THE ISLAND OF TSING YI AND EXPOSE SOME EXCITING HIKING LOCATIONS THAT ARE LARGELY UNKNOWN IN HK
Once remote and untouched, the island of Tsing Yi is anything but nowadays. Located to the northwest of Hong Kong Island and south of Tsuen Wan, the island has become a major transport hub and commuter base. Many of us pass through on a regular basis, but most overlook the island as a destination due to its urban appearance. A hotspot for infrastructure, the creations that mankind has erected around these parts is the stuff of civil engineering dreams! Nevertheless, for all the construction of recent decades, Tsing Yi still possesses some surprisingly secluded areas, peppered with nature walks and stunning viewpoints to accompany them.
Tsing Yi's name literally means "green clothes", but the island actually got its name from a type of fish once abundant in nearby waters. Before the Tsing Yi South Bridge was built in 1974, the old Tsing Yi pier was the only link between the island and the outside world. Fast-forward to today, the island is now home to about 200,000 people and is connected by eight bridges all around the island. This includes the Tsing Yi and Stonecutters Bridges, respectively the largest and third largest of their kinds in the world!
There are a couple of fantastic short to mid length walks around the rural parts of the Island, offering a range of experiences from an easy going family stroll, to challenging assents. Either way, you’re guaranteed a peaceful retreat from city life, epic bridge vistas and fresh air.
Option 2, Sam Chi Heung (Harder)
For the more adventurous folk out there, climbing up Sam Chi Heung is an awesome option. The route is direct and prominent, gaining a few hundred meters of elevation above all the surrounding areas. The three summits of Sam Chi Heung are not as heavily forested as the Tsing Yi Nature Trail, thus providing uninhibited panoramas over Tseun Wan, Kowloon and HK Island. But undoubtedly, the main attraction of climbing Sam Chi Heung is the unique vantage point it provides to look over the Stonecutters Bridge and Hong Kong Port. Find the trailhead located beside Cheung Ching Bus Terminus and follow it past some football/soccer pitches. You will start to ascend and not before long, reach a large burial area scattered across the hillsides. Once atop the first peak, it’s worth continuing along the trail until you reach the third peak, as this is where the best views are to be had. The simplest way down is a return to Cheung Ching Bus Terminus. However, for the really adventurous folk out there, keep an eye out for ribbon marked alternate routes down.
If you ever wish to stop and take in views of the Tsing Ma Bridge without having to go hiking, the Lantau Link Visitor Center could be worth a visit. Open every day other than Wednesday, the center can be reached by public transport via the 308M minibus from Tsing Yi MTR. Taxi and by car are also great ways to reach this location.
If you’re really enthusiastic, both walks can be done together as a day hike. What is great about all of these itineraries on offer is the ease of return to public transport and other amenities. That is the beauty of venturing out in a place such as Tsing Yi (and Hong Kong in general for that matter); after working up a sweat out and about, you can soon find respite. This accessibility is certainly one of Tsing Yi’s main draw cards, a tremendous place to visit on a whim without premeditation. But once you have arrived and got under the skin of this dramatic isle, the rugged hillsides and ‘bridgetastic’ vistas will sell themselves. A trip through Tsing Yi will never feel the same, after coming to truly appreciate this underrated area of Hong Kong.
We are one of Hong Kong's premier adventure & eco tour operators. This is our blog, documenting many of the wild places we explore and show guests.