WE ARE THRILLED ABOUT THE RELEASE OF OUR FIRST ARTICLE FOR A MONTHLY COLUMN IN SAI KUNG/SOUTHSIDE MAGAZINES, SHARING THE WILDS OF HK WITH ITS RESIDENTS!
"Only a stone throw away from Tai Po, the Ng Tung Chai waterfalls are one of Hong Kong’s best-hidden treasures. Climb into another world, a steep sided world enveloped in dense rainforest and peppered with ever flowing cascades. Despite the areas accessibility you’re likely to beat the worst of any weekend crowds coming here and on a weekday, this tropical wonderland is often solely yours to explore!
Translated from Cantonese meaning ‘Big Hat Mountain’, Tai Mo Shan is HK’s highest peak at 957 meters and dominates the central New Territories. This geographical prominence means the mountain often creates its own weather and the northern slopes where Ng Tung Chai is situated are on average, the wettest in Hong Kong. If this fact doesn’t sound enticing, the upside is that much of the plentiful rainfall is stored in rocks and slowly released sustaining steady flow year round. Visit during the rainy season though and you’ll be guaranteed a roaring reception.
After working up a sweat ascending 300 vertical meters, take a left turn at the next junction and traverse across till you reach the Scatter Falls. For the more intrepid, following the track further upwards will eventually lead to the summit ridge of Tai Mo Shan and a multitude of trekking options.
From here on in it’s all fun! Scramble down the ‘forbidden path’, rubbing shoulders with banana palms and secluded caves before emerging upon the splendor of the Main Falls. As the highest waterfall in Hong Kong, this 110ft stunner deserves some time. Its shallow pool presents a welcome opportunity to cool off after an exerting accent from the valley below.
Continue downwards, twisting your way through lush fauna. Keep an eye out for wildlife; the area is a hotspot for lizards and insects. After some time the Middle Falls will make their presence heard. Although not as impressive as the Main Falls, the Middle Falls are still worth a quick visit. However, save that final pit stop for the Bottom Falls.
Not much further down are the Bottom Falls, a wholly appropriate climax to any day on the hill. Delve into an idyllic chasm entangled in vines and ferns, all clambering for position on the rocks to soak up the ample moisture. The sunlight that manages to squeeze through the thick canopy does so in ethereal beams of radiance. It feels more like a remote corner of Borneo than Hong Kong. If comfortable with a little rock climbing, clamber to the upper pool, as this is the best spot to take a dip.
In the valley directly adjacent to Ng Tung Chai is ‘Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden’. The conservation centre’s paths take you wandering through vegetable gardens, greenhouses of beautiful flowers and plants, and scores of different animals. www.kfbg.org/eng/