Friday, 22 October 2010

The Island (which is called Lantau)

(Click on picture thumbnails to see a larger version)

From what I understand, Lantau is the largest of the islands in Hong Kong, (bar Kowloon which is on the island of Asia - somewhat larger. At least three times as big.) and provides the one thing you cannot get on Hong Kong Island: space.

On Saturday we tootled off to the pier to catch a ferry to Lantau (all of R30 to get there) which is about a half an hour journey. As we were both suffering immense hangovers, it became a 30-minute exercise in not hurling as we bounced from wave to wave caused by the multitude of boats traversing around Hong Kong harbour.

We were glad for the presence of these, even though we didn't have to use them: We landed and found a map to take us to a certain beach we'd read about in the guide book. After doing a small and accidental loop we realised we were on the wrong road and realigned our compasses to get us on the right one (what we really did was look at the signs which pointed us perfectly in the right direction).

And so our 5-kilometre walk began. Up a goddam hill. After a quick whinge session I began following Mike (who has been blessed with gazelle like abilities - gravity doesn't actually have much of an impact on him so hills are just like normal ground) on this road, which slunk through the island forest.

Lantau is beautiful. It is large and pretty devoid of buildings, with trees gracing the interior of the island and beaches denoting the exterior. We walked for about 7 kilometres (turns out someone read the book wrong) with regular stops so I could smoke in hangover peace while Mike bounced around like someone had just replaced his batteries.

Here are our attitudes to walking 7km in the most humid place in the world:


Nature was to avenge me though. While I am terrified of creepy crawlies and rats and stuff like that, Mike (possibly more sensibly) is scared of big things that can break you when they stand on you, like cattle. And as we rounded yet another bend in the road, a bull shaped like a battering ram appeared right in front of us. We were both a bit startled so we forgot to take a picture, but it was a short and squat - almost in proportion with a buffalo, only smaller. Mike leapt across the road like someone had stuffed his backpack with Superman's cape which had accidentally turned on. To be fair I wasn't far behind and, dodging the fastest buses known to man (seriously, I am sure Hong Kong buses are driven by Nikki Lauda), we retreated behind a gate on the other side as this pit-bull like bovine walked on by.

What seemed like 20km later (was actually like 1.5km) we finally came upon what we sought: the beach - a stunning barrier separating the forest from the (surprisingly) clean seawater. We finally got to kick off our shoes and walk barefoot across the fine sand which scattered beneath our feet as we strolled down, passing Die Stoep, a South Africa-themed restaurant. Now, what makes a restaurant South African, you may ask. Well, Castle Lager, bobotie and a steak dish with chakalaka were about it. Considering I usually drink Hansa and have never once had a steak with chakalaka, it was surprising that I still felt all proud about being there, but I suppose one does when away from home. I liked and ate bobotie though - so shukria (spelling?) to Muslims in South Africa for creating it, and dankie and xiexie for those South Africans and Hong Kongers for exporting it to these wonderful parts.

One thing about this beach which I have never seen before is cattle residing upon it. I swear, it was like walking through the Transkei - but on a Chinese beach. Yes. Real cows! On a beach! (um, outside a steak restaurant. So we're banking on them selling fresh meat).

Drinking on the beaches in Hong Kong is illegal, but much like in Cape Town, I decided to ignore this ridiculous law created solely for braggarts and sat and (responsibly) slurped on a bottle of red wine while Mike ran up and down the beach.

It then got dark and, rather than risking being hit by a psychotic Hong Kong bus in the shadows, we decided to actually board one. Now, picking the correct bus in Hong Kong is not as simple as it looks, as we have no idea where the bloody things go. And the one we boarded went nowhere near where we wanted to go. In fact it went in the exact opposite direction. This was Mike panic-strickenly finding out where the hell we were going.

Which, luckily, was a route that ended at a tube station (the public transport here is amazing. I am planning a whole post on it) and we were home in about 15 minutes (after an approximate two-hour delay because we wanted to watch a movie).

Some great pics we took in Lantau:


  1. you are hilarious! thanks for that, surprised there were no monster bugs out there

  2. brilliant pics - looking forward to the rest on fb

  3. Thank you for making my day...loved this post and ur pic is hilarious

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  5. @Libra's Child

    Oh there are giant mosquitoes here. Or maybe they just have big mouths. I had so many bites on the way back that I am sure I had like 20% less blood.

  6. Glad you noticed the mozzies, especially around Lower Cheung Sha Beach (where The Stoep is). The walk down from the bus stop is particularly hazardous with all the mozzies around...

    Oh, and it's Shukran.