Monday, February 29, 2016

A borderland hike to, and out of, the remote abandoned village of Yung Shue Au (Photo-essay)

The physical health benefits of hiking are pretty clear to people.  It also is easy to see how this activity can help one to expand one's geographical knowledge of an area.  In Hong Kong, hiking has had the additional benefit of helping to increase my vocabulary as my brain gets to noticing and recognizing certain words that re-occur in local place names.

For example, early on, I got to realizing that the word au (found in such place names as Pak Kung Au and Tai Fung Au) means "gap" or "pass" in Cantonese.  And then there's the yung shue that's part of the name for places as diverse as Lamma Island's Yung Shue Wan, the Yung Shue O abutting Three Fathoms Cove, and the abandoned village of Yung Shue Au over in the northeastern New Territories which I may be one of the few people in Hong Kong to have been to not just once but twice -- and that I've come to learn is the Cantonese word for "banyan"!

Ironically, banyan trees aren't what I particularly associate with any of those places with yung shue in their names.  Instead, it's that they are all villages located in scenic parts of Hong Kong that are near the water -- and are a far cry from being part of the concrete jungle that many people think the Big Lychee predominantly is; this particularly so with Yung Shu Au, given the views and other sights one encounters there as well as on a hike to (and out of) it... ;b    

The tide was on the low side that afternoon as we walked
along the southern banks of Starling Inlet (AKA Sha Tau Kok Hoi)

Pretty much every time I pass by (or through) Kuk Po, I think 
how only its remoteness prevents it from being a nice place to live!

This check point in Starling Inlet that's manned by the Hong Kong 
marine police acts as reminder of this area's

 Behold! The verdant green of Hong Kong in the foreground, 
and the port area and grey hills of Shenzhen in the background

Feng shui-wise, Yung Shue Au looked to have been in a
great location -- with water in front and hills at the back of it

But in the modern world, it didn't pay to be some distance
-- and unconnected by road -- from "civilization"

On the way out of Yung Shue Au, we opted for a route that took 
us closer to Kuk Po, whose buildings are in better shape than 
Yung Shue Au's but still show signs of nature taking over them!

 And while on the subject of nature: isn't this butterfly pretty? ;b


eastcoastlife said...

Whoa, saw how close mainland China is to Hong Kong. No wonder some Chinese nationals were able to swim to Hong Kong without a passport.

Happy 2016 and a successful Year of the Monkey!

YTSL said...

Hi EastCoastLife --

Happy 2016 and the Year of the Monkey to you!

Believe it or not, one of my hiking friends' father was one of the Chinese nationals to swim over to Hong Kong to escape the Cultural Revolution. Also have a met of couple of people who told me that they did the same thing. I find this, and them, really amazing.

Carver said...

I always love seeing your hikes.

YTSL said...

Hi Carver --

I'm glad to "hear" you say that -- and hope you come and check out this blog often as I do put up quite a few hike posts! ;b

Bill said...


This is one of your best posts, which in parts, speaks to me of a Ghost Village experience. I especially like the second photo from the bottom of the sideview of a deteriorated building, which looks as if it is being recycled back into nature...These photos depict a rural experience that could easily haunt one when they return to the busy streets of Hong Kong.


YTSL said...

Hi Bill --

I'm glad you like this photo-essay! For a real "Ghost Village" experience, check out my So Lo Pun blog entry. That's the village with the "haunted" reputation! ;b