Grass Island, aka Tap Mun Chau, in Hong Kong is a great place to visit. You have hiking trails, cultural temple and mouth-watering meals.
Hiking is addictive, and I am going to stick to this addiction. We celebrated the last Saturday with a day trip to one of the outlying islands in Hong Kong – Tap Mun Chau; or also known as Grass Island in English. It is a perfect place for adventure seekers, campers, hikers, family picnic and kit flying. Although I’m sure the view would be greener in spring or summer, the view was nonetheless lovely in the cold December.
Get to Grass Island via Sai Kung
We went to Grass Island for a day trip (otherwise we would be camping there). Met everyone at the bus terminal in Sai Kung (getting to Sai Kung). From there, we took bus 94 to Wong Shek Pier (second last stop). There are other methods to get to Wong Shek Pier too. From the pier, we had to take a ferry to the island. The ferry costs HKD$14 per trip and takes 25min. There is another method, which is to take the smaller boats. They cost HKD$20 but it takes only 7min. We took the ferry to Grass Island and took the boat back.
This island is like a fishing village, and many villagers sell their dried seafood for a living. I think it’s always gorgeous to see the different type of life in Hong Kong. Living in the city (in Singapore and Hong Kong), makes me so used to skyscrapers that sometimes I forget the other part of life. The life here is so peaceful, so much slower and so much more connected to mother nature. I guess the grass is really greener on the other side, in Grass Island.
The ferry took longer because they went to another port before going to Tap Mun Chau’s port.
This island is the most north-east of Hong Kong. There is a lot of things to explore here. I think it makes a perfect camping site. For a 2D1N camping, you can take the first day to explore the grey area (can be done in 2 hours. You can make a round and cover the whole grey area), then set up the tents in the borders of the green and grey area, then hike till the sun sets and then sleep. Last day can be used to hike the other parts of the green area.
We arrived in Tap Mun Chau and it was too early for lunch. So we bought our kites and we explored the place first.
Valentin chose a German flag >:( Thankfully it managed to fly in the end hahaha 😉
Sara organised the trip for everyone! Thanks bb, organising an awesome trip despite you being so busy! :*
Attraction 1: Tin Hau Temple
First stop, Tin Hau Temple! This temple worships the god of war, and every late April/early May, there will be huge celebrations for it is the god’s birthday! I’m proud to be an asian, with such rich cultures and architectural histories.
We were super tourist-like, snapping away pictures of the temple. There wasn’t any good shots because so many people were there. Fortunately or unfortunately, Yvonne had to back track to find her toy, so in the end, we went to the temple when everyone left!
Yvonne and Adam
The day we met in the morning. This crazy family is too crazy, we actually never saw each other in the morning before. As in meeting in the morning. We only see each other in the morning when there is a sleepover or camps or sunrise hikes. I love this crazy people. Sadly only 4 of us made it. The rest were busy; 1 in Vietnam, 1 working, 1 too lazy to hike (that lazy baby). Anyways, this picture is cool because we look like we are framed up by the thing (or it looks like people worship me. the latter is correct 😉 )
Asia provides so much history that I do not know, and I can’t believe I wanted to bagpack Europe, when I don’t even know my own territories! Time to bagpack Asia before I conquer other parts of the world!
Then, we met up with the rest and went to the grass land.
Land of Gold
Winter, everything is in a shade a golden yellow. It actually looks beautiful with more yellow than green!
Grassland is a great place to camp. Flat ground to put your tent and pretty good floor to sleep on, unlike shady tree areas with tons of protruding roots that pokes you throughout the night! Many people set up their tents here. There is a water source not too far away and toilets too. Some even showered there, but I think it might be too cold to shower there in the winter. The sun was shining super bright and it was a perfectly warm day despite the winds.
And cows just roam around the area. This might be mean but I hope to catch one of the cows and barbecue them over the fire. I think they make good steak or roast beef 😉
Attraction 2: Balanced Rock
I love how there are useful road signs everywhere in Hong Kong. It’s almost difficult to get lost if you know where you are going. The road signs just directs you to the attraction points and it’s really easy to follow. You don’t even need a map or googlemaps!
This is the huge group of people we were suppose to hike with, but end up not hiking with. It’s quite a challenge to hike with such a huge group because you don’t really get to know everyone.
With a sole to walk upon and a heart yearning to travel, I am going to conquer this world. I am thankful for eyes to see, for legs to walk and for a heart to feel. I am thankful for everything that happened in 2013. I’m ready to start 2014.
So, we started to walk a fixed trail towards balanced rocks. At a crossroad, there was a way going downwards, so obviously we would walk there. We went down and the path and found some gorgeous rocks.
Watching the waves crashing against the rocks repeatedly is a very calming thing. It seems like the waves hope to swallow the rocks and they are not succeeding but they keep crashing against the rocks, in hope to destroy it someday. It’s not a very positive thing, you may say, but if you keep persisting in your goal, you will be able to destroy your rocks someday.
I really am the happiest when hiking. I guess hiking and exercising really release endorphins and makes one very happy. Also, hiking helps to clear my mind. Seeing mother nature is probably a good way to distress and reflect. I enjoy weekends like that and I am glad my last weekend of 2013 was planned with hiking trips.
Here’s to the crazy ones, for my weekends in Hong Kong would not have been so fun without you crazy people.
We found a bench at the end of the trail and then, we climbed the rocks (doing really stupid things).
This is what the rocks and crashing waters look like from above. Quite a sight, ain’t it?
Then, we made our way down balanced rock. We didn’t want to go there at first because it looked quite steep and dangerous. But danger is only my middle name 😉
Yvonne just recovered from her sprained ankle, and climbing down the steep rocks. Told you these people are crazy. I wouldn’t be surprise if they are diagnosed mentally unsound 😉 :* I love you guys, no matter how mentally unsound you are ♥︎
It’s a steep road down without proper steps. It was a huge patch of dried grass on the hill and the path was not meant for walking. The path existed because many people walked down that road several times, which led to the creation of the path. (爸爸会说：“路是人走出来的”)
This is balanced rock; there is nothing to balance about this rock. I have no idea why it is an attraction; perhaps because it is a strange feature. It’s also quite flat. I think it’s a perfect place for wedding pictures (qimin, kathy are y’ll reading this?).
I want family trips for hiking, camping and trekking! I don’t want to go back home, but I can’t wait for crazy weekends with my family.
Very rocky, very dangerous, place where you can find me. The edge of balanced rock has a gorgeous sight; you see the endless horizon and it feels like you’re on the edge of the world (considering grass island is really quite on the edge on Hong Kong). Due to the flatness of the rocks, I think it makes a perfect place for a little picnic there, while admiring the endless horizons and listening to the ever calming waves.
Attraction 3: L-shaped Pier
Ok, I’m pretty sure the pier is no major attraction. We actually stumbled upon this pier randomly. It is L-shaped, so it has to be an attraction 😉
We were walking and following the pathway. We did not know where it was leading us, but in the end, we actually made a round trip in grass island (the grey part. refer to the map above to see what I mean). I love the sea, rocks, fence, grass and trees. Although it is still part of Hong Kong, it really did not feel like Hong Kong, making it a perfect weekend day trip getaway.
The L-shaped Pier
We were super hungry by the time we were walking to the pier. I always wanted a picnic (still wanting one) and we brought food so we could technically picnic anywhere. The island was filled with quite a number of people, so we needed to find a quiet and peaceful place. Seeing the pier with no one, perfect view of the horizon and mountains, it seemed like the place to be for our lunch picnic.
We hurried down to check the place out. It was near but quite far because it was not easy to get to the place. The path down was filled with abandoned boats, smashed porcelain and glass pieces as well as sharp rocks.
We had quite a time getting down.
The downward path was just a debris of abandoned items from around; some probably washed upon the shore by the waves.
The presence of competitors made us hasten our pace and ignore the path to ensure that we get our spot.
Yvonne, who still had her leg sprained, had a tough time going down.
A family of 3 reached the pier first though. They had their food and fishing equipment ready for the day. The rocks were super slippery and dangerous, so in the end, we decided not to fight with the family and not go up.
Before the pier, there’s a caution sign, warning people not to climb. The family of 3 sure embrace a yolo spirit 😉
There are a few households living on this island. We actually successfully made a round and went back to the start, Tap Mun Chau Pier.
Hungry, tired and feeling warm (surprisingly it wasn’t too cold!), we were super ready for some nice hot lunch. Once you enter grass island, you turn left and walk for 1 min, you will come across 3 family restaurants. Competition seems rather strong there. Grass island is known for their dried seafood, that many households sold, and seafood meals. We sneakily ordered food from 2 of the restaurants and brought them to another place for our mini picnic.
The view we had for lunch. We went to this huge square, where there were benches that we could sit on and eat. The view was gorgeous. Opposite us were mountains in shades of autumn, and random fishing boats.
Lunch was so good. We had seafood fried rice, vegetables x2 in cuttlefish sauce, crab porridge and another type of seafood fried rice. Food wasn’t too expensive and it was really yummy. We had beancurd with ginger for dessert. Super duper full and I highly recommend the seafood fried rice.
Attraction 4: Kite-Flying
Super full, we walked back to the flat peak (where people camped), to fly our kites. On the way, we walked up the same way, but made a left turn at one of the cross-roads. There was this lake filled with wrecked ships in the midst of the trees. We made our way to the woods to check them out.
Shipwreck; love the splendid colours so much. I love this shot.
Then, we continued on our journey to the top to fly our german kite.
The german choose the german kite -.-
The picture looks nicer in real though.
After a while, we decided to hike to the top of the other mountain to fly our kite. The flat grassland was blocked by the mountain so the wind was not strong enough.
The hike was more of walking up stairs, so it wasn’t too tough
The sun was setting behind us as we hiked upwards.
View from the top!
And then we started flying our kites.
The wind was so good that we finished all the strings! The kite was so far away that we could barely see it. Also, I’m not good at flying kites. I am just good at letting the strings go :p
We literally fly all the way to feel the satisfaction, then we starting keeping the strings. The strings were so long that we died recoiling the strings.
We started by standing up and recoil, followed by stilling down, and then we just lie on the grass and look into the sky as we kept the strings. It was really fun though, despite getting dried grass on our clothes.
Attraction 5: Sunset in Grass Island
So after everything and before the sun sets, we went back to the flat land to watch sunset. I realised I don’t watch sunset or sunrise in Singapore, but I do that often here with my crazy friends. So we sat down and finished whatever we had in our bags (was our lunch originally). UNTIL……..
The case of the strange cows.
The cows are super scary! We were eating and suddenly I screamed cause the cows were running towards us. One almost stepped on Adam’s stomach! Then they grabbed our food and ate it. The thing was, our food were in plastic bags so the cows were fighting for the plastic bags and eating the plastic bags! It was super scary because the cows were eating plastic! They were super good at aiming too, grabbing the food at their first shot. Then, they called reinforcement and there were like 7 cows, going to random tents and finding good. It was super scary.
Then, we made our way back.
Attraction 6: Riding the fishing boat
Bad things are good things happening in disguise. We were too late for the ferry, so we decided to take the smaller fishing boats then. They were more expensive, HKD$20 per person and had irregular times. The boats only leave when there are enough passengers. We missed the first boat so we waited for the next one. The wind was super cold and everyone warm-clothes-suit-up. We were thinking about sitting behind, where the people can block the wind for us. But then again, we are only insane. So, we decided to sit in front. The boat was against the direction of the wind and we would be freezing!
We were really in the front.
Freezing kids, all wrapped up. The ride was super bumpy. The wind was so strong that my face was super dry. The waves were also very strong and the journey was like a roller coaster ride. Nonetheless, it was fun, screaming at how cold it was.
Then, we reached the bus stop and took the same bus back to sai kung. From there, you can take the mini bus or bus then train, back to the city. A super fun and tiring day; a best way to spend the last weekend of the year! Happy New Year everyone ♡