05 Aug Favourite place in Hong Kong
The last week, with a few days to go and work finished the final place I had left to visit was Lantau Island.
Here on the island we would see The Big Buddha statue and search for an elusive infinity pool high up in the mountains that was only accessible via a 40 minute hike.
As some were still working and some had gone to do some last minute souvenir shopping, just four of us set off at 1 o'clock.
We took two trains all the way to the end of the line which took maybe a little over an hour, then transferred to a cable car up to the Big Buddha statue which maybe added on another 20 minutes.
The views from the cable car were amazing, from near the top of the lift we could see the airport in the distance, the ocean on another side and high rise buildings out another direction. Not to mention the mountainous terrain where the mountain tops seemed to overlap each other and go on forever far into the distance.
After getting lunch and visiting the statue along with a nearby monastery it was getting to be early evening time. We now concluded that if we wanted to try find the pool there was a half decent chance that we'd end up camping for the night, if we didn't make it back for the last bus or after the MTR stopped running.
As logical as we were and with only a few days to go, we decided to gamble. It was nearly 5 o’clock before we set off from the Buddha statue with it due to get pitch dark at seven-ish.
We took a bus back down that mountain to a village called Tai O. Here is where the fun would start. We had a very limited window to find the pool, presuming that we follow the correct trail with no wrong turns or setbacks during the 40 minutes, hopefully we’d still have some time to stay and chill there for a bit and then get all the way back down to catch a bus back to bring us half way across the island to the MTR terminal before travelling for over an hour back to the city center. Easy.
We had many sets of instructions, walk along this path, ocean on your right hand side, fire hydrant with 420 on it, staircase to the left which we were to ignore and continue walking for another 10 minutes past it, a random abandoned blue house was a checkpoint we were to find, follow signs to Man Cheung Po up until a certain point and then we ignore them and go exploring.
There was a decent chance we were gonna mess this up. This was a natural pool formed in a lagoon in the mountains, not a man-made tourist attraction. There were no signs or proper paths.
40 minutes later, by a slight miracle and checking screenshots of checkpoints on my iPad at regular intervals we made it. Completely worth it.
Not only is this definitely my favourite place in Hong Kong, but very possibly my favourite place in the world. Due to us not being early birds and only leaving the city at 1pm and arriving in Tai O in the late evening we had timed our arrival at the pool to correspond with the sunset perfectly (albeit by accident, but perfect nonetheless).
Which made this unbelievably secluded, quiet and peaceful area just burst with vibrant colours of the orange sky reflecting off of the pool.
Behind the pool was a waterfall about five stories high, standing under it was a pretty cool sensation.
There is no civilisation there; it's so far away from the city center and any kind of outside interference. So then there’s this point where I’m just lying there on the edge of the pool, up high in the mountains of South East Asia watching the sun go down over ocean with the sounds of a waterfall behind me and I’m surrounded by a forest on every other direction. This was so much better than lying on a crowded tourist beach somewhere.
Sitting on the edge of the pool, it's possible but you’re looking down at a 10 meter vertical drop onto rock. Standing on the edge? even more terrifying. The water is flowing over so it's in a way pushing you off the edge so you have to incline your body weight forward a bit to counteract it, to go with that the ridge is only about a 6 inches wide. I stood on the edge, but I don't think I managed to stand up completely straight. I wasn’t brave enough for that.
We left the trail as soon as the sun went below the horizon knowing that it usually takes a half hour for it to get dark after that point and a 40min hike back down, by the time we arrived in Tai O village it was completely dark.
Bus back to Tung Chung, MTR to Wan Chai to pick up a 25” Pizza and we we’re done for the day.
Anybody that ever visits Hong Kong has to look for that pool. I guarantee, you will not regret it.