12 April 2008

Ng Tung Chai Waterfall - Tai Mo Shan Park

There are many small waterfalls in HK, but Ng Tung Chai is supposed to be the biggest in the country park of Tai Mo Shan. It also gets some of the most rain in HK. After getting lost in the small village of Ng Tung Chai, we finally found the start of the trail up to the waterfalls. Maybe it's because I can't read Chinese, but I'm pretty sure the trail was not very well marked in the village. I was expecting it to be jam packed because it was Sunday, but the trail was quite dead. There are 4 waterfalls in all, and it took about 1.5 hours of hiking/stopping/photos/eating to get to the top. If you were just hiking up it would probably only take 30 minutes if you were quick. The 4th waterfall is also 'closed' due to a landslide, but the trail remains marked with a warning to proceed at one's own risk. Having hiked in the Rockies in a snowstorm or two, I'm pretty sure it would not have been to bad, but we didn't go past the 3rd as we were already sweating too much. The picture above is from the 2nd/Middle waterfall. Also I saw a nice green snake trying to hide. It freaked Mai out, but I remember reading somewhere that there are not any poisonous snakes in HK, except for pets who have been let out in the wild maybe. There were many small lizards, and birds everywhere who are very noisy. All in all a great place to hike, but it does take awhile to get there from HK Island. It was very hot and humid, but lots of shade. The rain makes the trail very slippery, but the waterfall gets bigger after a nice rainfall. Bring lots of water!

Directions: Find your way to Tai Po Market MTR station. From there, the bus 64K will take you to Ng Tung Chai. Most of the buses now have electronic displays of the upcoming stops in Cantonese and English so that is very helpful. I believe it was the 18th stop. Once off the bus, follow the small windy paved road (about 20m from the bus stop) up the hill to the town of Ng Tung Chai. The hiking trail is on the right hand side of the road walking up from the highway. It may be marked but not in English. The trail is paved up until a large temple/shrine. Past the shrine there is a map showing the two trails up to the waterfalls. It would be nice if this map was at the bottom of the hill! If you get lost, draw a picture of a waterfall and I'm sure someone will point you in the right direction.

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