The Quest in Discovering Rock-pools – Tsing Dai Stream

By September 9, 2015Outdoor

Distance: 7 km 

Duration: 5-6 hours

Difficulty: 3/4 out of 5

Why Tsing Dai Stream?

It is probably the most beautiful hike with rock pools in Hong Kong. Yes the Tai O infinity pool is beautiful, the Tai Long Wan’s rock pool is one of a kind. But this place took my breathe with its adventurous trail and the FOUR stunning rock pools. The highest point is around 200m so the hike won’t be hard in terms of elevation but the treacherous trails. So be careful and bring enough food and water. It is usually quite, without the crowd you would see at Tai Long Wan and Tai O which is great if you like to have some peace and enjoy the “private” pools by yourself with friends. Also, If you are into geography, walking up from the stream would definitely be a spectacle for you!

How to get there?

From Pak Nai: 

You can go to Pak Nai by the western MTR line and get off at Tin Shui Wai. There you need to find the green minibus number 33 or the easy option: Taxi. Which will take you to Pak Nai and ask the villagers to point out the trail. Eventually you will see a bridge, stay to your left side and keep walking along until there is a floodgate which you have to go around on the right side. Just keep following the stream after that.

From Leung King:

Or….you can go to Leung King estate which is in Tuen Mun, this is the route i took. Go to Tuen Mun by train or bus and take a taxi to Leung King estate. From here it gets confusing as you will need to walk through the residential estate to the hill foot (ask the locals, would be good to save a photo and show them). The following direction will be shown below.

rotue

Pineapple Peak?

It’s going to take a long time so we started at noon, not the perfect time…rather stupid actually. As we started to walk up the hill to the turning point, we saw various signs. Some said you will enter a military training zone and some pointed the direction to “Pineapple Peak”. Interesting name, but there are no pineapple trees up there. I don’t know the exact reason behind it either, maybe it looks like an pineapple.

This was a short and pleasant hike, lots of local elders passed us with bags of empty bottles which i assumed they must come up here very often to collect fresh mountain water. People in Hong Kong are very sensitive and careful with drinking unfiltered water, especially with the recent scandal of excessive lead level in tap water. I guess this won’t be a worry for these people at all!

The foothill at the back of Leung King Estate

The foothill at the back of Leung King Estate

Start of the trail

Start of the trail

shades

shades

So that was the only elevation we needed to to do during this trail, sounds easy right? We took a moment there to relax and rest under the trees, asked local people about where the trail to the rock pools was. Usually you would see old people here listening to their radios, eating fruits or playing chess. Very typical Chinese retirement image right in front of our eyes. I don’t blame them, it is very relaxing up here, seats built specifically along the edges and under the trees so people could enjoy the view comfortably. This peak is no match for the Castle Peak which is nearby but it’s an easier substitution.

We found our way for the beginning of the real adventure, it was quite easy to spot because it was the roughest looking trail in the North West direction. We marched on with little information of directions as not many can be found on the internet. But that’s the point right of an adventure right?

relaxing

relaxing

beginning of the rock pool trail

beginning of the rock pool trail

Pleasant Surprises?

“Hello!” greeted by the old lady who was filling up her water bottles with mountain water, she was very friendly. We talked for a while and asked her lots of questions about the water, We were skeptical about trying it as i mentioned the reason earlier but when she told us that she has been drinking this water for years and nothing has happened to her and it’s cold as water straight out from the fridge. I went for it.

It was sweet, fresh as you would imagine and very cold! We filled a bottle and poured it over our heads. We felt as fresh as the water, before we carried on we filled a bottle with it just in case we would run out later. You see, the trail was not very clear as there were different exit points. We thought we were hiking away from the stream so we took one of the exit and to investigate.

fresh mountain water

fresh mountain water

“WOW! What is this?” i thought, this place was definitely some sort of farm with tools scattered all around. It wasn’t very neat or organized. The bridge to the opposite side was practically useless because the steps has disappeared from the signs of a landslide. But behind me, there were a few lotus ponds, they were beautiful. Violet lotus stood tall against its big round leaves which scattered all across the ponds. I couldn’t believe i would see lotus ponds in the middle of a mountain.

We followed the stream to the end which we thought there was a way to climb down and that would eventually lead us to the rock pool. No. It was a drop and a waterfall! Good to know, it’s better to see a waterfall and turn back than walking down in the wrong direction.

The rock pools must be over there somewhere

The rock pools must be over there somewhere

Lotus pond

Lotus pond

Standing at the cliff/ waterfall

Standing at the cliff/ waterfall

We bumped into a man, a women and….a Parrot!? Seriously. This guy hiked with his parrot and seemed like they go everywhere together.I assumed that’s his wife who he was with and she definelty doesn’t get as much attention as the parrot does haha. The parrot was beautiful, the feather was so white it almost glittered in the sunshine. It was so smooth to pet, the man told us not to put our hands near her mouth otherwise you know what would happen.

After the “parrot man”, the fun seemed to began to chip away with every steps we took. This trail started to turn into a mini dried up riverbed with big deep cracks in the middle of the trail. On the left there was a concrete sealed wall to prevent landslide but half of it has cleaved off which created a crater like channel. It was obvious to imagine what this place would be like when there is a monsoon or a rainy day.

Happy Parrot man

Happy Parrot man

The trail started to change form

The trail started to change form

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Lost?

We continued to walk but we were confident about the direction we were heading, so what happens when you feel lost? Go to a high point and work out where you are! We went to this hill on the right and damn was that a nice viewing point. We were in the middle of a valley where mountains surrounded us, It was so quiet, there was only the sound of nature with the occasional helicopters flying passed. We screamed out loud to hear the echoes try to locate our position like a whale using their sonar radar, just kidding.

We saw another hill so we went there to get a better view point, there was small resting station created by a sheet of blue plastic which tied between two trees. That’s great i thought as people must come up here and rest during their hikes. I hoped deep down it wasn’t for illegal immigrants from China.

There it is in the distance!!! But we couldn’t see the way to get there, only a small crosswalk in the distance but there was no trail which leads to it. After some investigation, we found the way!

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The Stunning Rockpools

I was filled with excitement as soon as i saw the stream, The crystal clear turquoise water and the sound of the moving water were exactly what i have been expecting. As we moved up the stream, these pools only got better, cleaner and bigger!

That feeling of refreshment when you jump into rockpools is just special, the closest thing could describe it would probably being baptized. I was so thrilled to be here, swam around like a playful seal.  But this was only  one of the FOUR pools. the excitement and amazement didn’t stop here.

Why i love this place and claiming it’s one of the best is because the FOUR pools all has their uniqueness which some are bigger for swiming, some are perfect for just lying down on flat rocks to relax while dipping your feet into the water and some are perfect with a waterfall and a place for jumping!

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some WW2 artifacts

some WW2 artifacts

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Jack Law

Author Jack Law

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