Updated: Dec 14, 2019
Po Ping Chau
The darling sea stack of Hong Kong, located in the UNESCO Geo Park in Sai Kung High Island Reservoir is a hard spot to get to but totally rewarding! It was originally a cape from Fai Shan but collapsed due to erosion and now is an island or sea stack. It is a massive sea stack with rock columns all over its face like a giant pipe organ. The journey here itself is fascinating enough, if you don't want to hike! But it you do, it is worth to note that High Island Reservoir is in Stage 1 of the MacLehose Trail!
Starting point: Taxi, from Sai Kung to east dam of High Island Reservoir, all the way to the end! It cost around HKD 125
Note: The Geo Park area prohibits entrance for private cars, only Green Taxi and on weekends, far and apart, mini bus. Other option would be to hike in form the entrance of the park, 10 km in!
Hike Duration: Allow around 4 hours, but there is so much to see and do here you could probably spend the whole day!
End Hike: It depends where you want to go, but try to make it at the Pavilion where you can easily get a Taxi out or call Taxi.
Best is to arrange the time with the driver who brought you in.
Hike Difficulty: 4/5
Scenery Rewards: 4.5/5
Note: I always wonder what contributes to hike difficulty. During this hike, I faced a myriad of challenges, such as loose gravel, hot and unshaded trail, some steep downward tracks, loads of clambering, and most fearsome of all, unmarked trails, covered with overgrown scrubs and bushes, you don't really know were you are heading, some leads to a 90 degree cliff drop!
Start of Hike to Po Pin Chau
The trail starts from a flight of steps on the right slope beside the memorial monument at the east dam of High Island Reservoir. There is one in Sai Kung town too.
The little obscure blue ribbon marks the trail! So look out for it!
At this point just follow the trail until you reach the top of the hill! You can clear see the sea stack at the coast, so just head toward it. The downward trail is steep at parts with loose gravel and overgrown with scrubs. So be careful with your footing.
When you approach the gully you can observe some hexagon rocks formed by the cooling of the lava!
From this point, it is upward track, and some clambering at some parts. The hills are filled with camellias but my focus was on something else. At this point my excitement was building up, the view ahead of me was incredible!
Rolling pebble beach is on my right and ahead of me, Po Pin Chau! The cliff was something out of the world, it looks like nature's construction site! Amazing honeycomb pattern rocks and hexagon columns forged in fire 140 million years ago!
After loading up on on data from numerous shots at Po Pin Chau, head back where you came from, take the left trail and head down to the pebble beach of Kim Chu Wan!
Kim Chu Wan, Rolling Pebble Beach
The path down to this beach from a far looks almost suicidal, it looks more like a slide than a path!! But as you approach it, the degree of steepest is not as bad as it looks especially with the help of the ropes! I wasn't really prepared to do this semi abseiling down the beach but just with some care it is a piece of cake!
The ground is full of broken rocks, dry earth and sand. Bring a pair of gloves and just slide your way down! You will figure out how to climb back out later!
It will require you to hoist your body up while you get a grip on a firm rock!
The oval rocks and the sound they release when the waves crashes into them is fascinating! I spent some time admiring those columns towering above me and feel so small around nature playground!
At this point I was suppose to head towards Pak Lap Wan, beach but I made a wrong turn and headed to the peak of a hill and made my way back to the pavilion at the reservoir.
If you explore the bottom section of the dam, there are some interesting rock formations there. It is worth a look to see evidence of the earth's movement!
You could call a taxi or if you're lucky there might be a taxi waiting!
It is always a good idea to save the "Call Taxi" number 27296600 or 27291199 in your phone. Remember the park is located about 15km from any nearest convenient or food store, so please stock up on water!!
Tsat Chung pebble beach, 七重石灘
But if you follow the route along the coast, the pebble and sand beach is clearly visible. I did my hike on a 22 degree day, yet the scorching sun was really difficult to bear!
But the view towards the pebble beach is truly amazing. There are some islands in sight. They are the cluster of islands of the Ung Kong Group. – Town Island plus Wang Chau, Basalt Island and Bluff Island.
When you reach Tsat Chung pebble beach follow the obscure ribbons and continue on to Pak Lap Village. Head uphill and you will come to a vantage point and view the small beach of Pak Lap Tsai (白腊仔)
After descending to the flatland of the valley, follow the path on the right (Left leads to Pak Lap Tsai beach).
Pass through the woodland and fields, and you will arrive at Pak Lap village.
Head on the concrete path to the left and you will go to Pak Lap Wan.
It meanders to the right and cuts through the bushes and slowly leads up till to Sai Kung Man Yee Road.
From the point, either walk back to the pavilion or call taxi and explain to them your location!
The view here is surreal, first, all you see is blue, then, it feels like you have been transported to the center of the earth, the rocks and landscape makes it otherworldly! A must see and DO!!
Date visited: 11st December 2019