travel tales

Lamma island

I started the day with a bit of tai-chi down at the waterfront then headed off to catch the Star Ferry over to Hong Kong island. I didn’t stop there though.

a Star ferry crossing to Kowloon

After picking up some breakfast (some fishy thing wrapped in pasta, like open-topped ravioli) I caught another ferry to one of the ‘outlying islands’: Lamma

It was a bit of a spur of the moment decision but it turned out to be a fantastic choice.

Lamma is a spectacular island. The main town, Yung Shue Wan, is a sweet, ramshackle little place with a nice atmosphere. Near the ferry pier, beyond the public library, is a small collection of shanties and shacks built on stilts. I know the people are most likely subsisting and may be living hard and squalid lives – but that little village and it’s surroundings were just achingly picturesque.

a beach near Yung Shue Wan

The rest of the town is a clutter of pretty buildings with many surprisingly high quality shops. There was even a little organic supermarket.

I sauntered through Yung Shue Wan then began to follow the Family Trail – a path which meanders across the island and links Yung Shue Wan with the village of Sok Kwu Wan. It’s wonderfully tranquil – once you leave the villages.

Unfortunately there seems to be a good deal of building work and maintenance going on around Lamma. The island has no roads so there are no cars. The workies, however, gad about on mad little buggies or mini tractors and are a danger to unsuspecting hikers.

Anyway, beyond the villages there were no maniacal workmen – only peace and serenity… and turquoise water.



On reaching Hung Shing Yeh beach I was surprised to find Herboland “the only organic herb garden in Hong Kong – since 2003”. It’s a wonderful place. The loveliest place on a beautiful island.

I drank one of their healing teas – I suffer from headaches caused by congestion – and I felt much better afterwards. The tranquility of the place probably did me as much good as the tea.

The cool, shaded ‘tea house’ with its eclectic assortment of bamboo furniture and found objects (they were reusing an old fridge/freezer as a bookcase – genius) is a haven filled with restful music and fluttering butterflies.

One small plant in the garden – it appeared to be some sort of pea – was covered in large orange, yellow and red butterflies with black and white tips to their wings. When I say covered I don’t much exaggerate. There must have been close to 20 of the creatures lazily flapping their wings as they clung to the plant. I saw loads of butterflies on Lamma – more than I’ve ever seen before.

On arrival at the village of Sok Kwu Wan I had planned to catch a ferry back to Hong Kong. However, there were no boats due for over four hours! This wouldn’t have been a problem if Sok Kwu Wan hadn’t turned out to be utterly hideous. Compared to Yung Shue Wan it was ugly. In comparison to the peace and beauty I’d been walking through it was infernal. I couldn’t stay so chose to turn around and walk back the way I’d come.

fishing near Yung Shue Wan pier 

I stopped along the way to eat a few bananas and some of the organic crackers I’d purchased earlier. It was exhaustingly hot and humid so I was also forced (forced I tell you!) to visit Herboland again for a cool lemongrass tea before making the final push back to Yung Shue Wan.

I arrived with only about half an hour to wait for the next boat. I was exhausted from my exertions in the heat and snoozed for most of the return journey, arriving back in Kowloon just as night was falling. I have had a glorious day.

Finally, I will leave you with this picture which I took as I was boarding the ferry back to Hong Kong.These ladders were lying in a corner of the ferry building and made the perfect roost for this tiny flock of birds:

little birds on their make-shift perch

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