Saturday, March 4, 2017

Hong Kong Beyond the City Lights: Geoparks Dream

Hong Kong is on our bucket list. No, it's not because Dudu saw it on Transformers. It's because my only visit to Hong Kong was almost two decades ago. Needless to say I only can vaguely remember the city. I remember there's a region called Tsim Sha Tsui, there's this train going uphill with a Madame Tussaud on top. I'm pretty sure the happiest place in earth hadn't opened its doors in Hong Kong then.

But that's about it.

So, despite having been to Hong Kong i couldn't write about the places I go. This post is written as a participant to #WegoDiscoverHK blog contest and I'll be taking the outsider point of view, talking as if I've never been to the city.

Back then, it was a standard tourist visit, as I went with an arranged tour group from Indonesia with my aunt and cousin. We probably went where everyone went. Now that I've visited few other countries out there, I realize there's always something more to a destination that what's offered on your local travel agents offered. 



The other day, I was surprised to see this picture on my instagram feeds. I captured the scene before it went away. For me, who always thought that Hong Kong is identical with scrumptious dishes and city lights, something as naturally scenic as this is a pleasant surprise. Especially when my current travelmate, Dudu, is an adventurous outdoor boy. I figured if there's something this pretty, there should be more to Hong Kong than the skyscrapers have to offer. Of course something like Disneyland or Ocean Park is tempting and we do want to spend a day or two there, but we decided to look around. We found this interesting site.


Hong Kong UNESCO Global Geoparks
Geoparks are areas with one or more sites of particular geological importance. While these are conservation areas, tourists are usually welcome for educational purposes. Geoparks in Hong Kong are located in the East and Northeast New Territories. The first site is Sai Kung Volcanic Rock Region, which hosts Hong Kong UNESCO Geopark Volcano Discovery Centre. My browsing at discoverhongkong.com suggest visiting this place first because it offers information on the best way to visit the parks as well as rock specimens and the hexagonal rock columns exhibit which was created by volcanic eruption hundreds of millions years ago. Further research showed that this place is more or less like a science center. Great! 


Pictures of Volcano Discovery Center is taken from its official website.
Picture of High Island is taken from DiscoverHongkong.com
Then we can move on to the islands.

This is when the walking, hiking and things may be more vigorous. But that’s the purpose of going abroad for us. Walking together is one activity we find it hard to do in Jakarta, so we’re excited to find places where we can just walk, surrounded by scenic view and great weather. I remember Hong Kong as a rather cool place, so walking should be fun. The first stop, High Island, is where you can see the real hexagonal rock columns as well as other geological features. There’s a Geopark Hiking Tour that visitors should sign up for, even if they’re not geological freak, because there’ll be a lot of awesome rock formations. The tour departs at 8.30 AM daily, conquering around 4 kilometers in about 8,5 hours.

But that’s probably the only geopark you can access without jumping on a boat. There are coastal tours you can take to explore the rest of the geoparks, which are on separated islands. I think it’d be more practical (but may be pricy) compared to hiring individual ferry and got lost somewhere. Some of the geoparks are supposed to be more beautiful viewed from the sea. Anyway, the other site is Northeast New Territories Sedimentary Rock Region, which upon browsing the pictures and Dudu’s Youtube research is way more intriguing (and harder to reach haha). Take Tung Ping Chau for example, the easternmost outlying island of Hong Kong is actually the youngest one. I only took one Geology 101 class back in college so I probably wouldn’t understand anything beyond the mesmerizing shapes. It takes you approximately 1 hour and 40 minutes from Ma Liu Shui Pier to reach the site and the ferry rides are only available on Sunday and Saturday mornings. 




 
Pictures of Tung Ping Chau taken from Hong Kong Global Geoparks Official Website 

If we ever set foot in this region, we want to take the nature side of the journey because nature is most likely done at sun down, right when the city starts to glow. I have to admit, Hong Kong’s night skyline view is one of the best (I’ve seen the high-rise of New York, Chicago and Singapore), and the street food are tempting (coming from a Jakartan point of view haha). Those are another vague recollection of Hong Kong I managed to pull through the back of my mind.

The not-so-vague one is a black coat I bought during the one night me and my aunt went shopping by taxi, holding on to the hotel address written in a piece of paper because we didn't speak the language. Yes, I bought my first autumn coat in Hong Kong. And that coat somehow was the one faithfully accompanying me through cold Missouri winters. I still have the coat in my closet. It got a little tight now that my pregnancy weight didn't go away after 10 years (haha excuses), but maybe it's a sign that I should go back to Hong kong, buy a new coat and create new memory with Dudu.



And maybe, just maybe, I'll make another photo-on-plate souvenir like this with Dudu.
If only I remember where this picture was taken. 

2 comments:

  1. aku kangen balik ke hongkong lagi :(

    dan aku lupa deadline lombanyaaaaa, semgoa di perpanjang :))

    ReplyDelete
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