Hong Kong Like You’ve Never Seen [Part 2]

April 01, 2013 / by / 1 Comment

Last time I took you guys to the beauty of cityscape from Braemar Hill, this time we’ll go visit the far point on the island that you might have heard of but possibly never visited! Shek O is located on the Southeast tip of the Hong Kong Island, separated from the city by the Tai Tam Country Park (home to the Dragon’s Back Hiking Trail). In case you haven’t heard yet, HKU actually has a campus over in Shek O, the Swire Institute of Marine Science. The institute conducts year-long research on the marine life and oceanic conditions of Hong Kong. Anyways, read on to discover the new side of Hong Kong that you haven’t seen!

Shek O has a pretty decent coastline and home to one of the dozen summer beaches in HK. But that wasn’t the reason for my visit. I traveled there with a few friends to catch the sunrise, which is always an attractive scene for photographers. Shek O is a naturally advantageous location for that because it’s free from any mountains and buildings. We also recall that the sun rises from the East, so Shek O is one of the first places in HK to see the sun and in fact a few minutes earlier than Central for that! Sunrise was at around 6:30 a.m. on my day of visit, so guess what? My friends and I started the journey at around 3:30 a.m. by bus+taxi to reach Shek O at around 5:45 a.m:

Shek O Beach at Night

It was quite an unusual time of the year to smell the sea breeze considering it was only early spring. Nonetheless it was an extraordinary experience visiting a beach at night.

Our real destination was Tai Tau Chau, which is a granite peninsula that extends from Shek O town. Before we reached there we had to cross Shek O village, which is characteristically rural and fishtown-like:

Shek O Village

The real deal after the village and closer to the sea, to our surprise, was that we found a high-end estate area that contained quite a number of houses with yards that you wouldn’t normally expect to see in HK:

Property of a moneyed resident

Finally we reached the edge of Tai Tau Chau to realize that it’s yet another climbing exercise:

Tai Tau Chau

Then I took a long-exposure photo of the shore, making it misty-looking:


After the climb up top of the granite hill we discovered that Tai Tau Chau is a popular BBQ site. In the photo below there is a round fireplace marked “2″, and there are in total at least 6 fireplaces on the hill. So if you’re planning an unusually far trip after the final exams or even for the next school year, this might not be a bad choice at all!

Looking over Shek O town

The whole climb took around 15 minutes due to the steepness of the hill but we managed to reach the tip of Tai Tau Chau to anticipate the sunrise. True to a cliff, the scene was a lot scarier when looking at it real-life (around 20 vertical meters):

Granite Cliff

It was a pretty grueling climb and along the way we came across many undeveloped regions where there were no pavements at all, so I guess it probably wasn’t the best thing to do in early morning. We were upset about the weather, the sky was heavily clouded and wasn’t a great condition for watching sunrise. We were lucky to get a glimpse of the sun for a few minutes before it was sealed by the clouds again. With our glorious luck and camera filter effects I managed to pull off this unexpected yet pretty impressive sunrise photo:

Midnight Sun

All in all, this is probably my longest blogpost so far and I do hope this mini series has brought you to some places that you probably didn’t know existed in Hong Kong. I hope to continue this photography series if I happen to visit some cool or little-known places in HK. And as always, stay tuned and look forward to the next one!