The New Territories – History and Nature

This is the second half of the New Territories article. The first part can be read here. But it’s just about a bunch of temples, so you can safely skip it, no worries.

And to keep in line with the more boring attractions, let’s read about the Ping Shan Heritage Trail. It’s one of several heritage trails build throughout Hong Kong. It focuses on the Tang Clan – one of the great five clans of the province. You can see some old buildings and get a feel of how Hong Kong used to be a couple of hundred years ago. It’s definitely not one of HK’s top attractions, something to consider only if you have more time to spend here.

Mai Po is a wildlife reserve in the NW of Hong Kong, pretty close to the border with China. The area is man made, organized as a series of ponds in which fishermen used to grow shrimp. The government bought this land tens of years ago in order to provide a sanctuary for migratory birds. Tens of thousands of birds rely on this area in spring and fall, during their migration.

The reserve is currently managed by WWF HK. Visiting is only possible with one of their guided tours. You have to book one (well) in advance on their website. We went on a short tour (about 3 hours at a very slow pace, with many stops). We received binoculars, for some proper bird watching. We even got to see the star of the reserve: the black-faced spoonbill.

As you can probably imagine, bird watching is pretty boring. I still remember our guide: “If you look closely there, on that branch, you can see the don’t-know-what bird. It’s very similar in aspect to a pigeon and that’s because they are both part of the Columbidae bird family. The way to distinguish it is by the stripes on its back. Look here, in my little book, at drawings with both birds.” And it went like that for 3 hours. But I was expecting it to be even more boring than that and some details were actually interesting. So I can say my experience was positive.

The Railway Museum. You can see an old steam locomotive and some old carts, including one from 1921. Uhm.., that’s all.

Plover Cove Reservoir. It’s a fresh water reservoir formed by connecting a couple of islands with dams and cutting off a part of the sea (first in the world to do so). Lots of hiking trails in the area and seems like a good place to relax. Unfortunately, as we were off-season, we found out the bus to Bride’s Pool waterfalls was not running. Bummer.

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