Monday 6 February 2017

Tai Mei Tuk to Shatin

Another long bike ride this weekend. We booked a GoGo van again (you can specify that you would like an English speaking driver, which helps when arranging where you are going to meet). With the boys' bikes in the back, we headed for Tai Mei Tuk. When we got there, Ross and I hired bikes from a little shop where the staff were super helpful, checking over the bikes very thoroughly before we left and even topping up the air in the boys' tyres. The shop was called Leung Yau Bicycle. Their number is 2662 5366. There are loads of bike rental places on Sam Wo Road. Our bikes were $80 each for the day, plus a $20 fee to return the bikes in Shatin, rather than back at Tai Mei Tuk.

We left Tai Mei Tuk at 10.45, and took the clearly marked path towards Tai Po, and beyond that to Shatin. In the interests of exploring, we took a detour through a village to try and reach the huge white bodhisattva on the hill, and the Tsz Shan monastery next to it. The path led us to a hillside cemetery - not ideal for bikes. There is also a regular road to the monastery, but that seemed too easy! After trekking up through the cemetery on foot, we reached the monastery but the guards told us it is only open by appointment and you need to book a month in advance.

Here's some more about Tsz Shan. Apparently the construction of the monastery was largely funded by Li Ka Shing, and there are rumours that he wants the enormous Guanyin statue to be his tomb....

Thanks to Lee Yip

There's some more info about bike paths here, at hkoutdoors.

After an hour or so we stopped for a break at Tai Po Waterfront Park, where we saw these si fu writing Chinese characters with calligraphy brushes. They were using water to dampen the brushes, then writing on some kind of paper. When the water dried, the writing disappeared - great for practising!

The park has a long, wide path along the waterfront, perfect for joggers. The bike path goes along the back of the park and you cannot ride in the park itself. You can fly kites in a section of the path - one of very few areas in HK where this is allowed.

We stopped again just near Island House Lane to see the Tai Wong Yeh temple, complete with huge colourful flags. The temple is listed as a potential filming location by the Film Services Office!

Located at the Island House Interchange, the Tai Wong Yeh Temple at Yuen Chau Tsai has a long history dating back to the mid-Qing Dynasty when villagers in Chik Mei north of the Shum Chun River erected a stone tablet on the northern shore of Yuen Chau Tsai. In the late Qing Dynasty, a group of fishermen raised funds to build the Tai Wong Yeh Temple for worship by local fishermen at the present location. 

We got going again towards Shatin, where we had lunch. There are loads of options for eating at Shatin New Town Plaza, including several Western places that might be popular with little gweilo kids like ours. The ride form Tai Mei Tuk to Shatin took us 2 1/2 hours, with two nearly-seven year olds setting the pace (and plenty of detours / breaks!)After lunch we headed to the Heritage Museum to see the exhibition about wedding celebrations which was pretty crowded but had some beautiful exhibits. There's a spot to lock up your bikes in the car park.

Back to New Town Plaza, where we saw an albino tortoise hanging out on the boardwalk, as you do.

Another GoGo Van back to the terrace, and we were home! Later that evening I crossed the harbour again to meet my godmother and her friend who are visiting from the UK. We went to DimDimSum near Austin station (about 10 minutes' walk from Jordan - there's also one in Causeway Bay, on Tin Lok Lane). Good, affordable dim sum much enjoyed! I highly recommend the aubergine stuffed with seafood, yum! On the way back to Jordan, we saw a street-side fountain that wasn't there earlier....someone had hit a hydrant.

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