Dec 06, 2017

Interesting Junk Destinations Around Hong Kong

HISTORY

The literal meaning of the term junk is a commoner’s vessel. This English term is supposed to have been coined by the Japanese. It is an equivalent of the Chinese term min chuan that also, literally, means a commoner’s vessel. This word is believed to be a combination of the Portuguese term ‘janco’ or the Malay words, ‘djong’ or ‘sjong’ which all stand for, ‘the boat owned by native people.’

The Junks of China existed decades before the Rosetta Stone did. The Junks seen in the Victoria Harbour in Hong Kong today are the successors of ancestors that are millenniums old. These were used to ship cargo and people but now the term ‘junk’ has grown and become a catch-all phrase for any boat charter that exists in Hong Kong. Today, junks are a huge attraction and a crowd-puller for the Hong Kong tourism industry.

There are also some ancient-looking junk boats that travel the waters of Victoria Harbour and present a stark contrast against Hong Kong’s steel and glass studded skyline. Some of the most popular destinations are Clearwater Bay, Repulse Bay, Turtle Cove, Sai Kung, Stanley and beyond. But the best way to enjoy a junk trip is by doing it in your own customised way. Instead of ten other junks sailing around you, opt for clear blue waters and an unobstructed scenery. Try the following lesser known alternatives to experience junk tripping at its best.

Tung Ping Chau

Tung Ping Chau is the easternmost island of Hong Kong. A junk boat ride from Hong Kong to the island takes about an hour and forty minutes. The journey to the island itself is scenic and once you are here, the place has many of its own wonders to unfold.

 

The island falls under several layers of protection; it is a Country Park, a Site of Special Scientific Interest, a Marine Park and a UNESCO HK National Geo park. As can be inferred from its status, it has an abundance of natural wonders. It is made up of sedimentary rocks and the shores are studded with colourful laminations of top rock shale. It also has several marine abrasion landforms including Lung Lok Shui (a 100 m long band of rock stretching across the coastline), Lan Kwo Shui (an intricate wave-cut platform of rocks) and Kang Lau Shek (a pair of sea stacks that look like watch towers) to name a few.

Apart from the natural rock formations, the mesmerizing wildlife including crabs, sea urchins, brilliantly coloured fish and birds are also a highlight of the island. The clear blue waters remain bathtub warm in summers, making the place perfect for a swim. On top of all this, the island is inhabited by not more than a dozen people. So if you are looking for a beautiful escape when you hop on your junk, Tung Ping Chau is the answer.

Soko Islands

Soko islands lying on the southwest of Lantau are almost uninhabited and a perfect choice if you are after some peace and quiet.

 

The best place to board a junk for these islands is at Sai Kung. Once on the island, you can moor on the sandy beaches to enjoy the sun or walk short trails through the island. The walk takes you through lush green forest with colourful animals dotting the landscape or dense, old trees canopying the trail. There are several naturally formed pools throughout the islands with still waters reflecting the wooded foliage around. You can also expect to hear the calls of forest birds including the migratory ones, like the Chestnut Bulbuls.  While on the beach, you can also spot the rare White Chinese Dolphins as it is their natural habitat or a less natural bright red painted shrine well kept by the villagers.

Since Cheung Chau is just on the way to Soko islands when you take a junk from Hong Kong island, you can also enjoy fancy food on your way to or back from the island to complete the trip.

Tap Mun or Grass Island

Tap Mun lies in the northeastern side of the Hong Kong territory and in spite of its proximity to Kowloon, is a remote and secluded little town.

 

Tap Mun, also called the grass island for its rolling hillocks covered in grass and bushes is a perfect destination for a junk trip. The beaches are rocky and windy, making it just the place for beach sports. The rocky and grass-patched scenery lend themselves into making Tap Mun a brilliant place to hike around. Different hikes can take you through hilly peaks with panoramic views, it’s various little islands and beaches.

While on your hike, you can walk through the abandoned roads of a once bustling town courtesy to smugglers and pirates. But now, it houses a quaint village which offers lip-smacking seafood and grassland which is home to the wild cattle. If you have to name two things that you are guaranteed to encounter in Tap Mun all year round, then they must be its wild castle and a pleasant breeze.

The above mentioned are some of the lesser known junk destinations in Hong Kong but junk trippers are known to drop anchor anywhere secluded with the suggestion of their boat’s skipper. Some of the smaller islands are so tiny and secluded, that they are not even named. So, the options for your next junk trip are simply inexhaustible. 

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