Lamma Island

Lamma Island is so beautiful. If you are looking for a place in Hong Kong that isn’t infested with tourists, this is your spot.

Although I love Hong Kong, one of the problems I have with it is that it is just too small and too densely populated. It is pretty cool sometimes being in the middle of a bustling city, but visiting Lamma Island reminded me the beauty of peace, quite, and calm every now and then.

I went to Lamma Island with Amy because we both wanted to spend an afternoon on a hike. Neither of us had ever been to this island, so everything was an adventure. I was tour guide of course, and I have always been so used to relying on my local friends or family to take me around. With me being slightly more familiar with Hong Kong than Amy, I had to assume the new role.

It started off pretty rocky, first because the Hong Kong weather channel said that rain and thunderstorms were likely, and it was drizzling when we left my Aunt’s house. When we got to the island, I had no idea which direction the hike was, so we walked one way, only to turn back because we felt that it seemed sketchy and incorrect. There were a bunch of small cars that kept driving up beside us, and there was barely room on the road for us to share the road. All we could see to our left and right was construction. Once we turned back, I asked a local shop owner, and she told me that it was, indeed, the right way. By this time we had wasted a good 15 minutes, but back we went.

We followed signs and eventually found the mountain. To reach the top, we saw what seemed like a never ending set of stairs. There was zero shade too (the Hong Kong weather channel was so wrong about the rain and thunder), so it was fucking tough. It was probably the hardest hike I’ve been on just because of the mixture of stairs, humidity, and heat. I was so afraid that we were gonna pass out up there, because all we had for breakfast was pineapple buns and we had only brought two small water bottles each.

The trail started off with abandoned homes scattered everywhere, some with old furniture and even clothing still inside. It was as if the previous owners had left in a hurry. It was extremely cool walking into them, although I was constantly frightened of huge spiders and critters dropping onto my head. Below is a photo of an abandoned school that used to exist on the island.

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After many stops, we finally reached the top. It was so worth the struggle; the sense of accomplishment along with the beauty from that high altitude made the struggle worthwhile.

IMG_2681On the way down, we were once again faced with the fear of the unknown. I constantly had fears that we would be led to a dead end, because we went down the mountain the opposite way from where we went up. By the time we had gotten to the top, we had already drank most of our water.

Thankfully, an old woman passed by and I worked up the courage to ask her for directions. I started asking her questions about her life, and she began to tell me her story. She told me about how she was in her 80s, and that she had moved onto the island when she was in her 20s. She told me about how she made money as a farmer, and how her mom died when she was young. She did all this while walking faster than Amy and I along the trail, without even breaking much of a sweat. She seemed so healthy for her age, and I wonder if it is the fresher air and less stressful lifestyle of Lamma Island. Soon, she arrived at her home which was along the trail and Amy and I continued our hike.

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About 10 minutes later, we arrive in front of another person’s home, where 2 middle aged men were lounging around shirtless. We bought some Pocari Sweat from them, and I noticed that one of them spoke English very well, which is especially surprising in a place like Lamma Island. I complimented him about that, and he started telling me about how he had lived in New Zealand for over 20 years and had come back to retire. We left soon after that only to turn back around because Amy wanted to take a picture of this man, something like a “Humans of Hong Kong” thing. I took up that opportunity as well. The two men were so nice about it, and even smiled for the camera. Then, they started talking more about their lives. I found out the guy who lived in New Zealand had been born in the house right behind us, about how his family had lived on Lamma Island before the British took over, and how the waters near their place used to be teeming with lobster, shrimp, fish, ect. The other man told me about how he lived a short hike away, but in his village only 4 people, including himself, lived there. It’s so sad that so many people have since slowly left the island to emigrate to other countries, or to join the more industrialized Hong Kong island, and we talked about that too.

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Soon, we left and continued on our hike. About 45 minutes later, we finished and caught the ferry JUST in time. The next one would have been 2.5 hrs later.

There were so many small problems along the way… but what I have learned is that all you gotta do is go with it and things will eventually work out.

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