Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Lantau Holiday: Waterfalls, Caves, Olympic Trail

I've been to Mui Wo dozens of times, but this was the first time that I spotted this wonderful sign, which advertised the Beijing 2008 Olympic Trail.  Because we spent a few days over in Mui Wo, my husband and I grasped the chance to check out a few famous spots around the area:

1.  The Hong Kong Olympic Trail
2.  The Mui Wo Man Mo Temple
3.  The Silvermine Waterfall
4.  The Silvermine Cave

Getting around is pretty easy, as there are signs directing you to all the hot spots.

Further into the villages, the signs become more rustic, but still aiding in direction giving.

The beginning of the Olympic Trail was quite tranquil and scenic.  It ran along a beautiful area of greenery and streams.

Further along the trail, towards the hillside, we came across a few abandoned relics, as you do on Lantau.

About 29 minutes into our "hike" (it's a comfortable little walk from the town center), you'll be able to hear the waterfalls on your right.  There is a little gazebo marking the spot, though.

About a 5 - 10 minute walk (uphill) is the Silvermine Cave.  It isn't much to see, but you can read a little bit of the history behind this cave on the plaque that stands in front of it.  The view, on the other hand, front he cave is spectacular (pictured below).

The view in front of the cave! 

We didn't walk the entire Olympic Trail, but we did go as far as the Silvermine Cave.  It was a good little trek through some villages, and into the hills of Mui Wo.

 This is definitely another great semi-urban hike!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Lantau Holiday: Silvermine Bay Beach

There's something about being by the beach that just makes me feel like I'm on a holiday.  It must be the view!

…or it must be the feeling of solitude!  

…or it must be the fact that Silvermine Bay Beach feels miles away from the City!

Anyhow, for whatever reason, our Staycation at the Mui Wo Inn looked right out towards Silvermine Bay.  This was the beach where we met for the first time.  It was also the location of a few awesome music concerts (where did those go?)!

It's a lovely and quite long beach, so it makes for a perfect evening stroll.  

During the summers, it is actually quite nice to take a dip in the water.  It isn't filled with trash, like some other beaches.  It's kept pretty clean.

The sand isn't the softest, but it's still nice!  And it, I cannot repeat myself enough, is pretty clean.

There is a great barbecue area, where people (even in the chilly Hong Kong evenings) are barbecuing late into the night.  This too, was kept pretty clean (by the barbecuers and the beach staff).

There are a lot more picnic tables available here at Silvermine Bay Beach than some of the other beaches I've been too.  I think this is perhaps one of my favorite parts of this beach.  Though you can set up a picnic on a blanket on the sand, having the option to spread out on a nice wooden bench has it's pros:  a farther distance for the curious dogs to snatch your food!!!

Since it's quite cold now, there aren't many visitors at the beach.  Most of the people who are strolling around or soaking up the sun are the people (like us) who are staying at the accommodations on the beach.

Another great thing about this beach is the boardwalk.  A lot of kids used the path for skateboarding and a lot of the villagers used it as a bike path too and from the village to the town.

If you find yourself dehydrated, don't worry.  There is also a little kiosk that is situated right next to the changing room/public restroom/shower area.  The kiosk sold swim suits, drinks, beach toys, snacks, and other beach necessities.

Silvermine Bay Beach is just one of those beaches that you can enjoy through all seasons.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Lantau Holiday: Mui Wo Inn

When looking for accommodations in Mui Wo, I suspect that most people think that the Silvermine Bay  Beach Resort is probably the only option.  There are two other economic options that can also be found along Silvermine Bay Beach, though:

1.  Mui Wo Inn
2.  Seaview Holiday Resort

We chose to stay over at the Mui Wo Inn for our Christmas/Winter Holiday Staycation.  There wasn't much information on the internet about this place, so I booked it and hoped for the best.   Thankfully, our stay was quite pleasant and also gave us a lot of time to really explore Mui Wo.

Mui Wo Inn Information:
Tel:  (852) 2984-7225 or  (852) 2984-8597

How to get there:
1.  From the Mui Wo Ferry Pier, walk right
2.  You should find yourself walking along Silvermine Bay and you can see the Silvermine Bay Beach Resort in the near distance
3.  In about 7 - 10 minutes of walking along the water, you'll reach a bridge
4.  Take a right and walk along the bridge
5.  Continue along the waterfront and follow the pathway along Silvermine Beach
6.  In about 7 - 10 minutes of walking, you'll see the Mui Wo Inn on the left (right after the Seaview Holiday Resort

The facade will definitely capture your attention - Greek-esque.

To book, I had to call and make reservations (Tel:  (852) 2984-7225 or  (852) 2984-8597).  The owner speaks limited English, but there is a woman that he'll hand you over to.  The prices change, but we spent 600 - 850 a night (weekday/weekend prices). 

We transferred the total payment for our accommodations after making a reservation to Mui Wo Inn's bank account.  And they confirmed the booking a few days later.

NOTE:  We booked a month in advance.

For those curious of the accommodation fees (in Hong Kong Dollars):

2nd/3rd floor garden view is $500 for the weekday/$700 for the weekend
2nd/3rd floor sea view with balcony is $600 for the weekday/$850 for the weekend

Ground floor sea view with two rooms is $850 for the weekday/$1250 for the weekend
2nd/3rd floor sea view with balcony is $700 for the weekday/$1000 for the weekend

The ground floor has a lobby/lounge and restaurant area.  It's all very low key!

The hallways are pretty tight, but there are two sides to the Inn.  We stayed on the right side of the Inn and each floor had three rooms (please excuse the green tinge!).

The garden view room was the smallest on our floor.  It had a small two person bed, great lighting, extra blankets, a very cool retro fridge topped with a 1980s television set, a small bathroom with shower, toilet, and sink, a little hot water drink bar, an air conditioner, and a hanger area to put your clothes.  It was quite simple, but had all the necessities!

The doors are all the lock and key type of doors.  Nothing fancy, but still quite safe…as I felt that just keeping the door locked was sufficient enough for keeping our things safe.

The light switches, I thought were so simple as well!  These remind me of my old apartment!

 There were two sea view rooms on our floor.  The bigger one had a two person sized bed, extra blankets (*) a sofa, a coffee table, a more modern television, a wardrobe for your clothes, a hot water station, a mini fridge, a bathroom with shower and tub, sink and toilet, and the wonderful balcony that looked out towards Silvermine Bay.  It was definitely more spacious than the garden view room.

(*) As it is winter now, every room had extra blankets.  We also requested another blanket to keep us warm.  The Inn had no heating, so this was the uncomfortable bit.  But, in the summer, I suspect that the air conditioning unit would be lovely, especially with the sea breeze coming in through the windows.

NOTE:  The Inn also had no Wifi, which is good for those who don't mind getting AWAY for a few days!

The third room that faced the sea had a two person sized bed, extra blankets, chairs to sit in, a television, fridge, coffee table for the hot water, a better air conditioning unit than the garden view, a balcony and a bathroom with shower, sink, and toilet.

There were a few things that I really liked about the Mui Wo Inn:
1.  The owner and staff were so nice
2.  They tidied our room daily 
3.  The shower was amazing - hot water for days!
4.  The view is amazing
5.  And it is a good distance away from all the "hustle and bustle" of Mui Wo town.

The view made this location worth every economic penny!