Monday, January 18, 2016

Hiking Cheung Chau

Two of the most popular places to explore (nature-wise) on Cheung Chau are the Reclining Rock and the Cheung Po Tsai Cave.  Both of which can be found at south west part of the island.  It's best to get here by taking a rented bike, but there is also a lovely smooth walk along the waterfront that a lot of people do take…it just takes a lot longer!

The park area that leads to the Reclining Rock and the Cheung Po Tsai Cave is marked by this stone gateway, which is easy to see…as the main road sort of ends here.

You can park your bike along the waterfront rails or just around the area, but, after passing through the gateway, you have to definitely walk.  I've never seen anyone actually bike around on the trails in the park…and that's probably because they are restricted, but out of respect for the trails, it's best to go on foot.

The paths throughout the area are all nice, smooth, and paved, which is good for those who are not into extreme hikes.  It's a lovely little stroll up these hills, through the forests, and around to the edges of Cheung Chau Island.

As always, you can find some pretty amazing things that people do in the name of nature vandalism.  I always wonder if Bamboo hurts when people etch things into them!

The first place we ventured off to was the Cheung Po Tsai Cave.  This is probably what draws a lot of people out to this end of the island.

Cheung Po Tsai is the name of a famous pirate who lived back in the 18th century.  Reading up about him online, he was kidnapped at 15 by Cheng I and Ching Shih (a pirating couple).  He was sort of adopted by them as time went on and took on the trade of pirating from them.

In his later years, Cheung Po Tsai became a naval officer in the Chinese imperial navy…

The walk down to the entrance of the cave is beautiful and goes along the Cheung Chau coastline.

While waiting in line, we read up a bit about the cave…

The cave was marked with a little sign, so it is easy to find…if you don't spot the line.  I chose to not head down into the cave because I'm not in the peak of health conditions at the moment, but my husband and friends went down there.  From what I saw, it was dark and narrow.

I feel like it's a great little thing to explore if you want a safe adventure to go on!

This cave was said to be one of Cheung Po Tsai's stash houses…but no one has found treasure in there yet…if you don't count the numerous plastic bottles that could be picked up down there and recycled for petty cash.

While they were all exploring the cave, I kept above ground and headed over to the Reclining Rock.  The Reclining Rock is a group of five extremely huge rocks that look like they are all about to fall into the sea…

I'm not sure if there is anything particularly special about them besides the fact that they are beautiful to look at and also set in such a wonderfully scenic area on the island.

In the picture below, you can see the Reclining Rock on the right side of the image.

The walk down to the Reclining Rock is not that far from the Cheung Po Tsai Cave.  It has a bit of steep stairs that take you down to the waterside.

It's a nice little adventure zone as well…because you can duck under rocks and go through a little cave area (though the cave isn't as grand as the Cheung Po Tsai cave…).  But, I quite liked the little hike down to the water.  I especially enjoyed the hike (or really walk up the stairs) back to the park.  I'm a lover of climbing stairs.

At the base of the stairs, before you head over to the open area, is this little open cave-like area.  It's where a lot of people take a pit stop to take photos.  So, this little area gets quite jammed…be careful!  You might fall into the water or be pushed accidentally onto uneven ground!

Below is a view of the direction of the Cheung Po Tsai Cave.  The area is quite beautiful as it is set right along the water line.

From the steps to the Reclining Rock, there is a huge area of flat rock where you can picnic, sit and reflect, take photos, etc.  It's a nice little area to just chill.  It also has a lot of space, so I didn't feel like it was overly crowded!  And having space in nature if lovely!

A closer view of the Reclining Rock…

Which, looking at them now, I feel like they don't really look like they are on the verge of slipping off into the ocean.  I mean, they are massive and weigh thousands of tons…so they seem pretty safe…

But, people do climb up on the rocks, which is always something that I'm a bit nervous about…so I would implore caution!

The other really cool and interesting thing about this hiking area is that there are cactus everywhere.  I mean, they are more prevalent along the Reclining Rock pathway, but it is quite interesting how there is cactus here of all places.  I always just imagine cacti in deserts.

The hiking paths around this area are really great for the casual hiker.  I saw women in heels and skirts easily make their way around.  The hills are not too hilly.  The steps are not too steep, but they are quite narrow.  People usually make way for each other.  It's a really great little place to check out when on Cheung Chau.