The Outer Islands

1 05 2017

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Tap Mun, or Grass Island, lies in Hong Kong’s far Northeast, a ferry ride from the middle-of-nowhere Wong Shek pier on a little boat that costs 14 cents for a voyage across to the isolated fishing village of Ko Lau Wan and then on to the island itself. Visiting on a May weekend I found the island overrun with fellow daytrippers which to be honest killed the atmosphere a bit, although the grassy banks leading down to rocky shores and views to Ko Lau Wan and the mountains of Sai Kung were still beautiful. The hillsides were covered with graves and littered with slowly-decomposing “hell money” left as offerings for the dead at the recent Grave Sweeping holiday.

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I was intrigued to find out more about the area, like the neighbouring island of Ap Chau, once peopled by an American cult and lying so close to China that during the 1960s people would regularly wash up, either alive or dead, having made out from the beaches of Guangdong towards the glowing light they could see out to sea – Ap Chau’s brightly lit public lavatory. In fact, the island’s fresh water comes in from China in an underground pipe.

And the village of Ko Lau Wan itself struck me as romantic and somehow mysterious…but I put off further explorations for another trip – perhaps midweek.

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