Hong Kong's Eight Great Sceneries
We’re not the first people to try and formalise a list of Hong Kong’s most wondrous sights. Ben Sin tracks down Hong Kong’s ‘Eight Great Sceneries’, which even the Tourism Board had left forgotten to the mists of time. Pictures by Calvin Sit
If you’ve ever been jogging on The Peak’s Lugard Road you may well have come across a bench with a rather poetically-titled plaque that reads: “The Fairy Bridge Locked by the Fog – One of Hong Kong’s Eight Great Sceneries.” Chances are you will have dismissed it as a government-funded tourist site. But it’s not. In fact, the Hong Kong Tourism Board claims it knows nothing about this supposed “great scene.” A Google search doesn’t yield much information either.
So what, and where, are these mysterious spots with these beautiful, poetic names? According to local historian Jason Wordie this mysterious site on The Peak, along with seven others, was coined by local author and historian Sung Hok-pang several decades ago. Hong Kong Hiking’s KS Fung explains further: “It was coined in 1940 by Sung after he read about a similar list based on sceneries in Xin’an, China. Sung had written a popular book on mythologies and legends of the New Territories a few years before that, so the list caught on.”
Samuel Leung, a professor who is an avid member of the Hong Kong Hiking meet up, says that the list was never official, but rather stories shared by historians, hikers, and old-timers. “I’ve heard people add to the list to make it ten or swap new places into the list,” says Leung. “No one knows what the real list is anymore.”
But a little more investigative work uncovered the list, and we can exclusively tell the stories behind each allusively fantastical name. Unfortunately, only seven of the sceneries are still in existence. Due to construction over the decades, “The Stream Under the Shade”, a small river that used to run from Wong Nai Chung Road, through Wan Chai, to Victoria Harbour, is now a sewer that runs beneath Canal Road (the “Shade”).
1. The Sunrise over Stanley
Perhaps the only scenery that the construction-happy government can never take away, Stanley’s location on the east end of the island makes it a popular place to catch the sunrise – when the smog clears.
2. The Flag-filled Mountain and the Sparkling View
“Flag-filled” is Victoria Peak’s alternate Chinese name, which roughly translates as “flag-raised mountain,” while the “Sparkling View” is an apt description of the view of the harbour from The Peak with the lights of the buildings and the sampans glistening on the water’s surface.
3. The Bathwater of Tai Long Wan
Located to the east of Shek O, Tai Long Wan (not to be confused with Sai Kung’s Tai Long Wan, see 7 Wonders feature) is known for its soft sand and (relatively) clean water, hence the bathwater reference.
4. The Reflections of the Duck
This one refers to the scene at the Ap Lei Chau harbour. The “Duck” refers to the Chinese name of Ap Lei Chau, while the “Reflections” refer to the effect the sunshine has on the bows of the fishing boats bobbing on the waterfront.
5. The Moonlight of Lei Yu Mun
As an important passage through to the South China Sea, Lei Yue Mun is full of fishing villages known for providing fresh seafood. The “Moonlight” refers to the vibrant night scene when the neon lights of the seafood restaurants create a glow that is unique to Lei Yue Mun.
6. The Fairy Bridge Locked by the Fog
The “Fairy Bridge” describes the narrow and curved section of Lugard Road that resembles a bridge, as it straddles the steep incline above and below. The reference to it being “Locked” relates to how a constant fog is visible in that area; it’s a dense, all-consuming fog which almost seems to hold the trail in place.
7. The Pok Fu Lam Flying Waterfall
Once upon a time the residents of Pok Fu Lam village enjoyed the sight of a waterfall on a daily basis. But when the Pok Fu Lam reservoir was built around 1876, the stone houses blocked off part of the water source, turning the waterfall into a trickle. But on rainy days the waterfall returns, and with the water splashing off the stone houses it gives the illusion of a “Flying Waterfall.”