Header image courtesy of @angiew0303 (via Instagram)
Offering an expansive sweep of the snaking coastlines and translucent teal blues enclosed by Double Haven, Tiu Tang Lung (吊燈籠) is one of the must-go routes of Plover Cove Country Park in Tai Po. For all the eager hikers who want to conquer this challenging and highly popular journey, let this overview of Tiu Tang Lung be your guiding light!
Tiu Tang Lung (吊燈籠), whose romanised Chinese moniker translates to “hanging lantern” (diu3 dang1 lung4), is a hill located within the Plover Cove Country Park. Although there seems to be a lack of sources on whether or not there is a myth attached to this distinctive name, the curvature of the rounded peaks, valleys, and slopes are enough to bolster the image evoked by its picturesque title.
Its bowling hills can become quite steep, which means getting your hands dirty with some good ol’ crawling. Venturing in alone can be dangerous, especially because several forked paths can be hard to spot, so do pay attention to the bushy greens in your surroundings. Be sure to plan your visit on a day with reasonable weather, as hiking Tiu Tang Lung requires a fair amount of physical endurance by itself, and also take care to have the correct shoe soles and equipment ready just in case. As always, an ample supply of water is key.
Distance: 10 kilometres approx.
Total ascent: 417 metres approx.
Total time: 5 hours approx.
For your trip to Tiu Tang Lung, your journey begins at Wu Kau Tang, which can be easily reached by way of public transport. Although the journey from the MTR station to the starting point of the hike takes around an hour on average, the ride is a straight-forward trip and offers serene views along the way.
Once you pull up to Wu Kau Tang Road at the end of the bus ride, head towards the car park at the end of the road, where the head of the trail awaits on the Kau Tam Tso pathway, accessible from the left-hand side of the lot.
Advance until you hit a junction, where you’ll see a set of stone stairs to your left that is marked as heading upwards, and go up. You will be led to a dirt path towards an incline that gradually gets steeper and steeper, whilst the Tai Tung Lung lookout emerges in the left field of your view, looming over in the upcoming distance.
Don’t be completely fooled by its panoramic beauty, as the sharp upturn of the hill is just about to begin. Be alert of the shrubbery and bushes in your vicinity, as the mark of the path towards the peak is shrouded amongst the plants. The starting point of the way uphill once again bring you to a junction, where the route on the left is signalled by a white-and-red warning plaque, alerting novice hikers of the precarious journey ahead.
There is some mild bush-whacking needed in order to get through. Keep to the pathway flagged with ribbons, tracking the incline of the mountain. As you close in towards the summit, the slope starts to slant, requiring a dip into your spare reserve of stamina to power through. It would be helpful to have a pair of gloves at hand, in case you find it extra difficult to find your bearings when gripping at the terrain.
Once you start feeling the earth shift back to a gentler flatland and your footing is firmly planted, get ready to soak in the indescribable visual sensation of verdant jade hills upon endless hills. Over on the opposite end at the edge of the horizon lies Hsien Ku Fung rising up from the Wilson Trail, whilst the foothills of Pat Sin Leng and Wong Leng splay out from under you. Squint on a clear day and you may even catch the jagged tip of Sharp Peak.
From the summit, the eastward visuals boast the natural beauty of the area’s picturesque landscapes. Let your gaze follow along the ridged trails etched into the basin, coiling its way out to the waters of Double Haven. The scene orbiting Crooked Island is believed to resemble the symbolic treasures of the Chinese literati. Yan Chau is said to look like a sculpted jade seal fit for the emperor, whilst Pak Shi Tau Tsui is meant to look like a pen point next to the pen rack that is Pak Ka Chau. The still waters are to be the scrolls, akin to a surface to paint on. One thing for certain is the waters sure do reflect a pretty picture when the sky clears!
When it is time to make your exit, face east from the peak point and take the trail downwards. It should be facing Sam A Chung, leading you towards the gorgeous outlines of Sam A Wan. Continuing on, be sure to stay vigilant, as the trail gets precipitous quite quickly—don’t be afraid to use your hands or any hiking gear to stay stabilised.
Once you reach another red-and-white warning sign, you will emerge through to the Lai Sham ancient path. Stick to the trail, veering towards the left, heading forth until you reach the Sam A Wan junction, where you will want to change track to the middle path and stay on in expectation of the upcoming pier. While there, you will discover yet another junction, this time fashioned dramatically into a four-pronged crossroad.
Take the left route and you will be brought back to the first junction after Wu Kau Tang, by way of magnificent, mangrove-laden waters, rock streams, and the Sheung Miu Tin trail. Remain in the direction of the headway of the trail and you will wind up back to the junction at Kau Tam Tso. Simply retrace your steps back down to the Wu Kau Tang car park, and make your way back to the city from the buses there.