Where a bay once stood in the shadow of a hill, public housing blocks now dot the area.
But Ngau Chi Wan or “cattle pond” bay survives thanks to a number of landmarks named after it — Ngau Chi Wan Civic Center, Ngau Chi Wan Municipal Services Building, Ngau Chi Wan Sports Center.
St. Joseph’s Home for the Aged, a historic structure now under redevelopment, has come to be associated with Ngau Chi Wan.
In fact, the original village is somewhere within a built-up enclave and its present-day version is an area north of Choi Hung Estate.
Here, public housing blocks are a riot of color. The MTR station which bears its name sits among high-rises.
In this neck of the urban jungle, it’s easy to forget that Ngau Chi Wan is more of a state of mind than a physical space.
But people like to call it their favorite meeting place.
Hikers, joggers and people going their separate ways make their tracks from there.
The area’s excellent geography makes it ideal for nature trekking.
To the northwest is Sha Tin Pass Road, a gentle climb just right for people seeking to strengthen their leg muscles without draining their lungs.
From there, Sai Kung looks like an easy job via Clearwater Bay.
But for those keen to take on longer treks, there’s the big three – Jat’s Incline, MacLehose Trail and Wilson Trail.
I have been going mostly south, jogging casually toward the Kai Tak Cruise Terminal in the morning.
Hammer Hill Sports Ground, named for the small mountain that shadowed the old Ngau Chi Wan village, is my favorite starting point.
Here, the air is refreshing and welcoming.
The running tracks are firm and well maintained, just the type people who do regular training often look for.
But going around in circles on a running track is not for me.
A swing to Kowloon Bay, however, is an interesting proposition, with its relatively light morning traffic, not to mention the lovely views of the old Kai Tak airport and Hong Kong Island in the distance.
The runway has been turned into a park, an added attraction for those who like to sit around amid the lush greenery.
The round trip between Ngau Chi Wan and the Kai Tak Cruise Terminal is about 12 kilometers.
For someone like me who likes to start the day with an “aerobic breakfast”, it pays to be up early.
I usually have a Hong Kong-style breakfast at a cha chaan teng just to experience the neighborhood before I get under way.
To go to Hammer Hill Road Sports Center: Take Exit C2 in Choi Hung MTR station and walk five minutes in Lung Cheung Road.
To leave Kai Tak Cruise Terminal: Take Green minibus No. 86 to Kowloon Bay MTR station (Telford Gardens). Transport is available from 6:40 a.m. to 11 p.m. The fare is HK$5.50.
Distance: 12 kilometers (round trip)
Note: Changing rooms and lockers are available at Hammer Hill Road Sports Center. Users must bring in their own padlocks.
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Nov. 11.
Translation by Darlie Yiu with additional reporting
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