Mention Tseung Kwan O and Little Hawaii Trail comes to mind.
Well, not really. It’s likely to throw up images of Hang Hau and Po Lam MTR stations and high-rise residential blocks above them.
But for a hiker like me, Tseung Kwan O is all of those and, most of all, Little Hawaii Trail and Devil’s Peak.
I have often wondered how nature blessed Tseung Kwan O with such a geographic advantage.
Tseung Kwan O is a bay surrounded by a series of ridges that serve as an excellent hiking ground.
With their lush greenery, Little Hawaii Trail and Devil’s Peak are oases in the heart of the burgeoning district.
But why Little Hawaii?
The story goes back to 1906 when Alfred Herbert Rennie, a Canadian businessman, set up Rennie’s Mill in Tiu Keng Wan (now Tiu Keng Leng).
Rennie built a small reservoir to store water and a 100-foot dam to generate electricity in what was then Tseung Kwan O village.
Both structures survived Rennie’s death by suicide in 1908 and the villagers later turned the reservoir and dam area into a private pool.
In 1946, a year after the end of Japanese occupation of Hong Kong, the village chief of Tseng Lan Shue (井欄樹) and his partners renamed the reservoir to Little Hawaii Swimming Center.
The center was shut down shortly after its opening after a child drowned but the reservoir remained in use.
Little Hawaii Trail served as a link between Tseung Kwan O and Kowloon, where hikers could walk under great canopies and glimpse the ruins of Rennie’s reservoir and dam.
A waterfall accentuates the breathtaking scenery.
From a distance, Devil’s Peak to the north in Lei Yue Mun, looks like an obelisk stuck between Tseung Kwan O and the Kowloon peninsula.
During the Qing Dynasty, the area was notorious for pirates who preyed on merchant ships.
In the early 20th century, the British army made it part of its coastal defense fortress because of its commanding view of Victoria Harbor.
Today, Devil’s Peak attracts hordes of nature lovers and photographers in search of the perfect Victoria Harbor sunset shot.
To Tseng Lan Shue: KMB bus 91, 91M or 92 from Diamond Hill railway station, or minibus route 1A at Choi Hung.
From Po Lam: MTR or bus at the bus terminus back to the Kowloon area.
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Mar. 4.
Translation by Darlie Yiu
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