Walks 1 – Kowloon Hills

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I was, I’ll admit, never a big fan of walking before I came to Hong Kong. I did it, obviously, as a means to get to a shop, or pub, or my fridge. But in the UK I wasn’t a ‘walker’. Here, though, it’s really easy to go for a walk. Hong Kong’s tiny, in the grand scheme of things, and most of it (80%, or a similarly shocking figure) is green. Yes, yes, everyone thinks it’s a big swarming city but that’s not the whole picture. Hop on a bus, or MTR, or minibus anywhere in the city and I guarantee that you can be al fresco in a half-hour, max. So, I’ve decided to take a few pics whenever I do a walk, and pop them up here.

The first entry is my favourite walk (so far) – mainly because it’s a 15 minute bus journey from my flat. I also like it because it’s short. I can leave at 10am and be back in town, having done enough exercise to not feel guilty about a dim-sum orgy over lunch.

There are nine hills behind Kowloon (Kowloon means ‘nine dragons’ in Cantonese – a reference to the ‘humps’ created by these hills), and there are a few routes you can take. Most are easy, family routes (this is not an intensive hike) with lots of families, joggers and, oh yes, monkeys. Lots of monkeys. One of the hills is called ‘monkey hill’, for God’s sake. Just don’t look them in the eye – they’re probably not rabid.

There are also 3 reservoirs that supply Kowloon – you can see them in the pics too. But the most interesting thing about this area are WWII ruins – the Gin Drinkers line – which was a serious of tunnels and fortifications designed to slow up the Japanese advance through the territory in 1941. They have names like ‘Oxford Street’ and ‘Shaftsebury Avenue’, which must have made the British soldiers feel the warm glow of home, even under heavy Japanese fire. Anyway, they didn’t slow down the enemy’s advance too much and have lain abandoned ever since.

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