Riding along the Lam Tsuen River
A boat with egret on the Lam Tsuen River
The floating restaurant on the Shing Mun River Channel
When hiking in Hong Kong, it's a fairly common occurrence to catch sight of -- and even have to cross -- a hill stream or more. On the other hand, it's not usual to find oneself walking along the banks of an actual river as well as crossing over it; this not least because there are way fewer actual rivers in Hong Kong than small streams, many of which are not considered significant enough to be named.
On my most recent bike ride here in the Big Lychee though, I found myself cycling on the banks of not one but two Hong Kong rivers! Having got on my (rented) bicycle just outside Tai Po Market MTR station, I found myself riding for a bit along the Lam Tsuen River which flows through Tai Po town from the northern slopes of Tai Mo Shan (Hong Kong's highest mountain) down into Tolo Harbour. And on the home stretch of the approximately 15 kilometer length bike ride, I was cycling on one side of the Shing Mun River Channel (which was artificially reclaimed from the shallow sea and enables the Shing Mun River to flow into Sha Tin Hoi, a cove which opens into Tolo Harbour).
While biking along the Lam Tsuen River, I got to thinking that the scenery I was passing was distinctively New Territories; in that even though Tai Po is a large town, there still is a rural feel to it. This is a place, after all, where egrets are familiar sights along its river banks and also feel comfortable doing such as perching on the roof of a boat moored in the river!
In contrast, parts of Sha Tin -- which, in reality, is a New Town in the New Territories, like Tai Po -- that I passed through on the same bicycle ride felt like it had culturally become part of Mainland China. For starters, there's a bridge there which looks like it came out of a Chinese painting. Then there's a floating restaurant housed in a structure that brought to (my) mind the Beijing Summer Palace's Marble Boat!
In addition, there's it being so that there are spots by the riverside which have become de facto outdoor karaoke sites for those whose preferred music is sappy Mandopop! Furthermore, situated far away enough from the karaoke enthusiasts were erhu players doing their own particular musical thang! And if this doesn't already sound cacophonous to you, throw in the reality of there being a number of bicyclists in Hong Kong who like to go about with portable music players blasting Cantonese opera. (And for the record: there are indeed hikers in Hong Kong with similar Cantonese opera-listening passions!) ;D