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Tai Lam Country Park

 

 

 


Overview

Tai Lam Country Park
Tai Lam Country Park

Occupying 5,412 hectares of sylvan grounds in the Western New Territories, Tai Lam Country Park is the second largest country park in Hong Kong. Designated in 1979, it encompasses a vast area extending from Tsuen Wan to Tuen Mun. The boundaries lie along Route Twisk in the east; the countryside north of Tuen Mun Highway in the south; Shek Kong, the Ho Pui Catchments and Tai Tong in the north; and Tuen Mun and Lam Tei Reservoir in the west.

Except for a small band of porphyry in the northeastern corner, Tai Lam Country Park is largely granite which is vulnerable to erosion and bears clear signs of degradation. In the past, tungsten and other ores were mined in Lin Fa Shan near Route Twisk. Production ceased after the war as ore prices dropped, but old mines have remained to this day. Scattered in these hills are abandoned pits, evoking memories of a boom time long gone.

Tai Lam Chung Reservoir
Tai Lam Chung Reservoir

Tai Lam Chung Reservoir inside the Tai Lam Country Park was the first water storage facility built after the war. Commenced in 1951, this monumental project included the major task of constructing a main dam. The magnificent enclosure was the most impressing concrete structure in Hong Kong at the time. Towering 150 ft above the lake, it boasts pipelines that cover the entire Kowloon Peninsula to link up with the territory-wide water supply network.

Major Attractions

Tai Lam is the second largest country park in Hong Kong, ranking just after the most expansive Lantau South Country

Plantation Plan
Plantation Plan
Tai Tong Nature Trail
Tai Tong Nature Trail
Park. When it comes to hiking routes, however, no other park comes close. There are twelve trails within the boundaries of Tai Lam Country Park, including the well trodden Stage 9 and Stage 10 of MacLehose Trail. This is also where the MacLehose Trail ends. This famous long-distant trail gives vistas of verdant plantations and Tai Lam Chung Reservoir.

 

Two other popular hiking routes are Kap Lung Forest Trail and Kap Lung Ancient Trail which lead from Tsuen Kam Au to Shek Kong. Passing through diverse woodlands, these trails introduce you to the wonderful world of forest ecology. Also worth exploring are easy family routes like the Twisk Nature Trail, Tai Lam Nature Trail, Tai Tong Nature Trail, Tai Tong Tree Walk and Ho Pui Reservoir Family Walk. For the fit and energetic, check out the Yuen Tsuen Ancient Trail, Tai Lam Chung Country Trail and Yuen Tun Country Trail. On the western edge of Tai Lam Country Park, you find the Tuen Mun Fitness Trail which features 14 fitness stations for hikers and morning walkers.

Facilities

Only a stone's throw away from Tuen Mun and Sham Tseng, Tai Lam Country Park is a hot destination for hikers and picnickers. There are barbecue areas in the Kap Lung and Ho Pui catchments, Tai Tong Shan Road and Tuen Mun which Stage 10 of MacLehose Trail traverses. Among these, the most sizeable Tai Tong Shan Road and Shek Kong Barbecue Area is the local schools' favourite field trip destination. If camping is your thing, you will find campsites in Tin Fu Tsai, Ho Pui and Tsuen Kam Au. There are mountain bike trails, mountain bike practice loop and training ground in Tai Lam Country Park for mountain biking activities under a permit system.

Ecological Highlights

Badly eroded land
Badly eroded land
Castanopsis
Castanopsis

Only a few decades ago, Tai Lam Country Park was a barren domain with scanty vegetation. Badly eroded by rain, the region is characterized by denuded hilltops and ravines. Soon after the completion of Tai Lam Chung Reservoir, afforestation began in 1952 to protect the catchwaters from erosion and soil loss.

Against adversities like poor soil and frequent hillfires, plants gradually established themselves in the park. Thanks to years of dedicated work of afforestation experts, the lush vegetation we see today slowly emerged. Today, species like Taiwan Acacia (Acacia confusa), Brisbane Box (Lophostemon confertus), Chinese Red Pine (Pinus massoniana), Slash Pine (Pinus elliottii) and Swamp Mahogany (Eucalyptus robusta) have colonized most parts of the park, while native trees, such as Oak and Machilus species and Castanopsis (Castanopsis fissa), are given a chance to regenerate in a significant scale. The result is a flora composition of much greater diversity.

Profuse forests provide habitats for all types of animals : various bird species, Chinese Pangolin (Manis pentadactyla), Leopard Cat (Prionailurus bengalensis) and Red Muntjac (Muntiacus muntjak). Sharing these woodlands are amphibians like the Green Cascade Frog (Rana chloronota), Asiatic Painted Frog (Kaloula pulchra pulchra), Butler's Pigmy Frog (Microhyla butleri), Ornate Pigmy Frog (Microhyla fissipes), Asian Common Toad (Bufo melanostictus) and Hong Kong Cascade Frog (Amolops hongkongensis), as well as reptiles like the Bicoloured Stream Snake (Opisthotropis lateralis), Chinese Cobra (Naja atra), Garnot's Gecko (Hemidactylus garnotii), Reeve's Smooth skink (Scincella reevesii) and Chinese Waterside Skink (Tropidophorus sinicus). In local rivers and streams, freshwater fish species like Opsariichthys bidens and Rice fish (Oryzias curvinotus) are common.

Scenic Beauty

The idyllic waterscapes of Tai Lam Country Park are made up of 7 reservoirs and settlement basins. The largest lake is Tai Lam Chung Reservoir, followed by Ho Pui Reservoir. For a scenic route that skirts the emerald waters of both reservoirs, get on Stage 9 and Stage 10 of MacLehose Trail. Passing through placid lakes and undulating slopes, the trail offers a kaleidoscope of enthralling vistas. Both stages are easy routes, taking 2.5 hours and 5 hours to complete respectively.

Ho Pui Reservoir
Ho Pui Reservoir

Stage 9 of MacLehose Trail starts at Tsuen Kam Au by Route Twisk, and proceeds to the southwestern peaks. On your right, tucked deep in the valley, is Ho Pui Reservoir which was voted one of the top ten sights of Hong Kong. Continuing west, the trail crosses dense plantations to arrive at Tin Fu Tsai starting point of Stage 10.

Stage 10 is the longest section of the entire trail. Making a start at Tin Fu Tsai, the trail cuts through a narrow gorge via Kat Hing Bridge, before meandering along the north bank of Tai Lam Chung Reservoir. Up on the dam, there is a clear view of the celebrated lake islets. Like gems on satin, they are what draw visitors in their thousands to Tai Lam Chung. Hikers have nicknamed this famous sight the Thousand-Island Lake. Beyond the reservoir, the trail follows a wooded path that skirts the north embankment, and then joins a vehicular road beside the catchwater. The trail ends at Tuen Mun.

Public Transport Information

Tai Lam Chung Country Trail
Take public transport to the Tai Lam Tunnel interchange station (in either direction : Yuen Long or Kowloon). Walk for about 10 minutes to the starting point by the hill, then follow the path uphill. Bus nos. 68M, 68X, 69M, 69X, 264M, 269B, 269C, 269D, 269M, 968, E34 and 969 stop at the interchange. For your return journey, walk along the vehicular road in Tsat Do Ho in the direction of the Tai Tong Country Park Management Centre. Follow the road downhill to the bus stop at the top of Tai Tong Shan Road. This walk takes about 1 hour. From the station, you can take bus no. K66 or a red minibus to Yuen Long.

Tai Tong Nature Trail
This circular nature trail starts and ends in Tai Tong. Take bus no. K66 or a red minibus in Yuen Long. Get off at the bus stop at the top of Tai Tong Shan Road. A 30-minute walk up the hill will take you to the starting point.

Tai Tong Tree Walk
This tree walk starts and ends in Tai Tong. Take bus no. K66 or a red minibus in Yuen Long. Get off at the bus stop at the top of Tai Tong Shan Road. A 30-minute walk up the hill will take you to the starting point.

Tai Lam Nature Trail
In Yuen Long, take bus no. K66 or a red minibus to the bus stop at the top of Tai Tong Shan Road. Take the vehicular road uphill. The walk takes about 60 minutes. For your return journey, follow the hill path at Tsing Lung Tau to descend to Castle Peak Road, where you can catch bus nos. 52X and 53 or green minibus nos. 96 and 96M.

Yuen Tsuen Ancient Trail
In Yuen Long, take bus no. K66 or a red minibus to the bus stop at the top of Tai Tong Shan Road. Take the vehicular road uphill. For your return journey, follow the path downhill to Castle Peak Road. The walk is about 20 minutes. There, you can walk to the Tsuen Wan Railway Station or Bus Terminusor take bus no. 96 or a red minibus.

Yuen Tun Country Trail
Take bus no 52X or 53, or green minibus 96 or 96M to the starting point in Tsing Lung Tau. For your return journey, take the vehicular road north of Tai Lam Chung Reservoir to Tai Tong Country Park Management Centre, then follow the road downhill to the bus stop at the top of Tai Tong Shan Road. There, you can catch bus no. K66 or a red minibus to Yuen Long.

Twisk Nature Trail
This trail starts and ends at the Twisk Management Centre, which is served by bus no. 51.

Kap Lung Forest Trail
Take bus no. 51 to the "Country Park" bus stop on Route Twisk. For your return journey, walk from the Kap Lung section of Pat Heung Catchment Trail to Route Twisk. This walk takes about 15 minutes. There, catch bus no. 51 or green minibus 72.

Kap Lung Ancient Trail
Take bus no. 51 to the "Country Park" bus stop on Route Twisk. For your return journey, walk from the Kap Lung section of Pat Heung Catchment Trail to Route Twisk. This walk takes about 15 minutes. There, catch bus no. 51 or green minibus 72.

Stage 9 and Stage 10 of MacLehose Trail
Take bus no. 51 to Tsuen Kam Au, the starting point. For your return journey, follow the downhill path at the end of Stage 10 to Hoh Fuk Tong/ Pui To Light Rail Station, or walk to Tuen Mun Town Centre. There, catch Light Rail 614 or bus no. 60M, 60X, 61X, 62X or 961.

Tuen Mun Fitness Trail
Take Light Rail 614 or bus no. 60M, 60X, 61X, 62X or 961 to Hoh Fuk Tong/ Pui To Light Rail Station. Make your way uphill along Stage 10 of MacLehose Trail.

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Last Review Date : 02 January 2014