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Time Out At Tai Tam Country Park

November 12th, 2010 by

Talk to someone who has just been to Hong Kong and for sure you will hear stories about Ocean Park, Victoria Peak, shopping on Nathan Road or a fun-filled day in Disneyland Hong Kong.   It is quite rare to hear about laid-back Tai Tam Country Park.

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For those who are looking for the perfect combination of sparkling blue green waters, rolling hills and lush tropical forests in Hong Kong need not travel far.  Tai Tam Country Park has all these to offer and a lot more.  It can be found at the eastern corner of Hong Kong Island which is just about 10 minutes away from the famous shopping district of Stanley.  So after a tiresome morning going around Stanley Market, tourists can take the trip to the park to relax and enjoy some fresh clean air.

It is totally stress free to make the trip from any hotel in Hong Kong.  One simply has to catch number 6 from the Central Exchange Square Bus Terminus and get off at the Wong Nai Chung Gap Road.  This specific road is located near the Wong Nai Chung Reservoir Park.  Alternatively, bus number 14 from the Sai Wan Ho MTR Station Exit A will also pass by the park.

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Tai Tam Country Park is known for its ability to transport visitors back to nature.  Locals claim that with a total land area of 1, 315 hectares, it is the biggest country park in Hong Kong, as it occupies about a fifth of the entire Hong Kong Island.

There are a lot of things to do on a visit to Tai Tam Country Park.  One major attraction is Tai Tam Valley which is enclosed by the towering peaks of Jardine’s Lookout, Mount Butler, Mount Parker, and Violet Hill.  The highest of the four is Mount Parker with a height of a little over 500 meters (1, 663 feet).  Given that this particular area is strategically located near Sai Wan Ho and Quarry Bay, a lot of residents from the Eastern District consider this area perfect for morning jogs, lazy afternoon walks as well as other leisure activities including picnics and barbeque sessions.

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Tai Tam actually means “big pools.”  The country park is named such because of its 4 reservoirs which were built sometime between 1889 and 1917.  These are collectively referred to as Tai Tam Group – Tai Tam Tuk Reservoir, Tai Tam Byewash Reservoir, Tai Tam Upper Reservoir, and Tai Tam Intermediate Reservoir.  All these reservoirs serve as the main water storage provision in the past.  The holding capacity of these water storage systems is about 9 million m3.

There are also a lot of interesting structures scattered all over the park grounds as well.  Photography enthusiasts will have a fantastic time shooting war remnants including magazines and whatever are left of the forts.

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Nature trippers will enjoy the numerous tree species that thrive at the park.  There are pine trees, natural shrubs, wild plants as well as charming blankets of flowering plants that bloom all year round.  Certain wild animals like leopards, squirrels, rats, badgers and numerous birds also consider Tai Tam Country Park their home.  According to several guides, Tai Tam is the only place in Hong Kong where the Hong Kong Newt can be found.  Another interesting creature is the Romer’s Tree Frog which was carefully relocated to Tai Tam from Lantau when the Check Lap Kok International Airport was constructed.  There are also insects and colorful butterflies that seem to dance in the wind.

The locals, the government and a lot of nature preservation groups work hand in hand to this day to preserve the landscape and beauty of Tai Tam Country Park.  With all the modernization that is happening all over the country, it is comforting to know that there is still a huge bit of nature to take pleasure in when visiting Hong Kong.

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