Po Toi Island Eco-Historial Tour

Po Toi Island, the “South Pole of Hong Kong” characterised by its ecology and fishing villages, is a great outing destination where nature and history meet. The Po Toi Island Eco-historial Tour organised by Green Sense provides a rare opportunity for participants to reach the outskirts of Hong Kong, and take delight in the Island’s nature and rich history.

Kai-to ferry departs from Aberdeen to Po Toi

Visitors could reach Po Toi by Kai-to ferries that depart from Aberdeen or Stanley. Take a walk from the Po Toi Pier, you could find a few stalls and a seafood restaurant, selling all kinds of local specialties. One of the must-buy items is Po Toi seaweed. Visitors have the opportunity to appreciate the natural beauty of the Island, and also support local businesses full of local characteristics and memories. The ecotour offers a taste of the fishing village specialties while promoting the Island economy, which fulfils the principle of sustainability. Meanwhile, participants could have a glimpse of local lifestyle by getting in touch with the Island residents. Due to its remote location, Po Toi Island still does not have stable electricity supply. The Island is only powered by diesel generators from 6am to 6pm, causing inconvenience to the residents. Even when summer heat peaks, they could only use rechargeable electric fans to cool down. Isn’t it quite unbelievable that Hong Kong has such a primitive place?

Residence and restaurant along the Po Toi Pier 

You could walk into history as long as you leave the inhabited area. Take the stone steps and you will find Po Toi School, as if a time machine brings you back to an old village school. Although it is now abandoned, you can still see the classroom and the structure that are filled with an old school atmosphere. The single building structure that contains only one classroom stands as a sharp contrast to the well-equipped schools nowadays. Keep walking the steps, you will be led to another abandoned building – Mo’s Family House. You might have a general idea about how people used to live based on the House’s architectural style and structure. It was built between hillsides. The magnificent walls and luxurious stairs design demonstrated the high status of Mo’s family at that time. These rare historical remains serve as an important platform for later generations to understand lifestyles in the past. They are more meaningful than the words written in textbooks.

Po Toi School 

Tired after walking uphill? You may take a rest near the stalls and refresh yourself before heading to the next destination – Rock Carvings on Po Toi. The Carvings are one of the declared monuments in Hong Kong, a status that indicates its historical significance. Although the totems and words are not clear or understandable, but you could feel the hard work done by our forefathers who did not have books or electronic devices to record and express their reverence for nature.

Rock Carvings on Po Toi

If you keep walking on the hiking trail, you will find a paved trail that leads you to the southernmost tip of Hong Kong. On the way you could appreciate the many faces of granite rocks after different levels of weathering and erosion, such as block disintegration and honeycomb weathering, which resulted in the interesting shapes of the rocks. You could find a lot of great spots for photography, for example, the Palm Cliff that has experienced block disintegration, the Tortoise Rock that looks like it is treading uphill, and the Monk Rock. Every rock is unique, and therefore it is worth visitors to understand how the geography in Hong Kong has shaped the process of rock formation. Once you finish this section of the hiking trail, you could reach the Lighthouse 126 where you could enjoy the wonderful panorama of the South China Sea. No wonder so many tourists pitch their tents here. Although the walk is not an easy one, it is worth the effort in order to see the natural wonders with our bare eyes.

The Monk Rock

On the way to the southernmost tip of Hong Kong

Ecotour is not only about appreciating the nature, but also about understanding the interdependent relationship between human development and environment protection, in which land planning is one of the issues that should be in the spotlight. Po Toi Island is facing a controversial change of land use, which is the plan of property developers to build niches in the name of increasing the supply of niches. The dozens of Island residents disagree with the plan. Many see the property developers as ignorant to the natural habitat of the Island. Po Toi is a natural reserve of ecological diversity. Any construction could destroy its ecological balance, and its habitat should be preserved. The ecology should not be ruined to build niches, luxury homes or hotels for the sake of city development. Some people argue the lack of stable water and electricity supply is the reason to develop Po Toi Island. However, it is unknown whether the residents’ basic needs would be satisfied after the development. It is crucial to balance development and conservation. Visiting Po Toi Island could stimulate one’s reflections on the needs of the residents and the importance of ecology. The Island’s development must be carefully considered.

Will it be a positive change for Po Toi if it is to become a country park? Despite the fact that economic development is limited in a country park, the residents are guaranteed a better living standard as well as protected homes. It is therefore not surprising to see this suggestion being backed by the residents. They care more about their daily lives than big-scale economic development. In fact, the Po Toi land use controversy is only the tip of an iceberg – Hong Kong has a lot more land planning issues that worth our attention.