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Experience abundant nature and wildlife on the Lau Shui Heung to Fung Yuen hike

National Geographic
  • Written by National Geographic
Experience abundant nature and wildlife on the Lau Shui Heung to Fung Yuen hike

Photo credit: Leung Wai Por

Average hiking time: 3 hours | Distance: About 7 km | Difficulty: Moderate

Part of the beauty of Hong Kong is that even a relatively short and easy hike can get you fully connected with the city’s surprisingly rich biodiversity. The interplay between climate, geography and geology has resulted in Hong Kong becoming home to a wealth of native flora and fauna — which you can experience in all its glory on the hike to Fung Yuen.

Dragonfly

Photo Credit: Samson So

You start on the Lau Shui Heung Country Trail, meandering past the heavily wooded surrounds of the reservoir and enjoying the picture-perfect reflections on the water. The path takes you onwards to the narrow Hok Tau Reservoir which is home to countless species of dragonflies and butterflies.

 

This area is also renowned for its traditional “fung shui” woods, which originate in the traditional Chinese value of creating harmony between man and nature, with vicinity to the woodlands becoming a primary factor in choosing a site to build a village.

 

The hike finishes at Fung Yuen, where the Fung Yuen Butterfly Reserve provides a safe haven for more than 200 of the 235 species of butterflies identified in Hong Kong. Fung Yuen Valley is a forested ravine behind Fung Yuen village that has been designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest. The site has a garden for nectar plants, planted to attract butterflies, and is recognised as an important breeding site for threatened butterflies such as the Common Birdwing and White Dragontail.

 

The butterfly reserve is the perfect way to end a perfect day discovering the wild side of Hong Kong.


Lau Shui Heung Country Trail

Photo Credit : Derek Yung

Stop 1: Lau Shui Heung Country Trail

Lau Shui Heung Reservoir. Surrounded by thick forests, its glassy surface is especially stunning on a clear, windless day. Visit during the colder months to enjoy colourful autumn foliage as the cypress leaves transition from yellow to burnt orange. You can also observe the white-flower derris, which is a vine that crawls up tree trunks.

Hok Tau Reservoir Family Walk

Photo Credit : Derek Yung

Stop 2: Hok Tau Reservoir Family Walk

The area near Hok Tau Reservoir is a designated tree-planting site. The valley along the stream is home to many species of dragonflies and butterflies such as the common hedge blue butterfly. To reach the reservoir, there’s a shortcut. Along the country trail, turn left on Wilson Trail Sec. 9, then turn right on the Hok Tau Reservoir Family Walk.

Trip idea
Trip idea
The best months for butterfly watching in Hong Kong are from April to June, as well as October to November. During these months, various species of butterflies can be encountered.
Sha Lo Tung

Photo Credit : Derek Yung

Stop 3: Sha Lo Tung

Sha Lo Tung is a basin in Pat Sin Leng Country Park. The land is wet and swampy: a prime habitat for dragonflies and damselflies. Many species of butterflies can be observed here as well. While you’re in Sha Lo Tung, keep an eye out for blackbanded gossamer wings, a species of dragonfly that features a large, dark square on its wings.

Trip ideas
Trip ideas
In spring and summer, the best times for butterfly watching are 9 – 11 am and 2 – 4 pm; in autumn and winter, the best times are 10 – 11 am and 2 – 3 pm Most butterflies appear during the day; several species such as skippers and brown butterflies only appear at dusk.
Fung Yuen Butterfly Reserve

Photo Credit : Gary Chan

Stop 4: Fung Yuen Butterfly Reserve Get me there {{title}} Address {{address}} Website {{website}} More info

Upon exiting Sha Lo Tung, walk down the flight of concrete steps leading to Fung Yuen. With an abundance of plants providing food for the caterpillars, this part of the valley has become a prime habitat for butterflies. Try to spot and learn about as many species of butterflies as you can during your visit. White dragontail butterflies are a favourite with photographers. Also commonly observed here are pale awlet, common birdwing, and red-base jezebel butterflies.

Trip ideas
Trip ideas
To visit the Fung Yuen Butterfly Reserve, you’ll need to become a member first. For more information on how to do so, visit: www.fungyuen.org.
Trip ideas
Trip ideas
Don’t capture the butterflies or dragonflies.

Refuel
Refuel
There are no kiosks along the way, so it’s best to stock up on water and supplies before the hike.

Getting to Lau Shui Heung Country Trail:

  • From MTR Fanling Station, Exit C, take green minibus 52B. Get off at the roundabout on Lau Shui Heung Road. Follow Lau Shui Heung Road till you pass the reservoir.

Leaving from Fung Yuen:

  • Take green minibus 20P to the Tai Po Market stop for the MTR. You can also take green minibus 20M to the Tai Po Central Bus Terminus.
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