lantau peak hike // hong kong

hk

Sometimes Hong Kong baffles me. In a good way, of course. It’s such a fast-paced urban city that is constantly on the go – bursting at the seams with culture and practically every type of store or cuisine you might be looking for. But at the same time, if you need a quick breather or short time away from the hustle and bustle of the city, it’s only a short metro or bus ride away. It’s amazing how you can be standing amongst sky scrapers over 100 floors high and within 30-45 mins be sitting on a beach surrounded by a landscape of mountains. That is probably my absolute favorite aspect of Hong Kong.

My cousin and I hiked dragons back two years ago, and on the rare occasion that we were in the same city together once again last week, we knew we wanted to take on another hike together. After some brainstorming (there are so many hikes in hk!) we decided to head over to Lantau Island to tackle the Lantau Peak hike. We thought it would be nice to see The Big Buddha and Po Lin Monastery, a place neither of us had ever been.

We took the MTR to Tung Chung where we walked over to the bus station right outside the  MTR station and caught the 3M bus to Pak Kung Au. The public transportation in Hong Kong is seriously amazing. Everything is so easily accessible, and basically anywhere. Since we weren’t familiar with the area we asked the bus driver to please let us know where to get off and he told us to ring the bell about a minute after the bus started to climb. After about 10-15 mins on the bus, and ringing the bell a stop too early by accident (luckily we didn’t get off), we were standing right across the street from the beginning of the trail. The wall is inscribed with Pak Kung Au so we knew we were standing at the start of the hike.

pak kong au
lantau peak hike

The beginning of our hike started off innocently enough with the sun streaming down and a slight breeze to keep us cool. Immediately we were climbing stairs and little did I know, we’d basically be climbing an assortment of those stairs/rocks for over an hour and a half. Pretty quickly we had already ascended high enough to see the HK airport off to our right.

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About 20 mins into our uphill climbs, the winds began to get stronger and we noticed the fog up ahead. Btw, this hike can be killer cardio depending on the speed you take.

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At first it was rather interesting hiking amongst the fog and seeing it coming in from both sides, until i realized I couldn’t see anything off to either side of me other. And sometimes no more than 15 or so feet of the narrow path up ahead and behind were visible. That’s when claustrophobia began to set in. I have this fear of being enclosed in small or overcrowded places and it only gets worse once I really start to think about it. I had to try really hard not to think about it and I think it got better once we came across a few others hiking along the trail and it helped me feel less enclosed.

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Every time it seemed like we were getting close to the top, we would only make it up there to see there were more steps leading up. I think I eventually just tried to focus on something else and just enjoy being there. I almost feel like the fog added another element to our hike and a small part of me was glad I couldn’t see off the sides in fear of how high we actually were.

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After about an hour and a half of continuous climbing through the winds and fog, we finally reached the peak! All 934 meters/3,064 feet. I’m sure the view up there is fantastic on a clear day, but on that particular day it was a complete whiteout from the fog.

lantau peak hike

After a quick snap of photos (I mean there wasn’t much to see up there at that point) we continued on our way to Ngong Ping, where the Buddha is. There were some pretty narrow/slightly steep parts down, which coupled with the howling wind, warranted an extra amount of balance and caution at times.

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It wasn’t until we passed the 810m mark that the fog subsided a bit and we could begin to make out the view.

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We came around the side of the mountain and all of the sudden the buddah and wisdom path came into view. We were so close! Good thing because my legs were starting to get a bit shaky at this point.

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It took us about 40 mins total to descend from the peak and reach the wisdom path. Naturally we took a walk amongst the 38 wooden steles, which portrayed verses from the world’s best-known prayers revered by Confucians, Buddhists and Taoists.

wisdom pathwisdom pathwisdom pathwisdom path

After gaining some wisdom ;) we took the short walk over to the buddah. On the way over we passed through an eerily deserted village. Some of the signs were so new looking, but at the same time the area was so neglected it looked like it had been sitting like that for years. How freaky is that raggedy ann/scarecrow doll in the window? I’m sure this place is loads of fun at night…not.

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Soon enough the Buddha came into view once again, but this time a lot closer. After our hike, the stairs leading up to the big buddha were a piece of cake. Once at the top we took a quick leisurely walk around before heading back down to the bus station.

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The bus ride back to Tung Chung was a lot longer than coming since we were on the other side of the mountain. It’s actually possible to start the hike on this side as well, but I’m glad we started over in Pak Kung Au so that we could finish up with the Buddha and rest up on the longer bus ride back.

Once back in Tung Chung we rewarded ourselves with a drink from Gong Cha (a taiwanese bubble tea shop) before hopping on the MTR to head home. Hot Logan & red date tea for me, which totally hit the spot since it was beginning to get a bit chilly outside.

gong cha

The next two days were definitely fun for my calves. Holy soreness. I thought the climb up was what I would be feeling the following day, but my glutes were just dandy. It was actually the climb down I wasn’t prepared for and my calves totally felt it the following few days. Walking down any stairs and basically taking any type of steps down were a total joy. 8O

All in all, a fun hike that I’ll hopefully have another go at, on a much less foggy day.

last weeks workouts.


yoga

Hello Monday. Are we all ready to take on another week?

Last week was a pretty good week of workouts for me – I managed to include a good variety which doesn’t always happen over here. I even fit in a quick yoga session one morning, as you can see above. First time this year! I probably haven’t pulled out that book in over half a year, but I was quickly reminded as to why it used to be my favorite. I need to do yoga more often, which I’m pretty sure I say every time only to forget two seconds later. But hopefully this time it sticks.

gym

In addition to yoga, there were two workouts I found extra fun last week. One that involved a lot of rowing, which I previously mentioned I would post soon. And also a treadmill-based workout that left me very sweaty, but with a surprising amount of extra energy for the day.

row workouttreadmill workout

Both of the above workouts can easily be done on any cardio machines if you so happen to prefer other ones. Lately I’ve been loving workouts in such formats because I’ll never be on a machine for too long and it keeps me interested. I never have and most likely never will be able to just continually exercise on a machine for over 15 mins. I get soo incredibly bored and then start staring at the minutes. Thats when each minute seems to last for.ev.er. Unless some totally captivating movie or tv show is on you most likely won’t find me on a cardio machine for very long.

I also got in a fantastic/somewhat brutal hike towards the end of the week, which I’ll go into more detail in another post.

In addition to some good workouts, I had a few good painful acupuncture sessions. I may or may not have mentioned it before, but I have terrible circulation. As in, my legs fall asleep 10 mins after sitting sometimes. Something that probably should not be happening to someone my age, or anyone at any age for that matter.

acupunctureacupuncture acupuncture

Looks fun, huh? It’s actually relaxing when I lie there (very still, I might add) once the needles are in. But putting the needles in are a bit painful at times, some spots more than others. I can always feel the prick and a feeling within my nerves that I can’t quite put into words. It’s like my nerves react to the prick of the needle and shoot out for a second. That probably doesn’t make that much sense, does it? Anyways, in case you were wondering…the smoking black charred blobs you see above some of the needles are called moxa, which is used for a practice called moxibustion. It supposedly helps to stimulate the blood flow even more.

Wait a second…did I just type up a whole post without including a single mention of food?

yogurt, banana, goji, flax

(Still going strong on that yogurt – plain yogurt, banana, crunchy almond butter, gojis, chia, flax.)

Ok, now I can go. Cya!

 

 

 

 

hello 2014.

double rainbow

Well, HELLO strangers! :)

I hope your 2014′s are starting out fab! This is my first post of the year…it only took me twelve twenty-seven days to get it up. I’ve been slacking!
Anyone make any new years resolutions? Mine are pretty much the same every year, but maybe a new one this year should be to get on here more often. That would be nice.

I have a smorgasbord of photos on my phone and camera (hence the random rainbow photo up top), but just haven’t been on here to post often enough and now I don’t even know where to begin. This may be one of those all-over-the-place kinda posts. So what to even talk about?

Lets talk food. As usual :)

Even though I’ve be limiting my intake of cold foods for a while now, I’ve been quite into smoothies this year. I didn’t realize ordering a large at lanikai juice a few weeks ago meant getting a smoothie larger than my face.

smoothielanikai juice

And with our sudden warm front down here in Texas over the weekend (70F/21c) smoothies continue to linger on my mind.

nektar

I went to nektar juice bar two days in a row because they make my favorite (reasonably priced) smoothies & juices. I first tried this juice bar in Newport, California a year or two ago and was excited to learn they opened one nearby late last year. Both days I ordered the popeyes acai which is acai, banana, spinach, nut milk, & agave nectar blended with ice. Typically I ask for no agave because I don’t think it needs it. I realize it’s basically what I used to make at home all the time, but when I’m out and about it just so easy to stop by and have someone make the smoothie for me. No dirty blender. My usual go to at nectar are their juices, but a smoothie just sounded more appealing this weekend.

On the opposite end of the spectrum – I’ve also been loving hot tea. Goji tea.

goji tea

I’ve been adding goji berries into my herbal teas (caffeine = no sleep) in the evenings to end the night on a sweet note. The gojis add the perfect hint of sweetness - and they’re so good for you! – a handful a day is all you need. I especially love it with chamomile tea. All I do is add a handful to my mug along with my tea bag, then pour in the hot water and they plump up perfectly as the tea bag brews. Easy peasy.

Ok, so I promise I consume more than just liquids. Something else I’ve been loving is toast. I still love my coconut butter toast, but avocado toasts have been getting it’s fair share of appearances.

avo toast

A sprinkle of sea salt + pepper is all it really needs and I’m a happy camper. The only downside is avocado never really seems to keep me full very long. Even if I eat a lot. I’m weird.

As for the fitness side, I’ve been trying to find new ways to stay active. As much as I love the HIIT workouts I did all last year, I realize I need to work on my endurance and it’s about time to switch things up again.

I started out the year with a few hikes…

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And now I’m incorporating more time on cardio machines like the stairmill, rowing machine, arc trainer, treadmill, and bike. To keep myself from getting bored I’ll sometimes choose 3 or 4 machines and do 10 mins on each, incorporating intervals on some days. I also do circuit type workouts every now and then. Heres an example of one that can be done on any cardio machine:

indoor cardio

I think that might be enough babble for one post. I’ll be back again – hopefully sooner than later. See ya!