The One With Saturday Excursion to Lei Yue Mun

It was bright Saturday morning, perfect for yet another adventure into the many nooks and crannies which Hong Kong has to offer. After spending an hour or so trawling around Yau Tong area testing my new camera (I love saying that!), we made our way to the fishing village of Lei Yue Mun.

Saturday Excursion to Lei Yue Mun

A little background of the place. Lei Yue Mun is the eastern gate into the Victoria Harbour, hence it serves an important trade route in and out of the South China Sea. By definition the “Lei Yue Mun” area covers both the Hong Kong Island side, with its strategic vantage point for military purposes (hence that’s where you’ll find the Hong Kong Coastal Defence Museum) and Kowloon side, with its bustling seafood market where Hong Kong-ers traded their catch of the day for many years.

Saturday Excursion to Lei Yue Mun

The fishing village itself has more than a touch of Cheung Chau to it. Perhaps it was midday when we visited during winter; the many fishing boats weren’t busy and the few fishermen we saw were tending broken nets and washing their vessels. It was all quaint, which is kind of hard to believe since it is situated well within reach by the MTR network.

Saturday Excursion to Lei Yue Mun

From Yau Tong MTR station, one has to walk through the dusty streets of its industrial estate before spotting the unmistakable arch, where the Lei Yue Mun village begins. As this place wasn’t that accessible we thought there will be few tourists, therefore it was surprising to see quite a number of them (for the lack of a better word) loitering around the gateway, touting some huge, impressive cameras.

It was only much later when I learned why.

Saturday Excursion to Lei Yue Mun

As you step into the Lei Yue Mun Praya (which, incidentally, meant “boulevard along the water front” in Spanish, or so I was told), it does felt like as if you have stepped back in time. The rustic, unhurried lifestyle of the old Hong Kong engulfs you with its old buildings, connected by a tapestry of maze which, amazingly, won’t get you hopelessly lost.

Saturday Excursion to Lei Yue Mun

Living up to its name as the trading post for seafood in Hong Kong, the covered alleyways of Lei Yue Mun was crammed with all manners of seafood; alive, dead and everything in between. The variety of seafood available was mind-boggling, even for a seafood lover like yours truly. It almost felt like being in a zoo.

Saturday Excursion to Lei Yue Mun

Though some stalls were boarded up (inflation? holiday? skiving?), there was no shortage of hopeful owners approaching us looking for a deal during an otherwise quiet afternoon. Apart from the endless seafood stalls, there were also stalls selling nuts (cashew, walnuts, peanuts… you get the drift), floss meat and precious stones.

Saturday Excursion to Lei Yue Mun

Merchants aside, the village itself was quiet. Quietly populated with old people nattering outside their old houses, whiling away what must have been yet another long, cold day. The lack of youngsters was compensated with a somewhat-unnerving number of dogs around.

Saturday Excursion to Lei Yue Mun

Halfway through the village was the Wishing Tree of Lei Yue Mun, the lesser known cousin of the Taipo wishing tree. Folklore has it that the couples pray at this tree hopeful for marriage and children, whichever comes first.

Saturday Excursion to Lei Yue Mun

Towards the end of the village was a Tin Hau Temple. I came to realise that every coastal and island towns I visited in Hong Kong, there is always one. This one, however, differed from the rest because the running the place spoke in Hakka, one of the many Chinese dialects, and one which I grew up understanding but not speaking it.

I felt as if I was touched by the souls of my grandparents. It was music to my ears as I struggled to comprehend the rapid fire conversation and translate it for the benefit of my friend.

Saturday Excursion to Lei Yue Mun

Just a short way from Tin Hau Temple was the Lei Yue Mun Viewing Point. It was an amazing sight to behold, as ferry after ferry navigated their way through this eastern gate into the Victoria Harbour. Across the water, standing sentinel overlooking the sea like a stern grandparent was the Hong Kong Coastal Defence Museum. Groups of photographers with huge lenses were having lessons shooting some pseudo-model against this magnificent backdrop of the old and new Hong Kong.

Seafood Lunch at Kam Fai Restaurant

By the end of this somewhat prolonged track, we were hungry and so headed back into the midst of the village for a late seafood dinner. The experience warrants an entire blog post by itself. The custom at Lei Yue Mun was this; you pick and pay for the seafood of your choice at one of the many stalls before bringing it to a restaurant. The chef, then, will cook your bounty the way you like it, charging you on a per head basis plus drinks and service charge.

Saturday Excursion to Lei Yue Mun

We had a long, leisurely dinner at the waterfront, enjoying the cold winter breeze and the gorgeous setting sun. After what seems like hours, we made our way to the jetty to board the half-hourly boat. These wooden boats with plastic canopy must have been from at least the 70s; an authentic experience setting you back for a mere five dollars. The short trip towards Sai Wan Ho pier took at most five minutes, before you disembark right into the midst of East SoHo with its modern restaurants and upper class clientelle. The drastic contrast was somewhat unsettling.

But then again, that’s Hong Kong for you, where the old meet the new in a fusion of east meet west. Lei Yue Mun as a whole was a good experience, especially so since it is so accessible via the MTR network.

Related links:
Full photo set on Flickr
Lei Yue Mun on Wikipedia
The Hong Kong Coastal Defence Museum
About the Lei Yue Mun Wishing Tree

The One With Saturday Excursion to Lei Yue Mun by

Comments

  1. KC says:

    How long does it take to walk from Yau Tong MTR station to seafood place

  2. Razlan says:

    Not too long, maybe about 15 minutes? The scenery along the way is pretty nice to take a leisurely stroll.

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