“Fantasy is always beautiful, just like the fleeting image of a rainbow after the rain. People marvel every time they see a rainbow as to them it represents luck, beauty and good.”
Rainbow stairs, rainbow walls... All in all, the word "rainbow" attracts a lot of attention especially among teenage girls. I've always been a fan of natural beauty and not interested in these cute things at all. However, I can't deny that the first time I saw the rainbow railings, I gasped.
The rainbow railings are located in Tuen Mun town centre. It takes just five minutes to reach the entrance of the hiking trail from Tuen Mun Station. There is a clear sign on the ground floor "To Country Park". The first part of the trail is mostly stairs which must have scared many. A tip for climbing stairs, don't walk like a granny and hunch your back! Don't be afraid to see the stairs in front of you. Instead, look back from time to time and you will find that you have come a long way as the scenery opens. Try focusing on what is gained, rather than what is behind. This is something my hiking senior taught me.
In about 15 minutes you come across a sign for Tai Lam Country Park and continue towards Tuen Mun Path. Tuen Mun Trail is a good walk. The stairs and stone steps are intact, making it an ideal morning trail for the whole family. There are several morning walk facilities set up by residents and a district flag from somewhere. I was almost misled when I saw a main crossing. The handwritten road sign says "Lam Tei Reservoir" which is the destination of today's journey. If you take this side up the hill, you won't get to the rainbow railings, so don't turn right. There were plenty of pavilions and chairs to rest but I couldn't stop but continued because the rainbow I wanted to see was just ahead!
Red, orange, green, blue and purple - the 200-metre-long rainbow railings were erected along the hillside, with a view of the city of Tuen Mun and the hills in contrast. Over there are difficult hiking routes to Yuen Tau Shan, Castle Peak and Por Lo Shan. Standing here, I felt like a child looking up at an adult, watching from afar but not stepping foot. I made a mental note to visit them all. If this place was just a pile of grey and dull railings, its charm would be lost. There are many colours in nature that are not as attractive as the artificial ones. But if you want more people to fall in love with hiking and promote nature, the right kind of packaging is a realistic and practical consideration.
After taking a few photos, I continued my way. After a few steps, the open and unobstructed view turned into a Japanese-inspired bamboo path lined with pine trees over 10 metres high. You can't help but stop to admire. There is something magical about this simple Tuen Mun trail that makes the short walk fascinating and enjoyable.
A little further on is Yeuk Mung Yuen with a poetic name and an intriguing story. It was built by a group of hikers decades ago and was once manned every day offering soup and water for visitors to drink for free. The idea was to provide a place for passers-by to take a break. An old man with a white beard would leave a pen and a notebook here for people to write poems. He was known as "Mr Che". However, the group of middle-aged men who were so enthusiastic back then are now grey-haired folks who have difficulty climbing up the mountain. Some have even passed away. Yeuk Mung Yung is now deserted but there is still a sense of calm and healing here. Many criticise this as illegally occupying land but I think that everything should be left as it was. A trail without people is like a trail without life and stories.
After passing Yeuk Mung Yuen, you come to the Pavilion of Eight Directions. Follow the stairs up a long hill. It takes about 15 minutes to reach the highest point, where there is a pavilion to rest. The only thing that remains unchanged is that there is still a hilly trail underneath us, and it is a comfortable walk up the hill. After walking for about 30 minutes, we passed through the barbecue site in Fu Tei and followed the wide road down to the right. At the end of the trail, there is a sign saying, "Fu Tei Village" and a staircase leading down to Nam Tei Reservoir.
Lam Tei Reservoir, also known as Tiger Hang Reservoir, is an irrigation reservoir in Hong Kong. The reservoir was opened in 1957 by Governor Grantham. I like to walk on the bridge and look towards Kau Keng Shan, where the strong and upright mountains look like a guardian beside the calm and mirror-like reservoir. The bridge is shallow and narrow. Do not block the road to take photos or ignore other climbers!
After visiting Lam Tei Reservoir, I pass Lam Tei Street. There are many authentic tea rooms to observe the daily lives of the local people in Tuen Mun. As a Tseung Kwan O resident, Tuen Mun is a long distance away but the delights you get here are worth coming back for.