Want to get away and be unreachable? Po Toi Island is the perfect location for this. Known as the 'South Pole' of Hong Kong, it is an island located off of Stanley. Until the 1970s, it was home to around 1,000 people, most of whom have since left. Today, you can find many ruins, temples and an abandoned village school. The island is famous for its seaweed, seafood products and peculiar rock formations. We only planned to walk around the island and do a picnic lunch, but ended up doing a hike as well.
Difficulty rating: 5/10 (The hike itself isn't steep or tiring, but you'll have to watch your step as it is full of peculiar-looking rocks)
Duration: 2 hours not including rest stops (The hike can go on much longer if you want to explore more)
Cell Service: 1/5 (Messages showed up occasionally but calls weren't connecting)
Instagrammability: 4/5 (Great views of the entire island and pier from the top)
How to Get There:
*Note that the above is only a suggestion as there are many different ways to get to the piers in both Stanley and Aberdeen.
The only way to get to this island is by taking a ferry from either Stanley or Aberdeen based on this schedule. I double checked if the ferries were running on Christmas day by hitting the WhatsApp button on the top right and got an instant reply! The ferries are quite infrequent so make sure you plan ahead and be on time.
Once on the island, there is a country trail that you can follow to go around. The entire trail can take up to 4 hours but you can do only a part of it. The map on the left shows the trail we did which took us 2 including checking out the sights and doing a picnic. The map on the right shows you the entire trail if you'd like to check out all the prominent viewpoints.
Once out of the ferry pier, we took a left and kept walking along the coast to make our way to the Tin Hau Temple. The route is filled with scenic spots!
The picture below is of the Tin Hau Temple. Having checked that out, we walked further to the 'Snail Rock' which was surrounded by ocean views. We then began up the trail and found a cute spot to have a picnic lunch.
Once we were well fed and rested, we began the hike. The path is well paved for the most part but is quite rocky which keeps it interesting! Along your way, there will be posts with arrows that direct you towards the path so you know you're on the right track.
If you follow the path we took, there will be signs to Mo's Old House which is an abandoned house falling apart. The house was built by Pirate Mo in 1933 as his retirement home. However, Mo fled the island after an attempted collusive kidnap by pirates and his maid during the Japanese Occupation (1941-45). The house has not been kept for ever since the death of the housekeeper about 50 years ago. Today, the house is considered a ghost house and has many ghost stories involving it. Even if you don't follow the trail we took, Mo's House is very close to the pier so you can go check it out.
Here are a few more panoramas from the hike - just nature and views all around. If you do end up checking it out, we'd love to hear about your experience and see your photos through Instagram (@gethigh_hk)!