1897 Tourist Map of China and Soon to be New Territories

Thu, 05/26/2016 - 10:36

Taken from the book: The Tourist's Guide to Hong Kong, with short trips to the Mainland of China (1897) by HURLEY, R.C.





These short trips to the Mainland are more especially intended for gentlemen in robust health, who, having time at their disposal and perhaps a liking for sport, are prepared to rough it in a measure, sleeping on board a steam-launch or native boat, or in a Joss house for as many nights as the party made decide to remain away. Such an experiment would at first sight seem a folly, but to the local shikari, there is untold pleasure in these outings,— besides, a 20 mile tramp across hill country is, in this part of the world, considered to be by far and away the best medicine for resuscitating the over taxed senses.


The subjoined map describes the most southern portion of the Sun On District situated in that part of the Kwangtung Province immediately adjacent to the British Crown Colony of Hong-Kong. The object with which it has been compiled is to encourage and assist the Hong Kong resident, as well as the tourist, to become acquainted with a neighbourhood or district that, at no far distant date may assume a position of special interest and show unmistakable signs of a very rapid development.


Although on a first glance the landscape appears to be composed of little else than barren hills plentifully besprinkled with black looking objects, which on closer examination prove to be weather-beaten, sun-burnt granite boulders, yet behind these ranges of hills there are many thousands of acres of rich valley land where fruit, rice and a variety of other cereals and tubers are extensively cultivated. Besides these, sugar cane, ground nut and sweet potatoes thrive on the lower slopes, and patches of them may occasionally be seen on portions of rising ground surrounded by the flooded paddy fields. Garden fruit and vegetables of the usual varieties are also to be met with in the larger villages, about the confines of which, they are cultivated mostly for home consumption.


In the neighbourhood of Deep Bay, more particularly to the eastward, the lichee is abundantly grown, and in the Bay itself will be found the most extensive oyster beds in this part of the province. This locality also provides the hunting ground for local Sportsmen.


Commencing from about the middle of August, snipe abound throughout the valleys, six weeks later quail begin to appear on the stubble and, with the assistance of a dog, partridges may be found on the hill sides as also a few pheasants in the thicker cover. Throughout the winter waterfowl, including the blue heron, are plentiful in great variety, especially in the creeks and on the mud flats of the bay, with shell pigeons and ring-doves in the bamboo groves which generally surround the villages. In the district covered by this map, there are many enjoyable trips both for the pedestrian and the sportsman; and the author, soliciting every consideration for shortcomings, trusts that the following pages will prove both useful and interesting to those who may have the leisure to peruse them.


Hongkong, April 1897.





As the trips will not as a rule exceed two or perhaps three days, no great preparation need be made as if for a lengthened stay.


Passports {always useful) procurable through your Consul in Canton: and the national flag of the party.

Boat. — Steam-launch and, or, Hakka-boat with a small punt or dingy.

Wardrobe. — Seasonable, according to duration of trip (sun topey indispensible flannels recommended.)

Commissariat. — Fresh water, fresh meat, pies, bread, potatoes, salt, tinned meats, butter, milk and preserves, tea, coffee, sugar, and a cruet.

Light. — Oil lamps, candles, matches.

Sporting gear. — Tiger rifle, fowling piece, duck gun and revolver, with ammunition for all.

Recreation. — Cards, reading matter, cigars and tobacco.

Personal. —Medicines and Liquors.

Pocket Compass and pedometer:


Date picture taken
1 Apr 1897


Proceed by launch or boat to Tsin-Wan— or, should you wish to shorten the distance— to Cheung Sha Wan. From Tsin-Wan you steer in an easterly direction keeping to the valley paths all the time, and in less than an hour the village of Skek-li-pui, very prettily situated amongst the hills, will be reached. A little rest, and half an hour more brings you to the open where the village of Kang-hau will be seen on the right of some extensive paddy fields, the blue waters of Mirs Bay and the White Head, a small promontory jutting out into the Bay, in the distance.


Should you prefer to try the Cheung-Sha-Wan route, a twenty minutes climb passing the Custom's Station (matshed) brings you to the ridge from which a magnificent view over Kowloon peninsula with the Island and Harbour of Hongkong to the south, is before you. Your direction from the ridge is to the right, taking either the highest or middle path, the former cannot, be mistaken as it leads round the upper shoulders of the range until a gap, just under the Lion's Mead, is reached, where will be seen a small white house also a Custom's look-out station.


From this point the route is very plain as you can either approach Kowloon direct or continue the path round the hills until the stone road leading up from Kang-hau to the gap is joined.


If the middle path be selected one hour's walk through pretty rough hill country brings you to the open, a long trip of paddy just under the Pinacle Rock to the south from which long strip passing through a very pretty bit of woodded scenery you arrive at the same extensive paddy cultivation with the village of Kanghau on your right. From this point there is a good

stone road leading straight up the hill which is joined by the path round the shoulders of the range at an elevation of nearly 1,000 feet;  or to take the easiest and most frequented route, keep to the valley proceeding eastward until having passed a large square white building (the local house of refuge in case of an attack by pirates or rebels) you will discover a much worn stone road nearly facing you and leading up to the well defined Kowloon Gap on your right. As all the routes described converge to this gap it is here advisable to make a lengthened halt after such a tedious ascent. The view from this point is very fine, somewhat similar to the one described from Cheung-Sha-Wan.


The Kowloon native city with its wall and square built pawn shops lies in the valley a little to the right, and in its apparent nearness, is very deceiving as it will take a good hour to reach and a further good hour to get to the launch at Kowloon Wharf.

Note.— When the passage of the Cap-Siu-Moon pass is contemplated it would be as well to consult the tide table ;as, to attempt such passage in a Hakka boat on an ebb tide without the aid of steam-launch would  prove a very patience trying job.


Proceed to Castle Peak and on leaving the boat, give instructions as to her destination. If very early in the season land on the right hand side of the bay, (if later, say October, the left hand side might be used as there are generally quail to be got within a few yards of the shore) taking the route as starred in the map. passing the village of San-Hu-Wai, immediately beyond which, snipe will be found in the paddy fields and on the marshes. The bed of a stream here sometimes proves useful for waterfowl and a little further on a small lagoon has been known to yield well, even to the blue heron. If the weather is not too hot and a full day is decided upon, proceed rapidly taking just the cream of the sport until the market village of Piang Shan is reached, thence across a low sort of gap where the range of hills on the right has all but fallen away. This leads into the Shap-pat-lleung valley where turn to the right and follow the red starred route, shooting at leisure, to the foot of the hills, taking a neat little pass which will be plainly visible. This pass lands us at the village of Un-tan where, according to the instructions given to the Hakka boat, we can proceed to Tai-Lam-Chung, or by the much shorter route to the village at the back of the island of Ma-wan, iu the Cap-Siu-Moon pass, thence to Hong Kong in a couple of hours, according to tide.

This is, properly speaking, a picnic trip, and perhaps the most enjoyable one out of Hong Kong. Have an early breakfast and leave by steam-launch for Tsin Wan, about one hours' steaming— land by native boat in the bay and proceed through the village or on the embankment. It is a good plan to hire a village lad as a guide, who will also assist in carrying the tiffin basket, always keeping him on ahead. The walk is a pretty one for some distance until the ascent begins, which at first is somewhat abrupt, but afterwards for several miles the road is good and of an easy gradient. When about half the way up you leave the main path for a sort of coolie track on the right, thereby making straight for what appears to be the summit. An hours steady climb will undeceive you, as you will suddenly discover a further height apparently only a few hundred yards above. This is the final summit, having a little flat top about one acre in extent. The elevation here is nearly 1,200 feet above anything in the immediate neighbourhood; hence the view in all directions is unsurpassed.


Tiffin should now be partaken of and after an hours' rest the descent may be commenced down the eastern slope of the hill through the village of Lam-Fong-To until the rocky bed of a stream is reached with several pretty cataracts as we proceed. We are soon again amongst the patches of cultivated soil on the hill sides, and shortly find ourselves in Tsin Wan. where, if time permits, some native industries may be inspected. A dip from the launch if the water is not too cold will prove refreshing before steaming away for Hongkong.

Proceed over night to Deep Pry by steam-launch accompanied by a sampan and a small punt or dingy. Instruct steam-launch as to destination. Land at day break on the southern shore as near as possible to the village of San-Wai which is situated close to a low hill and is well shaded by banyan trees. The very extensive paddy fields in this neighbourhood afford excellent cover for snipe, which in the early season are abundantly plentiful. Follow the beaten track skirting the many villages, direction almost due south, and with shooting

all the way, you will, in a few hours, find yourself on the shores of Castle Peak Bay where your steam-launch should be in readiness to convey you back to Hongkong.

To Deep Bay and return via Ma-On-Kong and the Telegraph pass

This is one of the longest and most, important trips and should not be undertaken unless one is thoroughly fit.


Proceed by steam-launch, or having due regard to the tide, by Hakka boat accompanied by sampan, to Deep Pay, approaching as near to the head of the bay as soundings will allow. Rise at, daybreak and after a substantial meal and the necessary arrangements for a like substantial tiffin to be consumed en route land from the sampan at the head of the first creek in the river on your right, about one mile from the entrance. Shooting begins immediately with water fowl, curlew, plover, duck, teal, and sometimes geese. Snipe are always to be found from August until March, and spring snipe even later.


Having secured the quantum of such as the river, marshes and paddy fields have to offer, you must now strike inland, making for the nearest village, Maipo, where you may, if the season is well advanced add a few pigeons to the bag. From this point the tramp begins, skirting the base of the hills on our left and passing from village to village giving to each a modicum of our time and attention.  About 10 o'clock should bring us to the ancient walled market town of Kam-Tin- o, a very formidable looking place, well situated in the centre of an extensive and beautiful valley. Here a halt might be called for half an hour. From this point we proceed leisurely So as to tiffin at Ma-On-Kong which place we leave at 3 o'clock following the telegraph hills,  wires over the until about 5.30 should find us in Tsin Wan, one hour from Hongkong by steam launch. A dip if there is time completes the trip.

This trip is only a slight deviation from the last (Programme No. 5), as we proceed over exactly the same country up to the walled market town of Kam- Tin-Ho. From this point we strike off to the eastward, rounding another group of low hills in the Pat-Heung valley, before facing the Tai-Mo-Shan pass. In this neighbourhood partridges are reported to be very plentiful especially on the rising ground to the left of the approach to the road leading up the hill. The country here is certainly interesting and probably contains unknown treasure both for the sportsman as also for the explorer. We must not lose too much time as it will take at least- three hours to cross the mountain to Tsin-Wan where our boat should be in waiting for us.

This trip should occupy at least two days as it covers a line of country which will be found specially interesting. Proceed by steam-launch or Hakka boat accompanied by sampan, to Deep Bay, and if possible, anchor within a mile of Black Rock, au isolated granite boulder situated at a slight elevation on the northern shore of the Pay. Having partaken of a hearty breakfast and made the necessary arrangements for tiffin, departure rendezvous, &c, get ashore and strike inland, when, at a short distance you will perceive a clump of trees with one specially large banyan tree in the fore-front. Immediately in the neighbourhood of these trees is a bit of marshy ground overgrown with rushes where snipe in particular abound. This patch should occupy the attention of several guns for some time.


The direction is now easterly along the shore of the bay until around Sha-Tao there are many such corners of interest including two small lagoons. Continuing on to Shekkha we have to pass quite a number of villages surrounded by plantations of lichee trees and bamboo canes. Pigeons here are very plentiful and remain so in the shooting from village to village all the way up to the market twon of Sham-Chun. As it is not proposed to go further than this market town, to retrace our steps we can decide upon either bank of the river, north or south, as our sampan should be about a mile from the entrance to take us on board the launch or Hakka boat to dine and sleep. The next morning can be devoted to such ground as has yielded the best results the previous day, with a trip through Kam-Tin-Ho and the Pat Heung valley, or the Telegraph-pass route, to arrive at Tsin Wan by evening. If this, with the climb, is too much, take the direction to Castle Peak, all nearly level country, and having sent she steam launch and boat round you should meet them about 5 o'clock in the evening.

PROGRAMME No. 8.To Mirs Bay.


MirsBay, or more properly Inner Mirs Bay, Tolo Harbour is formed by an arm of the sea entering the land in a south-westerly direction from the outer or Mirs Bay proper.

The direct opposite to Deep Bay which is one vast expanse of shallow water, Inner Mirs Bay is approached by a narrow strait about five miles in length leading to a continuation of inlets and narrow channels with deep water in almost every direction. As a place for sport it is limited to ducks and geese with a few snipe and curlew, the villages and hills furnishing pigeons and partridges. Little is attempted at Mirs Bay in the early season and it is generally about China New Year in the mouths of January and February that much attention is given to the' place. As a health resort for a thorough change it is considered good, the scenery and general surroundings differing much from Hongkong,


A three or four days or even a week's trip with a party of four or five can be made very enjoyable. Preliminary arrangements should be as follows', having a due regard for the commissariat. Two days before a start is contemplated engage a large sized Hakka boat, with a full complement of a crew, and let them set sail early in the morning with all the heavy gear, bedding, provisions, &c., on board, bound for Sha-tin by the outside route which, according to the strength of the monsoon, will take them from 30 or 60 hours. Sometimes it is impossible to get round this is not very often, but then the boat will return in time to let the party know. Having arrived at her destination the boat will prepare for, and await the party by way of the gap at the back of Kowloon. Everything ready, a start should be made in the afternoon of the second or third day, leaving not later than 3 o'clock by steam launch to-Kowloon City, thence climb the hill and descend to the valley when you should arrive at the boat by 6 or 6.30 o'clock. There is little to be shot on the way so no time need be wasted.


Having reached the Hakka boat the first thing to do is to engage small boats like punts for the three or four days, according to the length of the trip. These boats should be in attendance the whole time from 5 o'clock in the morning. This being satisfactorily arranged, a wash, a good dinner and a cigar should prepare one for a good night's rest with pleasant anticipations. The next morning rise at 5 o'clock, coffee, &c, &c, and then to the small boats either singly or in couples— the boatmen know exactly where to go.


Mirs Bay contains a number of very pretty inlets many of them completely land locked. Plover Cove is very interesting as also Starling Inlet the most northern arm of the bay, approached by crossing the peninsula from the head of a creek on the northern shore of Plover Cove, about one hour's walk.


As suggested before, several days can be pleasantly spent in these waters, it is therefore not necessary to go into further details of the programme. Any likely looking places ashore might be tried especially if dogs are available, as in season pheasants are known to haunt the covers all round the bay. The time being up a return can be made by the outside passage if preferred and the weather is not too rough, otherwise a climb over the hill again is the alterative.

Very interesting map and information. 

I notice some of the place names are different to today's names.  Some must simply be a different transcription of the present Chinese names, but one stands out.  In the spot where Ngau Chi Wan (牛池灣) is today, the name of this map is called Ngau-shi-wan.  I do not know for sure what the 'shi' refers to, but the agrarian roots of many of these places leads me to think more of a toilet rather than a small bay by the harbour.


An interesting puzzle on Ngau Chi Wan:

The village was listed as 牛池灣 in the 1819 edition of the official San On County Chronicles (新安縣志); "chi 池" most probably referring to a pond.

Yet on the 1866 San-On-District Map (新安縣全圖), it was marked as Ngan(u)-shi-wan (牛屎灣). Yes, "ngau shi 牛屎", "shit of bull" (SORRY; not meant to be offending)..

So, which one is the real  original name of the  bay & the village?