Sunday, 10 January 2021

from the archives: luk wu ravine

When I worked as an instructor at Hong Kong’s Outward Bound School between 1974 and 1978, I probably walked along every path in the Sai Kung Peninsula, the school’s main area for land-based activities. I certainly climbed all the mountains—several times. However, one feature of the area that I missed was a narrow ravine carved by a stream that flows into the sea at the eastern end of the peninsula.

When I returned to the school in 1981 as program director, I happened to be walking along a particular mountain path when it occurred to me that the valley that was down to my right was unusually deep, and perhaps it would be worth taking a closer look. I was so impressed with what I found that I decided that a traverse of the ravine would be included in future course programs.

I should point out that there is nothing difficult here, except when the stream is in spate, when it becomes extremely dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing. In fact, I had two experiences of this kind while guiding groups of students through the ravine, which I named after a long-abandoned village a short distance downstream.
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Paula and I lived in the village of Sai Keng, in the Sai Kung area, between 2006 and 2008, and I’d been looking through the photographs that I took during this period when I came across a series of photos of a visit to Luk Wu Ravine, which seems to have become something of a tourist attraction in recent years (it’s marked on Google Maps, albeit in the wrong place). However, we had the place to ourselves on this occasion.

The first two photos show the unremarkable start:
You can scramble up these rocks almost anywhere (the second photo was taken near the top).

However, the sides of the ravine soon begin to close in:
The next photo is a view looking downstream of the section depicted in the previous two photos. It includes the rock pool directly below the waterfall you can see in those photos:
This is a photo of Paula sitting beside the next rock pool:
The route then becomes much steeper, although it still isn’t difficult:
It leads to yet another waterfall and rock pool:
If you fancy a swim, then this is the pool in which to do so, although be warned that the water is bloody cold, even in summer:
The next waterfall and pool seem quite nondescript compared with what has gone before:
…while the next waterfall features the biggest drop of any in the ravine:
I recall one occasion while guiding students through the ravine. As we approached this waterfall, I couldn’t help but notice that there appeared to be a sudden increase in the flow of water over the fall. It was a flash flood, and several students became trapped on an island at a point where the usual route crosses the stream as the trickle became a torrent. However, this is why I’d specified that all parties traversing the ravine must carry ropes. We were able to extricate the trapped students from their predicament without too much difficulty (I used ‘we’ here because another of my requirements was that all groups tackling the ravine be guided by two instructors).

The final waterfall is the only one that actually requires some climbing, although it isn’t hard. The only difficulty here is in avoiding getting your feet wet as you step across the waterfall:
These photos were taken on Christmas Day 2006, and we haven’t been back since. It’s probably about time we did.


  1. it CERTAINLY is a place that can take your mind and worry off while you can totally immerse to the beautiful nature and challenge!!!!!

    1. What challenge? It’s certainly fun, but it isn’t difficult!


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