Ma Shi Chau (Horse Manure Island) is situated in Tolo Harbour, a sheltered harbour in northeast New Territories of Hong Kong.
Ma Shi Chau is one of Hong Kong’s special geological sites. The area is made up of sedimentary rocks formed in the Permian, some 280 million years ago.
Ma Shi Chau was a protected special area designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest.
This is more of an educational tour than a hike, an easy stroll on historical islands which is a good warm-up for the start of Hong Kong’s hiking season.
We met at a coffee shop near Tai Po Market MTR Station and took a bus to Sam Mun Tsai New Village, a serene fishing village.
Sam Mun Tsai fishing village is located in the north of Yim Tin Tsai (Little Salt Field), an island connected to the island of Ma Shi Chau in the east by a tombolo that is only accessible when the tide is low.
We walked through the village to catch a glimpse of life of the fishermen, checked out the geoheritage centre and exhibition gallery featuring different fishing practices, fishing tools, traditional religious beliefs and customs.
We then hiked Yim Tin Tsai, and from the top of a hill on this “cemetery” island, we have magnificent views of Ma On Shan, Tai Mo Shan, Plover Cove and the Pat Sin Leng range.
We hiked down on the eastern side of Yim Tin Tsai, to a tombolo, a narrow strip of land connecting Yim Tin Tsai to Ma Shi Chau.
Ma Shi Chau nature trail runs along the southeastern shore of the island. This special area consists of some oldest rocks in Hong Kong and is rich in geological and geomorphological features such as folding, faults, unconformities and wave-cut platforms. Some parts of the trail are submerged at high tide, so check the tide times before setting off.
A walk on the island of Ma Shi Chau is a trip back in time.