Today, south of the High Island Reservoir is the 8.511km2 High Island, an “island” that could be accessed by foot and by boat. Prior to the establishment of the dams of the Reservoir, High Island used to be the largest and the fourth largest island of Sai Kung Port and Hong Kong respectively. The Chinese name of High Island translates literally to “the bay of a food-carrying vessel”. Legend has it that High Island used to be a pit stop for replenishment; another saying suggests the existence of a food-carrying vessel-making factory on the Island during the Qing dynasty.
A Hakka Chapter of the Island
High Island was home to four villages – the sea-facing Pak A, Tung A and Sha Kiu Village and, to their East, Pak Lap Village, a Hakka village of the Laus that dates back to 300 years ago. Although most of the inhabitants are traditional Hakkas that worship Chinese deities, they did not show hostility to the arrival of missionaries during the early 20th century and the subsequent construction of a Catholic chapel at Pak A Village. Most Hakkas fish and farm for a living, thus post-war urbanization has inevitably entailed relocations to either the city or European cities like France, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Belgium.
Beyond the Island Way of Life
Despite the abandonment, a closer look into the tranquil landscape reveals fruitful, and maybe painful, historical memories. The natural topography of this isle has attracted two very different groups – a relatively safe haven for the Hong Kong and Kowloon Independent Brigade to set up their defense base during the Japanese occupation and a picturesque backdrop for the film “The Magic Stone”, the first ever government-commissioned tourism promotion video starring actress Nancy Kwan.
Sai Kung Hoi Arts Festival 2023 to be held by end of this year is now inviting Hong Kong based creative talents including designers, architects and artists, etc. to create public artworks for Kau Sai Chau and High Island.
For details, please click here.
The online registration will be open from 2 Nov (Wed) 10am on a fortnightly basis, for the coming 2-4 weeks upon the system’s update. The registration schedule is as follows:
|Date Open for Registration||Newly Open Dates of the Programmes/Tours*|
|2 Nov (Wed)||16 Nov - 30 Nov|
|16 Nov (Wed)||1 Dec - 14 Dec|
|30 Nov (Wed)||15 Dec - 28 Dec|
|14 Dec (Wed)||29 Dec - 16 Jan|