When my friend in Hong Kong invited me out on a junk, I agreed, despite not really know what a junk was.
Turns out a junk is a traditional Chinese wooden boat, and many locals own modernised, recreational versions of junk ships. On weekends, locals typically grab a bunch of friends, food, and drinks, and head out for a day on the water.
I’m told not many tourists get the chance to go out on junks, mostly because you have to know a local to be invited onto a private one, or because to rent one requires a large group of people (15+) to offset the cost, so I know that I was really fortunate to be invited out on my friend’s friend’s junk on my last weekend in Hong Kong.
We set off from Sai Kung, in the eastern bit of Hong Kong, and made our way not far to a lovely calm bay, where a few other junks had nestled in the sun. Kids were playing in the water, and a group from another junk had made their way to the beach for some Aussie rules football.
There were about fifteen or so of us, mostly expats, and we spent the day enjoying each others’ company – sharing stories, sipping drinks (some lovely person made Pimms), and eating a delicious feast that included Filipino spring rolls (made by Filipino expats) and a Danish dream cake (made by Danish expats) that I still dream about (mmmm that coconut top layer had me coming back for seconds!).
Amongst our group was the fascinating Charlie Frew, who recently finished a trans-Eurasian expedition from Hong Kong to Portugal. We were totally drawn in by his tales from the road, including the immense amount of preparation required and the dangers he faced along the way.
I must say, spending our Saturday out on a junk off Hong Kong was one of the most memorable local experiences I had. Even though I was surrounded by expats, these guys are locals, many of them having spent decades in Hong Kong. I’m so thankful to have been invited into their world, if only for a day, to see the other side of Hong Kong – the side of lush green mountains, glittering inlets, and sandy beaches.
To (heavily) paraphrase my favourite SNL songsters, The Lonely Island:
I was on a junk…and I’ll never forget.
A huge thank you to my friend, S, and her wonderful husband and friends for inviting me out for the day! xxxxx