A few months ago I was sat on the Airport Express bus going home. Crossing Tsing Yi Bridge I looked down and saw, tucked away on the side of what looked like a small, but pretty affluent island, an abandoned village. I wanted to go there!
Social media to the rescue! Took a picture, asked where it was & how to get there…
A few minutes later I found it turns out, very easily. The small island of less than 1km2 was Ma Wan, also now known as Park Island. On a ferry from Central Pier 2 it takes 30 mins to get there. (Note: the ferries are pretty infrequent – once an hour Sat/Sun. You can also get them from Tseun Wan.)
So with a new tattoo healing forcing me to stay out the sea it was the perfect time to go check it out.
Originally a fishing village first inhabited around 250 years ago, it grew to become home to a few thousand families in the 80s, but the number then dwindled to around 800 in 2000, before the government forced evictions in 2011, offering new housing on another part of the island.
Why? Because of the development of the Park Island Apartment complex. Completed in 2006, with 5000 homes, presently these evictions appear to be totally unnecessary. I imagine its for a future expansion, especially with a seafront location.
According to my sources (online…) it was a popular place to visit purely to eat at the Seafood restaurants. There is still a small fishing community there, with a few (illegal) residents, but that’s about all there is to say about it, aside from its very, very cool to walk around!
The structure of the village and the actual houses are still very much in tact, just overgrown with lush Hong Kong vegetation, and today, due to all the recent rains & typhoons, I was blessed with swarms of dragonflies too 💙 Broken windows, broken furniture; all the usual decrepit building interior design elements in there, as well as a lot of leftover cleaning products and appliances!
About a 10 minute walk from the ferry pier it’s just a great place to spend a couple of hours walking around. I brought a packed lunch (obviously) and sat looking out to the water, (and the huge dominating bridge..) enjoying the view and the breeze. (Not so much the disgusting pollution levels today.)
I passed two other groups of people walking around, as well as a couple of professional photoshoots. There just is something about exploring abandoned places that is so interesting, fun and aesthetically appealing. Nothing felt eerie about the village, and in a sense it seemed like a picture perfect, purpose built abandoned village, which of course it isn’t.
The photos inside the community centres had withstood the weather and time, and I assume many of those faces still live up the road.
Ma Wan is also home to ‘Noah’s Arc’, an evangelical Christian Theme Park. Not sure if the original plan in the bible was to take all the animals to safety near a huge bridge and one of the worlds busiest airports… looked a little out of place, but I suppose, where does a large biblical boat with giraffes outside fit in?