Hiking the Fragrant Harbor

Initial views of the Fragrant Harbour leave me pretty astounded.


A view of Lantau Island, Hong Kong’s largest island.


Dragon’s Back hike on a clear but smoggy day.


I admittedly applied to the Chinese University of Hong Kong with only the glittering metropolis, food adventures and impressive skyline in mind back in September. I wasn’t much of a hiker back in Texas (especially in what can only be described as tortuous heat), but upon landing in Hong Kong, I was immediately ambushed by a host of Europeans who eagerly pushed for a group hiking trip. I shrugged, pulled on my (running, not hiking) Asics and decided to see what Hong Kong’s wilder areas had to offer.

I soon learned that Hong Kong is comprised of over 200 islands and has developed only about 25% of that available landmass (explaining why the city has the world’s greatest population density). A great deal of Hong Kong’s terrain is hilly and mountain slopes can be very steep, but also yield incredible views of the natural harbors, coastlines and undisturbed wildlife that are unique to a country mostly known for its economic prowess.


Dragon’s Back Hike – often referred to as the ‘best urban hike in Asia’


CUHK exchange students take Dragon’s Back.


Big Wave Beach at the end of Dragon’s Back hike, where surfers and boarders gather year-round.


Seen at Kam Shan Country Park, which is colloquially referred to as “Monkey Mountain” because of these bold little guys. One of them snatched a bag of chips and a cup of Coke out of our hands.

But my favorite part?

The accessibility of the trails to all skill levels and ages. On every trail and mountain, I’ve been overtaken impatiently by veteran hikers, passed stooped old ladies with walking sticks, and helped toddlers stand back up after a trip. Hiking takes us through coastlines, vegetation, different terrains and really allows us (as international students and foreigners) experience and see where we are living and learning, which I’ve come to think is pretty special.

Onto the next peak, valley or trail!


I’m standing on one of the peaks of Ma On Shan, which offers a beautiful view of Hong Kong’s northwest areas.



Made it to Singapore-Brandon Tahamtan

Hello fellow Longhorns,

Made it to Singapore the morning of the 9th at about 2am. The 27 hour flight was really long, but uneventful. My recommendation for future study abroad students is to choose an aisle seat. It allows you to stretch your feet and is also a good location to be if you want to exchange seats with someone (most people changed seats on my flight if someone offered an aisle seat). I took a cab to PGP dormitory for about 30 Singapore Dollars and did early check in (about 30 Singapore dollars for 3-4 days). I’ve been exploring different areas and trying out new foods. I purchased a sim card at a nearby mall. However, you can do so at the convenience store near UTown dormitory. UTown has great food and is a great location to be at as well (though it is a bit farther out from the business school than PGP). Most exchange students stay at UTown or PGP. Meals at UTown are around 4 Singapore dollars and drinks are sold separately. Everyone here is extremely friendly and exchange students connect through facebook to explore the surrounding area.  I’ll be posting some pictures of the area and different foods in the near future.

Until Next Time,

Brandon Tahamtan