For me, there are only two famous landmarks in Hong Kong. The first one is Victoria Harbour that far extends to the Peak and the other one is the famous Aberdeen junks! These I had been to yes but most reminiscing was the moment I rode the famous junk in Hong Kong, right in the heart of where history was said happened, in the Aberdeen port. The name of the old Hong Kong is Hong Kong; but Aberdeen which is south of Hong Kong island was also referred to, by mistake as Hong Kong by westerners who visited the southern island. Hong Kong in Aberdeen is not what it is widely known today, it is Aberdeen! Riding junk at Aberdeen just freshen up my brass on history and perhaps even to diplomacy which I pursued with much interests since I left my university armed with a graduate program in Foreign Service.
While everyone refers to Hong Kong as Hong Kong, which is politically and diplomatically correct to say the least, its history is impressive. Since time immemorial, the people in Hong Kong relied heavily on salt, pearl and fishery, a trade very much akin to the water and the seas. It was in 1845 that the place is called Aberdeen named after 4th Earl of Aberdeen. If you heard about a place called Heung Kong Tsai (translated as Hong Kong Minor), you are heading to the Aberdeen harbour.
What one sees on the Aberdeen nowadays aside from of course, their world-famous junks are the Jumbo Floating Restaurant, the floating village as well as the typhoon shelter used by the native Tanka people in Hong Kong. My first must-do in Hong Kong is definitely taking a ride on the junks of Aberdeen and relived the jewel of China in Hong Kong and how life was in the past though I now live in the present. This port is also made famous by Hollywood movies shoot on location in Hong Kong.
The junk in Aberdeen refers to the boat which traditionally has played crucial role in the fishing community of Aberdeen Island. Nowadays, modernity spells farther the use of the junk in Hong Kong, to include among others, ships and small canoes that traverse the waters off Victoria Harbour and to other beautiful islands in the territory. The beginning of the junk ships dated back to the years of the Cromagnon cave paintings in Indo-china manifested early records of these floating vessels. Developed during the Han dynasty, the junk was widely used from the 2nd century AD until today. This unparalleled history of Hong Kong is what made it more impressively surreal and I loved it.
My experience was impressively rewarding for I not only took the ride of a lifetime, I took the memory gathered of the richness of the living culture and the heritage of what is now famously called Aberdeen Harbour. It is through which also that I came across my own appreciated crash course on the history of Hong Kong and how it gained prominence since then until now. The Aberdeen junk is not after all a junk throughout but an experience befitting a visitor. The ride took me only around 20minutes around the Aberdeen harbour, crisscrossing smaller and bigger junks anchored safely at the harbour. I appreciated how clean the waters of Hong Kong, which I cannot help but compare to those I found on Manila Harbour. The stark realities pointed to me when the green defines cleanliness while the black and murky defines gaudiness.
How to get there:
- Alight at the MTR Central Station then follow your exit to Exit D
- From the MTR Central Station, take buses with these codes: 6, 6A or 6X
- From the Aberdeen Harbour, you can choose to take on the junks for a ride costing HK$40 each passenger.