Following on from the deserted village, there is another side to Ma Wan. As part of the urban development, a park was created on the island for the benefit of everyone along with a ‘tourist attraction’ (I use the term loosely) called Noah’s Ark.
I didn’t take any photos of the ark, but it really is a life sized replica of the fabled ark Noah built in the bible. The top floor is a hostel while the rest is part of an attraction dedicated to the story of Noah’s ark. We didn’t go into the ‘tourist attraction’ side of the ark; my kids might like people dressed as Disney characters but they really aren’t amused by fake animals standing dull and lifeless in front of a giant boat. Besides which, Ma Wan had so much more for them to see and do that we simply didn’t have time.
While on the topic of Noah’s Ark, we stayed at the hostel and I have to say I was very impressed. Rooms sleep up to 8 people in bunks with 2 bathrooms for each 8 bed room. It was comfy and functional and very reasonably priced. The breakfast wasn’t very flash, but given the tag ‘hostel’ the fact we got any breakfast at all was somewhat of a bargain. The room service for dinner was very impressive – I would rate it as good as a 3 star hotel. So if you are going to Ma Wan, consider staying overnight.
Check it out! How cool does that bridge look at night?
Unfortunately my proper camera ran out of battery and ditzy me didn’t pack the charger so I wasn’t able to do the view justice. This picture is taken with my iPhone, which sadly doesn’t do so well with night shots.
Ma Wan Park is directly opposite Noah’s Ark and free for the general public to explore most days.
We had joined a group from the kids school to take part in some organised activities within the park. This gave us exclusive access to an area called the Adventure Park. It was a large confidence course with various challenges for the children (and adults) to overcome. There was balance, endurance, strength, and height activities.
Mitchell’s initial apprehension quickly disappeared as he realised he could climb through netting like a monkey. His self-confidence was immediately boosted and we ended up having to drag him away from the net climbing components of the course when the day was done as he couldn’t get enough of going through it again and again teasing us from overhead with his laughter.
Unfortunately at the moment this area is only offered with Cantonese instruction – fine for us because when the kids didn’t understand the guide daddy was there to translate, but a shame not everyone can enjoy this area like we did.
The rest of the park is a mish-mash of more modern gardens designed to stimulate curiosity and conversation. There were areas perfect for that magical wedding, terraces full of stone garden creatures, interesting artwork combined within the gardens and a seemingly out of place Australian garden area complete with topiary kangaroos.
As odd as it sounds, the whole park was one of intrigue to explore and we enjoyed walking the trails discovering the oddities within the green foliage. The kids even got to see some of the wildlife in their wanders (like real live geckos) to add to the interest. I’m lucky my sprogs are so naturally curious that they love the chance to explore and inquire in locations like this so for us, parks are always a fun experience. One thing I should point out is that there aren’t any playgrounds in this park – it is gardens, and while there are elevated walkways through the park I wouldn’t take a stroller up the tracks.
The best spot in the park was at the summit of the hill in the middle of the gardens where a giant sculpture (it’s a bird, but you can only see that from the sky) fans out.
The view of Lantau is stunning. We were fortunate enough to be there at sunset to take full advantage of the beautiful view. If planes are leaving in the right direction you can even get a shot of them taking off above the sunset like I did (although once again this is only an iPhone photo).
Park Island (Ma Wan) is worth the ferry ride for a day of exploration. To get there catch the ferry from Central Pier #2 to Park Island. Ferries depart every 15 minutes to 1/2 hour depending on the time of day and the island is only 20 minutes away from Hong Kong Island.