If you’ve ever taken the Sok Kwu Wan ferry to Lamma Island from Central, you might have seen a beautiful waterfall, near Cyberport on Hong Kong Island, flowing into the sea. That gushing stream of water is Waterfall Bay, sometimes referred to as “Pok Fu Lam Waterfall” or “Wah Fu Waterfall”.
Waterfall Bay is one of the few waterfalls in Hong Kong that is incredibly easy to reach, if not the easiest. It is located in Pok Fu Lam, between Wah Fu Estate and the residential complex of Bel-Air in Cyberport, and can be accessed from the steps inside Waterfall Bay Park.
How to get to Waterfall Bay
The easiest way to reach Waterfall Bay is first to make your way to Wah Fu Estate. Depending on your location, you should be able to find a bus to Wah Fu Estate easily.
Most buses will drop you off at Wah Fu Road or Wah King Street. Depending on where you get off, make your way to Tung Wah Group of Hospitals Tsui Tsin Tong School, on Waterfall Bay Road.
Just past the school is the entrance to Waterfall Bay Park. Alternatively, you could take a taxi to the park.
Waterfall Bay Park
Turn right as you enter the park and walk down the path till it splits into two. Take the path on the left that goes down towards the steps.
You’ll soon arrive at a blue gate that’s locked. But that shouldn’t deter you. Simply hop over the rail, and walk along the side. Be careful of the pointy blue arrows as you skirt around the gate and down the steps to the waterfall.
Other than jumping over the rail, that’s how easy it is to reach Waterfall Bay!
Depending on the time of the year you visit the waterfall, it could be a gushing force or a gentle stream.
However, as tempting as it may be, it’s highly advisable to not swim in the pool below the water. Also, it’s best to visit Waterfall Bay during low tide. During high tide, the sea can come up to the steps.
Today, Waterfall Bay is a relatively popular spot for those who like to picnic on its rocky shores or simply visit it for its scenic beauty. Technically, it’s also the closest beach to Cyberport.
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But there’s a lot more history and significance to the waterfall than meets the eye.
History of Waterfall Bay
The first record of Waterfall Bay was a note on a British navigational map from 1740. The first mention of the waterfall was in Dr Clark Abel’s “Narrative of a Journey to China”, written in 1817. And the first mention of the waterfall in Chinese was by Wang Chongxi in 1819.
Records aside, the waterfall by the sea was apparently well known by sailors and pirates. They often took advantage of the waterfall to restock fresh water on their vessels.
Unfortunately, in 1863 the source of the waterfall was dammed behind what is now Pok Fu Lam Reservoir. This greatly reduced the flow of the waterfall into the sea. I can’t even imagine how beautiful the waterfall must have looked before its source was dammed!
During World War II, the British army utilised the bay’s strategic location overlooking the Lamma Channel. They built a pillbox (named Pillbox 6) and a searchlight (known as Lyon Light) which today lie in ruins.
The significance of Waterfall Bay
The significance of Waterfall Bay extends beyond its role in history.
The freshwater from the waterfall is said to have given the city its name. Hong Kong’s Cantonese name 香港 (Heung Gong), literally “fragrant harbour”, is attributed to the fresh water that flowed into Waterfall Bay.
The name was originally attributed to Aberdeen Harbour by fishermen who worked in the southern part of Hong Kong Island. However, as more and more sailors stopped by the waterfall to restock their freshwater supply, the city developed a reputation as a source of an abundant supply of drinking water. And the name that was derived from the waterfall was applied to the entire island and, what is today, Victoria Harbour.
And up until recently, Waterfall Bay was also synonymous with its collection of religious figurines. There were hundreds of statues of gods from many religions.
Apparently, these figurines were the collection of a single individual. As it is against religious beliefs to throw away broken figurines, this person collected the broken figurines from all over the city and built a shrine next to the waterfall.
Unfortunately, the last time I visited Waterfall Bay, the shrine was not there. It could have been moved elsewhere.
A significant waterfall
There’s so much more to Waterfall Bay than what meets the eye.
On the surface, it’s a beautiful waterfall located within walking distance from a residential neighbourhood. It’s a great spot to relax, enjoy the views, or take a walk. There’s even a relic to see from World War II.
But as we’ve seen, there’s also a great amount of historical and cultural significance associated with the waterfall.
We hope you enjoyed this post about Waterfall Bay and learned something from it. As always, feel free to leave us a comment below or share this post on the social media channel of your choice.