Yesterday we went to the abandoned island of Yim Tin Tsai with Adam and Brodie after a spontaneous decision from the night before, and it was the best idea! We took a bus there and reached the island on a really traditional boat, with locals and visitors both. On the boat ride there, there was a local man who started talking to us and it just turns out that he was actually born on the island many many years ago. I was so surprised, I mean what are the odds of going to an abandoned island and meeting someone who lived there for their entire childhood. We later spoke to him and he told us all about his childhood, why his family left the island, and how well he was done for himself. He’s travelled all over the world and his children are now doctors. He comes back every year to the island and to his house. The stories we heard we priceless.
When we got to the island we walked around and explores. There were not many people and it was so peaceful. I decided to go and pose in the hollow of a tree, only then to be yelled at by a local lady because it was the house of a dog haha oops:P We saw all the abandoned homes and walked around. Then we reached the exhibition room, where there was over 2000 years of local heritage of the people that once lived on the island. It was amazing to see all of it.
The original habitants of the island made their money through salt productions in the pans, however, it became too expensive and did not generate enough income for the islanders. Thus, slowly people began to leave the island to look for better economic and educational prospects in Hong Kong. The salt production unfortunately disappeared for over a 100 years, however, passionate workers, the Church and donators worked together to rebuild an experimental salt pan for the visitors.
We walked around for ages and saw the houses and the school, the local well and so much more. We also hiked up to the pavilion to see the aesthetic surroundings of the island and it was truly so beautiful. The abandoned island has so much history and character and definitely an amazing place to visit for tourists.
I feel so lucky to have gone to this island and seen all it has to offer. But even more so, to be able to speak to a local who lived on the island and listen to all his stories about his childhood and his memories of the place. It was the best day!