Fireflies are small insects that produce light in the dark. Their abdomens light
up in a greenish yellow light, making them easy to spot in the dark. Their flashing
lights are rather spectacular, and can be remarkably bright, lighting up their
immediate surroundings when sitting on a branch.
In Hong Kong there are about 20 species of fireflies, many which can be found in Tai
Po Kau. Another key habitat for fireflies is the mangrove areas, as can be found at
Mai Po in Yuen Long. In general fireflies like a wet, watery environment with trees and
lots of rotting wood. This describes the area of Tai Po Kau perfectly, which is why
there are so many of these fireflies there.
The main season for fireflies runs from March until November, with May to August
the high season. Different species shine their lights in different periods, depending
on their life cycles.
As it is really hard to make photos in the dark, the best I can give you for an
impression of how it looks is this YouTube video:
This you really have to go see for yourself, photos don't do it justice. And
it's too dark for proper photos anyway!
On the way out we'll walk by a stone wall, which is home to a large number of
scorpions. These little critters can be found easily by shining a UV light on them,
as their outer shell is strongly fluorescent. They shine up brightly against the
dark rocks; when shining a white light on them they're almost impossible to see,
that's how good their camouflage is! The effects of the UV light does make the colours
look a bit creepy... the real colour of the scorpion is dark brown.
This tour is suitable for most children, please judge your child's abilities
carefully. It is late at night and involves almost 2 1/2 hours walking, making it
generally OK for children from 8-9 years old, though some younger children will
have no problem with it either - I've done this tour with children of all ages.
An extra afternoon nap may be a good idea.
- The Saturday itinerary is given here; Friday's tour is two hours later.
- 17:45-18:00 meet up at Tai Po Market MTR station.
- Take minibus to the entrance of the nature reserve (about 10 minutes).
- The start of the route is steep up - hear how the sounds of the forest
change as it gets darker! Sunset is around 19:00, which is when the fireflies
- Walk around the nature reserve, following the river to look at the fireflies.
- About 21:00 return to the exit of Tai Po Kau nature reserve.
This is a mostly easy going walk of about 4.5 km, with limited height differences.
Bring a torch and mosquito repellant.
Fee per person: HK$ 130, children 4-12: $90.
From the end point, you may take KMB routes 72, 72A, 73A and 74A, GMB route 28K
(Tai Po Market MTR - Fo Tan MTR - Sha Tin), or red minibuses to Sheung Shui,
Cheung Sha Wan, Mong Kok, Wan Chai or Causeway Bay.