Beaching in Hong Kong
The pros and cons
As the summers roll around, we are all starting to think about which are the best beaches to go to in Hong Kong. My friends and I like to be at the beach every weekend, and so occasionally we experiment and try out new places, but mostly we just keep going back to the old favourites because they are more convenient for us.
The things that make our beach visit good boils down to two criteria. Is it easy to get there ? and the most important factor above all else - is it easy to get home from there?
We have so many amazing beaches here where the sand is white and fine, the waves are perfect and there are great facilities and shops on hand. But all of these benefits quickly fade away the minute you are standing in the middle of the road, there are no taxis, people are lined up down the street to get on the one bus and Uber will not come on a single journey this far out. The sunburn hurts and you just want to get home.
Sometimes it’s a beach …
We’ve all experienced this and so here’s a look at the pros and cons of beaches on Hong Kong Island and off Hong Kong Island. If you are one of the very fortunate people who decided to make your home in Hong Kong buy buying or leasing at one of the beachside suburbs, I sincerely congratulate you. YOU will never need to go through these issues that the rest of us do. You can wake up, saunter down to the beach for a wake up swim, stop off at a café for a latte and croissant, head back home and maybe be back at the beach later in the day or take a surf, paddle board or walk the dog along the wave break. If you live on Hong Kong Island in Deep Water Bay, Repulse Bay, South Bay, Shouson Hill, Stanley, Shek O and Big Wave Bay, you’ll know what I mean. The weekly commute seems nothing when you have all this to look forward to on the weekends or days off.
But for the rest of us, who either take the escalator, bus, MTR, tram or walk to work, we have some big decisions about which beaches we like best. So let’s put transport at the top of the list. I’m going to say that catching a ferry is probably my best choice for convenience, and mental health. At the Central Piers there are ferries to Lamma, Lo So Shing, Mui Wo, Pui O, Chung Sha beach, Silvermine Bay, Cheung Chau, Peng Chau and Discovery Bay.
Thankfully these ferries will take us to our beach. We don’t mind the walk from the ferry at all, and apart from Pui O where we need to engage a further bus, we are all good. But the best part is, these same ferries will bring us back home in an orderly and relaxed fashion. Fast ferry or slower ferry options. No hassles, no disappointments and no desperate plea’s to pay over the odds to secure the one and only taxi. We can even take a nap on the way home.
Some of our favourites
Not wanting to give away too many of our beach secrets, probably the most exciting find last year has been Lo So Shing. It’s a 15ish minute walk from the ferry, through the village and across on the other side of Lamma. There are very few facilities here, so it’s always best to stop off in the village and hit up the shops for water and food. Above the surf club at the beach is a sort of shop but it doesn’t always open. The beach is peaceful and idyllic and you can have some privacy unlike the packed city beaches.
Cheung Chau is another of our best secret beach hangs. Not the main beach but the much smaller one which is a walk again past the first two beaches and continuing on. There you will find a good set up with a hire shop for chairs and umbrellas, cheap drinks - alcoholic and non, and surprisingly the best hot dogs and fish “n”chips around. There are shark nets out and a platform to swim out to. We’ve stayed well into the evening and caught a much later ferry home. Again, less crowded and well worth the effort.
On Lantau Island the beach at Poi O is an extra bus or taxi from the ferry terminal at Silvermine Bay (Moi O) and is a great day out if you have friends visiting. Here you will find some eateries, and camping equipment hire, and once boasting the surfside restaurant and bar Mavericks which is no longer operating but needless to say, another will open at this space this summer. You can also stay on the bus and go a little further (around 20 minutes) and get off and Cheung Sha Beach which has some excellent restaurants that have opened up in the past few years. Bathers is really popular and has the atmosphere of a chic upmarket mediterranean restaurant right on the beach and next door you will find LongIsland which is down to earth beach vibe. The Stoep a little further along is an institution in HK and has been operating for many years albeit at a new premises these days. The beach out the front of these eateries is long, with white sand and a very reasonable surf, however I tend to think of this area as a food destination as opposed to a beach destination. Silvermine Bay which is a five minute walk in the opposite direction when alighting from the ferry ( to the right) and is in itself an easy and quick destination to grab some drinks on the way as you walk thru the village to get to the Silvermine beach.
Make your own discoveries
Apart from the above beaches that my friends and I like, there are incredible beaches to explore even if a bit further out that require more than just one mode of transport outside of a ferry to and from. Clearwater Bay deserves a decent mention as it is continually voted one of the cleanest and best beaches in Hong Kong. From Central you take an MTR change trains, and then when you arrive at Huang Hau station, you will then need to catch either a taxi or a bus. From Sai Kung boat jetty you can take a further boat out to Tai Tan, which offers a campsite and equipment hire (tents and beds) for overnight stays.
Given that Hong Kong is made up of over 260 islands it’s no wonder that we have so many incredibly beautiful beaches to choose from. Many of these are deserted islands and can only be accessed by boat. What fun to hire a boat and go off to your own deserted beach.