Beaches to beat the crowds
Andrea Yu finds stretches of sand in Hong Kong where you can work on your tan lines well away from the weekend hordes
Hong Kong coasts are dotted with beautiful beaches. But when the weekend is here and the sun is out, everyone beelines for the same sandy spots (Repulse Bay, Shek O, you know the deal…). So, without getting too far off the map and out of protective shark net and lifeguard territory, we pick the best beaches where you can get some peace and quiet.
Tong Fuk Lantau
Trek past the moderately popular Cheung Sha Beach and you’ll be rewarded with the comparatively quieter stretch of sands at Tong Fuk beach. Located in a small village town of the same name, the beach is rarely packed, meaning you’ll find a nice spot on the sand even on summer weekends. For a post-swim pint and slice, head to The Gallery Bar, which is just across the road from the beach. To get here from Tung Chung it’s a 20-minute bus ride on the Tai O route – just ask the driver to stop at Tong Fuk and wait for them to announce the stop.
Turtle Cove Hong Kong Island
For those of you with New Territories-itis, there’s a little gem on the south side of the island that is a great getaway from the usual island beach crowds. Turtle Cove is a small beach set at the foot of a short and steep hill. Note that there are no kiosks here so buy drinks and snacks ahead of time. Better yet – bring some food to throw on the barbie as there are free facilities available here. Turtle Cove is easily accessible by bus from Sai Wan Ho but the entrance can be a bit tricky to find – look for a small blue sign just past the bus stop by a set of concrete steps leading downhill and you’re nearly there.
Long Ke Sai Kung
The Tai Long Wan group of beaches on the east side of Sai Kung have long been hailed as Hong Kong’s best. But despite being a pain to get to (a one-hour hike or pricey speedboat), it can still get busy – especially on long weekends. But just to the south is an equally pristine bay that is much more secluded. You’ll get the same silky white sands and crystal clear waters as Tai Long Wan but without the camping crowds. Note that there aren’t any shops or lifeguards here so pack well in advance and take caution when swimming. To get here, take a cab to the east dam of the High Island Reservoir and hike for 45 minutes over a hill then down a steep path to Long Ke. The path has little cover from the sun so bring a hat, umbrella and plenty of sunscreen and water.
Lo So Shing Lamma
Lamma’s eternally popular Hung Shing Ye beach is packed on warm weekends. So from Central, hop on a ferry to the Sok Kwu Wan pier and walk an easy 20 minutes to Lo So Shing. Plenty of trees provide much-needed shade on sunny days, but watch out for branches littered in the sand. Plan your visit to stay until late afternoon to enjoy a beautiful sunset on Lamma’s east coast.
Italian Beach (Pak Tso Wan) Cheung Chau
The island’s neighbouring Kwun Yam and Tung Wan beaches are narrow stretches that fill up quickly. But a 40-minute walk from the main ferry pier takes you to this small and secluded beach that’s rarely occupied – even on public holidays. Note that this beach is not gazetted (there’re no shark nets or lifeguards on duty) so enjoy the remote expanse with caution. To get here from the ferry pier, walk south along the harbour and look for an uphill path just before the Sai Wan pier. From here, head along the Family Walk until you see signs for Pak Tso Wan just before the cemetery.
Photo caption: The secluded sands of Long Ke, Sai Kung