Who has time for the crowds on Lamma Island or the scores of tourists on Cheung Chau, when there are tonnes of quieter (but just as stunning) islands to explore in the 852?
Some people never venture further than the New Territories, Kowloon, or Hong Kong Island. Some of us are a little more adventurous, and hit up places like Cheung Chau, or Lamma Island at the weekend. But there are more islands around Hong Kong than these famous few – and every one is worth travelling to. Make the most of whatever summer you have left – pack a lunch bag, slap on some sunscreen, and get exploring.
This island isn’t well-known so it’s not crowded with tourists as Cheung Chau and Lamma Island, making it an ideal retreat for those who want to get away from, well, everyone else wanted to get away from the crowds.
There are lots of historical buildings and relics that are still standing on the island to visit. Head to the main Tin Hau temple on the island and take a look at a stone tablet hidden in a corner that dates back to 1835. The stone bears a decree which says the government cannot take the locals’ boats. Historians think the government seized the boats to fight pirates.
If you’re a hiking fan, walk up to Finger Hill – it’s the highest point on the island, and you’ll get some great views.
This is one of the most southerly islands in Hong Kong, and only has a few small houses on it. The island is best known for producing seaweed, which is sold at the few restaurants and shops there. The seaweed is quite salty and gives an interesting twist to a normal bowl of instant noodles.
Po Toi Island is also famous for sweeping hills and stunning coastal walkways, which offer unobstructed views of the South China Sea. It’s also a popular spot for campers, who love the grass fields and wide-open spaces. The island is small, and can be thoroughly explored in just one day, and there are hiking trails for the energetic.
Tung Ping Chau
This island was once home to a village of more than 3,000 people, and its location made it ideal as a base for smuggling goods into the mainland. Tung Ping Chau is now largely uninhabited, and part of the Hong Kong Unesco Global Geopark for its coastline that features a variety of different and interesting rock formations. A coastal hiking path wends around the island, and makes for an easy couple of hours walk for those who wish to take in the many different shapes and sizes of coastal rock.
Tung Ping Chau is also a protected marine park, with snorkelling sites bursting with corals and sealife. If you’d rather not get into the water, explore the huge range of flora and fauna on land instead.
A word of warning: ferries only make the 100 minute trip to the island once in the morning and once in the evenings on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays, so if you miss the evening ferry, you’ll have to stay on the island until the next boat!
Ma Shi Chau
Most other islands require a ferry ride, but Ma Shi Chau can be reached on foot – it’s connected to Sam Mun Tsai (in the New Territories near Tai Po) by a small sand bank that appears during low tides.
The island is small, with a short, unpaved trail on the south coast, and the area is calm and quiet – making it another great place to get some down time.
Sam Mun Tsai is an attraction in itself, and photographers will enjoy the fishing village, so allow time to see this village. From there it’s a 30 minute walk to the sand bank. Alternatively, when the tide is high and the sandbank is flooded, take a ferry boat to the island.