I have always thought that Hong Kong was just city life and concrete jungle. I never knew that residents escape from the hectic financial capital to unwind especially during the weekends. But where to? Well, my friends Chris and Jane introduced me to Lamma Island :-)
Lamma Island is the third largest island of HK, after Lantau Island and Hong Kong Island. The island consists of the northern village (Yung Shue Wan), the eastern village (Sok Kwu Wan) and traditional fishing villages. Access to other parts of Lamma is by hiking or fishing boats.
The main attraction of Lamma is the abundance of nature and scenery. There are beaches and hiking trails. The atmosphere on the island is laid-back and peaceful, a complete opposite to the stressful pace and expensive cost of living in the city. The buildings are less than 3 storeys high and vehicles are nowhere to be found except bicycles and compact trucks which are mainly to transport materials or rubbish.
When I contacted my friend Chris who is from New Zealand, and currently living and working in HK, firstly, he was happy that I was coming over because we were former colleagues in my previous company in Kuala Lumpur, and it has been a while since we last met. Secondly, he asked if I would be interested to join him and his Australian partner, Jane, for a walking trail in Lamma Island. I was intrigued but wasn’t sure if he meant just walking or hiking up mountains because I know that both of them are avid hikers…and they hike up treacherous trails! Chris reassured me that the walking trail is on paved road. I said, ahhh, ok, count me in!
Our meeting point was Central MTR Station, and we took a 20-minute ferry ride from Central to Lamma Island’s main village, Yung Shue Wan. While on the ferry, I could have taken in views of Victoria Harbour but I didn’t because the 3 of us were busy chit-chatting. It has been 3 or 4 years, I think, since we last met, so there was a lot of yak-yak-yak enroute to the island :-)
The walking trail starts at Yung Shue Wan’s Main Street lined with restaurants, shops and fruits and vegetables stalls. Walk along Main Street and head towards Hung Shing Ye Beach. I was told that the beach is rather popular during the summer months. Walk past the bathrooms to the end of the beach, continue up the hill and follow signs to Sok Kwu Wan. The 1-hour walking trail takes you up and over the island’s mountainous terrain along the coast. The hike is not difficult at all, in fact, many families go on this walking trail too and some also walk their dogs here. The reward for this 14km hike is the beautiful greenery and coast overlooking the South China Sea, and clean air.
The walking trail ends at Sok Kwu Wan, and the best reward I reckon is a meal at one of their seafood restaurants. Chris and Jane brought me to Tai Yuen Seafood Restaurant, and the first thing we ordered was a bottle of beer! Shortly after, we ordered more beer, bamboo clams, calamari, steamed fish, Chinese broccoli (kai-lan) and fried rice. Wish I could show you pictures of the food but I’m not for one who take photos of food. Sorry, folks! :-)
Once we were done with our meal, we could have taken a ferry from Sok Kwu Wan back to HK but I wanted to take some photos of Main Street, so we walked the same trail back to Yung Shue Wan. There is no direct ferry from Yung Shue Wan to Sok Kwu Wan, so you have to hike up and down the mountainous terrain to get to the seafood restaurants. However, if seafood is your main objective, then the alternative is to skip the hike and take the ferry direct from HK to Sok Kwu Wan.
When we reached Main Street, it was already dusk. We met Chris and Jane’s friends at a steak restaurant where we drank more beer and enjoyed the cool air (it was delightfully 16C) until 7pm-ish to catch the ferry back to HK.
Lamma Island is a world away, such a vast difference from HK. If you would like to experience the walking trails on Lamma, wear a good pair of walking shoes, slap on sun screen and bring a bottle of water. Also, it’s best to experience the island early in the day or during the week as this popular destination fills up over the weekends.
If you missed the previous post on HK, please click on Hong Kong: Second Time’s A Charm