Hong Kong’s Best Outlying Island Adventures

Posted by RR

Many expats who came from across the globe arriving in Hong Kong
for the first time may initially think that the island is but a small territory
in southeastern China where urban lifestyles thrive in towering buildings.

Due to the hectic pace in most expats’ work lives, only a few have had the chance to explore the many outlying islands of Hong Kong which offer breathtaking views and unique local cultures. Apart from Hong Kong’s busy personality lies a gamut of natural wonders in its outlying islands where you can take a break, relax, enjoy, and perhaps find yourself.

Hong Kong may be the most populated island in the region, but the biggest one in terms of area would be Lantau which is almost twice the size of the former. Aside from Lantau and Hong Kong Island, there are over 250 more within the territory, each possessing unique traits.

Whether you’re looking to embark on a hiking adventure or just chill out on beautiful sandy beaches, AsiaXPAT is your trusted tour guide when it comes to the best outlying islands in Hong Kong.

Cheung Chau. Before you gently ease into Hong Kong’s more secluded islands, visiting Cheung Chau first may be a good idea as it is usually busy and filled with people. From the ferry terminal, you can immediately see many restaurants serving various fare as you get to the main street. The sights in this densely populated island are plenty and expats can have a heyday taking photos at the Cheung Po Tsai Cave, one of the island’s many historic structures and temples, or at the 3,000-year old-rock carving monument. Most expats flock to the island during its annual Tai Ping Ching Chiu or Bun Festival in April or May to observe traditional Chinese performances, competitions, and parades. Over at the southeast end of Cheung Chau lies the Mini Great Wall—a hiking route that offers fantastic coastal panoramas and natural rocks that are so uniquely shaped, that they will amaze you.

Peng Chau. So, you would now like to seek a quiet place after a tour of Cheung Chau. Head on over to Peng Chau on the northeastern coast of Lantau Island where sunsets are beautiful, and the views are spectacular. Immerse yourself in the island’s rich culture as ancient temples and hiking trails set the stage for a wonderful out-of-city experience. One supermarket caters to all visitors, and the way some shops harmonize with the absence of big crowds seems to bring you back in time when everything was simple and peaceful. Take a great landscape view of the island via Finger Hill, or hike to the hilltop pavilion for more incredible views of Hong Kong Disneyland and the Tsing Ma Bridge.

Middle Island. If you’re trying to look for an easy route to one of Hong Kong’s outlying islands, Middle Island is an excellent choice. In less than five minutes via boat and another ride aboard the sampan ferry at Deep Water Bay, you can immediately enjoy tranquility on its sandy beach as you watch yachts go by. Being a member of the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club grants you access to the island’s cozy al fresco restaurant from where the stress and the noise of the city rapidly recede.

Tap Mun. This 1.7-square kilometer island is home to some Hakka and Tanka ethnic groups. With green mounds inhabited by wild cows, Tap Mun is a calm sanctuary that was once the center for pirates who smuggled goods into Hong Kong. Nestled off the coast of Sai Kung Country Park, this outlying island is perfect for those who wish to camp, fly kites, or enjoy strolls along the hilltops. Three 18thcentury temples at the main village, plus the legendary King Lam School provide the island with great picture-perfect landmarks.

Tung Lung Chau. Climbers will get a kick out of the natural rock walls of Tung Lung Chau in Clearwater Bay. Professionals frequent the island where its Technical and Sea Gully Walls provide challenges as well as beautiful sights. Even non-climbers can enjoy various wild flora and fantastic views of the sea at the top of the hill. On your way there, marvel at Hong Kong’s oldest dragon rock, which many say is over 5,000 years old. Try Tung Lung Chau’s hiking trails or make camp northeast for an exciting island adventure.

Kat O. For expats who don’t mind distance over scenic features and a tranquil environment, the island of Kat O at the northeast part of Plover Cove Country Park is a quiet island that is rich with history. Visit the Kat O Geoheritage Centre and find interesting facts about its topography and traditions. A short path will present villages where hundreds of locals reside. You’ll pass by old temples, ancient halls, and rustic cannons on your way to the top of the pagoda where more magnificent sights await.

Yim Tin Tsai. Thrill-seeking expats should visit the semi-deserted island of Yim Tin Tsai, where nearly 1,000 salt farmers from Guangdong used to live. Most of its residents left in 1990 when the salt business collapsed, making the isle a virtual ghost town. Among visitors’ favorite spots are the Grade III listed St. Joseph Chapel, the Village Heritage Exhibition, and the somewhat creepy abandoned homes and fishponds around the trail. Take a well-deserved rest back at the pier where a Hakka kiosk is available.

Sharp Island. Located near Sai Kung, this 2.5-kilometer island is known for its natural land formation called tombolo which links it to the islet of Kiu Tau. Sharp Island is a haven for sand and sea enthusiasts with its two beautiful beaches, Hap Mun Bay and Kiu Tsui-- both offering great water sports activities and fantastic views. Get your kayaks and scuba gear ready because you’ll never run out of things to do at Sharp Island.

Po Toi. Some expats want to escape their busy city lives for a moment and simply experience life’s simplicity. Po Toi is an island just a few kilometers away from Hong Kong Island where there is no electricity or regular water supply, making it a perfect getaway. But even the lack of basic utilities can’t turn visitors from the island’s scenic and haunting surroundings. Only around 200 people remain on the island. Its main path provides an interesting walk as you pass the Po Toi lighthouse, natural rock sculptures such as the Tortoise Climbing Up The Mountain, Coffin Rock, and Buddha Hand Rock, among others. And if you want to test your imagination’s limits, take the spooky detour to Mo’s Old House near the village, which, according to most locals, is haunted by spirits.

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