Header image courtesy of @willcho (via Instagram)
It’s safe to say that Hong Kong’s outlying islands are a complete package, with their tranquil waters, fresh seafood restaurants, and relaxing hiking trails. The popularity of the trails come with the convenience of transport, as most islands can be reached from the Central Ferry Pier, and the beginner-friendly (and pet-friendly) hikes make it a perfect day off for intrepid travellers of all ages. Here, we’re guiding you to hike along the ridges of the refreshing beaches and welcoming community of Lamma Island.
What goes around, comes back around—in a literal sense for this loop hike! The starting point is at Sok Kwu Wan (just after getting off the ferry), it then extends to Mo Tat Wan, Yung Shue Ha, and Tung O, before coming back to right where you started. The hike stretches across southern Lamma Island and takes you through hidden gems and abandoned villages, and, of course, one of its most pristine beaches, Shek Pai Wai. A little further from Mo Tat Wan lies Sham Wan (also known as Turtle Cove) which is a nesting ground of the endangered green sea turtle.
Lamma Island also bears oddly shaped rocks with equally peculiar names—The Butt Bloc, Vanishing Point, and Sleepy Hollow, to name a few. These rocks are famous bouldering spots in southern Lamma. If rock climbing is your forte, you can head over to Pagoda Boulders or Staircase Boulders—both of which have their separate trails along the way of this circular trail. There are definitely corners you can pass through to make this hike longer (if you’re up for exploring every path) but for the purpose of keeping this guide lucid, we will be staying on our circular path.
Distance: 10 kilometres approx.
Total ascent: 348 metres approx.
Total time: 2 hours approx.
There are two separate ferries that depart from Central Ferry Pier 4 on Hong Kong Island. One heads to Yung Shue Wan while the other heads towards Sok Kwu Wan, which is our starting point. For those wanting to start off their trip to Lamma Island with the loop hike, make sure to hop on the ferry to Sok Kwu Wan.
If you fancy making your hike a wee bit quicker, you can hop aboard a kaito ferry from Aberdeen, which takes you straight to Mo Tat Wan before dropping off at Sok Kwu Wan. You can get to the Aberdeen pier by taking various bus routes, such as bus 7, 37A, 38, 42, 43X, 48, 70, 78, 91, 338, or 107.
After alighting the ferry at Sok Kwu Wan, you’ll be greeted by quite a few seafood restaurants. If you have made it here just in time for lunch (or you’re just hungry), there’s Wai Kee Restaurant, which offers tasty and savoury bites. Simply continue walking along the sea for about two kilometres. After that, you’ll arrive at Mo Tat Wan, which is a small village. The Bay Restaurant here is a great option for lunch as well.
Feel free to scout around Mo Tat Wan until you reach a flight of stairs by a public toilet. About two more kilometres onwards is another village, Yung Shue Ha. Keep your eyes sharp and your cameras ready for the stunning views as you elevate along the hill. You can spot some odd rock formations by the sea and it is overall still a relaxing walk and the stairs are not too steep.
Then comes a sight that is not much seen around Lamma. Typically, you would find beautiful and homey bungalows lining the paths of Lamma Island, but just before arriving at Yung Shue Ha, you will come across abandoned houses of the Chow clan who once inhabited them. These nineteenth-century houses may be rotting now, but they still capture an eerie personality—the overgrown plants and the stone pillars almost make you feel like you’re in the season finale of True Detective (thankfully, this is not Carcosa).
After exiting your way through the abandoned village, you’ll be greeted with a totally different sight—one of the most stunning (and secluded) beaches of Lamma, Shek Pai Wan. This is the longest beach on Lamma and arguably has the softest sand to settle your toes in. What better spot to take a break? There are stalls offering snacks and drinks to energise yourself before climbing up our next stop, Ling Kok Shan.
After you’re done with your much-deserved break (though the main part of the hike is actually ahead), walk towards the pier and follow the path that takes you to Tung O village. Climb up the gentle and gradual slope and in 15 minutes or so, you will reach a pagoda, which offers a beautiful viewing point of Lamma. Afterwards, comes a slight descent and go up the path on the other way to get to Ling Kok Shan. There are well-paved stairs leading to the top and again, the climb is not too strenuous.
Here, you will see an unbelievable sight: Enormous rocks, the result of volcanic activity from over a hundred million years ago, simply sit balancing atop the hill, though they look like they are about to stumble down any minute! It is an incredibly rewarding view and you didn’t have to break your back getting here.
Afterwards, you’ll eventually end up at Mo Tat Wan as you continue down the same path. From here, you can make your way back to Sok Kwu Wan and choose to again indulge in amazing seafood, hop back to Central or Aberdeen, or—since you’ve come all the way—explore the rest of lovely Lamma. If you feel like you have the energy to spare, you can walk all the way to Yung Shue Wan towards the north of the island.