Header image courtesy of David Yeung
Narrow sidewalks, a multitude of loud and chaotic sounds, tall skyscrapers crammed closely next to each other; when it comes to Hong Kong, the first image that comes to mind is not an isolated, white, sandy beach with turquoise water, but what is marvellous about this city is that places like this do exist, unknown to Hongkongers.
However, there is one beach in particular that can be reached only by boat or by foot that draws beachgoers and junk-goers alike every weekend: Long Ke Wan in Sai Kung. Long Ke Wan is the perfect little weekend getaway if you are looking for a slice of peace and tranquillity. If you are looking to slip away from reality, this is the perfect little place to recharge and rejuvenate. Follow our guide for how to hike to Long Ke Wan via Pak Tam Chung.
Long Ke Wan is located within the Sai Kung Country Park and is tucked away in the southeast side of the Sai Kung Peninsula. The secluded beach overlooks the South China Sea and is flanked on all sides by a cape called Tsang Pang Kok and two hills, Cheung Ngam Teng and Biu Tsim Kok. Long Ke Wan is just the beginning of a string of other pristine beaches situated along the east side of Sai Kung.
However, Long Ke Wan is often overshadowed by the other popular beach destinations in Sai Kung such as Sai Wan and Tai Long Wan. Therefore, it is safe to say that Long Ke Wan is an underrated destination within Sai Kung. With its crystal clear waters and soft sand, it draws comparisons to ones in Thailand and even the Maldives and has also been featured by CNN Travel as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.
Getting to Long Ke Wan is not physically demanding, as the trail that gets you to the beach is beginner-friendly and does not require any advanced hiking experience. For most of the time, the hike is quite flat with subtle inclines and benign steps that take you towards beautiful Long Ke Wan.
If you are looking for a rustic outing or day trip, hiking to Long Ke Wan is the perfect thing to do. Due to its location, please be prepared to pack your own food, drinks, and other essentials deemed necessary as there are no amenities and the only public facility offered at the beach is a toilet.
Distance: 2 to 10 kilometres approx. (depending on the hike you choose)
Difficulty: Beginner to intermediate (depending on the hike you choose)
Total ascent: 196 metres approx.
Total time: 30 mins to 3 hrs approx. (depending on the hike you choose)
Like any hikes, there are always multiple ways to get to the final destination. For Long Ke Wan, there are two main ways to start the hike to the beach and one way by boat if you are feeling like going on a joy ride.
By far one of the easiest and most convenient ways to get to Long Ke Wan, kiosks along Sai Kung promenade sell day-trip speedboat packages to destinations all over Sai Kung. A one-way ticket varies between $100 to $160 per person depending on the season and boat company. As for the speedboat ride, you’ll spend approximately 20 to 25 minutes admiring the natural wonders of Sai Kung along the way. It also drops you off by the water’s edge of Long Ke Wan—perfect for day-trippers who want to skip a hike.
If you are choosing to hike from Pak Tam Chung, the hike will be long but perfectly manageable. Overall, you will be covering around 10 kilometres. Traversing along Section 1 of the Maclehose Trail, the hike will take you around two to three hours before arriving at Long Ke Wan. Don’t let the distance scare you off—the hike is incredibly rewarding due to the beauty and tranquillity of Long Ke Wan.
Once you are have arrived at Pak Tam Chung via your preferred transport, follow Tong Mai Tsong Road to enter the entrance of the Sai Kung East Country Park. Along the road, you’ll see quaint villages houses comfortably surrounded by the lush greenery that is prevalent all throughout the Country Park.
Once you reach the intersection with Pak Tam Road, continue on straight, as the road will eventually merge with Section 1 of the Maclehose Trail, which is also called Man Yee Road. Follow Man Yee Road until you hit your first pitstop at a junction. It splits into Sai Kung Sai Wan Road and Man Yee Road, and you can have a little rest here, as there is a shaded pagoda at your disposal. Once you feel energised again, keep left and follow the Maclehose Trail and a sign that points to High Island.
Overall, the hike will be shaded by trees and the roads will be paved—ideal during a hot summer’s day. A couple of minutes into your hike, a body of water will slowly appear out of the corner of your eyes. At first glance, it may seem like it is the sea, but it is actually the Sai Kung High Island Reservoir. This reservoir was constructed in 1978 in order to help tackle the water shortage problems that Hong Kong faced then.
Eventually, you will make it to the first dam: the West Dam of the High Island Reservoir. Here, you can soak in the scale of the reservoir, as well as the first glimpses of the sheer natural beauty Sai Kung has to offer. Snap a few photos and continue onwards to a rest stop at the end of the West Dam.
After reaching the West Dam, you have another six kilometres to go in order to get to the East Dam. All throughout the walk, simply follow the paved road. While walking to the East Dam, try to soak in the natural scenery and see if you can agree with past hikers who have likened it to the coasts of southern Italy or the coast of Croatia. On your hike, treat yourself to the abundance of clean air all whilst appreciating the natural acoustics of birds chirping, branches creaking, and wind hallowing.
Following along the Maclehose Trail, the rest of the walk to Long Ke Wan is rather straightforward, equipped with a pristine view of the bay and nearby volcanic rock formations that are well known within the area. Once you’ve reached the beach, you will immediately notice the softness of the white sand, trees that give good shade, and waves crashing onto the shore—a perfect picture of calm and bliss.
With no sign of civilisation, Long Ke Wan is definitely charming in its rustic and natural rawness. Not to mention, mobile phone reception may also be spotty in places, making this an ideal place to disconnect in order to connect with oneself. At the end of the day, to return to Sai Kung, just do the hike backwards!