Header image courtesy of @vlasta.novak (Instagram)
Home to over 100 beaches, Hong Kong is one of the only places in the world where you can be surrounded by skyscrapers one second, and the next you’re dipping your toes into the sand and surf. While it’s nice to lay your beach towel somewhere convenient and familiar, like at Repulse Bay or Shek O, sometimes we just want to spend a day in the sun somewhere quiet and clean. We’ve rounded up the best off-the-beaten-path beaches in Hong Kong that are shore to help you make the most of the summer sea-sun, and no, none of them is Ham Tin in Sai Kung.
Lamma Island is a popular day-trip destination for most locals, full of fresh seafood and good vibes. Most visitors flock to Power Station Beach or Hung Shing Yeh Beach to get their tan on, but if you’re willing to venture into some thick bush on the southern end of the chilled-out island, you’ll reach the hidden gem that is Lo So Shing Beach. Lo So Shing Beach remains relatively quiet even on the busiest weekends since it’s harder to reach than its peers, and as a result, it’s maintained a Grade 1 water quality rating from the HKEPD since 1986. It’s also got the basic beach amenities as well as a terrace atop the refreshments kiosk that can be rented out for private parties.
Another hidden gem on Lamma Island is Sham Wan, also known as Turtle Beach. Sham Wan is the only place in the South China Sea where green turtles are known to nest, and is an important ecological site in Hong Kong. It’s closed to the public from June to October every year, with a possible fine of up to $50,000 if you trespass and disturb the turtles during that time.
It’s often deserted due to its remote location and lack of on-site facilities, so you can have the clear waters and soft and fine sand all to yourself. En-route to Turtle Beach, you’ll even catch a glimpse of an abandoned early nineteenth-century village that formerly belonged to the Chow clan. You can pick up food and water along the way in So Kwu Wan or Mo Tat Wan, but be sure to take all your trash with you to keep the beach clean and peaceful for our turtle friends.
Unlike Sham Wan, Turtle Cove Beach only has turtles in its name. Located by the picturesque Red Hill in Stanley, down the hill from Tai Tam reservoir, Turtle Cove is an excellent alternative to the oft-crowded Stanley Main Beach. All you have to do is tackle a long, thankfully shaded flight of steps through dense bush, and you’ll find yourself at this cosy little cove.
While Turtle Cove isn’t the biggest beach at only about 70 metres long, what it lacks in size it makes up for with clear turquoise water that is rated at Grade 1 quality since 1998. You can see all the way down until you swim out to the deep end! There are shower facilities on-site, but no refreshment kiosk, so bring your own snacks and drinks especially if you want to light up the barbecue.
Another quiet alternative to Stanley Main Beach and St Stephen’s Beach is Chung Hom Kok Beach, west of Stanley Market. You wouldn’t know it was there if not for the slightly dilapidated sign pointing the way down a narrow flight of steps, and the children’s playground built in an overgrown clearing is a surprising sight as well. There are barbecue pits and shower facilities, and on a good day, you’ll be the only one using them.
Chung Hom Kok is a quaint beach that looks out to Ocean Park in the northeast and Lamma Island on the northwest horizon, and it also has a Grade 1 water quality rating, though sightings of trash have been on the rise, so please be considerate if you’re catching some rays here. If you’ve brought some beers with you for sundowners, you could climb out on the boulders on either side of the beach for the perfect picture—just exercise caution!
Most people who aren’t Lantau locals (or don’t use Google) wouldn’t have heard of Tong Fuk Beach, just a stone’s throw away from the stunning stretch of cattle-friendly sand that is Cheung Sha Beach. The water is just as clear as it is in Cheung Sha, the sand is more interesting to look at with both white and black sand, and the famous wild herds of cattle also frequent Tong Fuk Beach. It’s mostly serenely deserted and as a result, is very clean and you’ll probably be the only sunseekers there! Basic facilities and barbecue pits are on site but you’ll have to go to nearby Tong Fuk Village for a meal or some drinks to take on the beach. Fancy staying overnight? There are hostels and vacation homes for rent in the village too.
You may have seen these beaches whilst on the way to the airport, nestled under the grand Tsing Ma Bridge. Up until the start of the last decade, these beaches weren’t safe for swimming, as sewage and construction waste piled up on these shores. The waters have since cleared, and you can take a dip in the waters while watching the cars going past the Lantau Link. There are shower facilities on-site, as well as playgrounds, refreshment kiosks, and water sports clubs. Parking is available near Ting Kau beach. Usually, these beaches are only filled with people who live nearby, so you can have a nap on the slightly rough sand peacefully.
Sharp Island is a two-and-half-kilometre-long island just 15 minutes away from Sai Kung town, littered with distinct pineapple bun-shaped rock formations and home to two beaches: Hap Mun Bay and Kiu Tsui Beach. A kaito will take you to either beach, and there is a fair amount of bushwhacking involved if you want to get through to the other side of the island.
Hap Mun Bay or Half Moon Bay is a government-maintained beach that resembles a half-moon lagoon, hence the name. The water is beyond clear here, far away from human pollution, and is a popular campsite too. You’re surrounded by pristine mountains on either side. Kiu Tsui Beach is less pretty, stretching along the western side of the island, but is much longer than Hap Mun Bay. We love exploring the tombolo next to Kiu Tsui Beach, where you can walk through during low tide to an islet named Kiu Tau. Be careful to get back before the tide rises again though, or you’ll be stranded!
Trio Beach may be small, but it’s a gorgeous and clean beach nonetheless. Sunseekers head to Trio Beach for its seclusion, as it’s only accessible via a short hike or a sampan ride from Pak Sha Wan (Hebe Haven). The sand at Trio Beach is impossibly soft and you can almost forget that you’re in Hong Kong, save for the views of the HKUST campus, Clear Water Bay, and the on-site facilities including (thankfully) a refreshment kiosk.
Po Toi Island is by far the most inaccessible of the beaches on this list, with kaitos running only on specific days of the week and not at all frequently. It was once home to more than over a thousand fishermen but now, only the unique rock carvings and a scattering of folks inhabit the island, as the younger generation abandoned the city for better job opportunities. Po Toi Island is popular with junk partiers looking to grab a bite at the famous Ming Kee Seafood Restaurant, which also overlooks an idyllic stretch of sand where you can lay your towel down and sunbathe.