Header image courtesy of @k.bbbphotography (via Instagram)
Often referred to interchangeably with Park Island, Ma Wan is in actuality the name of the entire island that encircles the Park Island housing complex as well as its surroundings. Wedged between Lantau and Tsing Yi, this little spot is an underrated destination that totals up to just about one square kilometre of space! If you are looking for family-friendly fun, beachside eateries, and touches of history and nature, check out our guide to Ma Wan.
As part of the aggregated Ma Wan Park established by Sun Hung Kai Properties, this evangelical amusement ground comprises of a gargantuan replica of the eponymous ark from the well-known biblical tale. It features several attractions aimed on educating little ones on the importance of respecting the earth, attempting to foster a sense of care for the natural environment through interactive displays.
After expending all their zooming energy on the roped frames of the Adventureland climbing course and skidding down the tunnelled slides of Fun Fun Playland, excited kids can replenish themselves with a quick bite at the in-house Harvest Restaurant. There is also a garden of sprawling life-sized animal statues that stand-in for the pairs of creatures saved from the godly flooding, as written in the scripture. Of course, people of all faiths are welcome.
Noah’s Ark Hong Kong Theme Park, 33 Pak Yan Road, Ma Wan | (+852) 3411 8888
At the southern ends of Ma Wan lies the 69-metre-tall Tai Leng Tau Hill, which has earned the unofficial title of the best viewpoint to enjoy Tang Lung Chau Island, Ma Wan Channel, and Tsing Ma Bridge. It is barely even a hike as the route is a simple path that branches off from the uphill slope opposite the Ma Wan Fire Station. Simply follow the low-key stairway and you shall reach the high point within 20 minutes. As you make your way up, gaze out at the stunning views of the coastline and soak in the salty sunshine.
The natural scenes of Ma Wan include a variety of themed gardens with quirky designs that make for an amusing romp. This picture-worthy location takes you on a journey around the world in plants, take a gander at the mini-exhibits on coffee bean crops at the South American Garden that has been designed to emulate a Mexican village.
If you happen to make your way to the island during the autumnal months, try your luck encountering clusters of butterflies daintily fluttering by at the Butterfly Jive area. You can also check out the zany Rainbow Wall and enchanted Sweet Garden for adorable photo spots that offer vibrant splashes of colour that have either been painted or planted.
Ma Wan Nature Gardens, 45 Tin Liu Village, Ma Wan
Definitely do not confuse this with Tung Wan beach in Cheung Chau! This flat, narrow stretch of golden sand sits on the western side of the island, boasting amazing views of Tsing Ma Bridge, Ting Kau Bridge, and nautical life. The soft sands and clean environment make it a wonderful spot for young tots to explore and enjoy. For all its (comparatively) calm and uncluttered charm, the beach is incredibly convenient, as it is surrounded by an array of eateries right in front of the Park Island shopping complex.
Framed photographs and calendars are tacked onto the walls, dusted office chairs slump over rotting staircases, whilst dragonflies flit in and out between chain link fences right in front of crumbling houses. Frozen in time, forever unmoving, this eerily gorgeous village is both a popular to visit and an important part of Ma Wan history. Having only been evacuated not too long ago, traces of the community that once graced these walls are still very much intact and on full view for curious onlookers.
For a full guide on how to navigate the ghost village, and the full story behind its peculiar emptiness, click here.
Equipped with one of the largest vacuum solar telescopes in all of Southeast Asia, Solar Tower is an astronomy-themed attraction with many informative highlights. From immersive 3D documentaries that unleash the secrets of the solar system, to game booths that showcase intriguing technological and scientific topics like robotics and electricity, there is something to spark the interest of people from all ages. Integrated programmes and learning camps are also available, with the nearby Solar Villas as accommodation.
Solar Tower, 14 Tai Yuk Road, Ma Wan | (+852) 8201 1122
Long before the centuries-old fishing village was established, the first-ever settlers to come to Ma Wan arrived as far back as 3,000 BC. The initial settlers were believed to be the Chan clan, who migrated from the Tsing Yi area, as the earliest records show inhabitants and ancient daily items as well as tombs found during archaeological digs in the area. Turn back time and take a look at the rich and long-standing heritage the splendid neighbourhood has to offer.
Ma Wan Heritage Centre, Ma Wan Park Solar Tower, 33 Pak Yan Road, Ma Wan | (+852) 3446 1163
Brought to Ma Wan by the people behind Middle Eastern-inspired joint I Love Istanbul in Tung Choi Street, this fusion Turkish café is the hidden gem of the neighbourhood. Step inside the blue-rimmed door and you will find a cosy den of wonders, where beautiful copper and steel cups glint against the light of the tinted glass chandeliers.
A small plot of sand stands next to the barista corner in an intricately decaled tub, slowly and gently simmering a pot of fragrant Turkish coffee ($45) that gets close to but never actually boils. It makes for an ambrosia to cap off their delicious Mersin chicken ($178), or as an accompaniment to Baklava cake ($58).
Turkish coffee brewing tutorials are also available for $200 a session, allowing you to roll up your sleeves to study the art of siphon brewing, Turkish-style sand preparation, or hand-drip coffee.
Coffee on the Sand, G/F, 11 Ma Wan Main Street Village East, Ma Wan | (+852) 9027 6970
Flanked by vintage wooden furniture and dotted with hipster memorabilia, this intimate café is a spot exemplifying the slow-living ethos of the island. Oozing with a serene brand of “cool,” the shop sells a selection of artisanal products and local traditional goods that presented with a contemporary twist.
Melding together innovative combinations of nostalgic Hong Kong cuisine and classic Western dishes, their eccentric menu features fusion items like fermented tofu pasta ($88), jujube bagel with jujube butter ($58), and dried plums orange soda ($58).
Also aiming to weave together the community, they also organise a medley of courses and workshops open to the public, covering everything from coffee prepping to Wushu martial arts. Their full catalogue and sign-up pages can be found here.
Sol Committee, Shop 1A, Level 2, Beach Commercial Complex, Park Island, Ma Wan
With a long history as a village that relied mostly on fishing for sustenance and survival, it comes as no surprise to find an old-school seafood eatery that truly hits the spot. Having an island-wide reputation for their cheery hospitality (many thanks to their adorable resident tabby) and humbly comforting yet flavourful dishes, Fai Kee Seafood Restaurant is a most wonderful choice.
Aside from classics like the Hong Kong-style garlic glass noodles scallops that go for $45 apiece, and wok-fried or steamed daily catch items, their stir-fried water spinach with Ma Wan shrimp paste is a dish worth trying, as it stars the island’s most renowned export. Before your trek to Ma Wan for a taste, though, do keep in mind that they are usually closed on Mondays and Thursdays.
Fai Kee Seafood Restaurant, Shop 211–214, G/F, Village Central, Ma Wan Main Street, Ma Wan | (+852) 2986 5240
Boasting an alfresco front that makes way for a spectacular view and Tsing Ma Bridge, this German-inspired beachside pub balances hefty tavern-style dishes with refreshing vistas of blue skies and rolling sands combed out by the tides.
Indulge in an ice-cold draught (starting from $36) imported straight from Bavaria, accompanied by a platter of sizzling Currywürst ($81) doused in a tangy special sauce. If you are craving something to really fill you up, go for the Grillhaxe und Gemischter Wurstteller ($371), which includes the obligatory German pork knuckle and assorted sausages complete with mashed potato and rösti. Be sure to check the date before heading there, as they are off on Tuesdays.
Oma’s Kitchen, 1/F, Beach Commercial Complex, Park Island, Ma Wan | (+852) 3446 1116
Conveniently located near the Park Island Pier, this fried-chicken chophouse is a lovely and easily accessed spot. Airy and bright, the simple interiors and no-fuss cooking makes it an inviting spot for the whole family. The menu, cooked up by the Korean shop owners who happen to be husband and wife, features crowd-pleasing bites to share like BBQ whole chicken ($178) and spicy pork belly ($158) wrapped in ssam lettuce ($20). Before heading off, why not grab a roll of tuna kimbap ($49) to save for later adventures?
Little Seoul, Shop P1, G/F, Park Island Pier, Ma Wan | (+852) 2796 8833
Nothing screams sun and sand like Thai food, as it evokes the beautiful beachy seascapes of the city. A leafy potted palm signals the entryway of this modest restaurant, welcoming you to an unpretentious woody cabana decorated with vintage photos of life in Bangkok.
Make your trip to the island feel even more like a holiday by tucking in to their delectable Siamese dishes, with offerings like spicy green papaya salad ($55) and salt-roasted bream ($118) that conjure up the tropical tastes of summer.
Evaporate off the grimy sweat and heat you’ve accumulated from a romp at the Ma Wan Beach by sipping on a refreshing jendor with coconut cream ($20), getting your dose of sweetness and iciness all in one go.
Thai House, 219 Ma Wan Main Street Central, Ma Wan | (+852) 3487 6048
It is not surprising that Park Island is better known as a residential neighbourhood rather than a bustling shopper’s paradise, as the area comes up short in terms of shops on offer. However, if you are in a pinch, the Park Island shopping mall is your best bet. There are a familiar franchise shopfronts, a well-stocked supermarket, a selection of restaurants, as well as various facilities that make living blissful for the homebodies.