On our second day in Hong Kong, we took a ferry to laid-back Lamma Island, where the Lamma Island walk beckoned. This 4 km walk starts in the village of Yung Shue Wan, passes beaches and spectacular sea views and finishes in the traditional fishing village of Sok Kwu Wan – where we turned around and walked back again. It was a whole world away from the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong Island.
Lamma Island is the third-largest of Hong Kong’s islands, and is just a short ferry ride from Central Pier. There are regular ferry services to the towns of Yung Shue Wan and Sok Kwu Wan from Central on Hong Kong Island, as well as to Yung Shue Wan via Pak Kok, and to Sok Kwu Wan via Mo Tat Wan, from Aberdeen.
Lamma has a very laid-back atmosphere, a total contrast to much of the rest of Hong Kong. There are a number of cheap accommodation establishments and it is well known for its seafood restaurants which are popular with locals and visitors.
We took the 9.30am ferry from Central, which took about 25 minutes to reach Yung Shue Wan, and cost HK$23.70 (about AUD$4) one way. This was the Sunday price, it is HKD$17.10 on other days. We needed coins to buy the tickets, but there was a booth at the Pier where we could get the coins.
The ferry arrived at the jetty in Yung Shue Wan which is the most populated area on Lamma Island. In the past, the island was a hub of the plastics industry, however now the factories have been replaced by restaurants and shops which appeal to the day-tripper.
We headed straight through the town and out onto the walk trail which took us through residential areas, and a variety of ecology before dipping down to the shore at Hung Shing Yeh Beach, a picturesque sandy stretch in the shadow of the nearby Lamma Power Station.
At the beach, there were changing room and toilet facilities, a couple of food outlets and shops selling beach toys and attire, a lifeguard station, picnic facilities etc. I’d imagine it gets quite packed in the warmer months.
We continued along the walk (known as the Family Trail) as it steadily climbed in altitude offering spectacular views over the South China Sea. Visibility was not the best on the day we visited, but it was still beautiful. Industrious locals had set up a stall selling frozen pineapple at the first lookout we came to.
A lookout pavilion on the opposite side of the island had a view back over the Lamma Channel to Aberdeen.
Alongside Sok Kwu Wan (Picnic) Bay we found the Kamikaze Grottos, which were apparently built by the Japanese to house speedboats that could be deployed on suicide missions on Allied warships during the second World War. The war finished before the work was completed. The geocache app on my phone showed that there was a geocache concealed very close to this particular cave, so we had a bit of a search before giving up and marching on!
The walk terminates in Sok Kwu Wan which is a fish farming village, and also has a number of seafood restaurants. We didn’t realise that some ferries also come to Sok Kwu Wan – so that means you could walk one way from Yung Shue Wa, have lunch or dinner in Sok Kwu Wan and depart from there back to Central (about 40 mins by ferry). We had planned to have lunch at a particular restaurant in Yung Shue Wa, so we just stopped for a coffee and cake and a bit of a rest before turning around to do the walk again in reverse.
Along the way, there are a couple of side trips that could also be taken, including a 15 minute (one way) walk to sandy Lo So Shing Beach which was was a lime-producing centre during the Tang dynasty and still contains some ancient lime kilns, or to the Lamma Winds turbine (20 mins one way), which is a 71 metre tall wind turbine located on one of the breeziest places in Hong Kong.
Or from Sok Kwu Wan, there is an add-on circular walk (Ling Kok Shan trail) which takes about another 2.5 hours to go through some old villages and past another beach before returning to Sok Kwu Wan.
We were content just to do the 8 km (return) Family Trail, so left it at that.
When we got back to Yung Shue Wan we sought a restaurant that The Poolboy had visited on a previous occasion (BB Seaview Restaurant), and were given a great table overlooking the beach. Our attention was immediately drawn to what looked like a cluster of paparazzi photographers on a pier. After our close encounter with Uma Thurman the day before (a whole other story…) we wondered who the attraction was on this quiet island. Our waiter filled us in – they were all twitchers (ornithologists) excited about spotting a rare Red-throated Diver bird. As we ate our lunch, we were fascinated to watch the crowds of photographers grow.
After a relaxed lunch we caught the 2.00pm ferry back to Central, and enjoyed the views of the Hong Kong Island skyline from the water.
A great day out and so completely different to the city pace and culture of Hong Kong’s Central.
The detailsLamma Island walk
Walk details: can be found at the Discover Hong Kong website
Getting there: ferries depart for Yung Shue Wan from Pier 4, Outlying Islands Terminal, Central Piers. There are also ferries to Sok Kwu Wan from Central, and to both destinations (via other stops) from Aberdeen
Cost: from Central to Yung Shue Wan was HKD$23.70 one way adult (Sunday). Other days is is HKD$17.10 for an adult.
Restaurants: Visitors to Lamma Island are spoilt for choice with restaurants. We one we visited was BB Seaview Restaurant (website)
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